#Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line – Destructoid

Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line – Destructoid

Not each Closing Fantasy sport is nice, however perhaps each Closing Fantasy sport is nice

Final 12 months, I visited Heinz Corridor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to see the Thirty fifth-anniversary version of the Distant Worlds: Music from Closing Fantasy live performance collection. I don’t love each Closing Fantasy sport, however sitting in that live performance corridor, with a comically overpriced music field in a bag at my toes, for a few hours, I did. And once I play Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line, I like each Closing Fantasy sport once more.

Relying on which video games you wish to rely, Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line, a mechanical celebration of the music of Closing Fantasy, is someplace between the third and seventh Theatrhythm sport. I like the collection — developer indieszero has a powerful understanding of what makes music attention-grabbing, and these video games have all the time achieved a improbable job of translating songs from the ears to the fingers. Unsurprisingly, the studio has achieved its factor as soon as extra, and Closing Bar Line feels superb.

Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line (PS4, Swap [Reviewed])
Developer: indieszero Company, Ltd.
Writer: Sq. Enix
Launched: February 16, 2023
MSRP: $49.99

The very first thing I observed once I began taking part in Closing Bar Line was simply how a lot stuff there’s. The sport’s marketing campaign mode, dubbed “Collection Quests”, options 29 “Title” banners. Every of those banners contains a collection of quests (oh, hey, that’s why they’re referred to as Collection Quests) filled with music from a single Closing Fantasy sport or, in some cases, a small handful of associated titles; the shortest of those questlines options 5 phases, and the longest boasts 32, with most of them leveling out someplace within the 10-20 vary.

Instantly, I used to be anxious. The final Theatrhythm Closing Fantasy sport featured 221 tracks at launch. My favourite indieszero rhythm sport, Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Reminiscence, options simply 143 songs. This one comes with 385 tracks within the base sport. Sq. Enix offered Destructoid with the Premium Digital Deluxe version, which provides over two dozen extra tracks. Each single tune has between three and 4 beatmaps comparable to totally different issue ranges. It’s an absurd quantity of content material, and I used to be involved that it will unfold itself too skinny by taking part in with this “more-is-more” mentality.

So far as I can inform, although, that didn’t occur in any respect. I haven’t unlocked each single observe but, however all the things I’ve performed has felt rigorously crafted and significant. A variety of love has gone into inspecting Nobuo Uematsu’s Closing Fantasy VI soundtrack, clearly, however the identical reverence has been utilized to Kumi Tanioka’s work on Closing Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon. It appears as if each tune featured in Closing Bar Line is there not just because a better observe rely seems to be good on a retailer web page, however as a result of the builders discovered one thing attention-grabbing in a tune and needed to share it with the participant. It’s extremely addictive, nevertheless it’s additionally very intentional.

Listening to the little issues

I feel that’s central to what makes Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line nice. Usually, folks will counsel that rhythm video games can assist a participant grow to be higher at taking part in music — that is the philosophy behind one thing like Rocksmith, which makes use of rhythm gaming mechanics to show gamers the right way to play the guitar. However Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line has a special proposition: perhaps rhythm video games like this make the participant higher at listening to music. When tapping to the beat reveals one thing unheard in a composition, it makes the music itself higher. Every little thing in Closing Bar Line feels so good as a result of it’s obvious that the sport needs you to expertise the music by a brand new lens, to not play it on an instrument, however merely to know the finer intricacies of the piece.

In laid-back Subject Music Levels like Closing Fantasy XV‘s “Somnus,” sure notes require that you just maintain a button down and transfer the joystick, to really feel the circulation and perceive why separate notes really feel so linked, and why that connection interprets into serenity. Battle Music Levels like Closing Fantasy II‘s iconic “Battle Theme 1” ask that you just faucet and flick the joystick quickly, to acknowledge the abrupt stop-and-start present in a lot of Closing Fantasy‘s action-oriented music. Some rare Golden Globes-level class fraud apart (why is “Aerith’s Theme” thought of a Battle Music Stage?), all the things works astonishingly effectively.

It expertly tailors its mechanics to demand that you just really feel the music, and, extra importantly, that you just get it. The sport needs you to note the choices being made within the composition, to understand why the soundtrack to a sport is the way in which it’s. While you unlock Occasion Music Levels, which present you moments from a sport to accompany the tunes, it seems like you have got a greater understanding of why sure songs match into their respective video games, and why accompaniment is so necessary on a mechanical degree.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Along with being a really deliberate, considerate meditation on how music works and the way it enhances a sport, Closing Bar Line can also be simply enjoyable. It’s immensely satisfying to land an ideal chain, and each time I got here up simply a few notes quick, I instantly restarted a observe and tried once more. I’ve taken to plucking away at Subject Music Levels to wind down earlier than mattress, though I nearly all the time maintain myself up chasing a better rating. As all the time, indieszero is nice at doling out dopamine once you’ve earned it and withholding it in all probably the most participating methods.

The sport forces you to know the music, nevertheless it additionally encourages you to get pleasure from it. Between the (admittedly redundant) music participant, the exact beatmaps, and the playful controls, it feels prefer it needs the participant to see music as an artwork, a machine, and a toy. It’s an enriching time and a enjoyable time, a uncommon however potent mixture. It received’t train you any actual music principle, however Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line clearly loves music, and it’s exhausting to not really feel and mirror that love.

Sorry, nonetheless not an RPG

I’m undecided if Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line loves RPGs, although. If the beatmaps betray an infectious fondness for music, then the indifference in direction of RPG techniques is downright contagious. There’s nothing remotely attention-grabbing concerning the ability-based development techniques. As you full ranges, your unlockable doll-like Closing Fantasy characters will degree up, incomes an increasing number of skills as they go.

Screenshot by Destructoid

However truly “utilizing” these skills is a very passive affair. Most skills are triggered by merely hitting quite a lot of notes or getting midway by a tune, which you’ll be doing anyhow (this can be a rhythm sport, in any case). Additionally they don’t really feel impactful after they routinely happen — the one skills that appear to have an effect on the energetic gameplay are therapeutic abilities. Each different skill solely adjustments what’s occurring within the “battles,” so upon getting a healer or two in your celebration, there’s no actual purpose to consider that system ever once more. The one time you’ll have to fret about your celebration in any respect is when a observe comes with a particular aim asking you to deal plenty of injury or kill a sure boss, and even then, when you’ve swapped your characters out accordingly, actually nothing will change about the way in which you strategy the tune.

After all, Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line is a rhythm sport, not an RPG. If I desire a advanced battle system that calls for intensive participant enter, I can anticipate Closing Fantasy XVI. Nonetheless, it will have been good if this idea was just a bit extra fleshed-out. Because it stands, it seems like a vestigial wink at its mum or dad franchise that doesn’t say or do something. It’s solely irritating as a result of the precise moment-to-moment gameplay feels as if it’s saying and doing a lot. When love defines the core, it’s a little bit of a hassle that disinterest defines the environment.

More cash, please

I additionally wish to shortly touch upon Closing Bar Line‘s pricing mannequin. For probably the most half, I feel it’s a fairly good instance for rhythm video games to comply with — the bottom sport is wealthy with nearly all the things an off-the-cuff fan may need, the Digital Deluxe version contains treats for superfans like alternate compositions and rearrangements of various songs, and future tune packs will concentrate on different franchises. If you happen to solely wish to pay for the bottom sport, you’ll get a full expertise, and one which’s effectively well worth the value of admission. If you happen to’re the sort who needs to shell out a bit extra money, you get entry to stuff you’ll truly admire. I used to be actually glad to see music by The Primals, Closing Fantasy XIV composer Masayoshi Soken’s heavy steel Closing Fantasy cowl band. A lot of the bonus content material right here received’t imply a lot to a layman however will nonetheless be rewarding to the form of one that buys a Digital Deluxe version.

Screenshot by Destructoid

However one factor bugs me: “Zanarkand” is unique to the Digital Deluxe version of Theatrhythm Final Bar Line. Usually, I wouldn’t name consideration to this in any respect. The absence of a single observe doesn’t hurt the worth of a mission this huge. However this tune from Closing Fantasy X is extremely iconic. The place the opposite deluxe choices are usually area of interest prizes for devoted followers, “Zanarkand” is such an apparent crowd-pleaser that it was a part of the encore at that live performance I discussed earlier. Locking it behind a second paywall simply calls to thoughts Sq. Enix’s different slimy enterprise practices of late.

Whereas the remainder of the sport jogs my memory of the very best moments within the studio’s historical past, this one component makes me consider the studio’s penchant for NFT-shilling and FOMO advertising. It’s a bit element, nevertheless it nearly seems like Sq. Enix poking on the outer limits of what customers will permit, and it simply leaves a foul style in my mouth. If you will get previous the subpar RPG bits and customary Sq. Enix enterprise, although, Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line will reward you with a really sensible expertise. It’s an excellent rhythm sport by itself, nevertheless it additionally acts as a beautiful companion piece to the Closing Fantasy franchise at massive.

Each Closing Fantasy sport is enhanced by its affiliation with Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line, as a result of each Closing Fantasy soundtrack is given definition and thus made extra lovely. As I’ve been taking part in Theatrhythm, I’ve been going again and revisiting a few of my less-beloved Closing Fantasy video games — I received’t identify them right here for worry of inciting battle — and I sincerely admire these video games extra now. Theatrhythm Closing Bar Line is a testomony to the facility of a soundtrack, and it’s effectively well worth the consideration of any fan of Closing Fantasy, music, or Closing Fantasy music.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]


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