I recently bought this game courtesy of a gift card from doing online surveys and Gamestop deciding to take $10 off of a lot of their Square Enix games. I didn't look too much into it, but it might have something to do with it being the 25th anniversary of the first Final Fantasy game. Yes, we all know that each game is not the "final" game, it's just a title that was chosen for the first game and upon it's success, ran with it. Anyway!
In short, TFF is a rhythm game using the music from Final Fantasy through Final Fantasy XIII. This does not include however any of the games in the Tactics, Crystals or sequel (FF X-2 or FF XIII-2) series. The headline to the Penny-Arcade Report article pretty much sums up the game in that it's a "love letter to the fans of Final Fantasy music..."
That's me. I love (most of) the music in the Final Fantasy series. I previously stated that it was the music in the first Final Fantasy game that got me into video game music and series composer Nobuo Uematsu was the first game composer whose name I learned and recognized. Of the first four video game music related CD's I owned, three were Final Fantasy related (Kefka's Domain: The Complete Soundtrack to Final Fantasy III, Symphonic Suite - Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy Celtic Moon. The forth CD was DK Jamz: Donkey Kong Country Soundtrack). You could probably put me in the "fanboy" category, or at least you "could have." I never played VIII, X, X-2, XI, XIII or XIII-2 although I do have a "best of" compilation for FF X.
Onto the game. The concept is pretty simple. You tap, slide or hold notes/triggers as they come by on the screen in one of four different modes. All the while, there's stuff going on in the background that I'm only able to view in my periphery as I'm trying to focus on what trigger I have to do along with which one is coming up right behind it. In two of the modes, the text from the prologue and epilogue scroll by in the background, but there's a giant crystal inhabiting the middle of the screen and notes flying all over the place so I can't really focus on what the game wants me to read. It's similar with the other three modes where I want to watch what's going on in the background, but the mechanics of the game keep getting in the way. You can however, unlock the movies for each of the games by completing certain aspects of the game and watch them without triggers getting in the way.
One thing in the game that I thought was a bit random and felt kind of "off." After the end of each stage, you're awarded points called "Rhythmia" and these go into your overall total for the entire game. The number of Rhythmia you earn are based on your performance of the stage, if you're using the character that's a part of the game that the song is taken from (ex: using Cecil for "Theme of Love" from Final Fantasy IV), things like that. Then, there's one where you're awarded 10 Rhythmia for have "All Males." !?!?! Now you have four members in your party when you chose a song and when you start the game, you only have two females, unless Shantotto from Final Fantasy XI is a female, in which case you then have only three women. Not enough to possibly receive an "All Females" bonus. Now I know that you can unlock characters and I know that Rydia from FF IV is one of them (although I don't know how many unlockable characters and who they are and I'd like to figure that out for myself) so if Shantotto's a female, then you have to wait until another female is unlocked before said hypothetical bonus is acquired. So you're getting bonus points for segregating your party. Not cool.
Another thing I'm kind of iffy about is that you're able to equip party members with abilities and spells. It almost seems unnecessary for a rhythm game, but it's easily forgivable considering that it's Final Fantasy. I don't know what's going on that the characters are doing half the time, as long as I don't die and am able to complete the stage.
And I guess I should say something about the 3D effect considering that it's on the 3DS. At the moment, I'm not overly impressed. I mean the graphics are damn pretty (especially the FMV's from the later PS2 and PS3 Final Fantasy games), but I don't feel anything is lost when I switch back to 2D, which I haven't really done much because I mean, I might as well use the 3D effect if I have the option.
But don't get me wrong though, I've had the game for maybe two days and I've managed to put in 5 1/2 hours while I'm not either sleeping or at work. I take that to mean that I like it. I like it a lot. It's a rhythm game saturating in pure nostalgia, which is the reason that I purchased said game. If you're not a fan of rhythm games, it may not be for you. God knows I'll play Rock Band or Donkey Konga if someone has it out, but I've never made an effort to go out and buy a set. But, if you're not a fan of the Final Fantasy series and/or their music, you probably won't want to buy/play the game. On the other hand, the game would be a great way to introduce someone to the existence of Final Fantasy who has not had previous experience. Your choice really.
I know there's a lot that I haven't covered here, but that's because it's just a first impression and not an entire review. The entire review will happen when I feel like I've completed enough of the game for me to feel like I've seen everything. And if this follows the plan as previous Final Fantasy games, it'll take me another 120 hours to figure it all out.
From Here, It All Goes Down.