Have you ever wanted a rhythm game based off of the music of the Final Fantasy series? Yes? Well, it may surprise you but there is in fact two games on the 3DS: Final Fantasy Theatrhythm and Final Fantasy Theatrhythm: Curtain Call. Whilst I have played the first game, in this review I am focussing on the sequel, so let’s take a trip down memory lane…
The premise of the game is the two gods, Cosmos and Chaos, have to keep the worlds in a delicate balance. However the forces of Chaos (basically the villains of the Final Fantasy series) have disrupted the Musical Crystal’s harmony (it’s a Final Fantasy game, it’s bound to have a crystal somewhere…). In order to save the Crystal, Cosmos has called on the heroes of the Final Fantasy series to restore the Crystal, with the power of music! I admit even for a Final Fantasy game this plot is strange, but to be honest apart from the prologue, the story is not really mentioned again as the focus is more on the music.
There are three different gameplay stages: Field Music Stages (FMS) where your party travels across a Final Fantasy landscape to the travelling music featured in one of the games. The better you perform the song, the further the characters travel. Then there is Battle Music Stage (BMS) where your party fights against various enemies and bosses in time to the battle music of a Final Fantasy game. The final stage is Emotional Music Stage (EMS), where scenes from the Final Fantasy game are shown as you play the song from that game. At the end of each stage, you are graded on your performance, the better you better you do the more points you get, which unlocks more songs, characters and game modes. With more than 200 songs to choose from, you are spoilt for choice and if that’s not enough for you, you can also pay for the DLC songs. Variety doesn’t just stop at the songs and characters; you now have several different ways of playing: Music Stages allows you to just play the song of your choice, Versus Mode lets you compete against other players in a battle for the highest score and finally, there’s Quest Medley where you play a number songs, one after the other. Admittedly, the game mode I played the most was Music Stages, as they are quick and you have more control over which song you want to play.
An interesting element to the Curtain Call is the subtle RPG element. At the beginning of the game you form a team of four characters, a mix from all the Final Fantasy games. As you complete the different songs and game modes, they earn experience points which allow them to level up. This raises their stats and gives them abilities which can be used in the different game modes. For example, Tidus has a high agility stat which allows him to travel further in the Field Music Stage: Cloud can learn an ability called Focus, which allows him to do more damage in the Battle Music Stage. This RPG element adds a new dimension to the game, as well as more play time, as you unlock more characters and experiment with different team combinations.
Finally, there is the art style which is more cartoon like than the usual Final Fantasy art style. Once I got used to it, the style does suit the game. However when you play an Emotional Music Stage, cut scenes from the relevant Final Fantasy game plays in the background; surprisingly the 3DS is more than capable of displaying these cut scenes and do them justice. I would like to point out that the 3D element of the game isn’t that spectacular and I actually played most of the game without the 3D on.
Overall I enjoyed played Final Fantasy Theatrhythm: Curtain Call and like Pokemon Silver and Gold, is an example of a sequel done properly. It has plenty of songs (which was one of my complaints of the first game) from a variety of Final Fantasy games (and some of the spin offs). It’s one of those games that is very easy to pick up but much harder to put down, I found myself thinking I’ll stop after one more song. The only downside, is that I feel that this game would only really appeal to Final Fantasy fans, as the focus of the game is the music of Final Fantasy. Because of this, I would highly recommend this to Final Fantasy fans, but to anyone else, this game probably will not be high on your games to play list.
In order to stop the world succumbing to Chaos, Thero would like to point out that none of the images belong to her. In order of appearance, the images can be found : http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Theatrhythm_Final_Fantasy_Curtain_Call , http://www.amazon.co.uk/TheatRhythm-Final-Fantasy-Curtain-Nintendo/dp/B00KWWJ4XK and http://www.amazon.com/Theatrhythm-Final-Fantasy-Curtain-nintendo-3ds/dp/B00JKM09Z0