Review by horror_spooky
Elite Beat Mages
The Final Fantasy franchise is one of the longest running and most celebrated franchises in all of gaming. To celebrate the long history of the series, Square Enix has released a rhythm game that explores the music that has been featured in the franchise over the years. Every main release Final Fantasy game is represented. Final Fantasy fans will have a ball with this game, and people that are just fan of music/rhythm games will have a great time as well.
The gameplay is a simple rhythm game using the touchscreen on the 3DS. At first glance, it seems to lack a lot of modes or content, but the more you play, the more you unlock. Songs, settings, and characters are pulled from the first Final Fantasy all the way to Final Fantasy XIII. The characters are given a chibi re-design, which might turn some people off, but I find the art style to be cute and pleasing.
One thing I didn't like about the art style is during the "boss fights". Instead of featuring the iconic bosses and villains from the franchise's past, the boss fights typically just show generic enemies. This is somewhat made up for with the cut-scenes from the past games pulled and used here to serve as a cinematic backdrop to the music, including some of the most memorable and emotionally intense moments in the history of the franchise.
The gameplay consists of tapping and sliding for the most part. There are multiple difficulty levels that all provide a lot of fun. The rhythm game aspect to it is what is the most appealing and most entertaining element of the game. You'll lose yourself in the game for hours, just endlessly tapping and swiping away to the beat of the great songs from Final Fantasy's past.
Unfortunately, the game tries to shoehorn RPG elements into the equation and that idea just doesn't work here. Players are able to create a roster of characters by choosing from the protagonists that were featured in the main series of Final Fantasy titles, and these characters level up, can use items, and all sorts of other stuff. I understand that Square Enix wanted to add these RPG-esque elements to play tribute to Final Fantasy, but ultimately I found that they bog the game down and result in unnecessary distraction from the core rhythm gameplay, which is excellent.
Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy is a pretty great rhythm game and one of the only options for the genre on 3DS. The game is a lot of fun, though it still has its shortcomings. Major fans of Final Fantasy will love this game, and even if you don't care about Final Fantasy, the gameplay is still a lot of fun.
Product Release: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (US, 07/03/12)
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