By Robert Ward . June 14, 2014 . 5:00pm
While many people rushed to play Hyrule Warriors or Smash Bros. over at Nintendo’s booth on the E3 show floor, I rushed straight to the Square Enix booth on the opposite side of the convention center. That’s not something I thought I’d ever do, but I was excited—excited that my favorite rhythm game was getting polished up the way it deserved!
While I could talk about the spells my characters were casting and the items they were using, I’d much rather talk about the things that ACTUALLY make Curtain Call a better game. If someone’s telling you it’s “the character’s using Haste,” they’re wrong. If it’s the “221 songs on the game,” they’re dead wrong.
Simply put, it’s the subtle changes to the note-striking system that make the Curtain Call the definitive Theatrhythm title.
For those that haven’t played the first Theatrhythm, there are three types of notes: single-tap red notes, arrow notes that have you flick the touch screen in a specific direction, and hold notes. Haptic feedback is everything when it comes to touch-based rhythm games, and Curtain Call nails it. It’s a bit hard to describe in words, but I’ll try my best, starting with visual changes.
Notes have a more defined outline in Curtain Call that makes them feel more tangible, or solid. In the last Theatrhythm, feature zone sections of battle songs and Chocobo sections of field songs would turn a solid silver and gold, respectively. In Curtain Call, the notes maintain their original color and borrow a silver or gold outline – allowing the notes to maintain the color originally assigned to it while also letting you visually categorize them as “special” sections.
Another type of note was introduced to the game, critical hit notes, which simply sparkle. Perhaps the most important change, in my opinion, is to the tap and hold (green) notes. Previously, these notes ended with a full-sized green node, but now, if they don’t end in a flick note, they’ll end with a small green node that makes it easier to track what’s coming next. What I really care about, though, is that the hold-notes don’t go past the note-targets – instead, hold-note stops at the target itself!
Among other conveniences, you can now organize songs by title, game, name, and favorites. This makes it easier to shift through the game’s 221 tracks. There were 12 songs available at the E3 demo, and I managed to pick up and play the following: Edgar and Sabin’s Theme (Field), Maybe I’m a Lion (Battle), Savior of Souls (FFXIII, AMV), Shinryu (Battle, FFXIV), Spira Unplugged (FFX, Field), Answers (Battle, XIV).
Oh, One Winged Angel from Advent Children was on there, too—as an event song. I felt this was a huge waste of an otherwise excellent iteration of the iconic theme.