Eternal Sonata Impressions

Namco Bandai shows off previously unseen areas from its upcoming role-playing game at a press event in San Francisco.

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Earlier this week while attending Namco Bandai's 2007 Editors' Day in San Francisco, we had an opportunity to check out a work-in-progress version of Tri-Crescendo's Eternal Sonata. We played through an enjoyable Xbox Live demo of Eternal Sonata just last month, and although we weren't permitted to take the controls on this occasion, we were still able to glean some interesting new information on the game during the presentation.

The previously unseen Salsa is one of 10 playable characters.

Our presentation set sail with an in-engine cinematic that saw a handful of Eternal Sonata's 10 playable characters aboard a galleon that was in danger of being boarded by pirates. The galleon that the good guys were aboard appeared to be a relatively conventional craft, but the pirate ship was highly stylized and, in places, appeared to be constructed from huge bones. Allegretto was the only character we recognized from our time with the Xbox Live demo, but he was joined by two new characters named Jazz and Salsa. The same party was also used when the presentation moved to a gameplay sequence. Because Salsa had been nominated as the leader by the player, it was her character model that we saw negotiating jumps over lava pits and the like.

By the time you read this, Eternal Sonata will already be available in Japan as Trusty Bell, so we were not surprised that changes to the gameplay mechanics we had so much fun with in the Xbox Live demo were not readily apparent. But we did notice that the sequence we were being shown was taken from much later in the game, so the battles were played out at a much more frenetic pace. Specifically, the five seconds that you have to perform each character's actions when it's his or her turn at the start of the game will be down to just four seconds by the time your party reaches level six. The infinite "tactical time" that you're afforded between turns early on will also be nonexistent later on in the game.

This fishlike creature was a dragon earlier, honest.

During our presentation, all of the battles were against enemies that we hadn't seen before, and some of them exhibited interesting abilities. The dragonlike "Haken Büsche" transform into floating fishlike creatures known as "Coelacanth" when they move out of the shadows into well-lit areas of the battlefield. Another enemy that we saw, which we unfortunately didn't catch the name of, had its own light source, which will make it impossible for any of your characters to use their dark attacks once they get close to it.

Our time with Eternal Sonata was all too brief on this occasion, but with the game's September North American release date closing in fast, we're hopeful that we'll have an opportunity to spend some quality time with it soon. We'll be bringing you more information as soon as it becomes available.

Discussion

80 comments
s0njas0n
s0njas0n

this game actually looks really good.

DouglasBuffone
DouglasBuffone

I played the demo on Xbox Live and the visuals look superb!

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

I want to see more of this game. This impression was far too brief.

excelerent
excelerent

"Eternal Sonata, Mass Effect, Blue Dragon, Last Odyssey, Fable 2." fable 2 ain't out till' 08'

slinky6
slinky6

lame...where's the real r.p.g.'s Huh? How is this not a "real RPG?"

skywalker333
skywalker333

Eternal Sonata, Mass Effect, Blue Dragon, Last Odyssey, Fable 2. this IS the year for RPGs in 360! i cant wait to get them all!

YEPEE00
YEPEE00

lame...where's the real r.p.g.'s

Lucas_371
Lucas_371

Man, This game is gonna rock

xRuNnIngShaDoWx
xRuNnIngShaDoWx

Famitsu (famous japanese game critic) game this game a 35/40 He also gave blue dragon a 30/40. Its gonna be good but I dont think Im going to spend 60 buckaroos on it when I have lost Odyssey and Mass Effect right around the corner. It really depends we will see what gamespot says.

2611mp
2611mp

looks decent, your right about xbox 360 needing more rpg's.

AceCometh
AceCometh

The Xbox 360 needs more good rpg's. Oblivion has finally gotten old after 200+ hours of gameplay.

Mercenary_Q
Mercenary_Q

i hope this game will be good so the Xbox 360 can finally get some good RPG's

TheoleDominion1
TheoleDominion1

I love jrpg's, but does the characters always have to look cartoonish?

kindredmachine
kindredmachine

I played through the entire demo twice. This game is REALLY GOOD. The batlte system is actually fun!

MuscleCarMan
MuscleCarMan

looks like it might be good and i hope it will be. Been wanting a game with some story now for a while on the 360. Those shooters that ive been playing havent been all there in the story department.

StonyShred420
StonyShred420

i will say, this game looks very "pretty". all i can say is, it looks like your playing a cartoon in some shots.

666sinboy81
666sinboy81

ten characters! they look close because they are made by some of the same people .. this game rox!

Beesond
Beesond

Cartoonish styles are getting old.... ...the short haired guy with the sword looks almost identical to the main charchter of Star Ocean 3 lol

lithus
lithus

More RPG's is what the 360 needs, especially in Japan. With exclusives being yanked out from under Sony, the 360 seems like it's pulling ahead leaving the Wii in a tight 2nd.

Skyfaze
Skyfaze

This makes me wish I had the money for a 360..

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

i really want an epic rpg to come out.

lahoor
lahoor

wow cool game i wish i have xbox 360

Knightmare_King
Knightmare_King

Bpg3D, I agree sometimes change can be a good thing i mean lately all we hear is final fantasy and it can get a bit tiresome; sometimes its good to have a unique twist to things i hope this RPG pull its weight for the 360 and maybe we can get a tales series on here as well.....maybe.

NeonNinja
NeonNinja

I was at one point really considering getting this game, but it's release date is way too close to BioShock and Halo 3. Maybe I'll pick it up in early 2008, but if BioShock or Halo 3 suck (yeah, as if), then this'll replace one of those two (Maybe).

Geetarman42
Geetarman42

This Definatly looks like a Tales of Symphonia Clone, but i'm not complaining b/c that was one of my favorite RPGs of all time { Wish they would come out with a sequel} Anyway looks great and will eventualy buy it

Bpg3D
Bpg3D

I'm so tired of Square RPG's, I'm glad the 360 will have unique offerings like this.

skywalker333
skywalker333

at last, RPGS! we've waited sooooo long for this! i downloaded it (from japanese server) and just played the demo, and i just cant wait for september! classic jrpg!

Anabub
Anabub

No 360 + RPG's is all good ... there are more than enough shooters/ driving games change can be scary but should always be welcomed!!

Rhen_Var
Rhen_Var

Xbox + RPG Seems so wrong...but this game might be good

rkgambill
rkgambill

This is probably my most looked-forward to game of the year next to Lost Odyssey, I can't wait.

monkeyman
monkeyman

The demo was pretty good. I only hope that I have time to play it between Mass Effect and Blue Dragon.

kevy619
kevy619

i was impressed with the demo, great atmosphere/music.

lwolfsniper14
lwolfsniper14

That girls voice is going to annoy the crap out of me. :( I will still buy the game though.

squall703
squall703

This, Blue Dragon, Mass Effect boy o boy.^^

ele975
ele975

Eternal Sonata reminds me of Baten Kaitos (which was a great game) in this clip. I can't wait for a review, will most likely get this game.

TranceKuja925
TranceKuja925

another cool looking rpg for the 360. glad to see the 360s gonna have more rpgs then the xbox did.

azupanda
azupanda

Another must have for me. Can't wait!

Taegre
Taegre

In the past I haven't liked the way cel-shading was done in games other than Jet Set Radio. It was always either ugly or out-of-place. Here, not only does it match perfectly but the art style is remeniscent of a Miyazaki movie. Also, I'm not one who's played many jrpgs, but there's no denying games like this have more heart put into their characters and story then any other genre. This could very easily be the surprise 360 hit we've been waiting to happen.

nocoolnamejim
nocoolnamejim moderator

""Looks like a solid game with interesting gameplay, although I would prefer to see less RPGs with cartoonish graphics." Amen to that...I'd love to have more rpgs where my characters actually look like adults and not kids. " Agree with both posters. I am freaking sick of rpg games that look like I'm controlling 12 year olds. I'll probably still get this because I am RPG starved though. A year and a half into the "next gen" systems and only a single rpg title (Oblivion) worth playing. Sigh.

MarcoSnow06
MarcoSnow06

Definitely gives me a next-gen Tales of Symphonia vibe. Looks great.

kappareign
kappareign

looks very impressive to me. love the graphics

-KyoKi-
-KyoKi-

looks to be a must have for rpg fans

Outlawlaw
Outlawlaw

RaiKageRyu An upgraded version is coming for the PS3 later on in the year. Upgraded. Laughing. Out. Loud. Anywho, can't wait to see what scores this gets when it hits the states, though I must admit that RPG's of present day are very boring - there is still a glimmer of hope that we'll get an entertaining one.

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

It not welling in Japan due the fact its on 360 and an upgraded version is coming for the PS3 later on in the year.

YoungGrasshoppa
YoungGrasshoppa

@m0ney78: Read all the previews on this game. Read IGN's, Gamespots and 1ups initial thoughts on the game. They all say its great. Look at Famitsus score 9/9/9/10...and then go to IGN, Gamespots, TXB & NeoGafs message boards. Everyone is aniticipating this game. Funny that you and one other moron have first sales numbers on this game and no else does. Go and **** somewhere else you filthy stinkin troll.

Mush_Mouth
Mush_Mouth

"Looks like a solid game with interesting gameplay, although I would prefer to see less RPGs with cartoonish graphics." Amen to that...I'd love to have more rpgs where my characters actually look like adults and not kids.