Author Topic: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review  (Read 7636 times)

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Offline Webmalfunction

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Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« on: July 21, 2012, 06:45:48 PM »

It's a rhythm game that's good at everything... except being a rhythm game.

http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/review/31126

For a while now, Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure has been seen as the 3DS answer to Elite Beat Agents, with  quirky settings, fantastic style, and great gameplay. Unfortunately, only two of those assertions proved to be correct.

Rhythm Thief is a Sega published-and-developed rhythm game that takes place in a relatively modern Paris, France. The story follows Raphael, an adolescent who steals objects of rarity as the mysterious Phantom R with his dog Fondue. As the story develops, Raphael meets a mysterious girl Marie, faces off against the local police force, and tries to stop a man who claims to be the resurrected Napoleon Bonaparte. The story and presentation are both absolutely excellent, complete with great pacing despite a short length of six hours.

Like the Layton series, anime cut scenes are frequently used to push the story forward, and likewise, the animation is stunning. Furthermore, Raphael progresses across Paris using in an almost-identical static screen format as Professor Layton, all the way down to "tap everything to find secrets" trope. There are also some non-rhythm puzzles to keep the story sections fresh, and they are really cool (despite a total lack of difficulty).

With that said, the gameplay is not nearly as refined as the presentation. Rhythm Thief features 50 rhythm games, ranging from "swipe the touch screen in a direction to do an action to the rhythm" to "press buttons to take out enemies." Of course, the game features plenty of diversity, like a one-off Samba De Amigo inspired game and a very competent sword-fighting affair, but the games still generally fall into those two camps.

This in itself isn't problematic, as the game still has a ton of diversity, but it's apparent that, in coming up with so much variety, almost none of the games feel fully developed. The fun and polished ones are overly simplified affairs of tapping the touch screen to a beat, while an equal number of games (specifically the gyro-controlled ones) feel so clunky that I was actually upset when the game required I do multiple to progress the story. This is only assisted by a horribly broken grading system, where slipping up for a moment can immediately bring you from a perfect score to a near-fail. Even at its best, the games in Rhythm Thief don't feel fun enough to warrant replay, and likely won't even be the parts you remember when all is said and done.

Despite this, the music throughout is outstanding, featuring hip-hop, folk, classical, upbeat jazz, and more. With so much diversity and excellence, I was especially surprised that I could barely remember any of the specific songs after I turned the game off. The music is good, but it’s not memorable.

Outside of the story, there are tons of collectibles. Two major side quests task you with finding paper scraps and sound clips throughout the game, and collecting all of either unlocks a bonus chapter that further fleshes out a relationship in the game. There are also songs and movies to collect, StreetPassing to accomplish, an incentive for clearing every song with a high grade, and a competent multiplayer component featuring both local and download play. Even if the gameplay doesn't necessarily inspire replay value, the urge to replay for bonus chapters and a complete collection of stuff is clearly prevalent.

While I had a good experience with Rhythm Thief, it is not a fantastic game. With the lavish presentation, the intriguing story, and the assortment of collectibles, it is so disheartening to see gameplay that ranges from "kind of okay" to "pretty broken." And though I recommend that everyone experiences Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure, the whole package is disappointing and not worth rushing out to get.


Offline Phil

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2012, 11:07:09 PM »
That's a shame. I have the game coming to me in the mail, so I hope I like it better than you did.
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Offline pololmejor

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2012, 11:30:41 PM »
If ot only had some nice gameplay I'd give it a chance. What a shame, that those outstanding cel-shaded animations and that teriffic music just don't do enough without gameplay :/. Does anyone know if there's a relation with an artist or composer with games like the Layton series?

Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2012, 03:58:40 AM »
Wow, I do not agree. I'm a stone's throw away from reaching the end of Rhythm Thief, and with the exception of the ones with clunky motion control, I have found all the rhythm games to be both well-executed and fun to play. If you're knocking some of them for being too simple because their only control input is tapping and stroking the touch screen, then I would like to ask whether you enjoy any other rhythm titles on DS or 3DS, because that's pretty much how they all play. In my opinion, the simplicity works in its favour - if there were a dozen inputs for every game, it'd devolve into a convoluted mess.

If you didn't like the gameplay, Alex, that's a shame, but I would still recommend to anyone who has had more than a passing interest in Rhythm Thief to give it a shot. In fact, there's probably still a demo on the eShop; see what you think of that. I personally found the game a lot more satisfying than Theatrhythm (though my lack of familiarity with Final Fantasy may have played a role there.)
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Offline accc

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2012, 11:06:49 AM »
Wha... huh? The rhythm minigames were the best part of the game by far! They controlled perfectly (yes, even the gyro-controlled games if you know what you're doing), and had tons of diversity along with great, catchy music, which made them a blast to replay. Clearly this reviewer is missing something.

Offline NintendoFan4Life

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2012, 12:54:35 PM »
I'm only on rhythm game 10 and I'm having tons of fun.

Offline Flames_of_chaos

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2012, 02:46:04 PM »
Thumbs down to this review, and one of the most disappointing reviews I ever read from NWR. This is one of the most original music games ever released since the Rhythm Heaven series. The fusion of a music game with an original narrative, along with some elements of Professor Layton and Minigames make this game a must own on 3DS.
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Offline C-Olimar

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2012, 09:30:59 PM »
It worries me how everyone is taking this review as absolute fact. I respect the reviewer's opinion, even if I don't agree with it, but you shouldn't take one review as the be-all and end-all assessment of a game's quality.

Offline NWR_Neal

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2012, 10:35:44 PM »
Keep in mind we have a Japanese import review that gives the game a 9.0. That's likely more in line with some of the review naysayers' feelings.

I'm not terribly far into it, but I see where Alex is coming from. I think I'll end up in between Alex's somewhat negative feelings and most other's glowing recommendations.
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Offline Flames_of_chaos

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2012, 07:06:55 AM »
There's one big thing I don't understand about this review. Where is the author's backup of the games not feeling fully developed?   If you're going to say something, back up your statement with facts and not keep it baseless.


I'm not sure if this reviewer lacks experience in the music or rhythm game genre, but there's nothing broken about the scoring system in Rhythm Theif, in the beginning portions of the songs, the penalties are much minor while towards the end of the song are much severe especially if you mess up a rather big combo.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 07:08:29 AM by Flames_of_chaos »
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Offline UncleBob

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2012, 07:55:07 AM »
There's one big thing I don't understand about this review. Where is the author's backup of the games not feeling fully developed?   If you're going to say something, back up your statement with facts and not keep it baseless.

It's a review.  By nature, reviews are opinions.  Opinions aren't about "facts".

"almost none of the games feel fully developed"

He didn't say they weren't fully developed, he said they feel like they're not fully developed.  There's a big difference there...
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Offline Webmalfunction

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2012, 08:54:56 AM »
It worries me how everyone is taking this review as absolute fact. I respect the reviewer's opinion, even if I don't agree with it, but you shouldn't take one review as the be-all and end-all assessment of a game's quality.
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Offline NWR_Neal

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2012, 10:59:09 AM »
I'm sure Alex could come up with a specific example of a rhythm game that doesn't feel fully developed. Instead, I will.

There's an early game where you're dodging some cops, and the way the game was first presented, I was expecting a Bit.Trip Runner-style mini-game. Instead, it was a very simplified "press one button or the other button" rhythm game. That didn't feel fully developed to me. (I hope there is a later mini-game that improves upon the concept, but I can't vouch for that right now.)


EDIT: Also, the scoring system is bullshit. "You were perfect for the entire song and then missed the last two notes. You now have a B!"
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Offline C-Olimar

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2012, 11:27:24 AM »
The scoring system takes the mick, but it's the same in other great rhythm games - Elite Beat Agents and Rhythm Paradise both employ the same system, which is frustrating to say the least.

Offline Ceric

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2012, 12:44:01 PM »
I'm sure Alex could come up with a specific example of a rhythm game that doesn't feel fully developed. Instead, I will.

There's an early game where you're dodging some cops, and the way the game was first presented, I was expecting a Bit.Trip Runner-style mini-game. Instead, it was a very simplified "press one button or the other button" rhythm game. That didn't feel fully developed to me. (I hope there is a later mini-game that improves upon the concept, but I can't vouch for that right now.)


EDIT: Also, the scoring system is bullshit. "You were perfect for the entire song and then missed the last two notes. You now have a B!"
I lot of rhythm games do that.  Where the ranking is based off of how much is in each buckets and getting a miss instantly knocks you down to a B and getting a bad knocks you to an A.
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Offline NWR_Neal

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2012, 12:49:52 PM »
I know other rhythm games do that, but I still don't think it's a good practice.
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Offline Ceric

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2012, 01:08:33 PM »
I know other rhythm games do that, but I still don't think it's a good practice.
I can see why.  I Sed an Expert Course in Theaterhythm last night after my wife had distracted me at the start of the song so I missed the first 6 or so notes and I didn't chain all the rest of them.  Ended with over 10 misses.  DDR that would have never happened.
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Offline Tenser

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2012, 05:28:49 AM »

It's a review.  By nature, reviews are opinions.  Opinions aren't about "facts".



Which is why most reviews are of little worth.


Nothing against Alex but I honestly don't care if he likes or doesn't like a game. I'm interested in whether I will like a game or not. For a review to be actually helpful to potential purchasers they need to be based on facts instead of personal opinions so I can make my own informed opinion.

Offline TJ Spyke

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2012, 07:04:37 AM »
A review is, by its very definition, that persons opinion of the game. This is true of any review: video game, movie, TV show, book, etc. They talk about what they liked and didn't like, a little about it, etc. I don't think you want a review, sounds like you just want a basic fact sheet telling you about the game. You read a review to get that persons opinion of the game.
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Offline Ceric

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2012, 09:01:34 AM »
Layton w/ Rhythm Games and not as precise controls as it really needs.
Fact Sheet Done.
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Offline NWR_Neal

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2012, 10:15:51 AM »
The more I get into this game, the more I don't really like it that much. The style isn't winning me over enough to want to play the rhythm games, and I feel like every other rhythm game is annoying and frustrating. Then I'll find a good rhythm game, play it and do well on it, and have no reason to play it again. Maybe that will change? I don't know, but I don't think I'll ever find out if it does.

I guess my conclusion of my personal stance on rhythm games is that I like a basic mechanic that gets repeated through different songs. I got very into Rock Band/Guitar Hero, Theatrhythm, and EBA, but Rhythm Heaven was always something I played through once and never touched again.
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Offline Ceric

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2012, 10:36:19 AM »
The more I get into this game, the more I don't really like it that much. The style isn't winning me over enough to want to play the rhythm games, and I feel like every other rhythm game is annoying and frustrating. Then I'll find a good rhythm game, play it and do well on it, and have no reason to play it again. Maybe that will change? I don't know, but I don't think I'll ever find out if it does.

I guess my conclusion of my personal stance on rhythm games is that I like a basic mechanic that gets repeated through different songs. I got very into Rock Band/Guitar Hero, Theatrhythm, and EBA, but Rhythm Heaven was always something I played through once and never touched again.
I'm fairly sure I touch on this in NFR but, a rhythm game needs very precise controls because, unlike other game types they are going to demand you use them.  Rhythm Thief has the potential to be an excellent game but, Sega should have made sure that all the controls for each game were dead on.  Its a real shame.
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Offline NWR_Neal

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2012, 10:40:06 AM »
Agreed. It also doesn't help that because it changes so much, each game requires an adjustment period of sorts.

It's not a terrible game, but I find myself more in line with Alex's review than I thought I would be.
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Offline Tenser

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2012, 12:13:45 PM »
A review does not need to be a critique by definition. It can also be a general or detailed survey or account but that's a discussion of semantics.
 
Also I don't think the reader is served well with just a general fact sheet, especially one as sarcastic as Ceric's. (Great to be on the internet where attempting a discussion is often bombarded by snide little remarks, isn't it?)
 
I guess I'm trying to say is that it would benefit more readers (in my own experience of course) if reviews were more in-depth and descriptive about the actual content being reviewed and less about the reviewer's own personal perspective of the content.
 
To clarify, even though I disagree with Alex's opinion of Rhythm Thief I understand it. I found his article thought out and well written (like most of his articles) and I certainly could not do any better. This is not some tirade against this specific review but merely me venting some frustrations at the review process in general.
 
I must stop now before I begin ranting on about how flawed the concept of "review scores" is.

Offline Ceric

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Re: Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure Review
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2012, 12:25:32 PM »
*shrug* listen to NFR.  I pretty much say the exact same thing.  If I'm going to describe the game to someone that is almost exactly what I'll tell them. 

Though on your other point on this site there has been historically a lot of different talks about what makes a good review and on more than one occassion discussions of just ditching the whole rating system.
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