Eternal Sonata Xbox 360

Eternal Sonata Xbox 360
Imagine the exact opposite of BioShock’s underwater art deco dystopia and you’ve pretty much pictured the vividly coloured pastoral wonderland ofEternal Sonata. This Japanese RPG may not roam far from the genre’s roots as far as gameplay goes — though they do boast an interesting hybrid battle scheme that adds action elements to traditional turn-based fights — but it soars thanks to its sumptuous art direction. Sonata has the feel of a high-end anime feature and its bountiful meadows, verdant forests and flower-filled fields gave me patience through the lengthy cut-scenes. I can’t wait to play it during wintry afternoons. But Eternal Sonata is as much about sound as imagery. The game takes place inside a fever dream of 19th century classical composer Frédéric Chopin — each chapter is named after one of his more famous works, which are performed in-game by pianist Stanislav Bunin and involve a brief history lesson on the music and Chopin’s life story. The story itself, however, takes place as Chopin’s dying of tuberculosis and imagining a fantasy world where similarly sick folks boast magical powers. What follows is a curious narrative involving unfair taxation, starving orphans, drug use, monsters, strip mining, an insurgency and heroes named Allegretto, Polka and Jazz battling the evil Count Waltz. Plus, much philosophising on the difference between dreams and reality. It’s all adorably melodramatic, though the clichés are much more bearable when playing with subtitles and the original Japanese-language audio (Tri-Crescendo/Namco Bandai)