Review by ShinigamiMiroku

Reviewed: 05/12/14

A celebration of Final Fantasy and its outstanding music

Review: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy
By: ShinigamiMiroku

Story: 3/10 – This game is one of the few games to not need a story to succeed. Anyway, it’s (very) loosely based on the popular Playstation Portable fighting-RPG ‘Dissidia: Final Fantasy’, in which Cosmos and Chaos fight against each other using the heroes and villains from the Final Fantasy series to fight in their stead, though in this one it features just the heroes and the goal is to reconstruct the crystal that powers order in that world. This is done by going through three featured songs from each Final Fantasy game, from the first one to #13. Depending on how many hits you get, you get points that build up the crystal until you clear all of them. It’s very basic, but like I said this is one game that doesn’t need a strong story to sell.

Music: 10/10 – Music is the backbone of this game, as the game is a rhythm-type game similar to Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. Each of the three songs comes from the original releases of each game, so you get to hear the Battle theme from Final Fantasy in all its 8-bit glory while also being able to enjoy the bliss that is ‘Zanarkand’ from Final Fantasy X. The sound quality of the 3DS is surprisingly crisp and clear, which really helps land those more difficult hits. The menu themes are all remixes of various Final Fantasy themes, and there is also an option to purchase and download other songs in the Add-on Content section, such as ‘Tower of the Magi’ and ‘Cosmo Canyon’, which are not only playable songs but also appear in the Museum’s Music Player. No doubt you’ll probably want a larger SD card to contain all the music, not to mention needing a fair amount of money (each song is $0.99) for the large library available, but it’s worth it.

Characters: 9/10 – The characters initially available are the main heroes of the Final Fantasy games, from Warrior of Light to Final Fantasy XIII’s Lightning. Before choosing what songs to complete, you select four characters for your party from this list, and before each round they say a sentence together, most of the time with humorous results (especially with Cloud and Onion Knight in the group). Obviously since the focus is on the music there is no character development, but these blurbs show the personality of their speaker and so give some semblance of exposure. That having been said, the only way for this particular score to go down or up depends on your particular likes and dislikes for the heroes; mine sits at 9/10 because of Vaan and Lightning, but again that’s personal preference.

Style: 9/10 – The super-deformed ‘chibi’-style of the game can be rather off-putting and is probably a contributor to the relatively low sales and Square’s decision to put it on the 3DS (clearly no favoritism or stereotyping there…). That having been said, I think it fits perfectly for this game because the focus is supposed to be on the music, and lends a rather lighter weight to the otherwise-heavy atmosphere that people come to expect of Final Fantasy (especially after Final Fantasy VI and VII came out). To be honest, I can’t think of a way to improve on it. Besides, who doesn't like watching a miniature Chocobo running across the screen?

Difficulty: 10/10 – Now, mind you, this score reflects the unlockable Expert Score. The Basic Score is a good way to get a feel for the controls, and you have to play through each game’s Basic Score to unlock its Expert Score, but the difficulty jumps once you enter Expert Score. Because you have to tap and swipe on the Touchpad, it can get tricky during (especially during battle themes) to tap-tap-tap-swipe-tap-hold-while-sliding-tap to the beat. It’s even harder if you don’t have an ear for music in general or have generally-slow reflexes (this is the category I fall under and the reason why I never could get into GH). There is also a Hidden Score which is likely more difficult than even Expert Score, but I have as of writing this yet to unlock it.

Overall: 9/10 – This is not an average, but everything taken together within the context of the game. I definitely recommend this to any Final Fantasy fan (assuming that they don’t have some sort of bias against certain games in the series), but give a word of caution those with slow reflexes. I knew from the moment I saw it that I was going to enjoy the game, but those who like having a story and heart-pounding battles, or realistic graphics, might not enjoy it, but that’s because of their narrow perspective more than any flaws in the game. If you don’t have it yet and enjoy Final Fantasy, get it!

Rating: 9

Product Release: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (US, 07/03/12)

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