Theatrhythm Final Bar Line Review – Thank You For The Music

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line Review
The OMG Review
Our review format is not your usual fare and we’ve broken it down into 3 very simple ratings!

“Buy it!” means that the game deserves a place in your collection. Be it day 1 or a slightly delayed purchase, it’s hard to go wrong with this title. In numbers, this is around an 8/10 and above.

“Wait for it…” means that while the game is good, it probably isn’t worth it at its day 1 price point. We suggest you wait for a sale before jumping in. In numbers, this is around a 5 – 7/10.

“Ignore it!” means that the game is not something we’d recommend playing, whether it be now or in the near future. Maybe ever. Let’s not even go to the numbers for this one.

Sneak Peek
  • Release Date: February 16, 2023
  • Platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Rhythm RPG
  • Similar Games: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory
  • Price: starts at $49.99

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is the latest Final Fantasy crossover game from Square Enix, developed by indieszero. A demo was released prior to launch, spanning 30 iconic Final Fantasy tracks and giving everyone a taste of what to expect.

30 might sound like a lot, but the release version of the game will feature music across not only the mainline Final Fantasy series, sub-stories like Final Fantasy X-2 and Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII, but also from various Square games such as Chrono Trigger to SaGa Frontier. This gives you a whopping 385 core tracks from the Theatrhythm Final Bar Line plus 27 special music tracks!

With so much content to go through, it is quite a treat for any rhythm game fan, and an even bigger treat for Final Fantasy music fans out there. The game combines the rhythm subgenre with addictive RPG elements and implements highly stylized Final Fantasy characters as part of your party. What’s not to love?

Sit back, put those dancing shoes on, and tap to the beat of Theatrhythm Final Bar Line!

Battle To The Beat!

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is quite similar to rhythm games of its type, including the karaoke mini-game in Yakuza as well as Kingdom Hearts: Memory of Melody. The game gets you going with an easy-to-learn tutorial, going through the basic rhythm of pressing a button for a beat, pressing down on a directional beat, and finally holding down on a beat and letting go to complete the trigger.

The main battle modes in Theatrhythm Quest Stages include Battle Music Stage (BMS) and boss battles. Here, you’re able to battle through enemies and use your summons. Boss Battles are more involved BMS stages where you fight iconic bosses that are much more challenging. As you hit critical notes, it increases the damage and triggers abilities.

theatrhythm final bar line review screenshot 1
Once you see it…

Field Music Stage (FMS) switches things up a bit, where you can also move your trigger slider up and down to simulate a traveling effect. You’re not able to use summons during this stage, and missing the triggers usually causes damage to your characters or slows you down in your journey. This is where the RPG elements of Theatrhythm come into full view.

You can populate your 4-person team with characters from all across Final Fantasy’s cast of characters, such as Cloud, Lightning, and even more obscure characters like Firion from Final Fantasy II. Each character is differentiated from common types such as Physical, Magical, and Healer types, and each one has its own unique abilities. More specialized characters include Defensive, Hunter, Support, and the even rarer Summoner classes.

This plays into the specific quests each music level dishes out. Not only are you tasked with clearing a level by keeping your characters alive, but to complete a level, you have to meet the requirements of the quests. Be it defeating a specific enemy or boss, collecting treasure, or dealing a specific number of damage, completing each quest rewards you with items, collect-a-cards, and summon stones.

Each character excels in their own way, and you can freely form a party that either matches your nostalgia or completes quests as efficiently as possible. The temptation to form a dream Final Fantasy team is strong, but not every character has the skill or talent to complete many of these quests. In fact, the game puts parameters that make it quite difficult to complete, such as having a no slashing damage requirement in Final Fantasy VI where four out of the six main characters work with slashing damage, or FMS stages where the beat moves twice as fast, simulating a high-speed chase or an airship battle.

theatrhythm final bar line review screenshot 2
“I’m here to kill Chaos!”

You can expand the challenges in Theatrhythm by increasing the difficulty from Basic to a higher difficulty level such as Expert, Ultimate, and Supreme. As they get more difficult, the beat becomes more involved and even provides a tougher challenge for rhythm game enthusiasts.

As your characters level up in Theatrhythm Final Bar Line, they learn better skills to aid you with your challenges. Physical characters learn more powerful abilities, Magicians learn higher-level spells, and Specialized characters learn passive skills that allow for better healing and item gathering. Specific heroes learn character-specific skills such as Noctis’ Armiger and Aerith’s Great Gospel. Items are also available to customize your characters with stat-boosting effects, experience boosters, and even skill tomes.

Besides your items, summon stones also add a boost to your party, dealing massive damage when utilized, in addition to their skill-boosting passives that add to your overall party ability. You can also increase your damage with Trigger boosts, earn more experience and items, and get specific physical and magical damage boosts.


A Celebration of Music, Final Fantasy Style!

While everyone has their own personal Final Fantasy, I’d say with more than fifteen titles to choose from, everybody can find their musical niche. Nostalgia is a powerful drug, and Theatrhythm Final Bar Line delivers in spades. There’s nothing quite like unlocking your personal Final Fantasy quest line and reliving those moments with music.

Throughout your journey, you collect Rhythmia points, which unlock cosmetic items such as your personalized airship and even clothes for your moogle companion. As you build your Rhythmia, you also unlock special memory cards, artwork, and even summon stones.

theatrhythm final bar line screenshot

As for unlocking other titles, you would need to complete an entire quest line to unlock the rest, and from there, you are free to peruse at your pleasure. It brought me great joy when I unlocked Final Fantasy VI and re-lived my first Final Fantasy through iconic tracks including the Locke, Celes, and Terra’s themes. While not every track was available, many of the iconic ones are there. I was a little bit disappointed that it didn’t have the full Aria de Mezzo Carrattere sequence or the ending medley, which was a huge oversight.

For fans of Final Fantasy in general, Theatrhythm Final Bar Line will surely bring about that joy of discovery when checking out another Final Fantasy that they might’ve not experienced as much in the past. Newcomers to the franchise are certainly welcome, as Theatrhythm Final Bar Line would be their way to learn about the series as a whole.

Theatrhythm‘s “main quest,” if you can call it that, is to complete enough series quests to unlock Final Bar Line, which has some of the most epic arrangements of Final Fantasy classics, including Battle of the Big Bridge and a big Final Fantasy VII medley that spans longer than most of the conventional tracks. It tests all your rhythm skills and is also a celebration of the game in every way.

Stay thirsty, friends.

Once the credits roll and somehow the novelty somehow fades, there’s so much replay value in many of its extras. There’s an endless mode where you can continue to play tracks, and you can challenge greater difficulties by yourself or with friends in Multi-Battle. You can also collect and trade cards and summonstones with other online players, or you can just relive every moment in Music Mode. As long as there is love for Final Fantasy music, Theatrhythm will provide 35 years of storied history.

As mentioned earlier, not all tracks are available. Many fan-favorite tracks, including Melodies of Life (Final Fantasy IX), Real Emotion (Final Fantasy X-2), and the vocal rendition of Eyes on Me (Final Fantasy VIII) are locked behind the DLC package. Throughout this review, I focused so much on Final Fantasy as that’s what the base game has, but other Square music such as Radical Dreamers (Chrono Cross) and my personal favorite, NieR’s Song of the Ancients, is also locked behind the DLC package. Sadly, it sours the mood a little bit, especially with this package being dubbed the “Final Bar Line.”

However, I could say that many of my favorites are still included in the core package, including Somnus (Final Fantasy XV), Battle of the Big Bridge (Final Fantasy V), and most of the remastered tracks from Final Fantasy VII Remake, so there’s more than enough to get your nostalgia on and then some. Playing it made me realize how much I liked Final Fantasy XIII’s music, even if I didn’t care too much for the game.

At the end of it all, Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is a stellar celebration of Final Fantasy (and other series) music across decades of adventures.

theatrhythm final bar line key art

What We Liked

  • Addictive rhythm gameplay that combines RPG mechanics.
  • Easy-to-use controls that get better as you get used to the gameplay.
  • Lots of collectibles, extras, and modes to keep the nostalgia alive.
  • Re-living your favorite Final Fantasy and discovering new favorites through its music.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Many popular songs are locked behind a Season Pass.
  • Many B-side gems aren’t included in every Final Fantasy series.

Verdict: Buy It!

Editors choice

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is a celebration of the storied history of Final Fantasy’s music in more ways than one. It could easily just be a basic rhythm game, but it innovated the genre by allowing for the RPG elements to best suit the game with its source material. Once you think the novelty has waned, Theatrhythm continues to surprise you by adding new addictive activities to keep you interested in its quests, extras, and even with other like-minded fans.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is a gift from Square Enix and indieszero, allowing us to relive our original Final Fantasy through its music and also allowing us to experience new ones to broaden our scope. Many crossover Final Fantasy titles seem to waver at this opportunity when the novelty ends, but if there’s one thing that’s completely timeless, it’s how the music of Final Fantasy has evolved through the years.

Thank you for the music, Final Fantasy! We’ll continue to listen to it as we all take part in our own adventures and journeys.

*Theatrhythm: Final Bar Line was reviewed on a PS5 with a review code provided by the publisher.

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