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Hands-on With Theatrhythm Curtain Call

June 22nd, 2014 by Cecily Lam & Arielle Haddad

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Music is an absolutely integral part of a game’s structure. It needs to provide the proper atmosphere and mood in order for the scenes and events to shine as bright as they possibly can. One series that possess extraordinary music is Final Fantasy, so why not take advantage of that fact and create a game that solely focuses on these lovely tunes?

In comes Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, or in this case, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, the successor to the original rhythm-based spinoff in the Final Fantasy franchise, featuring an all-star cast of fan-favorite characters and familiar music. I had the opportunity to experience a short demo of Curtain Call at this year’s E3 in Los Angeles, California.

The game features a simplistic plot not unlike that of Dissidia: Final Fantasy, placing Cosmos, the Goddess of Harmony, and Chaos, the God of Discord, at war with one another. The two gods are divided by a space called “Rhythm”, in which lies a Crystal that can control music. Chaos uses his powers to disrupt the Crystal’s power, sending the world out of balance. The only way to return to equilibrium would be to increase a musical wavelength known as “Rhythmia”. Cosmos summons various warriors throughout the Final Fantasy universe to increase Rhythmia and restore balance.

At its core, the game is really no different from that of its predecessor, the original Theatrhythm in 2012. It plays the same, it looks the same, it pretty much appears to be the same. But if you look deeper, you’d realize that what Square Enix (and indieszero) has actually done is take the previous Theatrhythm, include brand new game modes and more than double the amount of music and characters in the game.

These new game modes include Versus Mode, where you can compete against other players in a hectic musical battle, complete with various methods of sabotage and trickery, as well as the return of Quest Medley Mode from the iOS port of Theatrhythm, where you can play through random songs in order to recruit more characters to your roster.

This is important to note because neither of the two modes were actually available to play in the E3 demo. The demo focused solely on the new songs and characters added to the game, several of which are listed below.

• “Antipyretic” (Battle – Final Fantasy Tactics)
• “One-Winged Angel” (Event – Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children)
• “Aboard the Hilde Garde” (Field – Final Fantasy IX)
• “Savior of Souls” (Event – Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII)

Only four of the 60+ characters were available to use, and again they are listed below:

• Zack Fair (Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII)
• Y’shtola (Final Fantasy XIV)
• Ramza Beoulve (Final Fantasy Tactics)
• Yuna (Final Fantasy X-2)

The visuals of the EMS look just as nice as they did in their source material, which was troublesome for me personally as I found it difficult to concentrate on the brilliant music flowing through my headphones, or the gorgeous CGI I see on the screen. Perhaps that’s what makes these event sequences so challenging! Battle sequences are mostly unchanged, so there really isn’t much to say in that regard. You will be able to do more damage with Critical Hits now, which can be distinguished apart from the ordinary triggers by their unique glow. If I were to point any sequence out, it’d be the Field sequences, as they have received the most obvious change with the distinction between field and airship themes. By selecting an airship theme in Curtain Call, you would find yourself flying among the clouds rather than running on the ground.

Overall, if you liked the original Theatrhythm, the Final Fantasy series, or rhythm games in general, then you will surely enjoy Curtain Call. It’s a harmless game meant to provide nostalgia and short bursts of enjoyment, and it does that extremely well. Curtain Call doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is, and that is what makes it an extremely accomplished title.

Cecily Lam is a contributor to Final Fantasy Network and editor at Kingdom Hearts Insider (khinsider.com)


Although we are three months away from Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call’s release, I got the chance to try this wonderfully adorable game out at E3 2014. Although this sequel itself isn’t too different from the original released in 2012, it still has plenty of brand-new content to offer every kind of Final Fantasy fan out there.

The updated user interface looks much sleeker than what is in the original Theatrhythm, making it easy for gamers to breeze through over 200 new songs added to the Battle Mode menu. While what I played at E3 was limited to a few songs from games like Final Fantasy IX, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, and Final Fantasy XIV, it was enough to get an idea of how much they had improved on the original modes available in the first game.

The first song I decided to try out was “Answers”, the song that ushered in the end of an era for Final Fantasy XIV. Transformed into an event music sequence, I was greeted with the gorgeous CG cinematics created by Visual Works and the familiar swipe & tap action of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. I lost myself to Susan Calloway’s stunning voice and before I realized it, I had completed the song with a S rank. (Of course, I was playing in Basic because I’m terrible at any EMS in Thearhythm!)

“Antipyretic” from Final Fantasy Tactics was the next song I tried in Expert. This battle music sequence, even with the volume up as high as possible, was drowned out by all of the sounds the showroom floor which made it impossible to hear all of the shifts in dynamics in order to tap out the notes accurately. I quickly rushed through the BMS and managed to get a B rank, disappointed that I couldn’t fully enjoy a song from one of my favorite Final Fantasy titles.


Moving on from my disappointment, I decided to give one last song a try–another EMS by the name of “Savior of Souls” from Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. The EMS in Expert was a tad too slow for me and I would have preferred to play it as a BMS in only to experience what the song could have been like with more difficult tap and swipe variations. Despite all my griping about what could have been, I still had loads of fun playing the song while watching Lightning fight Snow in the Grand Palace of Yusnaan.

Even though Curtain Call is similar to its predecessor, it still has plenty more to offer including an all new Versus Mode where players can challenge their friends to competitive battles to decide who the true champion of rhythm is, as well as the Quest Melody mode where skilled players can take on randomly selected songs across a map and defeat powerful foes. There is more to discover in Curtain Call and I find myself excited at getting the chance to get my hands on the full title in a few months.

Old and new fans who enjoy the phenomenal music in the Final Fantasy franchise will not find themselves disappointed by this title.

(Not included in this impression: Adorable shirts like what Ichiro Hazama and Naoki Yoshida wore during their Fated Battle at E3 2014)

tshirt

Arielle Haddad is a contributor to Final Fantasy Network and editor at Kingdom Hearts Insider (khinsider.com)


Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call releases on September 16th in North America and September 19th in Europe for the Nintendo 3DS.

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