Before starting my impressions of Eternal Sonata, I'd just like to point out that I wish they'd stuck with the original Japanese title, Trusty Bell: Chopin's Dream. That's all.
ANYWAY, Eternal Sonata is OUT NOW on the Xbox 360 so maybe you've already played it but I've only just got the chance to have a go. It's out sometime in 2008 on the PS3, too, so owners of that console will get a chance too.
Ok, Eternal Sonata is a pretty conventional JRPG. If you've played Final Fantasy or the like, you know what's going on. That's a criticism I'm getting out of the way now. If you're bored of the formula or don't get along with turn-based battles, you probably better give it a miss. JRPGs aren't know for their originality and these is DEFINITELY role playing by numbers. A bit disappointing, that.
Coming from the people who made Baten Kaitos, Eternal Sonata has an AMAZING look. Seriously, it's worth tracking this game down just to look at it. If you're HD, that is. The cell-shaded look is stunning in high definition and it's won the game awards for it's artistic direction. They're well deserved.
The battles ARE turn-based, but they also allow freedom to run about to avoid enemies and hit them with a variety of attacks. The twist is, you've got just a few seconds to do what you need to do before the next character gets their turn. It actually works really well and treads a fairly nice middle ground between turn-based and real-time fights.
But yeah, it's the same old same old. I really, really want to rave about how amazing it is, but in all honesty, I can't. It's nothing new but what it does, it does really well. I could sit and watch it all day, though. I'm gonna pick it up cheap secondhand and just watch somebody else play it. Seriously.
In conclusion? Pretty.