When Square Enix announced Final Fantasy Theatrhythm:
Final Mix Curtain Call in Japan, I was a bit skeptical at first. After all, Square has had a long history of re-releasing games with extra content that never saw the light of day outside of Japan.
But both Final Fantasy lovers and music lovers rejoiced once a release date was announced stateside. Curtain Call isn’t just a remake however, but more like a full-fledged sequel that takes everything from it’s predecessor and improves it substantially. Luckily for me, my Collector’s Edition shipped early, so I was able to pick apart this musical masterpiece bit by bit for your enjoyment. So let’s hop in!
I had bought the original Final Fantasy Theatrhythm on a complete whim, thirsty for new games to play in epic 3D. I popped it into my 3DS and let the music flow. Before I knew it, I had chugged roughly 25 hours into it, playing some of the best music in the series to some of the worst. So of course when a sequel was announced I had to get it. In fact, I got the Collector’s Edition, which came with 5 sexy holographic cards, two CDS featuring some of the best Final Fantasy music ever, and a pouch to store my 3DS in. All decked out, I was ready to begin.
One of the most notable things about Curtain Call is the sheer amount of music available to play. While the original had just over 70 songs, Curtain Call boasts over 220 songs, not including weekly releases of DLC. Not only that, but this is the first game with over 60 playable characters from all the main Final Fantasy games, and some lesser ones such as Crystal Chronicles and Crisis Core. I started off with our heroes from FF7, 8, 9 and 13 and began my journey to play all of the music. Only music from those four games was available at first, but after a it of playing, every game opened up and I was free to choose almost any song I wanted.
The basics of the game are simple. Notes will appear on the screen, and you must either press a button or swipe in the right direction for it to register. Depending on how well the timing is depends on the scoring, and each playable song has three difficulties: Normal, Extreme, and Ultimate. There are three different game modes, known as BMS, FMS, and EMS. The first of the three, Battle Music Stages, is one of the more common found in the game. They feature music from… well battles. These are fast and up-beat, and only music from the most epic battles appear in this mode, such as One-Winged Angel. This battle is set up with your four character members facing many enemies from the Final Fantasy series. Occasional a boss will appear, and it’s up to the four heroes to defeat them. Miss a note, however, and you will be hit.
Field Music Stages feature music from the field, as you might have guessed. Unlike the Battle Music Stages, these are more happy and relaxed, and feature one of your characters traveling to his destination as you line up the notes. Miss in this mode, and your character will fall behind, causing the next person in the party to take the screen. Sometimes an airship may take over and you’ll get there at super speed. Either way, do well enough and you’ll get plenty of usable items. EMS, or Event Music Stages, are the music stages seen the least in Curtain Call, as they must be unlocked by collecting Rythmia, the currency in the game. They are actually a bit distracting too, as when you are playing them, a seen from the respective game is playing, and while you want to get the best score possible, you also want to see the scene you’ve probably seen a thousand times already.
Rythmia, as previously mentioned, is the game’s currency. You obtain some after every song you finish, and something unlocks after every 250 is collected. It can be a chime to use when you get a note correct, new music to play, or even a character. You don’t actually spend any Rythmia; it’s all collective. On top of collectible Rythmia, you can also collect items to be used on your characters and also cards! Who doesn’t love collecting cards? There are hundreds to collect, from Heroes to Villains, you can collect three different types of them! It’s a fun job, because again, who doesn’t like collecting cards. Gotta Catch em All!
Ahem, anyway. One of the best new modes in this game is Quest Medleys. If you played the original, you’d be familiar with Dark Notes. They involved playing two songs, and you’d win some rewards, and that was super fun and all. However, it only chose from about 25 of the 70 available songs in the whole game. Dark Notes are a thing of the past, thankfully, and are replaced with Quest Medleys. What they do is send you on an adventure, playing ANY of the available songs in the game, including purchased DLC. That, in my opinion, is one of the game’s best qualities. Every quest is different, sending on you random adventures, collecting cards, Ryhtmia, items, and more. You can send Quest Melodies to others via Streetpass and Spotpass. It’s actually tons of fun, not knowing what songs will be played next and trying to survive the whole quest. After all, you can’t recover health in battle, so you have to be the very best.
There is also a Versus Mode, which was what I was most excited for in this game. You can go against people online, people locally, or against the game’s AI. Now, I didn’t get a chance to play anyone online, but the game’s AI is a challenging feat. As you pull off successful combos, you’ll build up an EX meter, which win it fills, it gives the enemy team a random status that will attempt to mess them up. Of course this can happen to you, and there are many different status aliments. There is one that speeds up the notes, another that slows them down. It’s insanely fun, and I can’t wait to give online mode a stab.
There are tons of smaller things that make the game for me. For instance, there are trophies to collect as you complete various tasks. Getting all of them is a lot easier this time around, and of course, that should be your goal. Then there’s the fact that the high scores are cumulative as you complete a song over and over. Say you complete the first part of a song perfect on one time through, but do poor on the second half. Say you do the opposite next time you play it; the game will add them together to give you a perfect score. Just so many smaller things were put into this game that make it feel like a complete package, and I’m still discovering more as I play.
All in all, I really can’t find anything wrong with Final Fantasy Theatrhythm: Curtain Call. It takes everything I loved from the first game and just makes it all better. It hasn’t seemed at all repetitive, considering the vast amount of music available from the start. The characters are adorable, using the same chibi look the first did, and games like Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded used. And as for the music? Well of course it’s fantastic. Final Fantasy features some of the best music in gaming in it’s many years of existence, and Final Fantasy Theatrhythm: Curtain Call is the best way to experience it all.
Hopefully we don’t get a Final Fantasy Theatrhythm: Curtain Call: Final Mix ReDux 2.5 HD Collection.
I give Final Fantasy Theatrhythm: Curtain Call a staggering 5/5, for it’s sheer fun, pretty visuals, and of course fantastic music. I can only hope that Square Enix creates more games in the Theatrhythm series, like Kingdom Hearts and… Kingdom Hearts oh please Square Enix give me a Kingdom Hearts Theatrhythm.
Final Verdict: 5/5
Available on: 3DS (reviewed); Publisher: Square Enix; Developer: Square Enix; Players: 1, 2 Online and Local Play; Released: September 16th 2014 (3DS); MSRP: $39.99
This review is based on a retail copy of Final Fantasy Theatrhythm: Curtain Call purchased by Hey Poor Player