The wildly popular Final Fantasy franchise has been in existence for almost 27 years now, and while anybody can say whatever they want regarding the quality of the many games bearing the name, its music has always been widely appreciated.
The franchise celebrated its 25th anniversary a couple years ago with the release of Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, which was sort of a tribute to the franchise’s great music while also featuring intuitive gameplay similar to the cult GBA hit, Elite Beat Agents.
The release of Theatrhythm‘s follow up, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, probably came as a bit of a surprise, but it’s a pretty pleasant surprise at that.
What Is It?
Like its predecessor, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is a touch screen-based rhythm game featuring the game’s best music from various Final Fantasy titles throughout the years. In doing this, Theatrhythm also tries to make things a little bit more epic by incorporating an honestly lame narrative.
Basically, the evil forces of Chaos rid the land of everything musically good in the world, and it’s all up to the chosen warriors, all the main characters from every Final Fantasy, to save the world by accumulating rhythmia which is earned by completing Field Stages, Battle Stages, and Event Stages — which are all just sections of specific Final Fantasy songs.
Again, a story not worth mentioning. But it’s not about the story. It’s not even about the customization options, which are aplenty with every Final Fantasy character with “weapons” and “armor” at their disposal.
It’s about the music, and Curtain Call has plenty of it.
Why Should I Care?
Curtain Call features music from just about every “major” Final Fantasy release. Final Fantasy Tactics, A Realm Reborn, Type-0, and even the music of the CGI movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children all get to grace our ears, and on top of that more and more characters rear their (cute) heads as well — including, but not limited to, Zack Fair from Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and Cosmos from Dissidia Final Fantasy.
Gamers that have enjoyed a Final Fantasy game and any point in time more likely than not have a unique appreciation for the game’s music, mostly composed by the great Nobuo Uematsu. If you haven’t played a Final Fantasy game, or even have a slight liking for great video game music, there really won’t be much to like here.
As for how the game is played–again, it’s made up primarily of Field, Battle, and Event stages. Field stages normally have the background take shape of the overworld maps from the featured game. For example, a Field stage for a song in Final Fantasy VII will look exactly like the way it would in the game, with your selected character simply walking through. Players have to tap, swipe, and slide their stylus in rhythm with the song being played until the song is over. You’ll then be rated upon how well you played and will also be awarded rhythmia points to unlock more goodies.
Battle and Event stages follow the same format. The only difference is that with Battle stages, you’re using up to four characters to “defeat” enemies by using the same gameplay mechanics. Beats and rhythmic circles will be in different lanes, but it doesn’t affect how you interact with the touch screen. For Event stages, you only use one character and the music circles move around throughout the screen, while a random cutscene from whatever song you’re playing will roll in the background. Like the previous game, it’s a bit of a distraction to the actual gameplay, but they’re still good to see and reminisce every now and then.
Also making a return are Theatrhythm’s Event Medleys, which essentially sort of makes the game have an RPG feel. You start off on a non-linear map not too different from the one found in the “Find Mii” built-in 3DS game, playing through field, battle, and event stages until reaching a “boss battle.” Upon beating the boss, you unlock a number of gems which are used to unlock additional characters and loot in Final Fantasy lore which is definitely the biggest reason why it’ll probably be the most played single player mode.
Lastly, there’s now a Versus mode allowing players to compete playing the same song. In Versus, good play will fill an EX Burst gauge, which gives players abilities that put the other player at a disadvantage.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
The game itself is a great value mainly due to its sheer amount of content. It’s a wholly music-based game, so while you can’t expect that much variety, there’s definitely a lot to enjoy if you’re a Final Fantasy fan.
Not including DLC, there are over 221 songs playable in the game. They aren’t all available at once, as the game will constantly make you earn them by playing all the various modes and songs, but that’s easy to do because everything is really at your own pace. Veterans of the previous game will find themselves right at home playing songs at the Ultimate difficulty, and they definitely are worth the “ultimate” name as there’s nothing like seeing an SS grade after finishing a long song.
While it’s no secret that everyone’s waiting for Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS, there’s still a lot of value and a lot to like with Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call and it will tide you over for hours, just like any other Final Fantasy game.