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Unskippable: Eternal Sonata

By Shamus
on Tuesday Jan 6, 2009
Filed under:


I mentioned Unskippable a few weeks ago. The feature officially launched yesterday:

Like MST3K, they do have to work with what they’re given. And I think their hit / miss ratio is about the same as the crew from the Satellite of Love. (I suppose it helps that the one who made the “Archduke Ferdinand” joke (who I’m pretty sure is Graham Stark) sounds like Mike Nelson in both voice and delivery. (And I know I’m risking a flamewar here, but I always liked Mike best. (Not that I’m criticizing Joel, he thought of the series and all, it’s just that Mike makes me laugh more.))) I don’t know if Eternal Sonata itself is any good, but the cutscene here looks insufferable. I would not want to watch it without Stark and Saunders along to ease the pain.

One thing I do wonder is how they plan to feed this thing. It can’t be a weekly feature. I don’t think there are 52 cutscene-heavy games per year. And ideally you want more than that, because you need to pick & choose what you’ll take on in order to exploit only the richest lodes of stupidity and auteur self-indulgence.

Comments (35)

  1. Matt` says:

    Check me out… first posting :D

    I saw Unskippable in the Escapist RSS feed… would have skipped over it if you hadn’t pointed it out, and I would have been missing out.

    As for care and feeding, they can just mine the rich rich ore of past video games for stupid cutscenes to narrate. It’s a limited resource, but it could last them a while.

  2. Xpovos says:

    Ah, no! I just spent $10 on that game.

  3. LafinJack says:

    Holy crap, emphasis on “Eternal”.

  4. Craig says:

    I’m just surprised that I find this as entertaining as MST3K. I think that it is pretty rare to find something on the internet combining humor and video games to be more than just amusing.

  5. Phil says:

    They had a number of parody videos for Star Ocean (or, as LRR called it, Celestial Sea), but I don’t think they covered the entire game. I can imagine this being something like that, at least.

      I’ll continue imagining until they fix the stream, and the video is again watchable.

  6. Hal says:

    Do they only do new releases? I know there are games from yesteryear that deserve to be raked over the coals of ascerbic humor.

  7. Robyrt says:

    I got this game for my brother (a dyed-in-the-wool JRPG fan) for Christmas. His verdict? The story is terrible, but the fighting and the Chopin interludes are good.

  8. Nixorbo says:

    Eternal Sonata isn’t really all that recent of a release.

    Are opening cutscenes supposed to be so long, tedious and boring? The gameplay itself, from what I remember from the demo, is actually pretty enjoyable. But man, I was ready to fall asleep about 2 minutes into that.

  9. Nihil says:

    Worry not, Shamus: as long as there are JRPGs in this world, there will be an abundance of absurdly pretentious cutscenes desperately trying to distract the player from repetitive combat.

  10. The dialogue and plot are pretty Japanese, but the whole idea of a game set in the hallucinations of Chopin’s death throes is pretty awesome. I recommend it if you can deal with JRPGs.

  11. Sven says:

    I have to chime in here in support of your opinion of Mike Nelson. He was the funnier of the two when it came to riffing on movies. You can’t deny Joel’s influence, obviously, he came up with the idea as well as the look and feel of the show. But Mike had more mastery of the witty rejoinder.

  12. Osvaldo Mandias says:


  13. Fenix says:

    They could always do a series on the Metal Gear Solid games.

  14. Brandon says:

    OMG painful exposition! Make the narrator stop! Who the heck would force this upon an innocent gamer? It’s cruel, genuinely cruel.

    Furthermore, on the Escapist site the note that this is the premier of an award-winning series. If this is the premier, how the hell could they have won any awards? That makes no sense.

  15. Arson55 says:

    Mike was the better of the two.

    And oddly enough, one of my roommates just bought this game. I’ve watched him play some of it. And, man, are the cutscenes bad. What drives me crazy is how everything in the characters’ conversations seems to repeated at least twice, as everyone puts what was said into their own words.

  16. Sheer_FALACY says:

    A picture is worth a thousand words, and the narrator is going to read us every one of them.

  17. Santander02 says:

    Christ, to whoever made the cutscenes in this game, there is no need to describe what the “small village with a view nothing short of amazing” looks like, we can already see it!! these people need to learn that describing something in a visual medium the same way one describes something in a book is not a good idea.

  18. Trianglehead says:

    You do those parens just to make us squirm and count to make sure you actually nested correctly, don’t you Shamus?

  19. DGM says:

    I thought MST3K – or at least the opening, closing and intermission segments – went downhill after losing TV’s Frank. Pearl just didn’t bring nearly as much fun for me.

    Maybe I just think mad scientists are better abusing lackeys than getting abused by their mothers.

  20. Noumenon says:

    the whole idea of a game set in the hallucinations of Chopin's death throes is pretty awesome.

    They really should have told us that, because the main problem was the underlying source material was just boring. As opposed to their award winner, which was interesting footage but mockable. I laughed at “You think? I’m five!”

    or at least the opening, closing and intermission segments

    You mean the channel-surfing interludes?

  21. krellen says:

    I think Shamus does the parentheses because he is awesome. Parentheses, like semicolons, are sorely underused.

  22. Shamus says:

    TriangleHead: Parentheses are always easier to place than to parse.

    Krellen: I agree, nested parens are HANDY, and I’m glad for the day I shed the taboo and started using them in prose.

  23. Murphy says:

    @Brandon: It can be the premier of an award winning series by wiggling with regards to what the “premier” is of. The original was not a series, merely a one-off entry into a contest. This one off video won an award, and spawned a series. So the proper concept is more,” From the creators of the award winning short,”Unskippable: Lost Planet” comes the premier of the series,”Unskippable: Whatever We Have On Our Shelves.”

  24. Brandon says:

    @Murphy: That makes a little more sense. It’s still misleading and reads like something completely out of Marketing 460: How to Lie Convincingly, but I think I can buy that on some level it is kinda correct and not necessarily in bad faith.

  25. Dix says:

    Maybe the narrator tells us what the village looks like because the game’s meant to be accessible for the blind? >.>

  26. Johan says:

    “One thing I do wonder is how they plan to feed this thing. It can't be a weekly feature. I don't think there are 52 cutscene-heavy games per year.”

    From what I’ve heard, Metal Gear Solid could keep them in business for years…

    Flame-bait notwithstanding, I’m sure there are plenty of old ones to work through (as others have said), and surely there are at least some… if not all at once they might could even pull different cutscenes from different parts of the game if they need to.

  27. Ah, those LRRies are hilarious, aren’t they? Actually, that reminds me – I first discovered this site when DMotR was linked to from the LRR Forums. Lovely to see that you too appreciate those crazy Canadians’ work.


  28. Telas says:

    I’ll buy into your flamewar…

    Joel was the better of the two. I always found Mike to be making the more obvious jokes (usually, that I had already made in my head).

    Although the whole thing seemed to spiral slowly downwards after Joel left, so I may be placing more blame on Mike than he deserves.

    At Gen Con 2007, they had a hugescreen TV running continuous videogame previews. I hammered MGS4:GotP pretty mercilessly, riffing on the everpresent mullet, the Platoonic soul-searching, and the robo-killer ninja.

    “Although it didn’t last very long, it’s been the best time of my life.” If I had a dollar for every underage-looking girl who told me that…

    OK, I’ll stop here.

  29. Taellosse says:

    Clearly someone thought the lengthy panning across the scenery was too boring, so they had a guy read the original writer’s description of the place in voiceover. Somebody needs to explain to the people that made this game that this wasn’t a text adventure.

    Not that things improved once the dialog started. Damn, but that was a forced opening scene.

    The commentary was pretty good, though, I have to say. I laughed at several points.

  30. Anaphyis says:

    Oh my god! This was cheese enough to go for my grater to make some fine lasagna.

  31. Gawain says:

    Joel was better. His jokes were meaner, more cruel, and far more sarcastic. Mike cracked the obvious frat boy-type jokes. It’s ok though, you can’t be right about everything.

  32. PhoenixUltima says:

    I own Eternal Sonata. My opinion? It’s a pretty good game, but I hope you like words. Also there’s a lot of blahblahblah about the nature of dreams and reality, so hopefully you’re not sick of that shit already.

  33. Face says:

    That was fricken hilarious! More….

  34. Talrogsmash says:

    I am reminded of an mst3k classic while watching this “Rogue narrator! Rogue narrator!” Creeping Terror, oh how I love thee.

  35. Riobard says:

    Oh God, I thought I was the only one who realized how terrible this game dialogue was. I’ve read reviews about how “deep” the fantasy/reality story is, or how poignant and emotional the dialogue is…. I wanted to poke my eyes out with a dull hypodermic when listening to some of this childish twaddle. Whoever came up with the plot and dialogue to this game must be living in a dream world themselves, oh yeah and they are probably 5 years old.

    But if you like cheesy cutscenes full of characters repeating what the other ones just said to fill in the spaces of your game that aren’t boring repetitive battles, this game is for you! And if you think you will be missing some real part of the story by skipping these cut scenes? Trust me, I’ll save you the pain and suffering, YOU WON’T!! Skip them all — it’ll probably make the game more enjoyable if you don’t have to sit through them and scream, “Why God Why”.

    It makes me sad to think these games sell and attract people. RPGs used to be a lot better with plots that were a lot more involved. Ugh.

    I wrote a less harsh review on 1up.

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