Theatrhythm Final Fantasy rapidly grew to become one in all my favourite Nintendo 3DS video games when it hit the system in 2012, as did the Curtain Call sequel two years later. These weren’t good rhythm video games, however they have been distinctive and utilized probably the greatest compilations of online game scores in music historical past. The Final Fantasy series is particular to me for a lot of causes, and maybe chief amongst these is its music. That I ended up adoring the Theatrhythm series on 3DS was no shock. I used to be stunned, although, to see writer Square Enix and developer indieszero announce Theatrhythm Final Bar Line final September, with a launch date just some months later, no much less.
I didn’t count on this series to make a return, however I had at all times hoped it will, given its predecessor solely lined the franchise by means of 2014. There are a whole lot of recent, beloved tracks within the series between Final Fantasy XIV’s expansions, Final Fantasy XV, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and different video games launched because the final Theatrhythm. Final Bar Line is including tracks from these titles and more, together with different Square Enix video games through DLC like Live A Live (and its current remake), the Nier series, The World Ends With You, and Chrono Trigger. And after enjoying by means of 30 of the sport’s songs in an advance preview of the demo that’s accessible for everybody beginning February 1, I can safely say Final Bar Line is a must-play for me subsequent month.
In the practically 10 years between the final sport and Final Bar Line, not a lot has modified. The sequel retains the lovable, chibi artwork fashion of the primary, the identical sorts of stage codecs, and lots of the similar songs, which is nice; it labored in 2012 (and 2014) and it really works here, too. One huge distinction, although, is the way in which you play Final Bar Line. Theatrhythm’s horizontal music scroll that dictated when to hit beats was unusual, particularly given how common vertical music scrolls have been due to the likes of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. But because the video games utilized the 3DS’ sturdy contact display and stylus, the horizontal scroll labored nicely, giving gamers a pleasant view of the battles and adventures happening to the tune of your beats. That horizontal scroll returns in Final Bar Line, although it was more awkward, at first, with out the identical contact display mechanics to get used to.
In my first few songs, I wasn’t certain I appreciated it. You can hit the triggers or any of the 4 face buttons to “tap” a beat on display, no matter word shade or placement on the scroll’s 4 traces. When a beat with an arrow seems, although, that you must use one of many analog sticks and slash it within the course proven. I rapidly obtained right into a rhythm of utilizing my left hand to deal with directional slashes and my proper hand to hit buttons for normal notes. Then the issue superior, and I needed to hit two notes on the similar time rapidly adopted by directional slashes. I needed to reconfigure my playstyle in consequence, settling into utilizing my proper hand (and a face button) to deal with normal beats, my left hand on the left set off for twin normal beats, and my left thumb for directional slashes. And when a word has two instructions on it, I’d use my proper thumb on the similar time to deal with the second course. If this sounds odd, it's. By the time I hit the one-hour mark in my 30-track preview, although, this felt pure, and I used to be even capable of begin tackling songs on the subsequent highest problem.
The presentation of area tracks and battle music phases are much like the primary sport – your 4 chosen characters, of which there are dozens to select from spanning a lot of the included video games, both waltz by means of a easy chibi-esque panorama or battle a chibi enemy from the chosen sport. It’s easy, and whereas I initially wished more out of those scenes, I used to be quickly reminded that my focus can be on the horizontal scroll 99 p.c of the track and that I’d be watching the battles occur in my peripherals; which is to say the scenes that play out didn’t have an effect on my enjoyment a lot in both course. I’m excited to play by means of the particular music video tracks within the last sport, which display iconic cinematics from Final Fantasy titles, as I believe these will function the visible flare I used to be lacking from the usual tracks.
When you boot up the sport, a flashy Final Fantasy thirty fifth Anniversary emblem seems on display, and for good purpose; Final Bar Line is a rhythm sport first, but additionally a celebratory museum for the series’ iconic music, characters, and tales. As you deal with quests within the new Series Quests mode, which duties you with finishing targets like defeating a certain amount of enemies or ending a stage with out taking a sure share of injury, you earn particular rewards. It will be an merchandise like a therapeutic potion or a Phoenix Down, but it surely may also be a CollectaCard, which is added to your museum assortment. These playing cards depict idea artwork, in-game screens, enemies, characters, and more, and there are multiple thousand to gather. It’s a pleasant contact that provides some premium nostalgia to Final Bar Line’s Final Fantasy celebration.
In the Museum, you may view your CollectaCard assortment, rewatch movies, hearken to tracks you’ve unlocked, and examine the feats you’ve accomplished. There’s lots of Final Fantasy historical past to devour here, and completionists are doubtless in for dozens of hours of play to unlock the whole lot.
This iteration of Theatrhythm, like those earlier than it, is nowhere close to the very best rhythm sport, and amidst those on the market, it actually performs as one of many weirdest. But what Final Bar Line has that different rhythm video games don’t is entry to, for my cash, probably the greatest catalogs of music in all of video games. Playing by means of greater than a dozen of Masashi Hamauzu’s good Final Fantasy XIII tracks is a deal with sufficient; throw within the different 370-something tracks that will likely be within the last sport, and I can’t await February 16.
You can play the Theatrhythm Final Bar Line demo, which options 30 songs and progress that carries over into the ultimate sport, on February 1.