Sunday, 17 July 2011

Role-Playing Game Meets Guitar Hero in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy

As you probably know, I'm a big fan of portable Role Playing Games, or RPGs as most gamers know them as. Quite possibly my favourite handheld game of all time is The World Ends with You, an amazing stat-raker set in the streets of modern-day Shibuya, Tokyo. I absolutely love this game, which is to be expected. The guys who developed The World Ends with You also created the two Kingdom Hearts games on PS2, which, while not as polished as their DS RPG, were still excellent in their own right. Jupiter are clearly masters of the art involved in creating superb Role Players, and it seems that the developers of The World Ends with You and the Kingdom Hearts series might be working on a new title for the much shinier and newer 3DS. I say 'might be', as this is just a rumour at the time of writing. Anyway, if this game is actually being pieced together by Jupiter, it certainly isn't what we'd usually expect from the creators of some of the best RPGs around. Behold, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is a rhythm action game in which you fight some of Square Enix's most popular series' greatest battles using music rather than selecting endless amounts of menu options. Like I said, not what we'd usually expect from Jupiter.

The likes of Cloud and Lightning can be seen in the first batch of screenshots, but in a more chibi form than the main games.
If you take a look at the first batch of screenshots for the latest spin-off in Square Enix's longest running series, you'd be easily fooled into thinking that this will be a rushed excuse to cash in on the Final Fantasy franchise yet again, since that's what Square tend to do with the series these days. The visuals clearly don't make use of the 3DS's astounding graphical power, and just the fact this this isn't a full on adventure back up initial concerns. However, with Jupiter potentially behind the wheel of the latest Final Fantasy spin-off, it could potentially be rather good. As I mentioned, Theatrhythm is a rhythm action game, much like the now canned Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises. You'll be playing each song not by pressing buttons, but by flicking and swaying the circle pad in various different motions to try and achieve perfect scores and earn the pleasure you usually get from these sort of games. On top of this, you won't be playing songs to impress a virtual crowd this time round, as animations of Final Fantasy's most breathtaking battles occur while you play each song, presumably with your performance determining the outcome of these clashes between good and evil. It's a clever idea, and while it may still seem like a bit of a cash-in, the game potentially has RPG elements too.

This screenshot looks slightly different from all the others we've seen so far. I assume it's a tutorial but I could be wrong...
Most Final Fantasy games including the various spin-offs have statistic elements that you'll find in standard RPGs, and it seems that Theatrhythm might not be an exception to this rule. As you can see from the screenshots, a level and health meter is displayed in the top-right corner of the screen. Whether this is just there as a display or if you'll actually be able to level up characters is unknown, but if we do have traditional RPG elements in this non-traditional rhythm-action game we've potentially got quite a clever title in the works. I'm certainly hoping that we'll have some sort of RPG element in this game, but we'll just have to wait and see. Traditional RPG elements or not, Theatrhythm is already set to have a super soundtrack made up of some of the best and most epic tunes from the Final Fantasy series. A number of tracks have been confirmed so far, including the seriously epic 'One Winged Angel' from Final Fantasy VII and of course, the franchise's main theme. Aside from the tracklist, some other details have been confirmed including SpotPass support, which might just mean free downloadable songs to add to the ones already built-into the cartridge. Theatrhythm clearly won't be anything along the lines of Dissidia, quite possibly the best Final Fanrasy spin-off of all time, but it still looks pretty enjoyable. Definitely a game to keep an eye out for over the next few months...


G&MES Team Member said...

Nice preview noodle. And you're a fan of Kingdom Hearts?

You continue to impress with your gaming taste :)


G&MES Team Member said...

I love Kingdom Hearts too! Are you a fan of it? And the FF preview was great :D, come and check out my Animal Crossing Wild World Review ;) and maybe my F1 2011 Preview. But I love Kingdom Hearts! Any chance of you getting stuff on it?