Curtain Call is Everything I Wanted in an Improved Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy

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.


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  • Isaac Todd

    I wonder if the rotating arrow notes are still in the game. Those really threw me off the first time I encountered them.

    • Blebleman

      They are, and they also show up in Versus mode as an attack power.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Celedin Celedin

    221 songs in one package, that’s got to be some sort of record for a rhythm game!

    • dawnbomb

      someone has never played osu. online multiplayer, 50000+ songs, and a active online community, plus a great lobby system.

      • Jadfish

        true, but that’s not in a package

      • http://www.twitter.com/Celedin Celedin

        I meant for a commercially released game rather than a community created one, you don’t normally see companies be so generous with their content. Good to know Osu is still kicking around though since it looks like we’ll never seen another Ouendan or EBA…

        • Arrngrim

          As one of the folks who bought EVERY single DLC song for the first Theatrhythms (something like $130 total game+dlc)…I honestly thought they’d continue this trend, but to hear that all 221 songs are available with release…I’ll pick up a copy as I did LOVE the original.

  • SlickRoach

    Are all 221 songs available in game or are most DLC?

    • Triplicity

      It’s 221 not counting ~22 DLC songs right now.

      • Anthony Hadow

        the massive DLC for these titles are what prevents me from buying it

        • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

          Yeah that’s why I waited for this version. If there ends up being a third version with 600 songs or whatever I don’t care.

  • pressstart

    “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!”
    I played the first game a ton, but I have no idea what this means.

    • Triplicity

      The graphic for the hold notes in Theatrhythm goes past the target area and covers your characters, which is exactly the opposite of what every other rhythm game with hold notes does. I guess it can be distracting? But it does look messy.

      • pressstart

        I never noticed that. Now I have to see it for myself.

  • new_tradition

    Not sure if the demo show cased this, but maybe someone who played the Japanese version already might see this question…

    I’m still a little confused about the duplicate characters. I recall them showing off Gunner Yuna, but is she a new character or just a costume swap?

    Can I literally have two Yunas in my party at the same time, or can you only use one at a time?

    • Time Sage

      They’re considered unique characters. So yes, you can have a party consisting of two lightings and two Yunas.

  • Sora96

    Is there actually going to be a digital version this time? The original sadly didn’t have one…

    • DrShimo

      I hope so. It’s just convenient to be able to play songs on the go..

    • 하세요

      The Japanese version had a digital release (that’s what I got) so I’d imagine so would the west.

      • Fox

        That’s seriously great news.

        I’ve got a dozen or so digital games, but Theatrhythm is the only title that really DEMANDS a digital copy.

  • chibidw

    Are arrow notes tracked more accurately now? The moodiness of those notes on being exactly straight lines were infuriating in faster songs and it really killed the previous game for me.

    • PotatoPower

      i think they were indeed improved. i remember never being able to perfect the 4 elemental fiends song on the hardest difficulty in the original due to the insane arrows, but it was a lot more manageable in the sequel. the map is exactly the same, i remember cuz i played it so much in the original lol

  • roboticpainter .

    can I ask anyone if the rpg system was improved in this one? Its an unimportant aspect but I Hated that using ANY items or skills prevented you from getting a triple s….especially since nothing changed how the notes were presented…I didn’t like how the systems discouraged the rpg side and forced me to always play with nothing on. Loved Theatrhythm but I really hope this was addressed! :)

    • Joni Eskobar

      Now even if you have any skills or items equiped you can still get a triple S. This way you don’t have to play a song twice. That’s one of the many improvements made in Curtain Call.

      • roboticpainter .

        Thank you SOOO much, I have asked this a couple place and either gotten no response or nobody knew yet, I am thrilled to hear that I can use my favorite characters and customize them without compromising my score! :) REALLY excited now!

      • Triplicity

        I am actually not pleased with this. Is there any particular mark or bonus you get for getting the SSS running Stoic the old way?

        • Joni Eskobar

          I never played without any skill or item so I couldn’t tell. But if I had to guess, I don’t think you’ll get any bonus for doing so.

  • http://watercrown.info/ Ryusui

    All I care about is if they fixed the FFIV stage to use the DS version’s translation of the Mysidian Prophecy. The other one in common use is flat-out wrong, given the original references the “dragon’s mouth” west of Mysidia proper, and the “sleeping land” refers to the Red Moon and its denizens.

    • Bobby Corwen

      They’ve actually ouright removed series mode and all the non BMS and FMS songs with it.

      • Living

        Well that sucks…

        • Bobby Corwen

          Series mode is the reason why there was so many crappy song choices in the original game. I, for one prefer the new Quest Melody over it.

  • Slickyslacker

    I wish that, at least, the FMVs from the first game hadn’t been removed. I’ll miss being able to tap along to Squall and Rinoa waltzing, without having to dig out and boot up the first.

    I suppose tapping along to Cloud and Sepiroth dueling will be a suitable substitute.

  • http://keiserone.tumblr.com/ KeiserOne

    Too bad we won’t have it available for digital download, because the first one didn’t IIRC.

    • Tetris

      It’s available for digital.

      • http://keiserone.tumblr.com/ KeiserOne

        For the first one, it only says “available at your local retailer” in the eShop. So I take it you’re talking about Curtain Call being confirmed for digital release?

  • wahyudil

    when?

    • Arrngrim

      9/16/2014 – So far, unless it gets delayed.

  • Adrian Sosa

    Any idea if there’s some sort of bonus for owning the first game..?

    • keithmaxx

      This. I hope there’s a good special bonus because it’ll help me decide which region version to buy.

  • Living

    Are all the DLC songs from the first game included in addition to all the new stuff?

    • Triplicity

      Yes, all of them except for XV’s Somnus.

      • Living

        Awesome.

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