Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is here and spoiler alert? It's amazing. I'm captivated, and I've probably only played about 30 of the over 220 songs included in the game. This is just one of "those" games. It's a title you leave in your 3DS for weeks, nay, months, because it can be counted on to always keep you amused.
However, there's one element that isn't always amusing. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call introduces multiplayer to the series. It's something many claimed the original needed. Fans wanted it. Now that it's here, well, it isn't exactly what everyone thought it would be.
It's all because of EX Burst. When a player's gauge is filled by keeping in time with the music, a burst can be unleashed on the opponent. Think of it as hitting someone with a status effect. You never know where the roulette of pain will fall, but it's never good.
Now, I don't have the necessary streaming equipment to broadcast my 3DS Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call multiplayer sessions, so I'd like to present to you a transcript of a multiplayer match against a random opponent online. Given that there's no voice chat, think of it as a monologue.
[Jenni is sitting on her couch. She's just spent about 2 hours getting to a point where Versus is unlocked, and is understandably antsy for a match. She's talking to herself, but if anyone asked her about it later, she'd lie and say she was talking to her cat. Because talking to yourself is crazy, but talking to a pet isn't.]
Jenni: "Okay, let's see if anyone is online and willing to play a 'Basic' version of a song. Since I've only had the game for a few hours, I want one of my first Versus matches to be manageable."
[Five minutes pass. No other players appear.]
Jenni: "Fine, let's crank it up to 'Expert,' even though that means I'll be stuck playing a more difficult song and probably die immediately."
[A minute passes before another player's name shows up onscreen.]
Jenni: "Hello, [name omitted to protect the person I beat mercilessly]! Time to kick your butt! Let's go with 'Battle' from Final Fantasy, as that should be pretty manageable on 'Expert.'"
Jenni: "Ha! It picked my song! The game is on my side!"
[Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call's "Battle" begins.]
Jenni: "Wait... what? Why is this? What's happening? It's too much!"
[Insert 3 minutes of pure obscenities. The entire time, Jenni is hunched over her 3DS XL, with her brow furrowed. When it is over. She relaxes, albiet with a grimace on her face.]
Jenni: "That was horrible! My fingers hurt so bad. Button mode, you've betrayed me! Wait... I won? Really? Kick ass! Let's do that again..."
EX Bursts in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call are dirty pool. It's disorienting, horrifying, and frustrating. Yet, at the same time, the Versus mode is ridiculously satisfying. You know your opponent is experiencing the exact same misery as you. Even though you can probably see from your Profile Cards later that the two of you are Theatrhythm masters that have no problem SSS-ing a song, the EX Burst is the ultimate equalizer. If you lose, it's suddenly okay, because it probably isn't all your fault.
Which, I suppose is part of the reason why Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is going to become a classic 3DS game. Even in Versus, where the game is its most taxing, it's irresistable.