Theatrhythem Final Fantasy Review
I don’t know what’s crazier, Final Fantasy making a rhythm game, the crazy title or that the game actually works. This new title in an old franchise takes small elements of an RPG and smacks a rhythm game in the face. Great gameplay mixed with enjoyable songs from a 25 year franchise leads to a game that will keep players tapping for hours. Even after all of the story is completed there are tons of challenges, features, DLC and streetpass features that adds a significant life to this game that could have easily just been a lazy 25th anniversary cash cow.
The playable stages basically fit into three different categories called BMS (Battle), FMS (Field) and EMS (Event). All of these 3 different types of songs have players picking a team of 4 of their favorite Final Fantasy characters from the Final Fantasy lore. Battle Music Songs have your party fighting different opponents by tapping, dragging and directional swiping on the screen. The Field Musics Songs are bright, fun songs from the open world of different titles and have special events that turn characters into chocobos. The Event Music Songs are emotional, almost dance pieces, that have a moving cursor to follow. The three different styles break up the game play well and surprisingly have a whole different feeling even if they are using very similar mechanics.
The immediate thing that became very evident, after playing Theatrhythm for more than an hour, is that there is TONS to do in this game. The story mode or Series will take players on an adventure through the 13 number titled Final Fantasy Games. Each Series has a section for opening and closing credits, a BMS, a FMS, and EMS. Fans of the series will immediately recognize the songs from their favorite titles and are sure to enjoy cut scenes taken from the original Japanese versions of these games.
Another game mode, called Challenge, is a way to go back and play different songs that are unlocked by beating a series. From here you can unlock harder difficulties and also is really where the RPG elements of the game can come through nicely. Taking a team that is stacked in strength and magic will result in a much better outcome for the BMS parts rather than agility and luck which are good for the EMS and FMS types. Also after playing the harder difficulties of songs you can unlock harder difficulties for the Series mode as well.
The last game mode, that is different from the Series and challenge, is the Chaos Shrine. The Chaos Shrine has players going through Dark Notes, or challenge stages, either by themselves or with 3 other friends locally. These Dark Notes are very challenging versions of songs not in the Series mode and have drops for unlockable characters and items. You get these Dark Notes by going through Series and Challenge modes. You can also get a Dark Note from people in the street through street pass. There is something rewarding about opening up your 3DS after walking around for a while and unlocking content that was not there before you left.
One thing that will get fans really excited is the Museum that is built into the game. The Museum is a digital locker where all of the songs, cut scenes and collectables can be looked at and messed around with. The collectable cards have information about enemies and other characters, when they appeared in the franchise and why they are significant. This digital locker had me stumbling around it with my stylus just to look and remember things from the past.
A customizable street pass profile, local multiplayer and a ton of different game modes keeps this game fresh for a long time. The songs and events pull at nostalgia strings while introducing a new laid back game that can be enjoyed on a bus or while chillin’ on a couch at home. The only real gripe I have is that the RPG elements are kind of almost an after thought. Other than that though, the folks at Square Enix have a great game in Theatrhythm, just a bad title.