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PAX East 2012: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy hands-on

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy  - 1099778

If there is one thing I loved more than past Final Fantasy games, it was the music. I view composer Nobuo Uematsu as my personal hero. His songs can evoke almost every emotion out of you, based on the composition. Since it's the 25th anniversary of the Final Fantasy series, what better way for Square Enix to celebrate this than by honoring the amazing compositions we've grown to love from every single game in the series with an awesome rhythm game.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy can best be described as a rhythm game most akin to Elite Beat Agents on the DS. It is basically made up over 70 songs that span the entire numbered Final Fantasy games, but instead of just playing song after song, there is a nice meta game built into Theatrhythm that has you build a party from various famous FF characters, and level them up with experience points gained during each song. What this does however wasn't fully revealed to me, but it does add another gameplay layer besides just playing each song.

What I liked the most is how each Final Fantasy game was presented. You essentially pick a game from the series, and then you're taken through a few songs that were a staple in that particular title. I picked Final Fantasy VIII, since out of all the games in the series, I hold that one closest to my heart. The game started with an intro sequence using the games intro song. This part wasn't playable yet, it was just eye candy. The next song "Blue Fields" was the first playable song. It had my character in the background, walking in a field and occasionally stumbling upon other FF characters, while I tapped, held, and flicked notes as they appeared on the screen.

The second song was "Waltz for the Moon" which sparked the most amount of nostalgia, since it had the actual movie from FFVIII which played during this song, playing in the background. The last song was "Man With The Machine Gun" which was a battle scene. There my party kept defeating monster after monster, depending on how well I was hitting all the notes. There was even a part where I summoned Ifrit into the rhythmically infused battle. It's a great spectacle and I loved every single minute of it. The final song was the ending theme, which was once again not playable.

Final Fantasy fans that not only adore the games, but the outstanding soundtracks will undoubtedly love Theatrhythm. It's a celebration of all things Final Fantasy, and the music that made them that much more awesome. This is one game I absolutely can't wait any longer for, and I'm sure will keep my 3DS busy for a long time. Fans can get their hands on Theatrhythm Final Fantasy on July 3rd.

Charmander
Mike Splechta GameZone's Editor-in-Chief, retro game enthusiast, savior of kittens. Follow me @Michael_GZ
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