Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT – The “NT” stands for “No Thanks.”

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?

Photo credit to Around Akiba
These controls look easier to understand

Starting somewhere…

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

Developer:
Team Ninja

Publisher:
Square Enix

Genre:
Fighting

Systems:
PS4

Difficulty:
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-

Pokemon Sword and Shield – Kicking Depression Since 96

Giving a heads up now that this story will not be one of my cheerful, goofy post, but not devoid of some humor.


A little known secret about me is that if I am interested in a game, I will play it no matter how bad everyone else says it is. Months leading up to this game, I was starting to get tired of hearing the complaint about these titles. I had to block #bringbackthenationaldex from my Twitter feed because it was getting annoying and it felt like everyone was just repeating themselves. I like to keep my expectations low because in the end I want to judge something based on my experience and give my honest opinion about something without influence from people that I do not know. So then the question is how did I find Pokemon Sword and Shield? Was I upset about the Pokemon available in the game? Did I cringe at all the “lazy, reused” animations? Was I upset that this title was not on par with Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Skyrim, The Last of Us, God of War, the Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich, or the release of Half-Life 3? The answer to all of those is no not really, and for me that was due to a special reason.

I am going to be completely honest and open about me for a moment. The last half of 2019 was probably the most stressful period of my life. I work a full-time job, I take two classes a semester for my graduate degree, I take on almost all the responsibilities at home and in my relationship, I took on some music gigs playing an instrument that I had not touched in years and on top of that my weekly band rehearsals, and I started this blog. I juggled a lot of things to keep myself busy, but what I did not realize was that it was all taking its toll on me. I remember waking up already miserable for what was planned for the day. I would clean or fix on thing just for something else to fall apart the next. I would have moments where I would be bombarded with stressful thoughts that I felt trapped in this never ending cycle. My wife would try her best to help, but I was in such a rough patch that she did not know what to do in order to help me. Any time I had free time to myself, I would just stare into space and freak out about what was next to come. I had convinced myself that no one in the world would be able to handle the things that I did and that only I could do it. This made me super anxious about doing anything that I did not want to do because it was another thing on my plate. I think you get the picture now that I had the Big Sad.

The height and moment I realized I was unhappy with the status of my life came one day when I had nothing to do. It was the weekend, my wife and I had no plans of going out, and I had finished my school work for the week. I remember sitting in my game room looking at all the games we had and trying to decide what to play. After staring at the shelves for about 10 minutes, I felt sick and disgusted with myself that I would waste my time playing a game for a few hours when I could be doing some “more important.” I went to my wife and asked her if she wanted to help me box everything up and sell it all since just looking at them made me fell miserable. Immediately she knew something was wrong (that’s like Code Supernova in our house that something is wrong) and reassured me that all the stress that I had built up was eating at my depression and I needed to rest and stop creating work for myself. I believe I also messaged my good friend about my predicament and we played Final Fantasy 14 for a while. While it was good to get my mind off of things, I still felt bad that my other games were just sitting on a shelf collecting dust (the dilemma of a collector).

There was one thing that was keeping me going through all of this. Every new Pokemon game that’s been released has always made me feel good playing through them. Something about starting a new Pokemon journey with new mons and a new team always brought me back to the first time I played Pokemon Red all those years ago. The only worry I had was that it would feel like Sun and Moon, where nothing made me feel excited due to the trials feeling mind numbing and not a lot to do after you finish the game. Ultra Sun and Moon did not help this feeling, and for some reason Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby made me realize that I do not like the Hoenn region as much; making them the only Pokemon games that I have not finished. These worries would stick around, but I realized that I had developed a habit of enjoying things that most people don’t (my choice in gaming is proof of that). When November 15th rolled around, I eagerly went to the store and picked up the double pack for me and my wife and we made plans that evening to do nothing else but to play these games together. Would our hero find these games interesting or as ridiculous as the internet said it would be?

Give me a sign oh Walmer of the Lake

I was addicted to this game. The presentation of the game really sold it to me since there was a reason for going on this journey. In the other games it felt like you went on it because everyone else has or you have to “help” the local professor with their research. Things felt a bit more personal since the region is crazy for battles and things make sense for you to be a part of that. I loved the fact that the game had random encounters and Pokemon out in the open for you to catch. I enjoyed it in Let’s Go and I continued to enjoy it in this. My wife and I spent a lot of time in each area because for once I wanted to catch everything that I saw since I could see what was in each area and it was no longer a guessing game. The Wild Area was a laggy mess when online, but it was basically a giant Safari Zone where you could find almost anything. My entire weekend was spent just exploring, battling, trading, and researching all that I could about this game. For the first time in what felt like months, I was truly happy.

My first shiny in the game!

I thought about writing a review for this game, but felt like a post like this was more appropriate. So I am going to rapid fire some of the things that I liked and disliked with an arbitrator score at the end. So, (inhale)

  • Grookey is best don’t @ me
  • The credit scene made me realize that I can create a “rock band” team
  • Raids are fun as long as you play with others
  • Shiny Applin is a myth
  • The way Exp share works in this game is a godsend for training
  • I had a moral dilemma when I learned about the fossil Pokemon. Arctozolt however became one of my mains and I love the little abomination
  • Hop is not a bad rival. He has issues with living up to his brother’s name and he grows from it.
  • The backstory is lame. The villain’s motivation was weak, and I miss having a serious evil organization.
  • Cramorant is my favorite Pokemon from this generation
  • The gym challenges felt like a better trail system from Sun and Moon and they were actually fun to do.
  • Best gym challenge was Opal’s Quiz. Worst was Gordie’s I guess because I do not remember his.
  • Gym battles felt hype due to the stadium ascetic and the crowd’s chants during the last fight.
  • I reset my game during the Leon fight because I felt like I was cheating using revives during the fight. I wanted to the satisfaction of beating him without recovery items and it felt great when I did.
  • Speaking of Leon, he ranks third on best league champion. His personality and presence made him fell like a great champion.
  • I enjoy the battle tower in the post game. It is an actual challenge if you have not been training properly.
  • Bede was a better challenger than Marlene. Bede had the better story arc and continued being a jerk at the end.
  • The post game story was ehh….

    All in all an 8/10. Just the right amount of water
First time he intimidated me

This game has also gotten me interested in the competitive scene. I may not be ultra devoted to the idea of breeding perfect IV’s, maxing EV’s, getting the right abilities and whatnot, but I do like the idea of creating crazy teams and seeing if I can make them work. This was also the first time in a mainline series that I actually completed the Pokedex. Normally I would not care about completing it, but I felt compelled to do so for the very first time. The limit number of Pokemon helped with that as well as hunting for them in the Wild Area. Along the way I also stumbled upon the joy of shiny hunting. I am not hardcore dedicated to it yet, but it is another option when I feel like it. Even though there is not much to do after finishing the game, I am still finding ways to enjoy and come up with new things to do. To this day I am still playing it from time to time and I’m starting to see people actually enjoy the game as well.

Proof that I did it!

So to wrap this post up, I am so glad this game was able to bring me out of my dark spell. It wasn’t perfect since nothing is perfect, but it hit all the right buttons for me at the time at the time and made me enjoy gaming again. To those that bashed on the game and say that Pokemon is on the downfall, I would say that that happened starting with the 3DS games and time has caught up to us. It is hard to have something new come out that is not meet with backlash and people’s individual expectations not being meet. We have forgot how to find simple fun in things now that we are the ones paying and spending our limited time playing games that need to meet several factors in order for it to be worth our time. I know that is how I felt for a certain time, and now all I want to do is find my own enjoyment out of the things that I do and be my own voice and judge. So again, thank you Sword and Shield for not making me sell my entire collection which I would have regretted and had the even bigger sad afterwards.

Thanks for reading,

DanamesX