Will Eternal Sonata Lull Players Into Its Absurd Premise?

Let's face it, RPGs have been wanting on next-gen consoles. With the Wii producing dubious RPG titles like Super Paper Mario, and the PS3 producing…not much of anything, it looks like the majority of next-gen RPGs seem to be coming from the company you'd least expect – at least given its history with the genre.

For the most part, the Xbox and RPGs have never, ever gotten along. Sure, we all thought Oblivion was great and Fable had its share of supporters. But the fact is that so far, conventional, anime-inspired RPGs haven't really had much of a chance to shine in next-gen, which is really quite a bit of a shock. Microsoft, in hopes of gaining a foothold in a relatively untapped market and perhaps finally, finally, capturing the Japanese audience they’ve sought after for so long, is soon to release Eternal Sonata here in the US. After their first effort, Blue Dragon, despite a killer development team involving some of the most notorious names in the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest universes, didn't quite enjoy the success that Microsoft was hoping for, Eternal Sonata, the next big 360 exclusive is looking to pick up the slack.

From developer Namco/Bandai, Eternal Sonata follows the events that transpire in a dream of the musical genius Frederic Chopin. Did we mention this dream takes place in the composer’s final moments as he is lying on deathbed? The premise is engaging if not a little unusual. So what exactly does said musical genius dream about in his final moments on his deathbed? Boys. More accurately, pygmy-sized cutesy-cuddly anime boys undertaking your typical Dragon Quest style romp, full of nasty demon-looking creatures (Chopin was way ahead of his time). Thankfully, it looks like Chopin also dreamed up an engaging battle interface, nifty combat techniques like “floral powder” and hair of many hues.

Those inclined to see what exactly these marvels of Chopin’s imagination manifest themselves in super-deformed anime format should check out the latest Eternal Sonata Picture Pack, which is now available for download on XBLA. This pack contains the characters Allegretto, Beat, March, Salsa, and Viola. Macarena will NOT be making an appearance and is still miffed she didn’t make the cut. Though Frankly, I don't believe Chopin thought highly of her either...

Music snobs are likely to thumb their nose at what is arguably a bastardized take on Chopin’s final moments, but everyone else probably won’t mind, and truthfully—will probably tolerate if not flat out ignore the entire dubiously historical premise. What matters, ultimately, is that 360 owners will finally be getting what will hopefully be the first of many anime-inspired RPGs on a console sorely lacking them.

Eternal Sonata launches September 17th.