The Dissidia spinoff series was a surprise hit on the PlayStation Portable. Who knew that a fighting game based on Final Fantasy would be a hit (kupo) or that it took so long to make one. The interesting fighting mechanics made it unique enough that players needed to think strategically during each fight. While both games on the PSP had enough features and content packed onto the UMD (kupo), players dreamed of what a home console version of the game could do. The dream of playing with friends either locally or over the internet on the big screen with a HD look was real. It would be seven years before Square would make this dream come true, and leave it to Square to make it an uneasy night’s sleep (kupo).
Prologue – From the cabinet to your couch
I will start with some background (kupo). Dissidia NT was originally an arcade game before converted into a console game. The game focuses on three vs. three battles with an emphasis on teamwork. You and your team work to knockout three opponents, one each or one unlucky person three times, to win the game. You do so by utilizing bravery and HP attacks. You use bravery attack to reduce an opponents bravery points to zero while growing yours. This is important, as HP attacks deal damage equivalent to your bravery points. An opponent is considered KO’ed when you reduce their HP to zero. You can grow your bravery points high enough to deal a one hit KO, or spam HP attack to dwindle an opponent’s HP down.
And that is the premise of the arcade game (kupo). The console version had to add a little more substance in order to justify the $60 price tag at launch. The console version still focuses on three v. three battles, but the developers added a story mode (kupo) and offline gauntlet battles for single player content. On top of that, the console version includes customization items that can be obtain in the form of drops, treasure (loot boxes), or buying items with in game currency or mom’s credit card (yeah it is one of those situations). And that is it (kupo). At the time, the content did not match the price tag, but you should always value a game from what you get out of it. Right?
Sadly, I did not get a whole lot out of this game. I will start with what I liked since that is the easiest (kupo).
The game looks gorgeous! Seeing some of your favorite Final Fantasy characters like this in HD for the first time is a treat. The amount of detail that you get from the characters and environment is something that Square has been really good at doing as of late. When characters get hurt, you see the damage to their armor and dirt all over them. Not a thing you would notice during gameplay, but it is good to see which of your teammates got beat up the most and who was hanging out on the sidelines (kupo). Each character feels unique and has moves represented by their move set in-game (like you would expect). Each character is grouped into different roles this time around to add some team composition strategy to the game. You have Vanguards who are heavy hitters, Assassins who move quickly, Marksmen who fight from a range, and Specialist who do their own thing. This type of variety can ensure an easy victory as long as your group works together (I will get back to this point later kupo).
Another interesting addition in this game are summon battles. You are able to go up against the six summons that you can use in battle and it turns the game into a new challenging beast. Summon battles play out different from regular battles as all you have to do is reduce the summon’s HP to zero once. This can be challenging depending on which characters you select. The problem is that you can only fight them offline and have to rely on the AI characters to help you out (which for me they hardly did kupo). The summons can also be very aggressive with them spamming their HP attacks and never letting up. The good thing is that you only lose if you are the one that gets knocked out three times (if CPUs counted then they would be almost impossible kupo).
There’s something there somewhere
And that is all the good things that I can say about this game. There are a few things that make the game fall short (kupo). If the developers changed up some of the options and controls, then the game would be more enjoyable.
Let’s start with the story mode (kupo). The story mode is short and felt uninspired. The story is not interesting at all and fells their to just give some backstory of why everyone is fighting. Unlike in previous Dissidia titles, their is no grid base board that you move on in order to obtain treasure or fight enemies (kupo). Instead, you have to collect memories to unlock story scenes. How do you obtain memory? You get them from (per last update) the offline gauntlet battles that you either have to win or get a good enough of a score. On top of that, it is not guarantee that you will get memory from doing the fights. Like all other items in the game, memory is randomly added to your spoils at the end of the gauntlet run (kupo). So if you want to get through the story content, you have to do the gauntlet battles over and over again until the game decides to give you memory to continue. This felt like a chore when all you wanted to do was to get through the short story to say that you finished the game (kupo).
Onto gameplay (kupo). The controls for this game are confusing at times and requires you to remember what different buttons, directional inputs, and positioning do. Until you become proficient with a character a practice constantly, you will get the inputs confused (kupo). One attack can be completely different if you are standing on the ground or in the air. That makes understanding which move to do at the time crucial as you will be easily punished if you mess it up.
On top of remembering which button does what, you also have to deal with the user interface and HUD. There is so much going on on one screen for a 3D fighting game (kupo). Your screen will be taken up by everything on the HUD. You have you and your opponent’s lives on the upper left hand screen with the timer. On the upper right hand side, you have a mini map of the field, but it is useless in this game. On the bottom of each side, you have your teammate’s HP and Bravery point and your opponent’s info as well. Your Bravery and HP is located at the bottom along with your EX skills. You also have at the very bottom the chat which don’t even bother (kupo). On in the middle of the screen you have all the action. You will see blue lines to show who you are targeted to and red lines to see who is targeting you. When you target someone, their information (bravery, HP, and name) appear above them. On top of that, you get text boxes when you use an EX Skill or use an HP attack (kupo). When special abilities or particle effect happen, it blinds the screen and makes it difficult to keep up with what is going on (kupo).
AND THIS! YES YOU MOG (kupo)! He will just not shut up during the entire match! Mog is your commentator of what is going on, but there are already so many sounds going on that he just adds to the annoyance. AND THERE IS NO WAY TO MAKE HIM STOP UNLESS YOU MUTE YOUR TV!!! There is already so many things that you have to keep track of and Mog does not help at all. If there was an option to customize your HUD or turn commentary off, then at least you could take your time to learn the game proper, but there is so much going on that you feel rushed at some points.
Summons also add to the annoyance of one screen clutter. During the match, a crystal will appear that you need to break in order to build up your summon gauge. When you summon, a cutscene plays out that stops you from doing what you are doing, breaking concentration of what you we focused on doing. Summons also alter the field with their attacks. Their effects affect the entire screen and if you have to avoid them it becomes a nightmare of trying to evade it and your opponents. There is a lot of spectacular effects going on, but it becomes bothersome in a fighting game versus an RPG.
Conclusion – I have a migraine
I will say that my time with Dissidia NT wasn’t all just frustration. I discovered that I am really good with Y’shtola and I unlocked her online achievement. Speaking of achievements, if you plan on platinum this game, you will have to become a master at the game. Each character (minus DLC characters) has an achievement attached to them to obtain three A++ rankings online. Doesn’t sound too hard, but if you are unfamiliar with a character or playing with random people online, it can take some time to achieve this. Throw in the fact when you play with random people, the game will not put you in a balance team all the time, and you will have to work with your teammates to work it out.
As a fan of Final Fantasy and the Dissidia series, I can tell a lot of love went into the development of this game. Some ideas from the original games were kept and refined, but some additions and lack of offline content really makes it hard to pick up and play for a while. If you are interested in trying the game, Square did release last year a free edition that allows you to play online and carry your stats over to the full game. I highly recommend giving the free version a try first before buying the full version, unless you find it on sale. For what it is worth, Dissidia NT is not a bad game. It has a lot of elements that hold it back from being a fun enjoyable game.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT
Varies (Depending on personal skill level)
What I liked:
+ Nostalgia fan service
+ Detailed graphics
What I Disliked:
– Confusing controls
– lack of content outside online battles
– short story mode
– Different game from the originals
– MOG FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS PLEASE JUST BE QUIET KUPO!!!!!!
Personal Rating: C-