While this may seem like an odd title to have as a 25th Anniversary entry for the Final Fantasy series, it is definitely an entry worth looking into. Anyone who has played the series will know that it has some of the most memorable music in gaming. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy takes those memorable songs and puts them into a unique rhythm game.
The main idea within Theatrhythm is that you are trying to recover “Rythmia” to restore the crystal. Every song you complete rewards you with an amount of Rythmia based on how you did, if you had the character from that particular title in, who all is in your team, etc. Obtain enough Rythmia and you will face off with Chaos.
While this feels like it happens a little too soon within the game (I achieved this within 6 hours of playing), this doesn’t mean you are anywhere near done with the game. Theatrhythm features a whole host of unlockables from extra characters (one from each title excluding XIV) to collectable cards to more songs, you’ll find yourself playing it long after the credits finish rolling.
Speaking of characters, the game starts you off with 13 characters from the first 13 games. While it’s understandable that Final Fantasy XIV was not included in the game, it would have been great to see at least one nod to the newest MMORPG in the series. You can take up arms as Terra, Cloud, Squall, Lightning and more to make your way through the various songs. This is one spot where I find some fault though, as it would’ve been nice to see other characters such as Balthier play the “leading role” for their particular game.
The songs chosen are almost all absolutely brilliant. You can go from playing “Terra’s Theme” from Final Fantasy VI to the emotional “Suteki Da Ne” from Final Fantasy X. For my personal taste however, some of the choices of songs aren’t quite as memorable; for example, “Giza Plains” from Final Fantasy XII doesn’t evoke quite as many emotions or nostalgia for me as say, “Cerobi Steppe.”
This leads me into another small complaint is that certain songs feel plain odd in the game. Songs like “Fight with Seymour” and “One-Winged Angel” start part-way into the song, and “Dancing Mad” (one of the unlockable songs) starts on the last section. For the first two, this gives them a very odd “start” to me, as you don’t hear the introduction to the song and you are just plopped into a section later on. For Dancing Mad, it does make a bit more sense as the original song is quite long and is broken into segments already.
As far as difficulty in the game goes, the game is quite easy right up until the point you wish to start working on unlocking stuff. Expert mode, depending on the song, will put you to the test to even try and score an “A,” let alone a “S.” Then the secret Ultimate difficulty ramps it up even more, making some of those songs you thought weren’t “too hard” on Expert even harder.
Then of course there is the Chaos Shrine. The Chaos Shrine features even more difficult tracks that increase in difficulty the more you play it. Unfortunately, this also pulls help from the Nintendo 3DS’s “Street Pass” system. While this may be better in other locations, in my area this will likely cause me to never actually finish the Chaos Shrine, unless perhaps I sink an obscene amount of hours in to try and unlock them all myself.
As previously mentioned, Theatrhythm features unlockables that range from characters to designs for your “ProfiCard.” You’ll find yourself spending a long time simply trying to unlock all of these. While it does add bonus hours to the game, it will have you repeating the same stuff over and over again. To simply unlock another character you will need to collect 8 crystal shards which can either be slowly acquired through Rythmia rewards, or from repeating certain dark notes in the Chaos Shrine.
One final note is that the game features “Event Scenes,” scenes in which you will be playing alongside memorable scenes from that particular title. While the screen leading into the Series mode, the first mode you’ll be playing, does state that you’ll be playing these as first released in Japan, it would have been nice to see the scenes in English rather than Japan.
Overall though, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is an absolutely brilliant title for the Nintendo 3DS. If you have any love for music and any speck of nostalgia in the Final Fantasy series, I highly suggest you pick this up today.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Score: 4.5/5
You can purchase Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy here!