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|Publishers||Namco Bandai Games|
|Release Dates||Xbox 360 version:|
PlayStation 3 version:
- "When one thing comes to an end, something else begins."
- —Frédéric François Chopin
Eternal Sonata (トラスティベル 〜ショパンの夢〜 Torasuti Beru ~Shopan no Yume~?, Trusty Bell: Chopin's Dream) is an original role-playing video game created by Tri-Crescendo. The Xbox 360 version of the game was released on June 14, 2007 in Japan, September 17, 2007 in North America, and October 19, 2007 in Europe. The game was also released on the PlayStation 3 with additional content as Trusty Bell: Chopin's Dream - Reprise (トラスティベル 〜ショパンの夢〜 ルプリーズ Torasuti Beru ~Shopan no Yume~ Rupurīzu?) on September 18, 2008 in Japan. It was released under the original name Eternal Sonata in the United States on October 21, 2008 and in Europe on February 13, 2009.
The game is centered on the Polish romantic pianist and composer Frédéric François Chopin, who died of pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 39. The story envisions a fictional world dreamed by Chopin during his last hours that is influenced by Chopin's life and music, and in which he himself is a playable character, among others. The game features a selection of Chopin's compositions played by pianist Stanislav Bunin, though most of the original compositions were written by Motoi Sakuraba. The game's battle system centers on musical elements and character-unique special attacks. Light and darkness plays a part in the appearance and abilities of enemies on the battlefield, as well as the types of Special Attacks that may be used.
View the complete credits for Eternal Sonata.
Eternal Sonata follows many general conventions in a typical console role-playing game: the player controls a party of up to twelve characters to explore the world, talking with its inhabitants, buying and selling equipment at shops, and encountering monsters while in the field. These encounters are visible, and the player can opt to avoid the encounter, if possible, as well as gaining an edge on the monsters by approaching them from behind. Experience points are awarded to all members of the party, though at a reduced rate for those not involved in combat, and characters will improve in various statistics with each experience level as well as learning special combat skills. Weapons, armor, and accessories can be used to improve these statistics, which can be purchased through money earned in combat, found in chests, or by selling both equipment and Photos which can be taken by the character Beat during battle. The player may also find Score Pieces scattered about the world, which represent short musical phrases. Various NPCs in the game will offer to perform with the party, requiring the player to match a Score Piece to the phrase offered by the NPC, with the resulting composition being ranked. Discordant matches will result in no reward, but close or perfect matches will gain a bonus item from the NPC. Some also value unusual combinations.
- Main article: Battle
While the main combat system is turn-based using only 3 characters within the party, it incorporates elements of an action game. Each character's turn is preceded by Tactical Time, a period of time which the player can use to decide the course of action to take with that character. Once the player initiates an action or Tactical Time expires (a function of the Party Level), the player then has a limited amount of time denoted by an Action Gauge to move the character, attack the enemy, and use recovery skills or items. Regular attacks are made at melee or ranged distances depending on the weapon choice of the character, and add a small quantity of time back to the Action Gauge, and additionally add to the party's "Echoes" meter. Special skills which can include both offensive attacks and recovery skills will consume whatever Echoes have been generated to that point, and will have a more powerful effect relative to that number. When a character defends against an attack, there is a short period before the attack strikes where the player can press a button to block some of the damage for the attack, or to possibly even counterattack the blow and interrupt the monster's turn. Recovery and other one-time-use items are kept in a common pouch with a limited capacity; the player must "set" items in the pouch so that they can be cycled through and triggered during battle.Light and dark areas on the battle field generated by the time of day, environment, and shadows of the characters and monsters will affect combat. Each party character has one or more special skills that are active in lit areas, and a similar number but with very different effects in a dark area. Monsters themselves may have a dissimilar set of powers in the area of the battlefield they are in, while other monsters will actually change form when they move between lit and dark areas. The player can manipulate the nature of areas using special items, but this can also be affected by the monsters themselves, or through dynamic changes on the battlefield such as the shadow of a cloud moving across the ground.
As the player progresses through the game, they will increase their Party Level. Each improvement in level grants some bonuses while also imposing additional limits on combat. For example, one Party Level improvement increases the number of slots for special skills for each character, but at the same time, cuts down the amount of Tactical Time and time available in the Action Gauge.
Eternal Sonata features a large soundtrack, mostly composed by Motoi Sakuraba, with seven of Chopin's compositions performed by Stanislav Bunin and presented in 5.1 surround sound. Featured music of Chopin's include Étude Op. 10, No. 12 (Chopin)|Étude Op. 10, No. 12, Étude Op. 10, No. 3 (Chopin)|Étude Op. 10, No. 3 and Polonaise Op. 53. A Japanese aria composed by Sakuraba titled "Heaven's Mirror" is also performed by Akiko Shinada for the soundtrack. The game's background music was released in Japan as the four-disc album Trusty Bell ~Chopin no Yume~ Original Score (トラスティベル 〜ショパンの夢〜 オリジナルスコア Torasuti Beru ~Shopan no Yume~ Orijinaru Sukoa?) on July 25, 2007 under the King Records label.
- Frédéric François Chopin (フレデリック・フランソワ・ショパン Furederikku Furansowa Shopan?): Main protoganist and antogonist, 39 years of age. He is a renowned composer and pianist. Fighting with batons, he travels through a world he believes to be entirely his dream. As he does, his certainty that the world around his only a dream begins to waver and he searches for a way to save the young girl he has met, Polka.
- Polka (ポルカ Poruka?): 14 years of age. Polka has powerful magic abilities, which in turn means that she is doomed to die. Fighting with a parasol, she travels in the hope of using her abilities for good, knowing she doesn't have much time to live. Her encounters with Frederic help her to have a more optimistic outlook, and also drive her to face her fate.
- Allegretto (アレグレット Areguretto?): 16 years of age. A young man standing up to the contradictions of the world. Though Allegretto is poor, he has a good heart. He is a thief who steals bread in order to feed children who are not able to feed themselves. Fighting with swords, he has taken his companion, Beat, under his wing and has quickly developed an affection for Polka, the young girl he meets in Agogo Village.
- Beat (ビート Bīto?): 8 years of age. Beat is a young boy who lives with Allegretto in the port city of Ritardando. His greatest treasure is a camera which was given to him by his father. He utilizes a hammer that can transform into a gun and generally maintains a cheery outlook on life despite the hardships he has faced. He often finds himself at loggerheads with Salsa, one of the Guardians of Agogo Forest, but later forms something of a friendship with her and the beginnings of a young crush.
- Viola (ビオラ Biora?): A 26-year-old shepherd the party meets in the countryside. She's a tough-talker and can handle herself, being slightly older than the others in the party. She has a pet named Arco who tags along with the group. Fighting with a bow that can also be used to whack opponents at close-range, she regrets not having acted sooner when she knew something was wrong with the world, and has developed a crush on Jazz, the leader of the Forte resistance group Andantino.
- Salsa (サルサ Sarusa?): An 8-year-old guardian of the Agogo Forest with her sister. The party meets her when they were imprisoned in the Forte Castle dungeons. Salsa views hats as the best treasure in the world. Salsa has a tendency to speak her mind and is not afraid to rush into a situation. Fighting with two large rings, her lack of refined manners immediately rubs Viola the wrong way and leads to a childish rivalry with Beat, though the two later largely resolve their differences.
- March (マーチ Māchi?): The other guardian of the Agogo Forest; Salsa's twin sister. She tends to be the more reasonable one of the two, making her a sharp contrast to Salsa. March appears to be mature and gentle. March speaks with a wisdom seemingly beyond her age and is a scholar of ancient texts. Fighting with rings similar to her sisters', she is somewhat less used to battle than Salsa, but nevertheless proves to be a formidable fighter.
- Jazz (ジルバ Jiruba?, his Japanese name is a transliteration of "jitterbug"): Jazz is 27 years old, leader of the revolutionary group Andantino. Quiet and serious, he worries about the damage Count Waltz might be doing to the people with the mineral powder and the processes needed to mine it. Jazz was originally involved in a revolution of the Forte miners which ended in defeat. Fighting with a massive broadsword, he is able to deal massive damage to large groups of enemies.
- Falsetto (ファルセット Farusetto?): Jazz's lieutenant in Andantino, she's perceptive and tough, and inwardly dislikes Claves. Falsetto is 22 years old and has known Jazz since childhood. Falsetto may sometimes run away from a problem she finds too tough to face, but will return in the end to fight for what she believes to be right. She fights with knuckles and gloves and proves to a be swift and agile fighter.
- Claves (クラベス Kurabesu?): Jazz's 24-year-old girlfriend and another soldier of Andantino. She is a later addition to the group and quickly moved up the ranks due to her skills in battle. Her tendency to need details of missions clarified leads Falsetto to quickly become suspicious of her. She fights with a rapier and begins with low stats, but later gains powerful stat growths.
- Crescendo (クレッシェンド Kuresshendo?): The young prince of Baroque. Crescendo replaces his father for leading Baroque into the future war between Forte due to a sickness his father is suffering on. He rescues Polka, Beat, Frederic, and Salsa after they fell into Fusion River. Crescendo is worried about the strain that Baroque's contentious relationship with Forte has placed on the country and is searching for a peaceful solution. Only playable in the PlayStation 3 version of Eternal Sonata, Crescendo fights with maces and specializes in high HP and strong defense.
- Serenade (セレナーデ Serenāde?): The fiancee of Prince Crescendo. Originally from Forte, she too searches for peace. She owns a pet dog named Minuet. Like her fiancee, she is only playable in the PlayStation 3 version. Fighting with Staves, she is incredibly fast in battle and carries some of the game's most heavily damaging Special Attacks as well as a powerful healing skill.
As famous composer Frederic Chopin lies on his deathbed in 19th century France, his consciousness begins a journey through a fantastical world that is apparently entirely of his dreams. There he meets a girl named Polka, a floral powder seller who is the same age, 14, that his sister Emilia was when she died. Polka is traveling to the realm of Forte in the hope of speaking with the region's count, Waltz, about selling less mineral powder. As the two travel, they meet many new companions and discover a conspiracy greater than any of them could have imagined.
The game for the most part takes place within the dream world of Chopin, with brief segments in the real world to report on Chopin's status. The story is divided into eight chapters, with each chapter being represented by one of Chopin's compositions, and being related to events within his historical life. The story begins with a small group of characters coming together, wishing to meet with Count Waltz of Forte regarding the use of the harmful medication mineral powder, but eventually evolves into a far-reaching tale dealing with political espionage and rebellion. Escapism is also a large theme in the game, one dealt with explicitly in the ending.
The story begins with Chopin in his deathbed in Paris, France in 1849. It is only hours before his death. In his unconscious state, he finds himself in a fantastical dream world, where he meets a girl named Polka. In this world, people who are terminally ill are able to use magic; Polka is one of these people, as well as Chopin. Aware that he is dreaming, Chopin decides to accompany Polka on her journey to Forte, where she intends to ask Count Waltz about the uses of the cheap mineral powder as compared to more expensive floral powder. As the two of them travel and encounter other characters on the way to Forte, it becomes more and more clear that mineral powder actually has fatal side effects, and that the mining of Mt. Rock to acquire it is damaging the nearby Agogo Forest. A separate, underground rebellion group Andantino also seeks to oppose Count Waltz and his wrongdoing; it appears that Count Waltz is using the victims of mineral powder to create an army of magic-users in an insurrection against the nation of Baroque .
On the way to Forte, Polka and her party are arrested and imprisoned in Forte dungeon; the group was mistaken as being Andantino, and the soldiers had been alerted that the rebellion group would be arriving that day. Shortly after escaping, the party unites with the real Andantino and leave the city of Forte. On their way out of Fort Fermata (a short walk from Forte), Count Waltz's henchman Tuba spots them and a battle commences; in his defeat, Tuba destroys the bridge and the party is swept away by the Fusion River.
The party has now been split in two; one half travels through the Adagio Swamp and poisonous Woodblock Groves to Andante, the underground city of Andantino. The other half of the party were saved by Prince Crescendo of Baroque and taken upon his ship. On the way to Baroque they encounter the dreaded Pirate Ship Dolce, but are able to defeat them. After getting safely into Baroque, the party discuss the situation. Forte is threatening a war, but Crescendo wants to maintain peace at all costs. The Prince considers a plan to assassinate Count Waltz of Forte, but the plan is quickly discarded at the insistence of his wife, Princess Serenade.
In the PlayStation 3 version, the party in Baroque (along with Prince Crescendo and Princess Serenade) are accidentally warped into the Lament Mirror. As they try to find each other and escape, the party discovers the history of Baroque and Forte; the two cities were once in a similar situation of a threatening all-scale war.
Both halves of the party finally return to Ritardando to reunite. The full party heads for Baroque and decides to explore Aria Temple, where they uncover a part of the mystery. When the party returns to Baroque they find Crescendo and Serenade missing. It is discovered they left for Forte to turn themselves in, in an effort to prevent the war. The party heads for Forte by way of Mount Rock, where they encounter Crescendo, Serenade and subsequently Count Waltz. They do battle, but when Count Waltz is in danger of being defeated, he gives his henchman Legato a potion, which turns him into a gigantic monster. Legato rips a portal through time and space and disappears with Waltz. Realizing the entire world is now at stake, the party follows them to the city of the dead, Elegy of the Moon, where souls lost to the mineral powder dwell. The party advances past the Xylophone Tower of the Shining Keys and the Noise Dunes of Fantasy to the Double Reed Tower of Sand, where Legato has opened another portal. In the world between worlds, the party defeats them; the portal begins to collapse and the party emerges in the flower fields near Polka's home; the forest has been destroyed and burned away.
This is too much for Chopin; during the entire journey, he has been questioning his place in the dream world, whether it is a dream or real, whether he should care about his friends or regard them as only figments of his imagination. Upon arriving in the destroyed fields where his traveling had begun, Chopin declares them all to be nothing but dreams, and that he must battle them to complete his destiny and finally die. Chopin is defeated, and Polka realizes that the world was a dream repeating itself; she throws herself off the cliff and is reborn, younger, and breaks the cycle; returning to the mountain where the rest of the party waits, she embraces Allegretto; the world floods with color and is restored. Back in the real world Chopin dies; his spirit rises out of his body and sits down at the piano; the room around him transforms into the flower fields near Polka's home, and he plays his final composition, "Heaven's Mirror."
Says director Hiroya Hatsushiba.
- "People who play games and people who love classical music are not necessarily sharing [the] same type of interests. Most people in Japan know the name of Chopin; however, most of the people who know of Chopin think he is just some kind of a great music composer without knowing any more about him. Most of them have heard Chopin's music but not a lot could put his name to it immediately. By creating a colorful fantasy world in Chopin's dream, I was hoping that people would get into this game easily and also come to know how great Chopin's music is."
For the localization, the game's text was proofread by the Frederick Chopin Society in Warsaw. The localization team wanted to be as historically accurate as possible, without losing the original message of the script.
On April 23, 2007, the ESRB posted their rating for Eternal Sonata listing the game as being intended for release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. However, when news of this quickly spread, the ESRB removed the listing entirely. On September 11, 2007, Bandai Namco's official site listed Eternal Sonata as coming soon to PlayStation 3, yet also listed the Xbox 360 version as being "available now". Again, as news quickly spread, the information was removed. The following day, scans from Famitsu were released, confirming the game as being released for the PlayStation 3. On September 14, 2007 Bandai Namco officially announced Eternal Sonata was coming to the PS3, during Spring 2008 in Japan.
PlayStation 3 alterationsEdit
The PlayStation 3 version of Eternal Sonata offers a sort of "director's cut" or "experts' edition" in comparison to the Xbox 360 gameplay experience. Much of the dialogue is subtly altered and in some cases dialogue and scenes are changed entirely or added, greatly altering key story outcomes. Even the text presented in the subtitles has been changed to more closely reflect the dialogue presented in the audio and edited for grammatical markings. The North American, and possibly other international versions of the PlayStation 3 release of Eternal Sonata also offer a French subtitles option not found in the Xbox 360 release. Among the changes made regarding the plot are an expanded focus on the developing romance between Allegretto and Polka, as well as a more detailed explanation of the plot involving the glowing agogos.
Battles in the PlayStation 3 version of Eternal Sonata were altered, offering a much more challenging gameplay experience for those familiar with the game's Xbox 360 version. The weight in the Item Set was increased for the reviving Angel Trumpet and Goddess Bouquet items, and many opponents possess greater stats in general, while at the same time granting less EXP, with this multiplying proportionally as the game continues. Many character stats are also nerfed to be less favorable to the player and some Special Attacks are learned at less favorable levels, though on occasion the opposite is true. Some battlefields even contain shifting patterns of darkness that were not found in the Xbox 360 version. The characters of Crescendo and Serenade were made playable in battle. They initially accompany the party in the Lament Mirror sequence and join the party permanently following the events at the summit of Mt. Rock. The two become some of the most powerful characters in the game. Crescendo serves as a tank with a massive HP and defense stat, also able to deal out the most powerful damage in the game at high levels. Serenade possesses the best SPD stat of any character, is able to deliver powerful Special Attacks that are also useful for building Echoes, and is also the only character that possesses a dark healing skill capable of healing all characters on the field including herself.
Two new dungeons were added for the PlayStation 3 release - Lament - The Royal Mirror and the Church of EZI. This edition also included two new faeatures - alternate Costumes for the three characters that can be controlled in the field - Allegretto, Polka and Beat, and the Scrapbook, a bonus given upon clearing the Church of EZI featuring photographs of the characters with amusing or interesting commentary from the characters.
- Main article: Eternal Sonata (Playable Demo)
There is a playable demo for Eternal Sonata available free to members of both Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. The demo features Allegretto, Beat and Polka and begins at the Path to Tenuto, ending with the battle against Forest Boar in Heaven's Mirror Forest. The demo does not feature any story cutscenes during the playable portion, though presents three at the end.
Eternal Sonata is downloadable as a full game for those with Xbox Live. A number of downloadable extras are available are available for Xbox Live as well. The PlayStation 3 version cannot be downloaded and must be acquired as a physical disc in order to play. There are, however, a number of a downloadable extras offered on the PlayStation Network, including theme with background and XMB icons, a total of six different wallpapers (the same wallpapers offered through the game's official website for computer desktops), and a trailer video in 720p. All are offered for free, but one must have a registered account with the PlayStation Network.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Tagline - "Cross the Bridge Between Dreams and Reality"
Overall reception for Eternal Sonata was highly positive. The title was praised for its engaging battle system, gorgeous graphics, stirring music which included actual pieces composed by Frederic Chopin, and a story that provides food for thought. The updated rerelease for PlayStation 3 was generally met with an even more positive reception for providing new features such as Costumes and additional dungeons, adding more challenge to the battle system, and providing revised cutscenes and dialogue that addressed many complaints regarding the weaknesses of the story in the original Xbox 360 release. IGN's review gave the PlayStation 3 release an overall score of 8.7 "Great", stating that "Every once in a long while, a game comes along that -- while not perfect -- catches you off guard and results in a refreshing experience that can surprise both newcomers and veteran gamers alike." GameSpot gave it an 8.5 "Great," stating that the "gorgeous visuals look even better on the PlayStation 3" and that "You will care for these characters, and if their initial quest doesn't seem all that breathtaking, the passion with which they undertake it will win you over."
Not all reviews were positive, but the lowest critical review for the game recorded at MetaCritic carried a score of 58, with no reviews carrying a rating low enough to be considered "negative." The official U.S. PlayStation Magazine stated, "A game this pretty should be a no-brainer, but as soon as the characters open their mouths, your beleaguered brain will ache for a return to the action," while 1Up commented that, "You don't have to settle for mediocrity as a fan of the genre -- and you sure as hell don't have to support it." As of September 2, 2012, the game carries an overall score of 80/100 at Metacritic (PS3 version), a user rating of 8.5/10 at IMDb, an overall score of 4.1 out of 5 stars for the PS3 version at Amazon.com and a score of 4.0 out of 5 stars for the Xbox 360 version.
- Eternal Sonata Official U.S. Website
- Eternal Sonata Official Japanese Website
- Eternal Sonata Official Japanese Website (PS3)
- Eternal Sonata on the U.S. PlayStation website
- Eternal Sonata on Xbox 360 Marketplace - includes downloadable extras
- Eternal Sonata on Wikipedia
- Wikipedia (German)
- IMDb Eternal Sonata entry
- Eternal Sonata (Xbox 360) on GameFAQs
- Eternal Sonata (PS3) on GameFAQs
- Wikiquote - Collection of quotes from Eternal Sonata
- Eternal Sonata on TVTropes
- YouTube generated channel of Eternal Sonata videos