So for those of you who managed to find your way here before going to Joystiq or Kotaku or some other gaming blog site, there is a demo available on the Japanese Xbox Live market place. And if you have not run off to go make a Japanese silver account yet then I implore you to do so. Just to catch a fleeting taste of what the full Eternal Sonata will play like before it comes out late this summer. Of course if you happen to be the lazy type, or the type who is out of hard drive space then plunk yourself down here as I take you through the short demo. The demo itself clocks in at about a half hour and is comprised of a short romp through the forest leading in to Tenuto Village and then in to Heaven’s Mirror Forest for a short boss battle.
First thing that you’ll notice about the game is its beauty. This is what I was expecting from a “Next-Gen” RPG. After the disappointment that was Enchanted Arms, it’s great to see such a fabulous looking game. The cel-shading makes the game look very cartoony but it still looks great and runs well to boot. The village of Tenuto is a testament to how colorful this game is, as you’ll see all sorts of various flora and fauna that is vibrant and colorful and just feels very alive.
The voice acting is surprisingly good, and the music is excellent. The battle music feels epic without being grating and the over-world music is also very powerful. For a game that is focusing on the death of one of the greatest composers to ever live, you would think that music would be an important aspect to the game. I certainly plan on importing the soundtrack once it becomes available.
For the demo you are given three characters, Allegretto, Polka, and Beat. Allegretto looks to be the brawler type who will be doing most of the physical grunt work in battle. Polka plays like a healer and magical damage dealer. And Beat fills the roll for ranged attacks. After running in to an enemy (curiously named Very Very Empty and shaped like an onion) battle begins. Once in battle you take turns between characters and enemies, highlighted by a “Next” tag over their head. Once a turn comes up you have a little amount of time to make your move against the enemy. But fear not, the time does not start to countdown until after you make a move so feel free to plot out your plan of attack.
Mashing the A button will result in a combo that makes use of your characters weapon. X is assigned to a consumable item. B is guard, and Y is assigned to special abilities. Each character has interchangeable abilities that are also affected by their placement on the battlefield. In a reference that has been undoubtedly numerous times. “Then we shall fight in the shade.” Your character placement is based on whether they stand in the sun or in the shade. Enemies also take advantage of this shade property as the seemingly harmless Very Very Empty sprouts in to a very menacing treant looking creature that went from being quick and speedy to slow and plodding.
Eternal Sonata is aiming for a September release date and I’ve got my pre-order in after playing this demo. Like I said before it is very much worth the effort to set up a Japanese Xbox Live silver account and grab this. Be sure to check back with us in the future for a full review.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I recently cleared the 10 year club with Gaming Nexus. Kind of surprised I've been a mainstay here for a little over a decade now.
In a past life I worked with Interplay, EA, Harmonix, Konami, and a number of other developers and have recently returned from a job in Texas doing production work for a company that did cell phone games. Now I'm working for a record label, along with Gaming Nexus, and anywhere else that sees fit to employ me.