Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Playtest: The Music Of Nostalgia

By Spencer . July 6, 2012 . 7:55pm

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While it wasn’t originally planned as a 25th anniversary tribute to the Final Fantasy series, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy fits the bill. The Nintendo 3DS game has songs from almost all of the Final Fantasy games including the still unreleased Fabula Nova Crystallis title Final Fantasy Versus XIII, but no tunes from Final Fantasy XIV. (Producer Ichiro Hazama explains why here.)

 

When Theatrhythm Final Fantasy begins you only have one option, "series mode" where you can select your favorite numbered Final Fantasy title and tap through three songs. I started with Final Fantasy IV and a prelude abridged the game’s intro, but don’t expect to understand the story at all if this your first time seeing Cecil.

 

You can tap along to the prelude to earn Rhythmia, music energy that charges a crystal and more importantly unlocks gallery items. The game then switches to field mode where Terra, who I picked as my party leader, walks on the screen while you hit notes with the stylus. Similar to Elite Beat Agents, there are green notes you need to hold and trace plus red notes which you have to tap. Each field has a feature zone and if you get all of the notes here you can ride a chocobo and travel further on the field.

 

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Theatrhythm goes into event mode next which replays scenes from the game in the background while you trace notes. The feature zone here is at the end and completing it extends the song usually to the game’s ending. Since Theatrhythm’s selling point is nostalgia, maybe this isn’t too much of an issue, but for the sprite based Final Fantasy games only have Japanese text during movies. Yeah, I realize there isn’t a NES version of Final Fantasy III to use and the incomplete Final Fantasy II NES translation would be… ridiculous.  However, Square Enix could’ve used localized footage from the original Final Fantasy or any of the Super Nintendo games. Since the scenes from Final Fantasy VII and onwards use FMV clips, these titles don’t have the same issue.

 

Final Fantasy IV‘s scene ended with the "Battle of the Four Fiends" song. In battle mode, notes fly from left to right. Players have to tap, swipe in the direction of arrow or hold to make their four person party attack. Chibi characters slash their sword at the air in classic Final Fantasy style hit the monsters standing far away. Each character has abilities that activate under certain conditions. If you get a chain of notes, Terra can cast Fira and if you’re low on HP Cecil can restore a bit of life with Cure. Defeat a monster and the game rotates a new enemy in. You’ll see familiar enemies like chibi Cagnazzo and super deformed Rubicante. Try to defeat them if you can, but if you don’t the game doesn’t end or anything. Songs are timed and a stage ends if you run out of HP or time runs out.

 

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After you complete a series you can play those three songs in challenge mode where there’s an expert level for each track with more notes to hit. Even though this game uses the Final Fantasy name, there isn’t much of an overarching story. Rhythm exists between Chaos and Cosmos, the gods from the Dissidia games, and you can restore the music crystal’s luster by collecting Rhythmia. Also inspired by the Dissidia series, you get bonuses for playing Theatrhythm everyday and picking say Tidus for Final Fantasy X songs. While there is a sizable selection of Final Fantasy characters to add to your party (like Princess Sarah from Final Fantasy I), you’re better off sticking to one group unless you want to level up each hero from scratch.

 

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To keep players interested beyond mastering "Mambo de Chocobo," Square Enix created Dark Notes, two song courses with a random field and battle song. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy also has a *ton* of downloadable content. Currently, there are eight songs available in North America and Europe (actually the first eight songs in Japan too). As of now, the Japanese track list is up to 48 songs. Each extra song costs a dollar, but there isn’t an option to preview the song before purchasing it. Sure, Square Enix gives a text description and diehard Final Fantasy fans probably know what "Cosmo Canyon" is, but a sample would be nice because not every fan knows what "The Cave Where The Crystal Is" is from. (That’s Final Fantasy III and if you got that reference, well, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is made for you.)


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  • Herok♞

    Waiting to see if I want this or Rhythm thief first.

    • http://s932.photobucket.com/ usagi_san

      Try both the demoes to see which you’d prefer to get first. My favourite segments of Rhythm Thief was the battle section – loved it to death. While Final Fantasy, I enjoyed every part of the game, but that’s just my opinion.

      • Herok♞

         Theatrhythm has no demo on the american eshop.

        • http://s932.photobucket.com/ usagi_san

          Very odd, indeed. With the game out, it would be in their interest to have demoes available around the time of release.  

  • http://www.myspace.com/Juan_Rod bluejuan85

    Got the game and love it at first expert mode was really hard but now I got the hang of it. Ultimate is just murder for me now and I do hope that the game sells well so we can get another one.

  • komiko12

    Argh! No money!
    I’ll have you soon enough.

  • rinalicat

    I’ve been playing this game for most of yesterday and I actually geared up playing Final Fantasy IX songs! My God the memories!!

  • GaiunxWolfenX

    can’t wait for this game and rhythm thief, just a few more days (i ordered them to be shipped at the same time XP)

  • Aqua King

    I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome of this game, and I love that each song has increasingly harder difficulty levels. I also like the fact that more songs can be added to the game, however, they claimed that these songs couldn’t be included due to ‘spacial issues’. The problem with this being, each song takes up between 35 and 40 ‘blocks’ and a 2gb card has the space of 15,000 ‘blocks.’ Even 125 (on cartridge + DLC) songs wouldn’t even be enough to fill a third of the card, and game cards of up to 4gb have been released. I really love this game and would recommend it to all FF fans, but the DLC might not be worth the total price of $94.60 (game + DLC) to get all the songs that I feel should have been already included. :/

  • Hours

    I don’t really like the artsyle, but I’m enjoying this game immensely.

    I hope the rumor of DLC characters is true.

  • DEATH_METAL_FAN

    This game appears to be quite appealing to my visual organs.
    I must purchase a Nintendo 3ds!

  • scratchbach

    Absolutely adore this game so far. It pretty much blew my expectations away. I’m about 11 hours in, but I see it lasting me do much longer- there is a LOT to unlock, IMO.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Well it is indieszero there so the quality should be quite good there.^^

  • badmoogle

    I’m now really tempted to buy a 3DS for this but i’ll wait for Bravely Default to come out in Europe first.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    While i wanted to have my Nostalgia to explode here, i can’t get this game here.T_T As i just bought Rhythm Thief. Well next week for sure, when i will get my FF music dosage.^^

  • http://twitter.com/FaithlessMr Bruno Silva

    Saving my munny for KH DDD for the time being, but I’m gonna go after this one next :D

  • OatMatadoQuatro

    Is it true that Sephiroth is from the good guys in this game or he is just another boss?

    • Aqua King

      Both. Sephiroth is an unlock-able playable character in this game, Safer Sephiroth appears as a boss.

      • OatMatadoQuatro

        Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/heather.baker.16568 Heather Baker

    I love this game~ =w= It makes me happy on the inside~

  • neetyneety

    FF goodness~! This and KH3D are going to occupy me for a looooong time~

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