Eternal Sonata

 
RPG visits Chopin's death bed and fantasy world.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The character of Polka is a social outcast because her illness means she can use magic, and people mistakenly think she is contagious.

Violence

Players battle a variety of villainous humans, monsters, and animals. The violence is animated and not graphic. All of the enemies are aggressive but not all of them look menacing -- some might find it disturbing to beat up on mice, ponies, and other creatures who cry out each time they're hit.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Occasional mild and non-gratuitous cursing like "damn."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Settings include bars and a wine cellar. In the wine cellar you briefly interact with a drunken worker.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that underneath its pretty veneer, this Teen-rated game raises serious philosophical questions about the choices people make when faced with their own mortality. Several cut scenes take place at Frederic's deathbed in his Paris apartment. There's plenty of fantasy violence but nothing too realistic -- except when it's directed at rats and other animals. Settings include scenes in bars and a wine cellar and players will encounter a drunken person.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

Video games have featured some unlikely heroes, but ETERNAL SONATA surely takes the cake by making its central character 19th-century composer Frederic Chopin. In real life, the sickly pianist succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of 39, but in Eternal Sonata he's a robust character who whales on enemies with a souped-up conductor's baton and unleashes devastating magical attacks while uttering battle cries: \"You cannot stop my relentless advance!\"

As Chopin lies on his death bed in his Paris apartment, in his mind he travels to a beautiful fantasy world where he meets a girl named Polka who, like him, is afflicted with an incurable illness -- except that in Chopin's dream, characters who are doomed to die from illness are granted a wondrous side effect of being able to use magic. Eventually he and Polka meet up with other characters and set out to confront the warmongering Count Waltz, who is breeding a sinister army.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Chopin's world is a gorgeous one, with bright and colorful surroundings and characters with exquisitely detailed costumes and expressive faces. Eternal Sonata also boasts a unique and dynamic battle system where there are a limited number of seconds to execute a turn, and special abilities are affected by whether the character is standing in light or shadow. Each battlefield includes both sun and shade, and a big part of fighting is maneuvering characters into the desired lighting. There are also documentary-style interludes that narrate important episodes in Chopin's life while his music, performed by pianist Stanislav Bunin, plays in the background.

In spite of its many high points, the game is weighed down by long cut scenes and the lack of an overworld map to prevent frustrating backtracking in several locations. Annoyances aside, however, Eternal Sonata is a fresh and beautiful role-playing.

 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether it would be worth it to have a rare and special talent if it meant also having a horrible side effect, like Chopin's prodigious musical abilities along with frail health, or Polka's incurable illness granting her the ability to use magic.

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Namco Bandai
Release date:September 21, 2007
Genre:Role Playing
ESRB rating:T for fantasy violence, mild language, use of alcohol. (Xbox 360)

This review of Eternal Sonata was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written byella13bin April 9, 2008
Parent of a 8, 9, 10, 13, and 16 year old Written byaallison77 June 26, 2011
age 12+
 

Worth playing

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Adult Written byStarZero December 11, 2009
age 11+
 

Music

I personally don't care for the game itself. However, it shouldn't be a problem for most kids, and can be used as a platform to teach them about music, as almost everything in the game is in some way musical or a musical reference.
What other families should know
Educational value

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass