Review by BigReed

"A game not only for Final Fantasy fans, but for every 3ds owner"

Summary:
Introduction- Cute art, fantastic music, nostalgia for Final Fantasy fans
Gameplay- Rhythm using the touch screen for the inputs, tons of content and unlockables
Graphics/Sound- Great choice with the art style, some of the best music ever made in gaming
Playtime- Endless, tons of content for those who like to max out their games
Recommendation- Buy it

Introduction
What happens when you take some of the most legendary music from the game industry, create fun rhythm gameplay, and throw into chibi versions of some of the most beloved video game characters? Well, you have one of the best 3ds games available of course! What could have been an obvious cheap cash-in, ended up being a 3ds game with some of the best presentation seen on any game. Thearthythm features characters and music up through the Final Fantasy 13 (sorry 14 fans) and is packed with content.

Theatrhythm, to my knowledge, is also the first retail game in NA to have DLC. There is a huge selection of songs to download and they are also pretty cheap, costing 99 cents. Nintendo is finally ready to start supporting DLC and other things that this generation of consoles has ushered in. This means that more and more 3ds games, and also WiiU games, will feature DLC. Since the songs are so cheap, I felt that the DLC was a welcome addition. Some people are looking at the extra songs in the wrong way. I'm not suggesting buying all 50-60 songs, nor do I think even Square planned for that. But picking up a few songs to compliment an already great game extends the play time.

Theatrhythm has a fantastic presentation and art style. The characters have a cute chibi style to them, and all of the menus are very well made. Presentation wise, this is in the top five 3ds games.

Gameplay
There are numerous modes in Theatrhythm, including game modes, streetpass, and a museum that keeps track of your records, collection of cards, movies and music. As for the meat and potatoes of the game, the gameplay, there are three game modes in which you can play Theatrhythm. These include plaything through the series, playing the songs in challenge mode, and defeating the dark notes in the Chaos Shrine. There are also three difficulties: Basic, Expert, and Ultimate. In the Chaos shrine however, there are dark notes, which include two songs back to back with plenty of bosses that drop much needed loot. Loot that is used to beef up your party and also unlock new characters, which there are plenty of.

Those who have seen or played guitar hero or rock band, have a general idea of how the gameplay is set up. There are three different styles of rhythm games. One is a battle game, where your party uses abilities and attacks when you hit the right inputs, another is field mode where your party leader runs left through the game world of the music your playing, and can ride a chocobo and also run into moogles that offer items; and finally there are the emotional story scenes that offer a video alongside the music from the final fantasy. My favorites were the battle and fields levels.

There are several different inputs for the rhythm sections of the game. Red circles mean you tap the touchscreen when the circle goes inside of your reticule. Green circles mean you need to tap, then hold down the stylus until you reach the end of the input. Then there are the arrow circles which require you to swipe the stylus in the direction of the arrow as it passes through your reticule. The arrow inputs are probably the most frustrating inputs in the game. You have to make sure you swipe the stylus fully into the direction required. This can become difficult during expert and ultimate difficulty because the pace of the game is much faster. It also seems like sometimes that the input isn't recognized which can break a pretty large chain. Overall though, the gameplay is very addictive, quick, and fun. This game is perfect for pick up and play sessions, and can also be played for longer gaming sessions without becoming boring. Being a longtime fan of Final Fantasy helps in the enjoyment of Theatrhythm, but is not necessary. The game stands well on its own legs.

Graphics/Sound
Theatrhythm is packed with some of the best video game music ever made. Even to this day, few game series match the quality and emotion that is packed into Final Fantasy music. In my opinion, the music selection from 11 to 13 is the weakest of the series, and of Theatrhym. However, the cute art style works very well for the 3ds system. Sometimes when a developer attempts something graphically that the system is not fully capable of, a game that looks objectively bad can happen. Square was smart to use a cute and cartoony style. The game looks and sounds great.

Play Time/Replayability
After 16 hours of play time, I see no end to Theatrhythm in sight. Even after completing every song on basic and expert, the daunting Ultimate mode is still looming over me. There are also 90 more dark notes to complete. Theatrhythm is a game you can sink a ton of time into. And replaying the songs is highly encouraged so you can obtain a higher rank and unlock extras for the game. Needless to say, this game offers a high yield for every dollar spent.

Final Recommendation
Whether you're a fan of Final Fantasy or not, Theatrhythm is a game that should grace the shelves of every 3ds owner. Square-Enix has developed a game with a wonderful presentation, art style, and soundtrack. For 40 dollars, and almost endless amount of gaming is offered, and Theatrhythm breaks into the top tier of 3ds games. This is a must buy for 3ds owners.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/23/12

Game Release: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (US, 07/03/12)


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