I remember first hearing about Dissidia.
My friends tossing around rumors of a Final Fantasy fighting game, trying to convince me that they were true. Those idiots, I thought. Who are they trying to convince? My curiosity getting the best of me, and looking up a gameplay video. Needless to say, I knew I had died and gone to heaven.
Nothing pleased me more than seeing Cecil, one of my favorite Final Fantasy protagonists, beating the hell of out one of my most hated, Squall. The stage, the music, the graphics, the brawl; it captivated me. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen!
Waiting for the release was tough, but when it finally came I dusted off my PSP and sat down for an all night session. From the moment I put it on, Dissidia proved to be one of my best PSP experiences and easily climbed the ladder to become my favorite Final Fantasy spin offs. I'm sure you don't wanna here me relishing my nostalgia though. Lets go ahead and dive into Dissidia Final Fantasy.Story
Story? What the hell are you talking about Red Mage? There isn't a story in fighting games! Only good, old fashioned, badass brawling! Well, Dissidia offers more than just brawling it out with your favorite characters. The story revolves around the Goddess of Harmony - Cosmos - and the God of Discord - Chaos - and their epic struggle for supremacy.
Cosmos and Chaos both summon warriors to fight for them. Cosmos summons the protagonists of the series, and Chaos summons the antagonists. Now, while this might sound stupid to some people, to me, it was amazing. I mean, two gods are duking it out for power and to fight for them they summon people like Cloud and Sephiroth. smurfing awesome!
Cosmos tells her warriors that they must obtain their crystals - shards of her power - in order to stand a chance against Chaos and his minions. There are ten storylines, one for each character, involving their journey to obtain the crystal. At the end of each, your hero is pitted against their villain counterpart and, once defeated, obtains the crystal. After obtaining all ten crystals, you go through another story arc.
To avoid spoilers, I'm not going to get any more in depth than that. This story is simple, yet amazing. Dissidia delivers an epic storyline worthy of the Final Fantasy name. As for the characters... Well, they are Final Fantasy protagonists! This game does a good job of keeping the characters intact with their original personality while accentuating how badass they are.
If you can make a pretty boy like Bartz appear badass, then you have been very successful.
I give Dissidia Final Fantasy a 9/10 in this category. The only problems I have was the fact that Ultimecia was chosen as Squall's counterpart, rather than Seifer. Seifer would have been ten times cooler than Queen Cleavage. Some of the villains were a little bland and boring too, with Cloud of Darkness, Exdeath, and Ultimecia being the epitome of this. Other than that though, eveything was freaking awesome and pleased the hell outta me.Graphics
What would a badass fighting game be without badass graphics? This game is absolutlely beautiful. The character designs, the cinematics, the backgrounds, the stages, all of it, pure beauty. Nothing displeased me at all. Regardless to say, I give Dissidia a 10/10 in this section. Pure perfection, nothing to be angry at.Music
Well... Dissidia's original music is amazing. All of it was good, nothing to be displeased about. I think the opening, or Dissidia, would have to be my favorite piece. As for everything else... IT'S FINAL FANTASY MUSIC! From the simple 8-bit Town theme from the original FF to Otherworld from FFX! The soundtrack is smurfing awesome! My favorite for this game is The Man with the Machine Gun. Honestly, what an awesome battle theme! I remember getting into deliberate battles in FF8 JUST to here that epic tune...
Sorry for straying away from the point. I give Dissidia a 10/10 in this category. Giving it any lower would just be stupid and insulting the whole series. God knows if I even attempted to type 9, Sephiroth would fall out of my ceiling and stab me in the back. That is something I'd rather avoid, ya know? Moving onwards!Gameplay
"Whoo boy, the main attraction! The epic gameplay! Come on Red Mage, tell us about how awesome and flawless it all is!" I will, I will calm down... Wait, did you say flawless? "Yeah, how could there be any flaws? Its a Final Fantasy fighting game, come on Red Mage!' Uhh... Okay. But you're fooling yourself if you think its perfect. "Yay- Wait, what? It isn't perfect?! NOOOOOOO! My life is over..! I'll have to move, change my name, and-" Calm down! Just cause it ain't perfect doens't mean it's bad. God. Here, lemme tell you all about it.
Dissidia, as you hopefully already know, is a fighting game. What makes this one unique is its RPG like character development. Like any other Final Fantasy, you can level up, buy equipment to increase your stats, and learn new abilities for your character to utilize in fights. You can even equip summons in the form of Summonstones, to help turn the tide of battle in a rough spot. This ALL appeals to me. And the fighting is pretty open, taking place on a 3-D stage, giving you open movement and room for plenty of the abilities you'll learn, like the Dash ability, one of the most helpful abilities in the game, or the Jump Increasing abilities, allowing you to perform more jumps. Now, this next part is gonna get REALLY tricky, unless you follow things easily. I'm gonna define combat through a few terms, rather than feeding you a paragraph about it.
While it may sound complex, it isn't that hard to figure out the main concept. Rack up Bravery, then wreck the enemy. Everything else just throws in ways to further the process. Is this bad? No. Its actually an orignal, decent concept. I, myself, dig it. Do I have some major complaints? Hell yes. First off, I can simplify fighting in Dissidia right away, if you're a player yourself, you'll understand. So... Dissidia, simplified, is a big game of Cat and Mouse. Three things do this to the game, and it really pisses me off.
One, Bravery. Fighting the bosses in this game, especially if you're a first time player, is bulltrout. A higher level enemy means higher Bravery. Natural right? Well, prepare to be smurfed over and over again. You'll spend some fights just running away from the enemy, trying to find openings to attack and as they're bosses, they have higher defense! Meaning wailing on them with Bravery attacks won't work, as you'll accomplish nothing, but putting yourself in meaningless danger. Talk about a smurfing trap. Your only chance is to wail of them with your pitiful HP attacks until you eventually take them down. BUT. There is an easy way to break this process and its my second reason.
Two, Dodging. Well, dodging is one of the most ridiculous, overused functions in this game. You'll do it, the computer will do it, EVERYONE WILL DO IT! Tough boss fights will consist of dodge upon dodge. It makes it SO much easier to find an opening and strike the opponent. I think once you learn to dodge, you've figured this game out. Its as simple as Hit and Run tactics.
"Going in for an attack... Damn, missed, the bastard dodged! Oh, here he comes with HIS move! Better dodge..! Ha, how does it feel! Now I can go in for an attack! Going in for an attack... Damn, missed, the bastard dodged! Oh trout, here he comes with HIS move! Better dodge..! Ha, how does it feel! Now I can go in for an attack! Going in for an attack..."
"This simple paragraph illustrates battle AFTER you've figured out how to dodge. Don't get me wrong, it isn't all that. You'll hit the enemy sometimes and deal damage or gain Bravery, whatever you're doing. Believe me though, it gets tedious. Onto reason three, which is more of a conclusion more than anything.
"Three, dodging and Bravery RUIN this game sometimes. Remember those epic brawls I spoke off? Well, imagine this.
"Squall gazed at Cloud from behind his hair, and pierced the intense silence. "Talk is meaningless for us, isn't it?' Cloud looked up towards Squall and nodded his head, "Guess so", he responded solemnly. "Hmph... enough delay, Squall readied his Gunblade, lets do this!" Cloud pulled the large, durable sword from his back and pointed it at Squall. "Bring it on." Thw two charged at each other, neither holding anything back, as their battle for supremacy began... 20 Minutes later... "Cloudddd! Stop dodging my attacks!" Squall complained. Cloud was going back in for a counter strike, "Not until YOU stop!" Squall gracefully dodged the attack and went in for a slash with his Gunblade, only to find Cloud had backstepped and was already preparing another counter attack. "Ughhh... I HATE YOU CLOUD!" Squall squealed angrily. Off in the distance, Terra, along with Zidane, looked upon the two, puzzled at the event happening before them. "Umm... What exactly are they doing, Zidane?" Terra asked. Zidane looked at the two, dodging and attacking over and over again for a moment, before he responded. "They're duking it out, it looks like." He replied casually. Terra looked at Zidane, looked at the battle, and looked back at Zidane. "THAT is duking it out..?" Zidane chuckled a little and gave her an answer. "Yeah, thats how you do it when you're both badasses with giant swords."
This illustrates my hate towards the fighting and how broken it can be. This can pretty much destroy the game once you master it. Dodge, counter, dodge, counter. Yeah, this is it. This is how the "masters" play and yes. I am, sadly, a master.
Moving onto some of the other features that don't matter as much as this! Story Mode navigation is simple, but tiresome. It consists of you moving your character around on a chess board like map, your main goal to reach a certain piece on the map to progress. Sometimes it'll be a boss battle or simply a transfer to the next area. You'll have to go through other pieces like pawns, which will engage you in a fight with a carbonated copy of a character or Treasure Chests which contain valuble equipment and Gil. you'll have a limited amount of AP (Action Points) which is basically how much you can move.
You can either reach the goal quickly ignoring everything else, and get rewards based on how much AP you have left, or waste AP getting everything on the map. and then proceeding without a reward. This system of navigation is pretty boring, but I'll give them props for trying to do something different rather than lauching you into fights until you reach the end. Depending on how you do with someones story, you gain PP which can be used in the PP shop to buy new outfits, new music, new stages, etc. There are other ways to obtain PP as well, but I'm not gonna get to far into those.
As for other game modes, there is Arcade Mode, which is simply pitting a preset character against a gauntlet of random characters, sometimes with certain conditions, like a Time Limit or something. There is a Tournament System, which is just fighting characters and getting medals depending on the diffifulty of the opponent and how you did. The medals allow you to purchase materials for synthesizing more powerful equipment, and its pretty much required to max a character out. There is also a little info corner for character profiles, listening to music, info on the series in general, and more. Mognet makes another appearance and it isn't anything to major. It is pretty funny sometimes though, I'll give it that.
Now that I'm done with this section... God that took forever... I'll give my final rating on Gameplay. Dissidia gets an 8/10. The broken battle system, and the repetitive nature of the game is really what breaks this section from a 10 to a 8. If I wasn't a huge fan of this game myself, I would have given it a 7. I always found myself returning to Dissidia though, no matter how redundant it got. So, 8 for my own personal feelings as the reviewer. Hopefully, you'll feel the same way if you buy the game.Overall
While Dissidia offers many great features, it simply isn't for everyone. I would enjoy giving this game a 9/10. I really would. After all I clocked in +300 hours of game time, yes I perfected every character, ultimate weapons, Level 100 and all. Since this game isn't for everyone though, I'm gonna give it an 8/10. The story, the graphics, and the music are the saving grace for this. The somewhat boring gameplay is what drags this game down, and many improvements could be made. I think Square has a good idea right here, I just hope they will learn from past mistakes and try to fix the flaws this game has. Will they? Hell, I dunno. They tried in Duodecim... But we'll save that for another review. This is Red Mage Coffman, and I'm on Firaga! (What a horrible ending line...)