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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Eternal Sonata: A Beginning

Since finishing up Bully, I've played nothing but Eternal Sonata. I'm about four hours into the game. So far, so good.

A couple nights ago, I was finally given the chance to play as characters other than Polka (the little umbrella girl I'd mentioned before). After being introduced to Polka, I met Allegretto and Beat. 'Retto and Beat are two orphans who do there best to help the less fortunate. In fact, the first thing I did in their shoes was deliver some bread to some starving orphans living in the sewers beneath the streets of Ritardando.

Once that task was accomplished, I settled in for quite a while as cutscene after cutscene (including the opening credits) made their way onto my screen. I'm not complaining - I love cutscenes. I'm just not used to cutscenes being so bizarre. There's a whole lot of talking about various philosophical issues. I can already see that Eternal Sonata's developers have a lot to say about industry, war, poverty, terminal illness, and the human spirit. These themes are quite different than those I just finished watching in Bully.

I also got the chance to see Frederic Chopin in action. Mind you, he was tickling the ivories this time round. Instead, he was charging various forest creatures and stating "Piu Grave" (pronounce pee-ooo grah-vay) before destroying anything standing before him. Who knew that Chopin was so bad ass?

As I saved my game last night, I'd just finished tackling a rather large baddie with Allegretto and Beat.

Oh! And I've also managed to clear one achievement:

Unlocked Party Level 2: [10 GamerPoint]: Party Level 2 can now be selected.

I earned this achievement after doing a little bit of fighting with Chopin and Polka. They'd wandered off into the woods in search of Heaven's Mirror flowers (the glowing flower pictured in the image at the top of this post). In any case, after demonstrating my mastery of Party Level 1 fighting, the game decided to bump me up to Level 2.

Party Level 2 gives me a little less time to act in combat after I've started moving or attacking with a character; however, I still have unlimited "tactical time" to plot out my strategy. In exchange for the added difficulty, I can now build up "echoes". An echo is earned for every four hits a character makes in combat.

A character may then use these stored echoes to boost a special ability in combat, be it offensive or defensive. All echoes are depleted as soon as any character uses a special ability; they must be regained via more combat. Maybe I'll talk about Eternal Sonata's combat system in more detail at a later date in order to better explain the preceding gibberish.

In any case, the gist of it is this: I earned 10 GamerPoint, the ability to use echoes, and a less-forgiving combat system by obtaining Party Level 2 for my characters.

And for what it's worth, the wording "can now be selected" for this achievement is a little deceiving. Once your party has earned a new party level, you've got no choice but to use it.


Tonight, Polka and Chopin will take center stage once again as they make their way through the forest to see Count Forte (I think that's his name). I'd say more but I'd rather not discuss the story at this point in time. I may have to change my "no spoiler" policy at a later date if I find myself at a loss of words; we're good for now though.

Have a great day everyone!