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Theatrhythm Final Bar Line preview: our first impressions in music

The fantasy world of Square-Enix gives an encore on Nintendo Switch and PS4: we previewed the demo of Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

In writing his previous review of Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory, the writer wondered if indieszero would like to revisit the series Theatrhythm and a little over two years later we find an answer in the demo version of Final Bar Linewhich we tested in preview. The musical title registered Square-Enix abandons the more explanatory subtitle, perhaps in the face of the now indisputable fame of the sub-series. After all, of all the “Final Fantasy” (inverted commas required in the case of that console) released on Nintendo 3DS, the first Theatrhythm and its sequel Curtain Call were ironically the most faithful to the tenets of the franchise.

The announcement of the game surprised everyone in two ways. The first is the very return of what would otherwise be supposed to be a simple experiment. The second, however, are the contents, which in the base game promise to eclipse the already excellent Melody of Memory tracklist by a lot. The title, perhaps due to a veto from the house of the Rat, has remained firm on the hard line in terms of DLC: The game no longer received any additional content, outside of a cut scene inserted through a patch. This is not the case with the return of indieszero in great pomp, for a reason that could be discussed. Let’s go in order.

Preludio – Anteprima Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

Already at the first launch of Theatrhythm Final Bar Line, we can open the preview with a confirmation for those who have played the two chapters on Nintendo 3DS (children of their time): the game has been localized in Italian. The demo mainly offers the “essential” modes, however asking the player to unlock them to start the necessary ritual tutorials. “Series Missions” and “Musical Stages”, in the case, translates into “History” and “Free Game” respectively. Not that this branch of the brand has who knows what plot: The super-deformed versions of the cast are supposed to still fight for Cosmos and Chaos (from Dissidia for PSP, not the one for PS4), but there’s none of the meat.

Il gameplay hard and pure is the master. Many have simplified this series as “Guitar Hero, but with Final Fantasy”, were it not for some substantial differences. It is necessary to intercept three types of colored signals (which maintain the English nomenclature in Italian, or “trigger”) which, depending on the case, are directed towards one or four circles in time with the music. The Reds, “touch trigger”, require only the press of a front or back button. The greens,”hold trigger”, impose a long press. Finally, the yellow arrows “slide trigger” require a flick of the analog stick in one direction. Always on time, of course.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line preview: our first impressions in music

Muscle (and musical) memory – Theatrhythm Final Bar Line preview

It is no coincidence that we have mentioned Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory. Indieszero’s latest arrival has brought several breaths of fresh air, from which the game benefits enormously. Let’s talk very briefly about unlock requirements. As a rule, the “Series Mission” which contains the most iconic pieces of a single Final Fantasy rewards the player with access to the equivalent of another episode of the saga once they reach the halfway point (or, in the case of the demo, the end) of the path punctuated by the various passages. By unlocking a different Final Fantasy, you also get its playable characters. That’s right, Theatrhythm veterans: no more “crystal shards”cheers!

The same ease is also reflected in the unlock songs in the Museum, which can be listened to at will once the relevant passage has been tackled in the “story” mode (and, we assume, the same will apply to the cutscenes in the full game). And speaking of Museo, also the latter draws liberally from the subdivision of the contents seen in Melody of Memory, including (unfortunately) the new image-only policy of the CollectaCards. We also point out the presence of two additional input styles from the Kingdom Hearts spin-off, namely “Simple” (without slide trigger, and – again – cheers) and “In pairs” (the mode co-op).

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line preview: our first impressions in music

Ouverture a bomba – Anteprima Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

And let us speak, therefore, of these blessed ones Series missions. The idea is to tackle, in order, the best-known passages of a given Final Fantasy to recreate (in a concise way) the auditory experience of the entire game. That the title succeeds in its anthological intent, then, will be the subject of a review later; for now, we report the presence of missions in the so-called “adventure”. These are secondary objectives, which vary from the simple “complete the song without undergoing a Game Over” to more complicated directives, such as knocking down two bosses in a single song. To do this, you need to grow your team.

The RPG elements they are present here too, but (understandably) stripped down to the bone. By growing in level, the characters get boosts in attack, defense, life points and, above all, new skills. With a sufficiently garnished roster of heroes (for a team of four of them) it is possible to heal yourself at every right note, resort to summons more quickly and so on. The mythical creatures to be called into the field make their return in the battle songs, and allow you to inflict massive damage when the related gauge is filled. We take this opportunity to recall, however, that since rhythm game this title is uncompromising: Breaking a perfect combo is a matter of seconds.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line preview: our first impressions in music

The Price of Freedom – Preview Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

In addition to allowing us to see the differences between input styles and levels of difficulty (Basic, Expert, Extreme and the newborn – as well as insane – Supremo), the voice Musical Stages he pointed out two things to us: first of all, the mode only serves to improve one’s scores, divided for each combination between the two variables; secondly, this means that the mode is not intended to be used as a shortcut to the missions of… well, the Quest Series. Then counting the return of the cumulative score Rhythmia (seen in Melody of Memory with the equivalent, Rhythm Points), and associated unlockable content, we have a candidate for the console’s longest running titles.

And this is where the demo’s wiggle room starts to run out. The Multi-Battle menu and that of the player profile tabs are both inaccessible, while the maximum level that the characters can reach is fixed at 30. The pleasant downside of all this is that the save data of the demo (non-existent for the trial version of Melody of Memory, although for reasons unsuspected at the time) are transferable to the full game. Whose “explorable” worlds promise to include mobile titles Mobius and Record Keeper as well, as well as Dissidia, VII Remake, Tactics, Mystic Quest and even Theathrythm themselves.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line preview: our first impressions in music

“Guil-ty as charged”

The release of the game is scheduled on Nintendo Switch e PS4 il February 16th, or in a little (very little) more than two weeks. The divisive aspect we alluded to at the beginning of our preview is due to the so-called “Ubisoft chart”. For the less accustomed to this type of practice now common in the Triple A gaming industry, they exist multiple editions of the game at different prices. The basic version, fixed at quota 60 eurogives you access to 385 (!!!) tracks from every corner of the brand. If you want to pamper yourself a little better, however, you have two alternatives that will cost you 30 and 50 euros more respectively.

The edition Digital Deluxe include 27 additional and exclusive songs to this releaseas well as a banner on the title screen to show off your fine palate. It will all cost you 90 euroand also includes the Season Pass which (in stages) will include songs from the series SaGa, NieR, The World ends With You and LIVE a LIVE. During 2023, the total number of songs will rise to the quota 442. And if you feel more like spending, you have the option to buy the Premium Digital Deluxe Edition and also own songs from the Mana series, Xenogears, Octopath Traveler, Chrono Trigger and other unannounced sagas. The total amounts to 110 europer 502 songs.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line preview: our first impressions in music

Now it’s up to you to have your say: are you in line for day one or do you prefer to skip the concert? Let us know below, and as always, don’t forget to stay on for all the most important news for gamers and more. For your purely gaming needs, you can instead find the best discounts in digital format on Instant Gaming.