Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I've Got Theatrhythm, I've Got Music

Who could ask for anything more?

Over the weekend I picked up Final Fantasy Theatrhythm for my 3DS--or more accurately, Amazon delivered the game to me on Sunday--and proceeded to play the everliving crap out of it, to put it mildly. For those unaware, Theatrhythm is a music game using Final Fantasy music from the ages. You make a party of four Final Fantasy characters, out of a total of sixty available, who have levels and abilities that you get to kit out, and go through battle and field stages.

Fighting Jecht inside Sin to the tune of "Otherworld". Pretty sure Shantotto wasn't in FFX, though.
Many of the songs come with game-appropriate enemies and backgrounds, which makes for a very fun nostalgia romp if you're familiar with the games. if not, the music in the Final Fantasy series has been top notch, and alone is worth the price of entry at a default of 221 songs available. This time around instead of sticking to the main series, they've also included tunes from spinoffs, like Final Fantasy Tactics, Crisis Core, Mystic Quest, Dissidia, and even the movie Final Fantasy VII Advent Children.

If the music wasn't a big draw to me, the new control scheme alone would be worth the price of entry. If you're familiar with games like Elite Beat Agents or the original Theatrhythm, you'll be familiar with using the stylus to play the game. Taps, slides, and holds all come into play. But now you can use the buttons, too! 

Novel, I know. But I've always had difficulties getting the slides correct with the stylus, often lifting the stylus in preparation for the next note too soon and screwing up my current note. Now instead I can just flick the thumbstick and call it a day. Far more accurate for myself. However, I still have issues in the Field Music Stages (FMS) where you use the thumbstick to follow the hold line, and then have to flick it at the end. I screw it up royally every time so I'm sticking to the stylus for those.

Quests come in short, medium, and long formats, and you get bonuses for completing them!
The game also includes a quest mode, where you go from level to level, collecting keys, items, and so on, and your health bar is the same one for the entire quest. So if you do poorly on an early battle, it'll be an uphill struggle to stay alive if you're not so hot at rhythm games for the rest of the quest. But of course you can just use a potion!

As a former DDR junkie, seeing that 1 great kinda makes me want to throw my 3DS. SO CLOSE!
And like any rhythm game you are graded on each stage, where it tells you just how well (or terrible) you did. Interestingly enough, it also keeps track of what control style you use (buttons, stylus, or hybrid where you use both), and displays it with your score. I guess unlike controllers versus mouse/keyboard in FPS games, we'll be able to determine which control style is the best with this kind of data.

So basically, RPG trappings around a rhythm game, though no real story to speak of. If you want a rhyme or reason for running around this game, you won't find one. It's all about the mechanics and the motif of the game. Toss in an online versus mode that does random things to your opponent (and to you) to see who has the best score, and just an insane number of unlocks that comes at a very steady pace, they've done a pretty damn good job of polishing this game to keep you interested for maximum hours, and to keep playing just one more song.

Given I love the Final Fantasy series music, I love RPG mechanics, and I love rhythm games, this is a serious no-brainer for me to pick up. So far I have not been disappointed. Now excuse me while I go try to figure out how to optimize Terra for maximum Firaga ownage.

#FirstImpression, #Theatrhythm

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