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Jay Sep 11, 2013

Seems Theatehythm is getting a sequel - http://the-magicbox.com/1309/game130910a.shtml

I loved the first one. Such a simple game and a fun way of listening to FF tracks. And a decent level of challenge for those who wanted it. But I ended up buying all the DLC so I spent a fortune on the game and the DLC wasn't very well implemented, IMO. So I really hope that's something addressed in the sequel. I will definitely be keeping a close eye on it.

Amazingu Sep 11, 2013

Excellent news. I was totally obsessed with the original for the longest time, and it's a game I still like to pick up and play every once in a while (if only there was a DL version...) so this makes me very happy indeed. Let's hope they don't rehash too much though.

AND GIVE ME DEVIL'S LAB ALREADY.

Angela Oct 6, 2013

Amazingu wrote:

AND GIVE ME DEVIL'S LAB ALREADY.

This man has the right of it.  Also, I wouldn't say no to "The Dragon Spreads Its Wings" as a proper FIELD stage.

The only thing I'm hoping they change up is the way they handle the alteration of songs when going for the Stoic Bonus.  I loved how they gave you the more difficult variation of notes in place of the Summon phases when you had no weapons/items equipped for BATTLE stages, but I hated how they took away the lengthier Feature Zone/Extended Versions during the EVENT ones.  It seems to me if you were going Stoic, they would WANT you to play the longer version -- not the other way around.

Jay Oct 8, 2013

There's a good trailer here which shows they have looked to the spin-off games for more tracks - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf5y_Z694EM For me, this is both a good and bad thing and I guess it will be the same for most people in that there may be spin-offs they love and others they really don't care for. So I'm very happy to hear a track from X-2 in there, much less so for a Crisis Core track. I'd love to have some Final Fantasy Tactics Advance tracks there. If they have enough tracks and the selection is good, having less familiar ones won't be a handicap - I hadn't played FFXIII and it didn't affect my enjoyment of the XIII sections in the first Theatrhythm.

Aside from the versus mode, it looks like more of the same which I will happily take.

Amazingu Oct 8, 2013

Although I think there's still an incredible wealth of main FF series music they haven't touched on yet, I still welcome the inclusion of spin-off games.
Anything FFT/FFTA would be pretty cool indeed, but X-2 and Crisis Core are more than welcome too.

I know I'll be going for the DL version this time (surely they'll make one this time), and I'll probably spend hundreds of hours with it smile

Kirin Lemon Oct 10, 2013

Amazingu wrote:

Although I think there's still an incredible wealth of main FF series music they haven't touched on yet, I still welcome the inclusion of spin-off games.
Anything FFT/FFTA would be pretty cool indeed, but X-2 and Crisis Core are more than welcome too.

Well, Ramza is a playable character in this next one, so hopefully some of his game's music makes it in there too!

This was actually my favorite thing I played at TGS this year, mostly because I'm such a rabid fan of the original.  I need confirmation of a North American release dang soon, or I'll have to buy a Japanese 3DS just to play it.

Jay Oct 11, 2013

It will be a long wait regardless with it not coming out in Japan until next Spring.

Jay Oct 4, 2014

So anyone get Curtain Call? I got it a few days ago and have been playing it a LOT.

Basically, it's pretty much the same. The main mechanics are the same, it looks the same and it contains almost all the tracks from the original including the DLC. But it also adds tracks from X-2, the XIII sequels, FF Tactics, Crisis Core, Dissidia and more so there is a ridiculous amount of music here. No shortage of variety.

I loved the original. Really my only criticism was that the DLC wasn't integrated well into the game. I felt there was an opportunity to beef up the Series mode with those tracks and the Chaos section had a poor selection of tracks. Rather than beefing up the a Series mode, Curtain Call drops that mode completely. Being honest, I miss it. I loved the idea of playing a mix just from a single game and having a feeling of a beginning and an end. It's gone, as are the EMS video stages from those orginal games and I miss those too.

But the game adds a lot to make up for it. It has video EMS stages from most of the new games represented and some are excellent, even from games I wasn't fond of (Crisis Core jumps to mind) and one extra little video I was happy to play through. The main music select mode is much better with previews of even the DLC tracks, which is great (although no preview while purchasing them), and the option to arrange them in different ways.

The great addition for me is the Quest mode that replaces the Chaos Shrine. The new Quest mode adds a little map with multiple routes and turns it into a mini adventure, stringing stages together and breaking it up with boss battles. In reality, it's dressing on top of just stringing a bunch of stages together but it is dressing that works for me. It feels like progress and they seem to start to get challenging enough that I have to properly equip characters, which is good as the RPG elements could pretty much be ignored in the first game. I really like this new mode, although I do wish there were premade series specific Quests so featuring only music from a particular game. That would have eased my loss of the Series mode.

There is also a vs mode that can be played online I think but I haven't tried that yet.

So that leaves the music. Well as mentioned, it contains all the music from the first game (which is a lot) and a load of new music from a bunch of other games. Generally, the music selection is excellent. There are tracks here from games I haven't played and the tracks are good enough that having no nostalgic attachment is no handicap to enjoyment. One glaring omission in my opinion: the Tactics Advance games. Those games had fantastic music that would have worked brilliantly here and yet there are no tracks at all from those games. And yet we get Mystic Quest and some a Romancing Saga DLC? And we also get tracks from Crisis Core, Advent Children and Dissidia which are remixes of tracks that are in the game in other forms. I don't have a problem with those being represented of course and they likely couldn't please everyone but there is some doubling up where I would have preferred to see variety and certainly Tactics Advance take priority.

That's probably my only grumble. Truth is, I find the music selection to be fantastic.

So that's Curtain Call. It was this or Smash Bros and I chose Curtain Call and I don't regret it for a second. Mostly more of the same but what it's more of is excellent.

jb Oct 4, 2014

I picked it up mostly for the LE stuff but haven't really played it much because of Hyrule Warriors. The quest mode seems good but I struggled on a lot of the harder songs in the first game so not sure how far I'd get in this one.

Amazingu Oct 4, 2014

I got it on day one when it was released in Japan earlier this year, and I ended up pouring over 100 hours into it.
Love it to death, as I did the first game, but yeah, this is a marked improvement.

Will probably end up being my GotY as well.

Ashley Winchester Oct 4, 2014

Amazingu wrote:

I got it on day one when it was released in Japan earlier this year, and I ended up pouring over 100 hours into it.
Love it to death, as I did the first game, but yeah, this is a marked improvement.

Will probably end up being my GotY as well.

Kind of an odd question... but maybe you can answer it. I'm kind of puzzled by the ESRB rating this got. Just kind of seems a bit high for a music based game. Do they reinact scenes from previous games with the avatars or something...?

Amazingu Oct 5, 2014

Ashley Winchester wrote:

Kind of an odd question... but maybe you can answer it. I'm kind of puzzled by the ESRB rating this got. Just kind of seems a bit high for a music based game. Do they reinact scenes from previous games with the avatars or something...?

There are FMVs from some of the previous games in there, I'd say it has something to do with that.

Angela Oct 9, 2014 (edited Oct 13, 2014)

Jay wrote:

Rather than beefing up the a Series mode, Curtain Call drops that mode completely. Being honest, I miss it. I loved the idea of playing a mix just from a single game and having a feeling of a beginning and an end. It's gone, as are the EMS video stages from those orginal games and I miss those too.

While I too appreciated the "going on a musical journey by title" feel that the first game's SERIES mode offered, I do think the selection of tracks has gotten, for lack of a better word, too "unwieldy" for it to be effectively portrayed in a similar manner.  From a utilitarian standpoint, I appreciate the new open-ended nature of MUSIC STAGES.

And while I'm also a bit saddened about the exclusion of EMS stages from earlier titles, re-outfitting them into more challenging and interesting FMS/BMS levels was definitely a good call.  The likes of Theme of Love, Waltz for the Moon and Aerith's Theme are much more enjoyable now.

But the game adds a lot to make up for it. It has video EMS stages from most of the new games represented and some are excellent, even from games I wasn't fond of (Crisis Core jumps to mind) and one extra little video I was happy to play through.

The thing I like about the EMS levels now is just how much more fluid the cursor movement is; chalk it up to a potentially more powerful engine under the hood, but there's none of the framerate judder that used to throw off my timing like in the original.  (And yes, that "Special Arrangement Medley" is three-plus minutes of FF music magic.)

The main music select mode is much better with previews of even the DLC tracks, which is great (although no preview while purchasing them), and the option to arrange them in different ways.

As someone who's already purchased a substantial number of Curtain Call's DLC tracks, can I just throw out how utterly antiquated the in-game e-Shop is?  Like the first game, having to go through *NINE* different menu confirmations in order to buy a single track, one by one (if you're using the 'Add Funds as needed' option) is an exercise in tedium.

The great addition for me is the Quest mode that replaces the Chaos Shrine. The new Quest mode adds a little map with multiple routes and turns it into a mini adventure, stringing stages together and breaking it up with boss battles. In reality, it's dressing on top of just stringing a bunch of stages together but it is dressing that works for me. It feels like progress and they seem to start to get challenging enough that I have to properly equip characters, which is good as the RPG elements could pretty much be ignored in the first game. I really like this new mode, although I do wish there were premade series specific Quests so featuring only music from a particular game. That would have eased my loss of the Series mode.

I love the uber-randomness of QUEST MEDLEY.  The variety is already much, much better than what the Chaos Shrine had to offer, and I like how playing songs via Quest also counts toward your official grade rankings in MUSIC STAGES.  What I *DON'T* love are the higher 80+ level quests that throw those obnoxious spinning arrows out at you.  A more dexterous player may be able to handle these, but to me, they feel like cheap, artificial padding masquerading as a challenge.  I was really hoping they would do away with these from the first game.

The RPG elements are a healthy supplement for getting the most spoils for your victories.  Given the right payouts with your character setups, you can see a significant increase in the acquiring of rare items and crystal shards per stage.  (And yes, they're also a helpful crutch for when you need to rely on Quest Medley's single life bar; calculating when your healing spells kick in can be a godsend when you're partaking in a particularly lengthy quest.)

There is also a vs mode that can be played online I think but I haven't tried that yet.

And here we come to what I feel is the game's best new mode.  VERSUS seemed like an afterthought given the extraordinary amount of single-player content on display, but after playing a good many rounds with live players, I find myself utterly addicted to it.  It's gratifying going one-on-one, doling out your best BMS and trying to one-up each other for rhythm precision.  I'm ambivalent toward the EX Bursts that can help or hinder your chances of victory; the "Judgment" burst has accurately been called "the Blue Shell of Curtain Call," and if you've ever been on the receiving end of one, you'll see why.  I do enjoy the Ultimate Score mode without EX Bursts more, which emphasizes raw skill over handicaps-by-chance.  (That being said, I find myself greatly humbled whenever I come across Japanese players who can nail all Criticals on something like Force Your Way Ultimate.  Those folks are MACHINES.)

So that leaves the music. Well as mentioned, it contains all the music from the first game (which is a lot) and a load of new music from a bunch of other games. Generally, the music selection is excellent. There are tracks here from games I haven't played and the tracks are good enough that having no nostalgic attachment is no handicap to enjoyment.

The Type-0 tracks were the biggest surprise for me.  Curtain Call is my first real exposure to the music, and I've since sought out the entire Original Soundtrack.  I'm likely in the minority since I dug the hell out of the Crisis Core soundtrack, but Takeharu Ishimoto's work for Type-0 is stellar stuff. (I'm impatiently counting down the weeks for when the "We Have Come" BMS DLC becomes available.)

Other things of note:

- I've quickly warmed up to the 'Button' configuration.  It's a bit tougher to nail diagonals on the Circle Pad, but the FMS levels' up and down phase bars are more natural to pull off.

- I love the greater variety of BMS/FMS backgrounds based on famous Final Fantasy landmarks.  Though it's obviously not the case, it's easy to believe that every stage has its own designated background.  Hell, Shuffle or Boogie has you dueling on a Triple Triad board!

- I mentioned Stoic Bonus from the first game earlier in this thread, which they've gotten rid of completely. While this means there's a Feature Zone/Extended Versions for all EMS songs now, I miss the harder difficulty notes offered when doing away with the BMS Summon phases. On the plus side, several songs do appear to have minor alterations to the note charts from the first game, which makes that a challenge in and of itself.

- It's great that several songs are no longer truncated in length.  The likes of "One Winged Angel" can now be played in full.

- For what it's worth, every DLC track I've bought has been well worth the price of admission.  They've put some real thought into these note charts: fun, challenging, and fulfilling.

- The 5-track bonus Remix CD that came with the game has a handful of the Curtain Call-specific menu arrangements, but it's a shame we didn't get the magnificent "Main Theme of FF5 ~ Ahead on Our Way" or FF3's "Crystal Tower."

James O Oct 10, 2014

Angela wrote:

- The 5-track bonus Remix CD that came with the game has a handful of the Curtain Call-specific menu arrangements, but it's a shame we didn't get the magnificent "Main Theme of FF5 ~ Ahead on Our Way" or FF3's "Crystal Tower."

if you're lucky hehe enough to have a copy of the Final Fantasy GO THERE special CD:
http://vgmdb.net/album/45462

the Crystal Tower and Main Theme of FFV are on there. smile hehe

Angela Oct 10, 2014

James O wrote:
Angela wrote:

- The 5-track bonus Remix CD that came with the game has a handful of the Curtain Call-specific menu arrangements, but it's a shame we didn't get the magnificent "Main Theme of FF5 ~ Ahead on Our Way" or FF3's "Crystal Tower."

if you're lucky hehe enough to have a copy of the Final Fantasy GO THERE special CD:
http://vgmdb.net/album/45462

the Crystal Tower and Main Theme of FFV are on there. smile hehe

Do you consider yourself a lucky man, Mr. Oikawa? wink

jb Oct 10, 2014

I think he acquires random SQEX promo CDs, store CDs and event CDs at about the lengths I do Hisaishi stuff, lol. Although at least Hisaishi stuff is easier because I can just buy them as they're released and they're not difficult to acquire!

James O Oct 11, 2014

jb wrote:

I think he acquires random SQEX promo CDs, store CDs and event CDs at about the lengths I do Hisaishi stuff, lol. Although at least Hisaishi stuff is easier because I can just buy them as they're released and they're not difficult to acquire!

it really is a bitch to acquire some of this stuff.  =p

Amazingu Oct 11, 2014

James O wrote:
jb wrote:

I think he acquires random SQEX promo CDs, store CDs and event CDs at about the lengths I do Hisaishi stuff, lol. Although at least Hisaishi stuff is easier because I can just buy them as they're released and they're not difficult to acquire!

it really is a bitch to acquire some of this stuff.  =p

Not if you live in Japan it ain't wink

http://postimg.org/image/3yf62k38z/

#pointlessbragging

shdwrlm3 Oct 12, 2014

Am I crazy or is the audio noticeably quiet compared to the first game? I first noticed it when I played the demo and was hoping it was just because they compressed the music to save space, but the full game seems to suffer from weird audio mixing as well. Songs like "Mt. Gulg" sounded full and rich in the first game, but sound tiny and compressed here.

Other gripes:

- Not loving some of the gui changes. In particular, I don't like how hold triggers disappear into the cursor now, or the thicker lines associated with hold triggers. It makes it harder to see the cursor, thus making the trickier rapid movements more difficult than they should be.

- Monster Buff is the bane of my existence. The rotating arrows in the first game were annoying, but Dark Notes were somewhere in between Expert and Ultimate difficulty so they were doable. Here, they're basically designed to cut off your perfect chain on Ultimate, and it's super obnoxious because I otherwise love being able to use Quest Medley to set high scores. Oh, and Judgment in Versus can go eff off.

- Where my Shadow and Relm at? Glad to see my girl Terra represent, though. She's absolute boss with Ultima.

Other than that, I'm in love with the game. The song selection is phenomenal and has exposed me to so much new material. I haven't played a mainline Final Fantasy since X-2, but I'm ready to buy XIII off Steam just because I love Lightning's leitmotif so much. And I must see Susan Calloway perform "Answers" live.

Angela Oct 13, 2014

shdwrlm3 wrote:

Am I crazy or is the audio noticeably quiet compared to the first game? I first noticed it when I played the demo and was hoping it was just because they compressed the music to save space, but the full game seems to suffer from weird audio mixing as well. Songs like "Mt. Gulg" sounded full and rich in the first game, but sound tiny and compressed here.

It's not just you. I did a side by side comparison with the first game through headphones, and the sequel is definitely a notch or two quieter in music volume.  But what bothers me more is that the trigger chime volume can't go any higher than 4; this is problematic when you have songs that have predominantly loud sonic fidelity drowning out the chime sounds all together. (FFX's Otherworld is a good example.)

As for compression, I found it most noticeable during the opening bars of the Victory Fanfare, the character level up jingle, and the unlocked-a-new-character jingle -- minor ditties, granted, but given how frequently they play, they can't help but stand out like sore thumbs.

Jay Oct 14, 2014

Angela wrote:

While I too appreciated the "going on a musical journey by title" feel that the first game's SERIES mode offered, I do think the selection of tracks has gotten, for lack of a better word, too "unwieldy" for it to be effectively portrayed in a similar manner.

Yeah, I know it wouldn't be easy but given how many tracks there are from the original games (at least 10 per game) and the fact that the backgrounds are so unique to each game, I think there was room to string them together in order to create a new series mode that would be like a mini musical journey through the game.

And speaking of the backgrounds, I'm loving that DLC tracks often have unique backgrounds. I downloaded the FFIV moon FMS track and the background is wonderful. Anyone who has played the game will love it.

I have been playing quite a lot of the Quest Medley mode over the last while and it is excellent. Yes, I'd like a few more specific, less random quests in there (maybe there are some?) but some of the assortments I have played through have been great. And it is so good that DLC tracks show up in there too - that was something sorely missed from the original. Things start getting really tough for me at the high lvl 70s and scraping through the early 80s is something I think I've only done once. I haven't even attempted higher yet but I really get overwhelmed at some of the faster Ultimate BMS tracks so I'm not sure I'll ever get through them. It is great though that the game throws out a lower level quest if you fail. I have needed that a couple of times.

Tried online too and got my ass handed to me for about the first 20 games I played. It took a while to start to get the hang of the Ex Bursts and, even now, the random one causes me severe problems. When I can't quite tell which beat is going to land first, I get very flustered. Others I can handle a little better and have managed to win some games. I played against a few people who had maxed out their rating and the results were fairly predictable.

And so I've been playing it to death and I think there are still tracks I haven't played yet. It is a crazy amount of content. In the track selection, I'm finding it odd that some games suit me much more than others. When the game was announced, I was really happy to hear that X-2 was included and yet I don't enjoy playing those stages now that it's here. Crystal Chronicles on the other hand, a game I only bought the OST for because of the blobby cover, I'm finding a real joy to play every time I get a track from it. Some of the Dissidia and Crisis Core remixes are fantastic too. And I find myself thinking that I never gave FF3 enough credit for how good the music is.

shdwrlm3 Oct 14, 2014

Angela wrote:

As for compression, I found it most noticeable during the opening bars of the Victory Fanfare, the character level up jingle, and the unlocked-a-new-character jingle -- minor ditties, granted, but given how frequently they play, they can't help but stand out like sore thumbs.

The Victory Fanfare is definitely a big offender. It's like listening to a 32kbps mp3.

Angela wrote:

I'm ambivalent toward the EX Bursts that can help or hinder your chances of victory; the "Judgment" burst has accurately been called "the Blue Shell of Curtain Call," and if you've ever been on the receiving end of one, you'll see why.

EX Bursts are fun on Expert because they can help even things out while still being manageable since the note charts aren't too complex. But I really don't know how anyone can manage them on Ultimate. The reaction time is just too short for mystery or rotating triggers. And the only thing worse than Judgment is triggering HP Swap when your health is full and the enemy is down to almost nothing.

Jay wrote:

Yes, I'd like a few more specific, less random quests in there (maybe there are some?)

There are certain "nostalgic" quests that have songs from specific sets of FFs (e.g., I-III, IV-VI, etc.). There's a very small chance you can get a nostalgic map whenever you clear a map, or you can get them from trading Proficards. I haven't managed to get one of those yet because online randoms don't even bother changing the default Lvl 10 quest attached to their Proficards. -_-  However, I was lucky and managed to snag a short quest with Magic Pots and Movers that gives up to 40k exp per song. In general I try to seek out people with high scores, since those are the ones more likely to attach something good. But, man, does it sting to lose to button players.

Jay wrote:

And so I've been playing it to death and I think there are still tracks I haven't played yet. It is a crazy amount of content.

I'm up to 40 hours now and I've still only played half of the tracks. I have to give them props for including almost all of the DLC from the first game for free.

Jay Oct 23, 2014

Rufus' Ceremony DLC stage has an audience rating box pop up every now and again. The attention to detail here is wonderful.

Unlocked a large amount of the characters but I'm finding gold shards hard to come by. The later levels are very tough for me (late 70s and beyond) so sometimes I fail at the last hurdle and don't beat the boss. That can be frustrating but I'm still loving this game so much.

FFVIII has just about the best FF music ever. The Oath is a track I had long forgotten about.

shdwrlm3 Oct 24, 2014

Uggh, I really wish they had done away with EMS entirely. I've tried "Answers" a dozen times now and the timings still make no sense to me.

Jay wrote:

Unlocked a large amount of the characters but I'm finding gold shards hard to come by. The later levels are very tough for me (late 70s and beyond) so sometimes I fail at the last hurdle and don't beat the boss. That can be frustrating but I'm still loving this game so much.

Party management is key. If survival is the issue, get a good healer with Regen or Paeon+Soul Voice. Cosmos is cited as the best healer in the game, but it requires a lot of level resetting because you need 87 CP to outfit her with Paeon 1-3 and Soul Voice.

For the rest of the party, have two characters with high Strength to take out the smaller enemies, then have a really strong magic user to deal with boss. Terra with Ultima can one-shot bosses, but you'll want to reset her level numerous times because you need Dualcast and Trance to make Ultima more effective.

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