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After getting the full version of the game home, I threw the game in my 3DS, picked my party and immediately jumped into my favorite Final Fantasy game’s soundtrack. Now each level of Final Fantasy Theatrhythm is one of 4 different types:
- Opening/Closing: This one is a freebie, you tap the screen as light hits the crystal. You can absolutely opt out of it if you choose to. It also gives you a chance to considerably boost you score.
- Field Music: Remember those ‘Overworld’ themes you used to listen to while poking around a final fantasy world map? Well, you need tap, drag and flick your stylus to keep your character moving right to left on their adventure at a brisk pace. At a certain point, a bonus line will appear, if you hit all the notes you will ride a chocobo briefly to give you an additional boost. If you manage to reach the end of the ‘map’, you will meet a non-playable character that will reward you with an item, but you will only get those in ear perfect runs.
- Battle Music: This is exactly why many Final Fantasy fans decided to pick this game up. A battle with your hand picked characters against notable characters from the game you selected your soundtrack from duke it out in a simulated battle. Hitting the correct notes will land attacks and the more precise your are, the more damage you will do. You will fight through waves of enemies and be given a chance to summon a monster into battle to do a special attack, ultimately leading up to a fight with the game’s main villain. There is so much nostalgia in this mode that longtime fans will find themselves coming back for more.
- Event Music: During this mode, you have to follow a line around the screen and hit the targets dropped along the way. While you are going through this generally slower song, familiar scenes play out in the background to the corresponding game you selected. This is unfortunately the most boring mode, often times using amazing songs that were originally used for scenes in their original games that didn’t require much action from the player. This mentality really plays through, it just feels a bit tired.
While all these modes provide amazing music for you to get pulled into, the Battle Music section is always the best throughout. You level your characters as you progress and can equip them with spell and skills that they can utilize mid battle. It’s just so cool to see it play out along with songs that defined an entire genre of game. There is also a Chaos Mode which is more or less an unforgiving Ultra Hard mode that will pit you up against new songs that will actually be kind of hard to enjoy as the game mercilessly kicks your ass. You will be finding yourself continually returning to Chaos Mode after the challenge and nostalgia of the main game wear off, which happens in about 8 hours. You can buy an assortment of new songs from Nintendo’s online store but they are .99 a pop, which was a little too expensive to keep me involved in a full price game I had just purchased.
The gameplay itself was very straight forward, after playing through one cycle of a song set, I had a pretty solid idea of what to expect at almost all times. I liked the fact that during the battle sequences, I could actually impact the flow of combat by leveling characters through use and equipping items and skills to them as well. It brought along a faux-RPG element that ended up being relatively useful as well. As stated above, the Event Music parts of the game were oftentimes the worst. As the usually slower title tracks were chosen for this mode, the background video that plays was usually more entertaining overall.
The art for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is extremely light hearted, which seems like an attempt to appeal to the new player and not the grizzled Final Fantasy veteran. All the characters and enemies in the game appear to be straight out of a child’s playroom and even though it is an extreme deviation from the norm, it isn’t too bad. The game itself could be described as pretty, but also as a horrible use for the 3D technology. As I played this game, I spent most of the time with the 3D off, since it would sometimes make the game a bit more difficult as I was moving the 3DS while using the stylus. With that being said, it’s probably better to avoid the 3D altogether on this one.
The soundtracks used for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy are as awesome as they were the first time you heard them. If this is your first time, your eardrums are in for an aural buffet. While this in it’s self is an absolute buying point, there is something else that happens while you play through and reminisce with all these great songs. Nobuo Uematsu, the creator of many Final Fantasy songs in the game, played Theatrhythm Final Fantasy and and was quoted as saying “As I remembered various things from the past 20 years, I was reduced to tears. FF music fans should definitely play it. Won’t you cry with me?”. While it’s a beautiful sentiment, I too felt tears welling up while I played Theatrhythm. However, this wasn’t from my love of games that have long past, it was more for the direction of these recent Final Fantasy titles and the disregard of what made the series great to begin with.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is a game that should most likely be in your 3DS library. While limited in content at the start with only 3 games, what the game does have available is entertaining and certainly worth the time spent on it.
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- You will take an amazing walk down memory lane
- Most sequences are enjoyable
- Almost everyone’s favorite songs are in the game
- Event Sequences are boring
- There are a limited amount of songs and .99 per additional song just seems too expensive
- Overall, I got S rankings in the normal game mode within 8 hours. After that, there really wasn’t much else to do.