I’ll get this out of the way: the amount of content in Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is gigantic. So, if you find even the tiniest amount of enjoyment from Final Fantasy’s music, then you can stop reading now, head to your nearest store, and pick it up. But, if you want more detail, then feel free to continue reading this review. Most of the content will be familiar to those that have any experience with the first two Theatrhythm titles that were on the Nintendo 3DS. Final Bar Line being on the Switch and PlayStation 4 means slight changes to the gameplay, but everything else is just as interactive (and addictive) as before.
Of course, that means everything looks the same as before, too. Indeed, the somewhat creepy and overly goofy caricatures of Final Fantasy heroes and villains is back and slightly elevated. There are more characters since more Final Fantasy titles are featured, and there are also new monsters, summons, and effects. Sometimes, the effects can be a bit distracting but overall, this game retains the same look. The Switch and PS4 just make things look more crisp.
When you begin the game, you’ll be able to select from one of three modes. Music Stages lets you select any track you’ve unlocked. Multiplayer Battle lets you play with with friends. The one I spent the most time in is Series Quest: you’ll go through a number of songs in a specific Final Fantasy, acquiring keys to unlock other titles. You’re rewarded after finishing all of the songs in a series. To spice things up, each song has a Quest associated with it. They’re optional, but they grant rewards such as artwork, game-related screenshots, items, and more. Completionists will have a heck of a time clearing 100 percent of these. They range from very easy to very difficult. The very difficult ones usually require a certain party set up. Note that your rewards are that much more robust for finishing a series with all Quests completed.
If you played the first game, you will right at home as you build a party of four Final Fantasy heroes (and villains), equip them with abilities and items, and select a song to play. Series Quest feature Field Music Stages (FMS) and Battle Music Stages (BMS). Music Stages Mode lets you play the above two, as well as FMV stages where select songs play against a backdrop of scenes from each title. The neat thing about the FMV stages is that the notes come from top to bottom like Guitar Hero. They’re a nice change of pace. But, for the most part, you’ll be going through FMS’ and BMS’. Since there isn’t any stylus tapping, you’ll have to press buttons land your notes while following along to the music. Each song has at least three levels of difficulty so anyone can hop right in and play. Finishing a song grants points in the form of Rhythmia. You’ll unlock rewards as you acquire this. It’s a straightforward formula that works and is highly addictive. With 385 songs to choose, it’s easy to play for hours on end or just for a few songs to pass the time.
When the credits roll, chances are you’ll have spent at least 30 hours playing. As of now, post-credits and having replayed favorite songs, I’m sitting at nearly 50 hours. There are tons of little things to unlock, too. There’s also a hefty amount of DLC featuring the music from other Square hits. Finishing the game unlocks a mode called Endless World. It’s just as it sounds: you need to try to clear as many stages as you can in a never-ending mode. It’s a bit much; something that only those with a lot of time would get the most out of. All in all, having so much access to so much music is fantastic. While some games got more attention than others (FFXIV has over 30 songs and they’re a chore to get through) and some of the Quests can be frustrating, this is a wonderful way to celebrate the music of such an important series. I highly recommend to all music and Final Fantasy fans.
Overall, 8.5/10: Another encore that is endless. Theatrhythm Final Bar Line has enough music to last Final Fantasy fans for years.