I completed Eternal Sonata tonight and have to say I'm a bit disappointed. Not in the game -- I thought the game was as good as a Japanese-style RPG could possibly be -- but because of the way the Achievements are constructed. All of the Achievements in the game are listed as "Secret" meaning that the name and description are unknown until you actually earn them. This is not that uncommon in games of this type, as the developer's don't want to spoil any of the plotline. And for that very reason, I purposely avoided looking at discussions about those Achievements on message boards. I figured that I would just unlock them as I went, as was the case with Enchanted Arms.
Despite my anal-retentive, methodical, no-stone-unturned style of play that makes me very good at my job as a strategy guide writer, I purposely forced myself to not play so analytically with this game. I looked for secret items and hidden chests, that's half the fun, but not with the exacting precision I would do if playing for work. I've somehow trained myself to simply play for fun when I'm on the couch in the living room, and leave the serious approach for when I'm upstairs at my desk.
Which brings me back to my paltry number of Achievements for Eternal Sonata. Thanks to this not-so-thorough approach to the game I did find two of the hidden chests in the Noise Dunes section of Chapter 7 but did not notice a mysterious door in an oasis. I saw the oasis, but continued on. And then, after five boss battles later, when I was rewarded with the Hero Relic, I knew not what to do with it and continued through the portal that appeared to fight the final boss in the game. Not knowing that what I was supposed to do was return to the base of the tower I ascended, exit out to the Noise Dunes, return through several areas of sand, and use the Hero Relic to open the door which I failed to see. Behind that door was a number of side-quests worth another 170 Achievement Points. To add insult to stupidity, I ceased rotating my game saves through three slots and, for some unknown reason, repeatedly saved over the same save file. Thus, I'm left with one game save back in Chapter 6, near the boss, and another that has the game clear data on it. It was a total newbie move, and I'm pretty embarrassed to be honest.
Not knowing what I had missed at the time, I sat and watched the 40 minutes of eternal drudgery that was the melodramatic conclusion to this otherwise fine, fine game not because I gave a rat's ass about what happened to Polka and Frederic and the others, but because I was hoping that any... moment... now... more Achievements would unlock and I wouldn't have to sit and wonder what I did wrong. That's not entirely true, I did care about how the story ended right up until the conclusion started playing and I was numbed by the nonsensical gradeschool philosophizing the developers chose to bludgeon me with. Yet, still, I waited through two sets of credits and even more cinematic theatrics in hopes an Achievement would unlock...
Nothing. Instead, what unlocked was an animated short consisting entirely of a conversation between a caterpillar and a snail. How appropriate.