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13 Jul, 2009

Dissidia: Final Fantasy Preview

PSP Preview | Wherein Cloud and Squall fight to determine who is the bigger emo.
It's a common debate between gamers as to which of any two videogame characters might be victorious in a fight. Some of those questions have been answered at least partially by crossover game series like Smash Bros., Marvel vs. Capcom, and even Soulcalibur with its guest characters. For Final Fantasy fans, the answers to those questions will come in the form of the PSP's Dissidia, a hybrid fighting game employing characters from across the series' history.

Critically important to these crossover games is the roster. Final Fantasy spreads things out very evenly over its twenty-two characters. Each major title between the 1987 original and Final Fantasy X contributes one good and one evil character – most often the hero and the lead villain – while Final Fantasy XI and XII each contribute one bonus character. This means you'll be getting pairings like Cloud/Sephiroth and Tidus/Jecht, all the way to the Warrior of Light and Garland from the first Final Fantasy.

A classic showdown.

A classic showdown.
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The game does have a story to draw these characters together, and though it seems fairly contrived, telling stories is at least one of Square-Enix's strong suits. A war is underway between Cosmos, Goddess of Harmony and Chaos, God of Destruction. Assisting Cosmos in the conflict are the hero characters, and on Chaos' side are the villains. Pretty basic stuff, but the character interactions should be interesting. Will the eternally chirpy Tidus get on the nerves of the sullen Squall? Will Sephiroth be out-crazied by Kefka? Let's hope so.

Dissidia isn't a straightforward fighting game, however. The fights take place in spacious 3D arenas that are fairly noncommittal when it comes to gravity, meaning there will be lots of jumping, flying and stylized mid-air clashes that closely resemble the fights in the Advent Children movie. Since Dissidia is derived from an RPG series it's unsurprising that it features several RPG elements. In addition to HP, each character also has 'Brave Points', or BP, which represents your strength in both defense and attack. You can attack your opponent in order to reduce their HP and ultimately win, but you can also use BP attacks, which will siphon your opponent's BP to your own, making your character stronger and your opponent's weaker. This introduces a basic strategic element of prioritizing whether to focus on reducing your opponent's HP or reducing their potency in attack and defense while increasing your own.

For when three 'Criticals' just isn't enough.

For when three 'Criticals' just isn't enough.
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Each character also has an EX bar that fills when you attack or are attacked. When the bar fills your character will enter EX mode, which entails a change in either form or weapon. Sephiroth, for example, takes on his 'One-Winged Angel' appearance and Terra turns into an Esper, while Cloud and Squall gain their respective 'Ultimate' weapons. The EX mode also opens up the opportunity to use a super move called an EX Burst. Some of these should prove familiar, like Cloud's Omnislash or Squall's Renzokuken.

One thing that is disappointing is how summons are implemented. The game features fifty of them, which is great, except that there are none of the spectacular summon animations the series has consistently delivered. Instead a simple image of the summon will appear on the screen momentarily, cause some particular shift in status, and disappear again. Not exactly exciting stuff.

Ultimecia lays into Tidus. It's okay, he deserves it.

Ultimecia lays into Tidus. It's okay, he deserves it.
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In terms of presentation Dissidia looks certain to deliver. The character models and effects are strong and should push the PSP to its precipice. The soundtrack is made up of reworked Final Fantasy battle themes and the CGI scenes look top-notch.

It's fairly clear at this stage that Dissidia will hold a lot of appeal for Final Fantasy fans, but the real question is whether the strength of the gameplay will be sufficient to draw in those that aren't fans of the series.
Overall:
So far so good, but can it transcend the barrier between fanboy's dream and strong fighting game?

Related Dissidia: Final Fantasy Content

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17 Mar, 2011 OK, now they're just making up words.
Dissidia 012[duodecim] Final Fantasy Australian release detailed
15 Feb, 2011 If you know your Latin, the title really does make perfect sense.
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6 Comments
4 years ago
sweet preview Michael, could not have done it better myself icon_biggrin.gif

EDIT

Love the artwork for this game.
4 years ago
nice preview icon_biggrin.gif... but as for the summoners part, I've played the game and I think there may a reason for the summoning being unexciting... to not distract from gameplay. This is an extremely fast-paced game and not having a big, impressive summoning animation every time a summon happens (usually once every battle) keeps that pace. Otherwise the animation may slow the game down and kill the pace... Dunno, only my opinion icon_smile.gif
4 years ago
Ive decided I want this game now. Squall <3
4 years ago
Who was chosen as the villain from FF8? Seifer, or Ultimecia? Or perhaps Edea?
4 years ago
sobriquet835 wrote
Who was chosen as the villain from FF8? Seifer, or Ultimecia? Or perhaps Edea?
Ultimecia has been chosen as FF8's villain.

I'm putting down a preorder for the CE version of this tomorrow. So I'm definitely looking forward to it.
4 years ago
bleach1st wrote
nice preview icon_biggrin.gif... but as for the summoners part, I've played the game and I think there may a reason for the summoning being unexciting... to not distract from gameplay. This is an extremely fast-paced game and not having a big, impressive summoning animation every time a summon happens (usually once every battle) keeps that pace. Otherwise the animation may slow the game down and kill the pace... Dunno, only my opinion icon_smile.gif
This is also why I think summoning (as it was done in the main series) was retooled into the mechanic seen in Dissidia. It allows them to call on a whole set of familiar faces without disrupting the whole battle for a while.

If you like Final Fantasy, get Dissidia, you won't be disappointed, I sure as hell wasn't.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  4/09/2009 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $69.95 AU
Publisher:
  UBI Soft
Genre:
  Action Adventure
Year Made:
  2008
Players:
  1

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