Well this was an interesting play.
During this year’s summer sale, I spotted Frederic: Resurrection of Music on a Reddit post that linked some lesser-known, potentially interesting titles not shown on Steam’s front page. With me getting back into piano this past November and chipping away at Ballade No 1, I figured I’d check it out.
It’s…interesting. It’s basically just a little rhythm game to be played on your keyboard. The art is a little gloomy for my liking, the voice acting’s a bit on the abysmal side, and literally everything is as caricatured and stereotypical as you can get – but the music was a pleasant surprise. Each battle track in the game is a stylized remix of a Chopin piece – i.e., the American Midwest has a western, while New York has hip-hop, etc. Part of me dislikes what I consider to be sacrilege of musical masterpieces, while the other part of me is extremely impressed in how these remixes were designed and created.
Unfortunately, the music might be the only saving grace about this game. On top of the earlier complaints, the plot is effectively nonexistent (though the commentary on music labels was somewhat amusing) – but the worst part was the keyboard control scheme. The game is essentially a seven-lane falling rhythm game (like Guitar Hero or Tap Tap Revenge), mapped to A, W, S, E, D, R, F, forming the notes F to B on a piano keyboard. If you look at your keyboard right now, you can tell how that might be a problem. These controls can be remapped, which alleviates the problem somewhat – but for me the worse part was seeing how the notes were constrained to seven keys. It was quite disorienting to be playing what I expected to be chromatics while hearing diatonic movements, and it took me forever to get past that.
The last gripe I have about this game was its difficulty curve. The first few levels were doable, even on the aptly-named “Chopin” difficulty, but when reaching Ireland the difficulty shot up. At this point I gave up on trying to finish the game at Chopin, and just decided to get it over with on Normal.
Was Frederic a good game? I dunno. The art, though not my style, does have an appeal; the music, as stated earlier, is quite good; but I just can’t get past the other parts of the game, parodies notwithstanding. I think I’d only recommend it to someone who likes listening to Chopin, and nobody else.
Also, there is no way in hell that a keytar is cooler than a grand piano. C’mon.