Sometimes it's good to know things are as they were. The feeling summarized my brief experience with Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, a new version of the 3DS rhythm game that draws memorable music from Square's biggest role-playing games.
The Tokyo Game Show demo played host to 20 of the encore's 200 songs, including newbies like the jazzier Advent Children version of "One Winged Angel," the remixed FF13 battle music from Lightning Returns, and tunes from FF14 and Type-O.
There was no sign of the new two-player versus mode, sadly, despite the abundance of 3DS units at Square Enix's booth. That said, a new trailer suggests it's tied to disrupting the other player by affecting the notes coming their way, and it certainly looks frantic.
In terms of what fans can expect, at its core this looks to be the same Theatrhythm they know and love. The UI and in-game notes look a bit shinier, there are new enemies and likely heroes - the inclusion of Dagger from FF9 suggests the IOS-exclusive characters will make their way across - and we'd expect there are at the least some similar tweaks to the game's RPG side. On that last point Famitsu (via Polygon) notes there'll be collectible cards that can boost characters' attributes, along with a 'quest medley' hybrid mode that mixes the field and battle music into one.
Playing through three or four of Curtain Call's various TGS tunes, however, felt just like playing the original Theatrhythm, with all three game types - Battle, Event, and Field - playing out with the same rulesets and controls as before. That this is what Square Enix chose to show at TGS suggests Curtain Call won't mess around too much with a core system that worked before; the game is more of an embellished, enhanced version of the original, rather than a sequel.
One thing I was impressed by was the Advent Children rendition, which layered the event music game over footage from the Final Fantasy 7 film. It was a strong fit, the video looking great, even if the game did commit the cardinal sin of finishing before the song did (something the original Theatrhythm was often guilty of, but still!).
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call launches in Japan in Spring 2014. Square Enix has yet to announce any plans to bring it west.