'Theatrhythm Final Bar Line' Review: Wonderful Music to My Ears

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Square Enix

I love a good old-fashioned rhythm game. It's easy to get sucked into the zone and completely vibe out to the songs being played onscreen as you tap & hold the appropriate buttons in tune with each incoming note. You give me a Rock Band, a Beat Saber, or even a Space Channel 5 with some noise-canceling headphones and mood lighting and I'm simply in Heaven. For some odd reason, I missed out on playing the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy series. Now I'm the type of guy that washes the dishes while I'm jamming out to the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children remix of "One-Winged Angel," so you'd think I would've gone all in on these Final Fantasy-themed rhythm games. Thankfully, I've remedied that crucial error in my Final Fantasy fandom by diving super deep into the latest installment of Theatrhythm's playable musical celebration. Now let's take another deep dive into my Theatrhythm Final Bar Line review.

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'Theatrhythm Final Bar Line 'Review

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Square Enix

From everything I've heard and read about the last two Theatrhythm games, it's mostly filled with positive responses. The second game really built upon the foundation of its predecessor by introducing a ton of songs from Final Fantasy spinoffs and even more unlockable party members from across the JRPG's storied history. Theatrhythm Final Bar Line goes ahead and ups the ante by embracing the theme of "MORE, MORE MORE!" This sequel helps the series go out with a bang by stuffing in 385 tracks (and ultimately 502 songs when you throw in all the extra options included with the game's DX Version and future DLC offerings!), which makes this the biggest Theatrhythm game to date. It feels so enriching to simply look through the tracklist of every featured Final Fantasy mainline entry and side game on offer here. Purely from a day-one content offering, this game provides an amazingly diversified selection of songs to play along to.

Some of the classic tracks that took hold of me and pushed me to play my very best include "Cosmo Canyon," "Fight With Seymour," "Stand Your Ground," and "Balamb Garden." Beyond those songs are a ton of inclusions I didn't expect to see - the song vault this game plays host to features memorable arrangments from the likes of Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and even Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin. And when you consider all the other musical selections that are arriving via DLC from non-Final Fantasy games, you have the perfect swan song (pun intended) for the Theatrhythm IP. I'm very much looking forward to playing a bunch of tracks from the NieR games and listening to the songs featured in LIVE A LIVE for the very first time.

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Square Enix

The gameplay premise of Theatrhythm Final Bar Line sticks to what worked before - as different colored notes come across your screen, you'll need to tap buttons, flick the analog stick in assigned directions, hold buttons & release them at the end of a musical note trail, press two buttons simultaneously, and hold a button while dragging the left analog stick up & down across a winding note path. And for the most part, it works to perfection. Even on the "Basic" difficulty level, each song provides a decent challenge that helps you become that much better at recognizing which is which when it comes to all the different button prompts that come across the screen. Tackling the tougher "Expert" and "Ultimate" difficulty tiers are huge tests of your rhythmic prowess, which provide some overwhelming but still entertaining gameplay scenarios for those of you who can still play "Through the Fire and Flames" in Guitar Hero 3. There's such a satisfying moment of zen that you'll reach whenever you go on a note-fulfillment streak that reaches into the hundreds, which is a feeling I'm so glad this game regularly delivers.

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Square Enix

On the gameplay mode front, there are three to indulge in. First up is "Series Quests," which is where you'll play through each assorted game's track selection with its cutesy chibi roster of heroes (and even villains!). You'll derive plenty of enjoyment from selecting your favorite Final Fantasy game, playing through all of its tracks, and improving your four-person party's stats by completing "Field Music Sequences" and "Battle Music Sequences." As you continue along your musical journey, you'll acquire new summonable beasts, acquire essential items, upgrade your cast of characters, add even more fighters to your growing roster, and get your hands on the keys needed to unlock a new series of tunes to tackle. You'll be a bit disappointed by the fact that the game's "Event Music Sequences" aren't included during your time spent in Series Quests mode, however. It would have been a nice change of pace to hop into a few of those cinematic-focused musical interludes. But sadly, they're mainly regulated to the abundance of tunes available to you in "Music Stages" mode.

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Square Enix

On the multiplayer front, "Multi Battle" mode is where you'll compete with up to four other players in a bid to emerge with the most points during Battle Music Sequences. Vying for the top spot by playing your heart out to whatever track you and your competitors are presented with is another portion of this game that's supremely pleasant. Theatrhythm Final Bar Line's massive song selection means you'll enjoy a long period of playing fresh songs before you even run into a repeated track during your solo and multiplayer sessions.

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