Eternal Sonata - hands-on

Role-playing games are a dime a dozen. No, scratch that. More like a nickel for 20 run of the mill, melodramatic Japanese RPGs filled with stilted dialogue and overwrought melodrama. Seems like any and all of them are bursting with this stuff, yet no developer bothers to take these negative stereotypes away. But even with these irksome traits, we end up loving most of these games anyway, usually due to some shockingly creative aspect that overshadows the lackluster execution. In Eternal Sonata, almost every single thing outside the traditional "meh" areas is overflowing with color, charm and clever ideas.

Before we even get into the gorgeous graphics or addictive battle system, we've got to mention the game's setup. You're Chopin, a young composer lying on his death bed- and named after legendary pianist Frederic Chopin. As he slowly dies, the game takes place in a fantasy world inside his subconscious mind. It's the exact opposite of Chopin's drab and dreary real world, as multicolored petals flow through the breeze, bulbous mushrooms twist up from the ground and pieces of Chopin's timeless music flow through the air. Everything looks happy as can be until you bump into a young girl capable of using magic.

Turns out that in this world, only people who are near death can sling spells. As a result, magic users are seen as sickly individuals to be avoided. Even though John Travolta underwent a similar transformation in Phenomenon, we'll go ahead and assume Eternal Sonata will add something to the concept. It's a clever idea, even if it's been approached before.

Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.