Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Backlog: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy

Welcome to the first review in the start of a new direction for me. Backlogged Gaming will be in written format going forward from now on except on rare occasions (like top lists). I'll go into more detail on the reasons another time. For now we have a review to get into...

Today's game is Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. I have seen this game get some pretty lousy reviews actually but I don't think that's really because it's bad. This game is one of those games where it knows it's audience in a similar way to how games like Dynasty Warriors and Sengoku Basara know their audience. They deliver something for a particular audience and anyone else who just kinda plays it to review it rather then because they really wanted to are going to be left disappointed.
Let me start off by saying this isn't your typical music rhythm game. It incorporates RPG elements into it. You have to form a party of 4 characters, at the start of the game you have access to the main characters from Final Fantasy 1-13 but you can unlock more characters to choose from as you continue to build up your overall score and gather item rewards from completing songs.

Each character has different stats and abilities that make them better or worse depending on the type of songs you're going up against. For the sake of not changing your party constantly though the most sensible thing to do is to try to maintain some kind of balance to your team.

There are 3 different types of songs you can play through. Field, Battle, and Event. There are differences between them though what stays the same in each is that your parties hp. See in many music rhythm games if you fuck up a certain amount you are guaranteed to fail. Here though? How much you can messed up is based off of how much HP you have and your HP increases when your party members level up. So if you're really not good at the game, you can eventually pass songs just by getting your level high enough so it's harder for you to lose.

Another thing that is similar in spite of which type of song you're playing are the basic types of notes. There are red notes that just require you to tap the screen, arrow notes require a quick stroke in the direction the arrow is pointing, and green notes which you have to hold down for a set period of time. There are variations on how these work depending on the type of song you're doing but they're the same basic idea.

Battle songs have you killing monsters with damage that's based off a combination of your stats and how well you time your hitting of the notes. This comes more into play in the Chaos Shrine section of the game where you need to manage to beat bosses to get special items to drop. But honestly the best part about the battles songs is how silly but awesome it feels to cast a summoning spell by timing your taps in a music game. Seems like such an odd concept yet it's fun.

The field songs cover the tunes from the games that basically were travel music such as the overworld themes in the earlier games. The idea in these is to travel from point A to point B with your character walking or summoning a chocobo based off of how you do. This mode is rather simple but also features one of the more unique uses of the notes because the hold notes in this also require you to mode the stylus up and down while you hold it as the note moves in a swerving path. Still most of them are fairly simple and relaxing.

Last are what they call the event songs which were probably the least creative thing they did in the game. Generally anything that didn't fall under another category landed here. Generally these just involved you hitting notes that appeared over top of a display of cinematics from the game the song was from. Also while there was a lot of unlockable tunes in this game, none of the unlockables were event tracks. Meaning it's gonna suck for you if one of your favorite tracks isn't a battle tune or traveling music and it isn't the one per game they chose.

In addition to the large collection of tunes in the game there were also about 60 tracks made available as DLC, though once again none of them were event songs. Still it's a lot of music to choose from and at $1 per track they're not any more expensive then say an MP3 and they're cheaper then your typical music game DLC.

Overall I would recommend this only to people who are huge fans of Final Fantasy. Because your love of the other games is really what is going to determine whether or not you love this one. I've enjoyed it as something a little fun when I want to just relax for a bit while I'm winding down for the day but it's not something you're going to want to sink hours into at a time and clearly the tracks from the games you actually have fond memories from are the ones which will be the most enjoyable. But if that sounds like something you can sink your teeth into, then I highly recommend it.

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