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Rating: Not Rated

Apparently Square Enix is Marketing to Me Specifically

Talraen's Review of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS) (Video Games)

When they announced a Final Fantasy music game, my first thought was that it looked dumb. About three seconds later, I had resigned myself to buying a 3DS to play it. Let's be honest, "Final Fantasy music game" is a combination of every game I actually play these days. So, aside from its ridiculous name, does Theatrhythm hold up? Given that it is a naked attempt at selling a game with nostalgia, yes. Yes it does. Assuming you have that nostalgia, of course.

The gameplay in Theatrhythm is a pretty straightforward touch-based rhythm game. It's sort of similar to Elite Beat Agents, but the action takes place on the top screen so you don't have to hit specific areas (and as a result, your stylus and hand won't interfere with your view). The difficulty comes largely from the directional swipes you often have to do, sometimes multiple directions in quick succession.

Though it's not presented this way, there are really two distinct modes in Theatrhythm. The basic mode is your standard fare, where you play songs to unlock more songs and difficulty levels. There are a total of 77 songs, though 26 of these are skippable demo songs that probably shouldn't be counted. The selections are quite good, though of the initial five songs per game (I-XIII), only one is a battle song. This means a few good battle themes are missing, even despite the unlockables, though I'm sure this will be covered with DLC.

There is a character leveling and customization system in the game, but it's mostly irrelevant when just playing songs in the normal modes. The defensive abilities are quite useful to beat some of the tougher songs, but fine-tuning a party's performance doesn't get you a whole lot in this mode. You'll end up playing every song at least six times to finish off this mode, which can get a bit tedious.

Fortunately, Chaos mode is a different story. At some point you will unlock a "Dark Note," a combination of two random songs with three possible bosses, each with three possible drops. Every time you beat a Dark Note for the first time, the game generates another one based on your level, so you can play this mode indefinitely and advance at will. Due to the way drops work, you'll want to tune your party for both field songs and battle songs, which have different behind-the-scenes mechanics even if they play very similarly in the moment. Doing well on the field song unlocks bosses with better drops in the battle song. It's fun to strategize in this mode, and you'll spend a lot of time here if you want to unlock the 15 hidden characters.

Of course, Chaos mode can get tedious, too. If you find a Dark Note with exactly the set of drops you need to unlock a bunch of characters, you might end up playing those two songs a dozen or more times in a row. And if you don't find the right set of drops, you can get frustrated at the lack of rewards. There are a lot of songs to pull from, but this mode doesn't use DLC songs, and the randomness is legit so you can easily see the same song time and time again.

When you get right down to it, if you like Final Fantasy music, the fact that you can play it as a rhythm game is pretty awesome. This game overdid it on the effort required to unlock everything, but it's still a good time. I can't say I'd recommend getting a 3DS just for this game (even though I did), but if you have one and you're a Final Fantasy fan from way back when, it's definitely a good time.

Score: B+

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