It’s been over two years since the launch of the first Theatrhythm in North America.
Now, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call is here and we got to take a look at how this newest title has improved the already great music rhythm game.
When jumping into Curtain Call, the most notable change were the expanded control options. Where the first title was limited to the touch screen and tapping or swiping, Curtain Call will allow you to forgo your stylus equipped hand and use the analog stick and buttons to play the game. If you want, you can even use a combination of the two.
It can take a bit of time to really get started in Curtain Call once you get going. There are tutorials for everything in this game and not everything is unlocked from the beginning. As you play you’ll slowly start to unlock features like Versus Mode, Quest Medleys, or even the ability to input a special password for CollectaCards.
However, one of the best things about Curtain Call is that after a short amount of time, you get access to a massive collection of tracks to play through. This is made even more impressive by not just sticking to numbered entries in the franchise. There are tracks from Crisis Core, Type-0, Tactics, Crystal Chronicles, and even Mystic Quest is represented. It still holds back some tracks to be unlocked while collecting the games Rhythmia points (which you receive after every song) however, grinding through the game to unlock new songs feels a lot less necessary than the previous title.
Curtain Call has all of the tracks from the first Theatrhythm including its DLC tracks with the exception of Somnus from what back then was known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The original game had around 79 tracks with another 47 as DLC. Curtain Call’s music catalog is massive. Coming in at over 200 tracks, this is an amazing collection of some of the best tracks from the entire Final Fantasy franchise. If that’s still not enough for some of you, there will be DLC coming to add additional tracks as well as new characters to add into your party.
The character roster is also larger this time around. Another great change that Curtain Call has made revolves around unlocking additional characters. Unlockable characters are grouped by colors. Obtain a set amount of a certain colored shard will allow you to unlock one character from the group. Previously, you would get shards at a frustratingly low rate. In Curtain Call however, often times when you’re awarded these shards you’re given the full amount needed to unlock a character. This, coupled with the huge track listing made available early on makes the game less of a grind than the original.
You can select four of your favorite Final Fantasy characters to form your party in Curtain Call and the roster gives a wide variety. The Characters in your party can level up, increasing their attributes and they can be equipped with attacks, spells and abilities that will trigger during certain parts of songs. New to Curtain Call is the CollectaCard Crystarium. Using the cards you collect while playing, you can use them to increase the parameters of one of your party members. If you use multiples of the same card, cards from the same category or game, you can receive a set bonus which can further increase the bonus to the character.
One of the new features to 3DS owners are the Quest Medleys which were included in the iOS release. These are best compared to the Chaos Shrine mode of the first game. In Quest Medleys, you take on a map full of songs as you work your way towards a dungeon and a boss who awaits you at the end. Along the way you can choose the route you take, choosing to play it safe and completing a level with an Aetheryte will save your progress up to that point in the Medley. If you’re feeling more brave you can take a different route that will award you with keys to unlock other routes or a mini-boss fight that will yield even more rewards for the Medley. If your HP depletes at any time you’ll have to restart the entire quest unless you manage to hit an Aetheryte along the way.
There are three categories for Medleys: Short, Medium and Long. Each one representing the overall length of the quest. Each level in these Quests counts as 1 day of your journey. For each day that passes, there is an EXP multiplier which means the longer the quest is, the more EXP you’ll start to earn. Those not wanting to do a marathon session to knock out a Long Quest can rest easy as you can always take a break from a Medley and return to it later on.
The Quest Medleys, like the Chaos Shrine from the previous game are also what you’ll be exchanging via StreetPass this time around.
For those that like to battle it out with other players, Curtain Call is offering up new multiplayer options. Before, players only had the option of local wireless play through the Chaos Shrine. This time around, there is a dedicated multiplayer option that allows you to battle opponents. During these matches, each player can build up an EX Burst which will randomly trigger one of 9 effects for the opposing player. Examples of these EX Bursts are Mystery Triggers where each note is displayed only as a question mark until the last second, or Judgement which means that any note the opposing player hits that isn’t critical is judged as bad. This mode is available both locally and online in addition to an AI battle mode.
The only bad thing I can say about Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call is that anyone who plays it will be struck with “Just one more” syndrome. I’ll play through a Quest Medley, decide to do a few solo tracks, telling myself that I’ll do on more track and then after that I need a break. This happens over and over again causing hours to go by. Curtain Call is every bit as addictive as the original and the new control options and adjustments to unlocking content make it even more enjoyable to play.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call is available on September 16th for the Nintendo 3DS for $39.99.
~ Final Score: 10/10 ~
Review copy provided by Square Enix for 3DS. Screenshots provided by Square Enix.