Lover of beat'em ups.
- Mar 10, 2016
- United States of America
I saw a performance of Final Fantasy music with a full live orchestra once. Was fantastic. Highlights being Jenova and Battle of Big Bridge.It's no big announcement to say that Final Fantasy games in general have incredible music. Arguably I'd probably suggest that Final Fantasy music is more know than the games especially big songs like One Winged Angel.
It's also no big stretch to think that the music of Final Fantasy games would make for a good rhythm game, ala Guitar Hero. Enter TheatRhythm, which is exactly that. Unfortunately these TheatRhythm games have been limited to handleheld consoles up til now, a decision I never understand because the sound on those handhelds is tinny trash and since you want the music to ring true the handheld thing made no fucking sense.
But that's all done because the latest TheatRhythm game is now on all the consoles except PC. And it brings the combination of Guitar Hero and Final Fantasy together in a glorious RPG-like thing.
The way the game works is that a side scroll bar of note passes along the top of the screen while FF characters run through the bottom of the screen and fight bad guys. The better you do, the more damage your party will deal and the more points you will score. If you suck at rhythm games the enemies will wipe out your group and the song fails. Where the RPG aspects come in is that your selection of characters will level up and thus they will gain stats and abilities that only sort of matter in the grand scheme of things. Completing songs will earn your active group exp and each party member will eventually have a list of about 10-12 abilities of which you can only bring 3 abilities per character into a song.
So there is some strategy here in mixing and matching characters from nearly every Final Fantasy game ever made, combining characters with abilities that either make them strong or cover weakness of others. It's not super deep, but there is enough options here that you can always find a way to make your favorite characters work. Additionally you can have a summon add you in certain battle types that requires you to do well on a song to summon.
But all the RPG mechanics and party customization only matter for quests. During the story mode you'll play through several tracks for every FF game ever made, while the main goal is simply clear the songs, each song in story mode also has a quest to do. These quests range from very easy ones like "dont fail the song", to very difficult ones like "beat the boss in 20 seconds", plus lots of variety inbetween. The harder ones basically require a max level group balanced to make themselves as powerful as possible, on top of you basically having to perfect the song itself.
I really like the quest system because not only does it keep the guitar hero gameplay interesting, but it also keeps you invested in leveling and setting up characters. It works really well to make this feel like a real game as opposed to mindless arcade-fun that you can play without caring about it. And keep you invested in the songs, because one of the flaws with Guitar Hero games is you simply get bored of the same songs after a while. Though TheatRhythm isn't going to bore you with music anytime soon because it features 400 fucking songs. It's got more songs than Gran Turismo has cars, fucking crazy.
It isn't all raindrops and candy though, because the music does actually pose a problem. With Guitar Hero the enjoy often comes from playing songs real people would know, your Van Halen's, Metallica's, Oasis probably. Songs that have catchy Chorus's, beginnings, middles, and ends. Final Fantasy music is incredible but it's video game music, meant to be short and infinitely repeating without also being annoying. So when you are trying to catch onto the rhythm of the music from a random zone in FF14 originally meant for ambiance, it becomes hard to find where you are at with the track and that can mess you up pretty easily. So it's a bit of a bummer when the amazing music looses something as it becomes the focus of what you're doing.
That isn't to say that it doesn't still work, it absolutely does. It just lacks a little bit of the normal punch, with the exception of a few tracks that are just bangers in any context.
Now the Rhythm gameplay itself is rather interesting because it's both easy and difficult at the same time. Basic Notes can be hit by ANY button on the controller, meaning the 4 tracks on screen are there to trick you, any note on any track can be hit with any button it doesn't matter. The other type of note is a analog note, basically these are notes that ask you to flip one or both of the analog sticks in a given direction either up, down, left or right, or any combination of those. The final type of note is a combination of both. These notes only appear on certain stages but require you to hold a face button down and then move the analog stick up and down to follow the pitch line, letting go of the note at the end.
It's all a lot simpler than it appears and sounds, yet despite that the higher difficulties can get crazy hard because it doesn't take much for the combinations to start tricking your brain. However like with Guitar Hero, mastering the game is incredible satisfying. And the game is chalk full of rewards for doing well, character unlocks, special songs, new stages, power ups, items, new summons, cosemetics, there is a metric fuckton of shit here to unlock, see, and do.
Overall it's a fantastic package and well worth picking up if you like rhythm games even a little bit.
You get into a different mindset when you go see live music. People go to classical concerts all the time there is a marvel in watching a group of people pull together to perform that stuff.I saw a performance of Final Fantasy music with a full live orchestra once. Was fantastic. Highlights being Jenova and Battle of Big Bridge.
This was actually really funny, I was gonna link it but you beat me too it. That Scorpion mission is a fucking asshole.