Review by LostSoul

Reviewed: 11/04/16

Seriously, how did they top the original?! OUTSTANDING!

Well, here I am, reviewing ANOTHER music game. At least I'm predictable. Anyways, I saw this game in Nintendo Power, and my thought was that, like Dissidia Duodecim, it was simply an "expansion pack" type of game, just being sold in disguise a a full retail release. Luckily, I bought it anyway, and my expectations weren't just blown, they were blasted into pieces, burned up and thrown into the fires of hell. Let's get to it!

STORY: 1/5 (because it even exists and doesn't need to)
Yeah, the exact same, never really needed any more or less. You won't really care anyways. Some people might say that the actual existence of a story at all gives the game a sense of progression, but this game has that even without that ultimate goal of defeating Chaos.

GRAPHICS: 4/5
Very nicely done, they actually have some nice tweaks that make it look a bit prettier than it used to. The lines are sharper, the 3D is no longer bothersome, and the event movies look better (but there are sadly way less than before). Plenty of nice things to look at, the menus look crisp and colorful, the bright, cheerful aesthetic makes it better, overall, it's well done. The heroes are as adorable as ever, and the summons look great (especially Knights Of The Round, which looks freaking AMAZING, like it should). New airship FMS stages add some more cosmetic variety too.

GAMEPLAY: 4/5
Nothing really changed in the core aspects, but there are some minor differences to make the game better.

MUSIC: 5/5
What can I say? 250 songs from throughout the history of Final Fantasy? Awesome! Anybody who has listened to FF music knows what an incredible masterpiece each song usually is. It's all here, from incredible songs like Answer (FF IV: A Realm Reborn) to Suteki Da Ne (FF X), to classics like the 8 and 16-bit battle stuff (FF I-VI). Even songs from lesser-known FF games like Mystic Quest, Chocobo's Dungeon and the spin-offs are in this game! And there's DLC from not only FF games, but also other Square Enix RPG games too!

NEW AND SPECIAL STUFF:

1. Critical triggers are now present, basically just triggers that shine brightly, hit them for more damage, a rare item, or increased speed, depending on the stage type.

2. Buttons. If you disliked the touch-only style of the first game, rejoice! You can play with buttons only, touch only, a mix of the two, or even a one-handed style with just the circle pad and L button. This means that you can play in the style you want. Better still, you won't have to go into the options menu to switch styles, they all work whenever you want, you can even switch styles in the middle of a song since they are all active and viable at any time whatsoever!

3. Crystal Shards are back, but exponentially easier to obtain. The reason is that every colored crystal has about 5 characters associated with it, so getting the crystal shards is more of an "I really wanna unlock all the characters" thing cuz there are so many to get (there are also DLC characters from other Square Enix RPGs too!).

4. Vs. Mode has been added! You can play against friends who have a copy of the game. OR, if you're like ME, and have no friends, you can play against the CPU! However, the CPU mode isn't merely practice like in most games. In fact, the CPU mode could be a mode all it's own. You pick an A.I. party, battle them and steal their ranking if you win. Work through the ranks to the final CPU party and get some sweet rewards (rare cards). After clearing one class, you can move to the next, with harder rivals and more rewards. There are Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum classes to work through (Platinum is only available to those who have cleared the gold class though).

5. Quest Medley mode is wonderful. Remember the chaos shrine? Well, quest medley is similar. But instead of two songs, you have a standard quest map, complete with locked doors, forked paths, and special events in some songs, like powerful foes, aetheryte to collect ( to try again if you happen to fail), a key to obtain (for the locked doors), airships to fly (to skip ahead), fat chocobos to find (for rare items) and more. Every quest map has a length, short, medium, or long. Short quests take about 10 minutes on average, mediums about 30, long quests can take over an hour depending on the level. The map will go through outdoor areas, then you will enter the dungeon, cave or tower at the end. This proceeds into another map that ends in a final boss song. Clear it (and beat the boss) and you will receive crystal shards. Awesome stuff.

OVERALL: 4.5/5
I didn't think it could get any better but this game is exactly that, but with so much more to justify a purchase for vets of the first game, and if you haven't played the first game, you have no excuse. Square Enix has done a phenomenal job with this game and more series need to get this treatment (Megaman rhythm games, anyone?).
BUY BUY BUY!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (US, 09/16/14)

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