View Full Version : Final Fantasy finds its groove with Theatrhythm

07-04-12, 06:30 PM
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/theatrhythm2.png Tapping out notes during battle mode is a heck of a lot more interesting than just choosing the "attack" option over and over again, like it most RPGs.
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The general description of Theatrythm Final Fantasy sounds like a bad joke generated by some sort of random video game concept generator. Take two utterly unrelated genresā??rhythm and RPG, in this caseā?? and mash them together with a well known franchise and a crazy, hard-to-pronounce title addendum (it's "theater-rhythm," I'm told). It's a combination that doesn't seem like it should work as well as it does, but Theatrhythm is an absolutely endearing rhythm game that also serve as a sort of playable history of one of gaming's most enduring series. Theatrhythm is a love letter to Final Fantasy fans. The game draws five memorable songs from each of the 13 numbered games in the primary Final Fantasy line (more songs can be unlocked through gameplay or bought as downloadable content). Having songs from 25 years of Final Fantasy games collected in one place helps highlight the series' impressive progression from 8-bit era chiptunes on the NES to fully orchestrated ballads, complete with lyrics, on modern disc-based systems. Playing through all of these songs in chronological order, you can't help but notice repeating patterns and musical themes that appear and reappear in similar songs, with slight variations often woven in to the familiar melodies.

The game does a good job of mixing up the normally repetitive task of tapping out pre-set rhythms on top of this musical trip down memory lane. Most notes just require a simple touch-screen tap at the right moment, but there are also notes that ask the player to hold the stylus down for a set period (and lift it at just the right time), as well as notes that require a quick swipe in the direction indicated by an inset arrow. It's simple stuff, but the note patterns are matched perfectly to the music, often calling attention to some rhythms buried deep in the harmony. And while the basic songs are simple enough for even rhythm game neophytes to clear easily, the note-packed patterns in the Expert and Ultimate modes for each song are enough to make even rhythm veterans cry out in frustration.

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