Title: Dissidia: Final Fantasy
Developer/Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PSP, PSP Go
Release Date: 08/25/09
Number of Players: 1-2 via “Ad-Hoc” Mode
I’ve been playing fighting games since the days of Street Fighter. I’ve played many fighting games and have enjoyed them for various reasons. I’ve played Final Fantasy since I owned a Game Boy, sadly I never owned an NES to enjoy the original. When I first heard about Dissidia, I thought this would be an interesting meld of 2 styles that I’ve enjoyed since early childhood. The game boasts a “Story Mode”, an “Arcade Mode”, a “Quick Battle Mode” and a Catalogue to purchase unlockables. Now, I know what a lot of people are thinking. How much depth can you get out of a fighting game? Well, for those who remember Ergheiz, Square Enix’s first foray into the “Fighting” genre, it can actually carry a LOT of depth.
The various characters start at level 1 and through combat in Story Mode and Quick Battle Mode can level up to 100. As you progress in Level, you unlock additional fighting moves, additional defensive moves, additional character boosts and additional movement boosts. Along with learning your moves, you’re given the ability to customize your characters’ move lists through “CP”. Each move or boost costs a certain amount until “mastered” and then it comes at a reduced cost. Cashing in on Microsoft’s pony, the game also features a robust number of achievements (although they call them accomplishments) as well as the ability to download a portion of the game for quicker load times. And, like any Final Fantasy game (or any RPG), it features an impressive “Shop” featuring different Weapons, Armors and Accessories.
To “beat” the story mode…that can be done relatively quickly…maybe 10-20 hours of dedicated play time. But, once you complete the original stories, new storylines are unlocked. I’ve logged over 100 days played so far, probably around 100+ hours of actual game time, unlocking the additional items, level ALL my characters to Level 100 and trying to complete as many accomplishments as possible. Most of what is going to draw people into this game is the ability to revisit their favorite “main” characters from old Final Fantasy games and to watch them fight other “main” characters.
A lot of things jumped out at me about this game that cannot be ignored. These were so glaringly atrocious that, in some ways, it ruins the gameplay. Now, I’ll start with the Instruction Booklet. If you’re like many gamers, you toss that aside. But, this game has a LOT of things that you need to learn that aren’t taught in the Instruction Manual. At times the game talks about different combat maneuvers, but nowhere in the manual does it talk about that anywhere. Next, like many FPS games and some 3rd Person games, it’s the camera that kills it. The camera floats around the character but can be moved via the thumbstick or d-pad (depending on your control settings). This can, in the heat of trying to move or input a combat command, cause the camera to shift out of position and put it at an odd angle. If that weren’t bad enough, on certain stages the camera will actually get stuck in a wall or around a corner that you cannot move it away from. This can be abused on certain stages in multiplayer and tends to be abused against you by the computer on those same stages. If you’re a dedicated fan of Fighting Games and NOT a fan of the Grind for a Role Playing Game, this is NOT the game for you. A lot of this game revolves around playing the Quick Battle Mode to level up your character until you’re level 100 and then run through the Story Mode. Lastly, there are a number of abilities, attacks or items that are either completely useless or seemed very out of place for the game.
The multiplayer mode for this game tends to be nothing spectacular on its own, it really shines in the “Friend Card” feature. If you know someone who also has the game, you can copy your fighter onto his PSP for him to fight on his own time. When you play against another person, each player has a chance of creating special items only available through multiplayer. I’d like to give Sony some credit here, because their “Ad-Hoc” mode is pretty junky (it’s local wireless multiplayer within 30 feet), this is enabled for the “Ad-Hoc Party Mode” that will sync up with the PS3. This allows for people to play via their high speed connection instead of in the same room. I have had the chance to try out the “Ad-Hoc” mode, it was pretty nifty to transfer Friend Cards and to play around with some of the multiplayer features. Although I do not own a PS3, so I haven’t had a chance to try out the Ad-Hoc Party mode yet.
For those who are truly fanboys of the game and know the voice actors from the various games, you’ll be glad to note that the Voice Actors for Cloud, Sephiroth and Tidus are all the same (although Cloud and Sephiroth are from Advent Children).
Part of Dissidia’s item generation system is called, “BattleGen”, it creating items from your opponent during combat. It’s a fairly innovative way of getting items that are used elsewhere in the game. Each character has a set number of things that they can have BattleGen’d off of them and each Stage can have something BattleGen’d out of it, too. At times, you’ll sit there for hours, trying to get certain items from an opponent, only to defeat the opponent and not get the item you wanted. Conversely, it is always a nice surprise to find out you get a rare item from a random combat here and there. When you play against another player, you also have the ability to BattleGen items that the opponent is wearing/wielding. This tends to be a neat and fun way to help friends get rare items that you have and your friends may not. Items that you get from this can then be combined with other purchased items to create better weapons, armors or accessories.
The control scheme is very basic, you have a Bravery Attack and an HP Attack. You can block and dodge your opponents attacks and you can jump around the stages. Most stages have certain elements that allow for a “Quick Move”, whether that’s walking on the wall, sliding on a rail or leaping through the air, it adds some interesting depth to the fighting game genre. Each character has a set of Bravery Attacks, these steal your opponents Bravery and increase yours When you connect with an HP Attack, it drains your Bravery and you do that much damage to your opponents HP. Thus, the game centers around a balance of attacking your opponents Bravery and punching a hole in their defenses. But wait, there’s move. As combat goes on, you can eventually EX Mode. This is where the “Super” moves come flying out. One thing that everyone has in common is that they slowly will regenerate HP, so if you’re low on HP this can sometimes save your life…literally. Each character will also get additional bonuses for being in their EX Mode. For some it’s the ability to fly, for others, it can be an additional attack or a faster run/jump speed.
The many Stages to fight in are a nice homage to the Final Fantasy games of yore. There is a definite sense of nostalgia when your fighter walks out onto the Stage and it’s something that you remember from a Final Fantasy game or, at the very least, reminds you of that previous Final Fantasy game. Not all of the stages are exact replicas of their origins as the first six Final Fantasy games were 2D only. Some of the Stages have a fairly large feel to them and others have a claustrophobic feel to them, it allows for different play styles.
The characters…I’ve mentioned them briefly, this is really where a lot of people have had problems. Square Enix chose the “Main Character” and the “Main Villain” of each Final Fantasy Game, going from 1 through to 10. Some people felt that certain characters should have been chosen over Square Enix’s choice. Other people were upset over the portrayal of the characters. Overall, I like the selection. I’ll be honest, each character was the one that started the game and each villain was really considered the bad guy (okay, okay, I understand that Golbez isn’t considered the bad guy in Final Fantasy 4). Each character comes with the basic costume to start and you can unlock an additional costume for each character as time goes on. At the start of the game, you only have the Heroes to play as, but as time goes on, you can unlock your favorite Villain and their alternate costume. I’m not going to deny that the biggest draw for this game is the joy-gasm of playing as Cloud (again) or even as Sephiroth. Or watching Cecil duke it out with Ultimecia. It finally lets the game-geek in all of us (well, ok, really only in the Final Fantasy geeks) see who is really the best in a fight, Squall or Cloud.
As you play through the Story Mode, you will unlock various Summons from the many games, this is something I felt they could have done a LOT more with. The Summons are one-shot fun toys that can (and in most cases I stress can) tilt the balance of the fight. I remember in the many Final Fantasy games that the Summons would be an incredibly powerful spell that would tilt the balance in your favor. Some of them are extremely overpowered and can only be used a couple of times before it needs to “cooldown.” Others have some random number basis for working, they either work incredibly in your favor and win you the fight or they trip you up and leave you crying. It was nice to see a lot of the old school Summons back in a game, like Shiva, Ramuh and Ifrit. They added a few new ones that were previously minor Bosses in other games, such as the Elemental Fiends from FF4 or Ultros and Typhon from FF6. Some of them Summons felt like they were just thrown into the game to placate some of the Final Fantasy fanboys out there and some of them felt like they were put in there because they couldn’t figure what else to throw in.
The game released as a regular version and a “limited edition” packaged with a PSP. Aside from shelling out the extra money for the PSP, there’s no difference in the game. Square Enix has put up a lot of extra items that can be unlocked through passwords that can be found on the Dissidia website.
With all of the flaws, I’ve really enjoyed this game. I have many games on my shelf that I didn’t like that are still sitting there…gathering dust. I had a lot of fun running around with Cecil (Final Fantasy 4 was always my favorite) and getting to play as the bad guy from a Final Fantasy game was pretty fun, too. Yes, there was a lot that could have been done better and “right”, but this is their first, true fighting game and I can’t really fault them for a first try. Definitely an A for effort and a C for actual execution. If you’ve been fiending to play as Squall or Cecil or Terra or even Cloud again, then this is going to be a game that will give you many hours of enjoyment.
10 Chosen of Light, 10 Chosen of Dark…fight an eternal battle to determine whether the world will fall into eternal Harmony or eternal Chaos.
Sadly, the gameplay was found wanting. I can’t really fault them for this, though. It is a fighting game and there’s not much depth that you can add to it. The RPG aspect of leveling up your fighters was a neat innovation, as well as adding the element of equipment and accessories. But, there is the tedium of the grind to unlock all the goodies, to get all your characters to 100 and to get each and every piece of gear possible.
Sound and music…talk about a walk down memory lane. Whether it’s the victory music for winning combat, the generic Final Fantasy Theme or One Winged Angel…this game has a great collection of classic Final Fantasy music. All the cutscenes have voice acting and it adds a lot to the actual story of the game.
For a PSP game, it’s not bad. A lot of people I’ve talked to have wanted to see this on the 360 or the PS3. I think if they put more into it and added more characters, that’d be great. But, for what you get, the graphics are pretty good. No glaring clipping errors, no odd colorations, etc. Square Enix is, if anything, very exact about their graphics.
Final Fantasy…Fighting Game…two great genres that go great together. It all started with Ergheiz and was only made better with this game. A very good blend of RPG feel and Fighting Game feel to it at all points of the game.
Camera…god it hurts so badly. And, like any RPG, it’s the long Grind. Trying to get every piece of Equipment or Mastering all of the Abilities. It takes a LOT of time.
The instruction manual. It feels like so many new Video Game manuals. Here’s the game, here’s the different buttons to push. Have fun. It doesn’t give a glossary of terms. It’s not a big help at all.
Overall, I can’t say this is a great game…unless you’re either a: A die-hard Final Fantasy fan, or b: A die-hard Fighting Game fan. If you’re not either, this definitely isn’t the game for you. The only game I can REALLY compare this to is going to be the Dynasty Warrior games, but with more focus on one-on-one combat than the mob combat that the Dynasty Warrior system does. Am I sad that I got this game? Not one bit. I’ve been a fan of the Final Fantasy series since I was very young. I can see where people will get bored with a grind and where people will enjoy the game for what it is. I hope that Square Enix will take the GOOD from this game and improve on it and take the BAD and toss it out when/if they make a sequel.
Final Vote: 3/5
I originally gave this game a 2 out of 5 ranking. I realized that although the camera is really a pain and the monotony of the grind is constant, I’ve enjoyed the game immensely. However, I am a fighting game fanatic. If you’re a fan of fighting games and you’re a fan of Final Fantasy, then this game is for you, chances are, you’d rate this game a 5 out of 5. But, realistically, this game has its design flaws and I can’t say this is a perfect fighting game nor a perfect Final Fantasy game.