Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call Review

Gaming

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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Price: $39.99 USD – Available Here $59.95 AUD – Available Here

Overview
The Final Fantasy series has been widely regarded for its amazing soundtrack throughout the years and even when certain games might have rubbed fans the wrong way, at least the music remained superb. As such, when the original Theatrhythm Final Fantasy was released a couple of years ago, it was a Final Fantasy fan’s dream. Now with Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call offering nearly three times the amount of songs as the original and a number of other enhancements, is it worth picking up again?

Gameplay
It is worth noting that although Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call does sport some semblance of a storyline, it is basically there as a premise to set the stage for the game where players must gather Rythmia in order to put an end to the Chaos that is about to send the world into darkness. To do this, players must take their party of four characters, chosen from a small pool to begin with, and play through songs from every type of Final Fantasy game imaginable.

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The basic setup for Curtain Call remains the same as the past game, where there are three types of notes as well as three different song types. Notes come in flavors that are simple taps, swipes in a certain direction, and pressing and releasing at certain points in order to hit each note, occasionally combining a few of these tactics to give us a bit more variety. In addition, special critical notes have been added into the game that offer various bonuses when properly hit depending on the song type.

Players can make use of either the 3DS’ touch screen for these sequences or the face buttons and circle pad. Choosing between these two is really up to the player, though tapping the screen does provide the best feedback, even though the game continues to have issues detecting proper swiping motions, causing missed swipe notes far too often. It doesn’t help that even using the circle pad this problem continues to persist.

As for the song types, we have Battle Music Stages, Field Music Stages, and Event Music Stages, all offering us specific categories. As one would expect, the name of the stage represents the type of music one can expect from that game where the event music ranges from theme songs to opening numbers. Battle Stages see players taking to the field against some of the series’ iconic monsters where successfully tapped notes deal damage to enemies, while the Field Stages see your party leader traversing a straight path and running according to how successful you are with the music notes, with the added difficulty of having to trace the lines for held notes.

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As for the Event Music, these always occur while there is a video from the original game playing in the background as you hit the notes appearing in a certain pattern. Although you may wish to watch the videos while playing the song, it can be a bit distracting so it is good that once you complete them the videos are viewable in the game’s museum.

While playing with your initial party of characters, you can unlock other characters from the Final Fantasy world to play in your party and level up. Characters in the game level up and gain various skills that sometimes help eliminate enemies faster, make you run quicker on the field, or heal lost health from missing notes. As you play through the game you will also obtain one use items to assist in stages and even collect cards that can raise character stats.

That being said, unless you are playing on the hardest song difficulty or the new Quest Medley mode, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is an extremely easy title to play through and the chances of failure are incredibly low. This means that although these mini RPG elements are a nice inclusion, you don’t have to worry about devoting too much time to them if you do not wish to.

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Outside of the standard single song mode, there is the new Quest Medley that allows the player to take part in lengthy quests that gives players a chance to choose various paths through an area, acquire new items, unlock characters, and face off against bosses at the end of each quest. Unfortunately despite the fact that it does provide a bit of structure to the songs you will be playing through, they ultimately remain the same and unlocking characters and songs is a very simple task.

Outside of these single player modes anew versus mode has been implemented that allows players to face off against other players either online or locally, as well as against AI opponents. This latter option is a blessing especially since not only does it give you an extra challenge, but makes the mode viable regardless of where you are. In Versus Mode players will try to outscore their opponent making use of mostly the same tactics as standard songs, except now EX bursts play a factor. You see, once you obtain a certain score it is possible to unleash a special attack that can have a devastating effect on your opponent by affecting the notes on their screen, adding a much needed competitive flair to the game.

Visuals & Audio
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call makes use of the same chibi looking character designs from the first game. The design style is inoffensive and is rather charming considering it puts characters from the first few games on the same design level of those in FFXIV. As for the videos that play during event stages, they have successfully been shrunk down to the 3DS’ screen level without damaging the look of the videos.

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As for the music in the game, well you have some of the best songs from the series in the franchise. From unreleased titles like Final Fantasy Type-0, older themes from Final Fantasy V, and songs from movies and spin-off games, if you are a fan of the Final Fantasy series’ music then this is the best way to carry around nearly an entire compilation in your pocket.

Overall
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call expands on its single player offerings while adding a massive number of songs to its playlist, making it an easy recommendation for fans of the series’ music. On the other hand, many of the elements of the game are copied right from the first game and a few of the new additions seem superfluous at best. Offering 221 songs, this easy but expansive rhythm game is not without its faults, but it makes up with them by presenting fans of the series something that no fan of Final Fantasy should pass up.

8-0-capsules-out-of-10
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

As a big fan of anime and games I'll be quick to cover anything that happens to be of interest.

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