In true Eternal Sonata fashion, this progress log will cover lots and lots of seemingly random nothingness. Our two parties finally meet up and join together, but other than that, there’s mostly a whole lot of filling time out by stretching conversations out with meaningless fluff. As such, I felt it was time for a header image change.
You can get multiple items after a fight
Sometimes you’re given an item after a fight. Apparently you can be given multiple items. I didn’t remember that. It’s ultimately meaningless since photographs sell for so much money, but handy in my case because the last game I played had attack mapped to square, so I keep instinctively using up items while trying to attack.
Too bad he’s not a forest critter
Polka and Fauxpin wander along aimlessly, only to come across a random guy. This guy seems like a generic otaku who in normal life would be named something innocuous like Jeff, which by the laws of anime mean he’s not to be trifled with. Genericness is a power source when it comes to anime, after all, and this consequently turns out to be an unwinnable fight where missing a single block allows him to instantly KO you. Then he wanders off like a douchebag, because Powerful Anime Jeffs always have too much power to deign landing a killing blow.
(I think this is a power fantasy/wish fulfillment thing that’s gone awry over time.)
Being a horrible friend to a horrible character
Both Polka and Fauxpin end up in a village run by March, one of two guardians of the nearby forest. Obviously they’re doing a bang-up job to allow us to massacre so many innocent animals on the way here. Anyway, Allegretto and Beat show up before long and are friendly to Polka, at which point she freaks out like a weirdo and runs off. It’s just a matter of seconds before she’s found herself in peril, naturally.
I have no interest in immediately rescuing her, though. After all, there’s a shop here that can buy some of Beat’s pictures, and everyone could use some weapon and armor upgrades. The tense music and villager conversations suggest that this is the wrong thing to do, but it feels so right. Side note: I get stuck on NPCs at two points in the video above because it’s not possible to shove them out of the way. What a great idea to combine their immovability with frustratingly narrow paths! Brilliant design.
Eventually there’s nothing left to do in the village, so we have to save Polka. Luckily for her, the monster was patient enough to wait for witnesses before attempting to murder her, so we arrive just in the nick of time. This is the first time we have a full three-character party, which means that we’ll have to pick and choose which characters we use later on. The fight itself isn’t anything special, though I made sure to take lots of pictures for later. Boss pictures sell for an absurd amount of money.
Okay, time for an example of how this game’s dialogue fails to resemble ordinary human conversations. The short version is that unnecessary, tangential lines are added in that don’t serve any real purpose or adhere to the topic at hand.
March: “Yes. My sister, Salsa, is on her way there right now. She’s going to ask them to stop the mining.”
Allegretto: “I get it. And you stayed behind here to keep watch on things.”
Here’s the thing: there’s nothing to “get”. Someone made a statement. It’s not a complex plan of action with easily-missed nuances. It’s the most basic of statements, and responding with what’s effectively an “I see what you did there” isn’t valid. Things like this that randomly half the flow of conversations by making them appear more like two chatbots having a conversation are frequent enough to be maddening, and I don’t understand how mistakes like this are made in the first place. Have none of the writers/translators ever had a normal human conversation? March explicitly mentioned having a sister when the party first met her. She elaborates on said sister’s current location in the conversation above. In context, “I get it” is the equivalent of saying, “there were two sisters in the village, but one went somewhere else, so now there’s only one sister here!” It’s brain damaged dialogue, and while I could overlook one or two instances of this, the entire game is like this.
For how bad everyone else is, though, Beat is on an entirely different level. The image above is in the same conversation! You’re typically expected to remember the name of someone who just introduced themselves to you; that’s just one of those unspoken rules that’s weird to hear explicitly stated. It’d be like ordering a steak at a restaurant and responding to the question of which sides you want with “no problem, I’m great at cutting meat with knives!” Hearing something that you’d ordinarily take for granted explained as though it was an achievement feels all wrong, and speaking like this in real life is a fast way of making people uncomfortable around you.
Eternal Sonata is okay when no one’s talking
Yeah, the gameplay is decent. It’s not great (I’ll sometimes go to use a special attack at the end of someone’s turn, only for the game to switch characters suddenly and waste half of the next character’s turn attacking the air), but I’ve certainly played much worse games. And now that the party has four people in it, we can kick someone out. My first instinct was to boot Polka, but she obtained a powerful special attack that does a lot of damage, and it’s not like not bringing her into combat magically makes the other characters tolerable. Thankfully, I vaguely remember there being one character later on who I actually liked. No idea when she shows up.
Red + gold = instant anime evil
We finally get our first look at the bad guy. You can instantly tell that he’s the bad guy, too, because his throne room features gold and red, which in games like this are telltale signs of an evil ruler. Even if you somehow miss that, however, he goes out of his way to be an unlikable brat ruler. Just another Powerful Anime Jeff.