Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

F59- Mastering The Art Of Limbo Cooking

Hopefully the general rules of food safety and edibility stay true across multiple realms. For all Envy knows, that cream could be made of shoe polish and that fruit is rat poison. Prepare the bismuth, Libby, you might be having an exciting afternoon. Also, good on Envy for not burning down the house on his first attempt with a mechanical, technological stove.

Has anybody here seen the movie “The Congress”? I never heard about it being released in theaters but I stumbled upon it this week and rather enjoyed it. It's super weird but really interesting. Definitely not for kids though.

Quick Critique: Theatrhythm Curtain Call

I'm not that big of a fan of rhythm games and I think Square has fallen pretty far from grace, but Theatrhythm was one of my favorite games on the 3DS and I'm thrilled to say that Curtain Call improves on it in almost every way. They fixed the character unlocking so now when you collect X number of the same crystal, you get to pick one of the characters from that color group to unlock. You no longer have to play a song twice to get scored on the Summon/not Summon notes because now if you fail a Summon, you get a wimpy Chocobo instead of moving to a different note path. They cleaned up the Chaos Tower to where it's now a map and you plot out an adventure with greater risks and rewards the deeper you get. The map sharing feature still seems kind of pointless though. Instead of choosing one of the maybe randomly generated maps, it would have been more fun to be able to personalize a map with the songs that you like. My big complaint with the Chaos maps is that the Ultimate difficulty seems harder than I remember it being in the first game, to the point of songs no longer being fun. So once you level up enough and your Chaos Maps are all Ultimate songs, you've kind of leveled your way into no longer enjoying the mode. They're all the songs that are normally available in free play mode, so all you're really doing is making collecting the crystals more of a grind. The collectible cards still seem pretty useless, but now you can consume them to turn them into stats for your characters. The interface is a bit clunky where it doesn't give you an easy way to sort by sets or stats or ways to sort them outside of quantity and ID, but at least you can do something with the cards this time.
The Versus mode is a neat idea, but your success has a large degree of randomness to it. As you progress through the song, you attack the opponent with randomly chosen status effects. Some are super useful like one that penalizes your enemy for making anything other than a perfect hit or one that causes the triggers to be invisible until the last minute. Others are easily overcome like one that just moves faster or one that causes the triggers to undulate. The worst offender is one that swaps your and the enemy's health. That basically punishes you for doing well and having full health and since the effects are chosen randomly, this really only hurts you because you typically have more health than your opponent if you're doing well.
As I mentioned in the original Theatrhythm review, the beauty of the game and why I love it so much is in the different levels of the gameplay and what matters. When you're starting out, your characters are so weak that all you can really do is just clear songs and play the rhythm game. As you get stronger, you become so powerful that you can complete songs and not hit a single note if you deck yourself out right. Then as you play more, the game switches to the importance of killing bosses and every character or ability slot you have set to a health or defense skill is now a wasted slot that's not contributing to your killing power. Now you have to deck yourselves out for combat and cut back on the buff skills, so you're back to having to be good at the rhythm game and also handling the characters and combat. It's a fantastic flow from when you pick up the game to when you put it down and it's what makes the series special. Even if you ignore the music and Final Fantasy-ness of the package, you can just appreciate the good game design. It really annoyed me that during the Rock Band/Guitar Hero craze, they never made video game music bundles. With the two FF Theatrhythms and a Dragon Warrior one on the way, I'd be thrilled to have this series fill that void. Just thinking of a Mega Man or Castlevania equivalent fills me with glee.
The new Theatrhythm has a slew of songs so it's not hurting on content, but there is a ton of DLC for this game. Things like Chrono Trigger and Nier music would potentially interest me but you can't preview the DLC songs. Unless you know exactly what that song is by name, you have to go to Youtube or something and look it up to listen to it and find out if you're interested in buying the song. It's a bizarre misstep that encourages you to pirate it just to find out what it actually is. That aside and the complaints I mentioned above, Theatrhythm is a fantastic franchise and more fun than anything Square has made in years.