I have already talked at length about how the music of Final Fantasy has affected me, so you can probably guess that I enjoyed the original Theatrhythm—though that's not to say it didn't have its problems. Luckily, the sequel, Theatrhythm: Curtain Call, has done a great job addressing these problems.
Good – A Lot of New Music
The original Theatrhythm was already a game with a lot of Final Fantasy music—especially once you added in the DLC. But Curtain Call has an astounding 109 new songs—127 with the first 3 DLC packs currently out in Japan. Some of these songs come from the numbered series—Final Fantasy I through XIV—but many others come from spin-off titles or direct sequels. Crisis Core, Type-0, Mystic Quest, Crystal Chronicles, Advent Children, X-2, XIII-2, and Lightning Returns all lend more than a few tracks to the game.
One of the DLC packs even adds songs from Romancing SaGa 1 and 2—and the closest those games come to being Final Fantasy is that their own spin-off GameBoy games were re-branded as the “Final Fantasy
Adventure Legend” series in the US. All in all, this brings the total to 221 Final Fantasy songs (239 with the DLC).
Moreover, every single song from the first game and its DLC returns—sans “Somnus” from Final Fantasy XV. However, some of the songs have been tweaked a bit. All the EMS tracks—those with full motion videos in the background—have now become standard BMS or FMS songs with completely new song charts to match. Thus, all Curtain Call's EMS songs and their respective videos are completely new to the series.
Good – Plenty of New Features
New songs are hardly the only change between Curtain Call and its predecessor. In addition to more characters to unlock and monsters to defeat in battle, there are new airship stages which work a bit differently than normal FMS levels—but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
If using the stylus for Theatrhythm ever bothered you, Curtain Call is the answer to your prayer. Now you are also able to use the thumbstick and face buttons to play the songs—as well as several hybrid control schemes—and it all works great.
But the first big content addition is Quest Mode. Originally released on the iOS version of Theatrhythm—Quest Mode tasks you with moving across a map (FMS stages) and battling monsters (BMS stages) on your way to the boss. You encounter locked doors, fat chocobos, and mini bosses. Also, the longer you are out questing, the more of an exp bonus you get, making this the best way to level up in the game.
Good – The Online Versus Mode
The other major addition is the completely new Versus mode. Versus mode allows you to play locally or online against other real players. (You can play against the CPU as well, of course.) To start, both you and your opponent choose a song. The game then randomly chooses one or the other for you to play. Then, as you play, you are able to mess with your opponent's screen in various ways—i.e., changing the arrow speed or making it so that anything but a critical hit counts as a “bad”—making it hard for your opponent to play. In the end, your rank increases or decreases and you get a digital trading card or two.
Together, the Quest and Versus modes add great replay value to the game and force you to play tracks you might otherwise have no reason to play, thus assuring more bang for your buck.
Mixed – Gameplay-wise, It’s the Same Game
But really, outside of Versus mode with its attacks against the opposing player, the game plays the same as its previous incarnation. The trappings, so to speak, have been updated but the basic gameplay is the same. When you see a red button, you tap; when you see a green button, you hold; and when you see an arrow, you flick. That's still pretty much all there is to it. If you found that quite acceptable in the first game, you'll be happy to see it again here. But if you think such actions make for poor gameplay in a music game, Curtain Call does nothing new to try to change your mind.
When it comes down to it, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is an improvement over the 3DS original in every way. It has more songs, characters, and monsters along with two new gameplay modes that stimulate the game's already high replay value. If you like music games and/or Final Fantasy music, you'll likely have a great deal of fun with Curtain Call.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call was released on April 24, 2014, for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan. It is currently scheduled for a Western release later this year.
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