Discord with Dissidia - A Final Fantasy Demo Review
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The demo for Final Fantasy: Dissidia is among the more interesting things I've played lately. A "fighting game" manufactured after the immensely popular Final Fantasy RPG series, Dissidia is a game that probably needs no introduction.

Regardless, I can't help but feel like the game has done something entirely unique, and that's a bill that isn't fit onto Square-Enix very often, and hardly ever to the Final Fantasy series as a whole. In that way, I can't help but already call Dissidia a pretty remarkable success.

Though I'd always suspected Squeenix had a reason for formulaic games for years, and Final Fantasies XI and XII proved that even innovation sometimes has to settle down a little in favor of playing cards a little closer to the chest. While not bad games by any technical standpoint, XI and XII just didn't "feel" right, trying to simultaneously breach real-time into a turn-based concept.

Dissidia feels like the next step into that, calling into consideration less of the frantic flailing and adrenaline-pumping action that's made Guilty Gear so wildly successful, and more finesse and planning. For lack of any other analogy, Dissidia should market itself as the Thinking Man's fighter.

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The system is a teensy bit complex, giving the player three bars to pay attention to. First, there's the health bar, the staple of the Fighting genre. There's also the Brave value, which has a direct correlation on the player's and the opponent's attack power, variable depending on how much Brave either combatant has.

Lastly, there's EX Mode. The EX Mode the bar on the far left, and upon both filling the bar and being in control of the EX Core, EX Mode allows a combatant to use a devastating attack after a successful hit on an opponent. These are really where Square shows its roots, with flashy CG attacks that call for some interaction on both sides of the attack. The opposition varies with the characters, and asks you for a specific command such as navigating menus to cast a specific spell or coordinating button-presses from the D-pad and the face buttons. The end result is unique, but sometimes feels like it's trying to keep the player busy.

Sadly, EX Mode is the fire to the Thinking Man's ice, allowing a desparately losing character to get a comically strong cheap-shot in and gravely turn the tides of battle. Or end it outright. Considering EX Mode demands the collection of the only EX Core on the map, it sometimes turns into a race for the item. Characters like Zidane and Onion Knight rule the court here, easily capable of skipping past the bigger, slower characters and collecting the item at their leisure. It seems like there should be some fracas involved to keep the slower characters in the running, but the one-on-one nature and large maps really provide unfair advantages for the more mobile characters.

This is further offset by the game being occasionally just too fair for it's own good. Any character, at nearly any time, can overcome nearly any attack. The game has a remarkable stop-go rhythm that allows players some breathing room, which is nasty when any momentum built up gets thrown away. It feels like a turn-based fighter, which has a lot of time between exchanges to let players pop a piece of candy or take a sip of their drink. It's what makes it unique.

But its claim to fame is also its biggest flaw. Fighters should have some level of see-saw, letting the players who really get the ball rolling to keep running with the punches. Yet every single opportunity for furthering momentum gained is lost every twenty to thirty seconds.

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Especially where air-dodging and blocks are concerned. Given enough time for a character to stop recoiling from a blow, any character can slip out of the line of fire. Air combos are just as bad, letting players tap X at the moment a strike occur to dodge and counter. The opponent is also given the chance to do the same. Given two players with equal skill, these chains can last for tens of minutes at a time, with absolutely no progress being made.

It just spends a little too much time trying to be cinematic. Air battles can go on through the length of a match, the attacks are more dependent on timing rather than combination of player-based button presses. It feels like playing an interactive, climactic movie conclusion rather than a fighting game.

However, Dissidia tries a new system, does something new, and carries itself with a flair for the dramatic while still maintaining poise. It's a fun little romp with a new system that took a shot in the dark, and didn't really miss. However, there's a lot of untapped potential already visible, and it's not even the full game.

Still, go download the demo, and try it out. It's fun, it's new, and while not exactly exciting, it does have style.

I've looked into this game a slight bit and it did intrigue me. My problem is the 3D fighter genre. I've never been too keen on it. How does that bit play out, aside from the, in my opinion, unnecessary addition of character speed differences?

Just out of curiosity, where do you download the demo? i would like to try it

I had forgotten about the concept of this game. I remember now, and it makes me a little sad not to own a PSP. I remember them saying they wanted it to be like an interactive, epic battle scene along the lines of the Cloud/Sephiroth fight at the end of Advent Children. If it truly seems as you've said then its successful in its goal which makes me feel like the game is a success. This is potentially one of the only fighting games I would consider buying at the moment, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fan service provided, I can safely say.

Gxas:
I've looked into this game a slight bit and it did intrigue me. My problem is the 3D fighter genre. I've never been too keen on it. How does that bit play out, aside from the, in my opinion, unnecessary addition of character speed differences?

It plays very fluidly, controlling very much like you'd imagine Kingdom Hearts to play. It's very natural, and the lock-on system is efficient without being cumbersome. Although I would disagree with character speed, and say that a game like this really calls for it. It stacks it in speed's favor due to the Brave and EX systems, but it's still a fun game for the slow characters, especially since they only need to get a few good hits to really shift the game hard in any given direction.

Cyyowyn:
Just out of curiosity, where do you download the demo? i would like to try it

Playstation Network on the PSP, or downloading it onto the computer and transferring via USB. If you haven't updated your PSP's firmware in a while, you'll need to do so before PSN will be available on the PSP itself.

Fightgarr:
I remember them saying they wanted it to be like an interactive, epic battle scene along the lines of the Cloud/Sephiroth fight at the end of Advent Children.

This is honestly the worst part about the game. It does occasionally make the player feel powerless. Because the game is so cinematically inclined, the attacks are very slow. So if something misses, the character flounders for a terrible amount of time, and it really feels like it punishes you for even trying to attack. The characters flounder, so everything seems clunky, even when you're playing a zippy character.

Nitpick ahoy!
"..to settle down a little in favor of playing cards a little closer to the chest."
"It just spends a little too much time trying to be cinematic."

Other than that, solid work.

Hmmm...I didn't know the demo was out yet...

I'll have to check it out...

Nice review as always by the way...

In which countries are the demo available, cause I checked the PSN network and found nothing.

Sounds like an interesting game. Review covers quite a lot, but not everything some Final Fantasy fans such as myself may find useful (although, by all rights we should be buying it regardless). I know you only had a demo to judge it on, but some information about how it fits in with the main series would have been useful. Setting, music, characters, plot, style, are these combined from previous games or have SE just chucked some popular characters into a fighting game? Just found this review lacking in that department, as I'm sure some judgement could have been made out its ties to the main franchise. Congratulations for not forcing a reference to Ehrgeiz in the review though.

Covers the game mechanics very well, but is maybe a bit too focused on them for my liking. Of course, it's what you're most exposed to through the demo, but I think Yoshitaka Amano was involved in this game, so I'd be surprised if there wasn't more to say about the graphics beyond their cinematic aspirations.

It's fairly obvious from the screenshots, but maybe the fact it's a 3-D game could have been mentioned at some point.

Few things that stood out to me:

This didn't seem quite as polished as your usual reviews to me. For instance, "and that's a bill that isn't fit onto Square-Enix very often" sounded odd to me, although you may be using some NA usage I'm unfamiliar with.

"Though I'd always suspected Squeenix had a reason for formulaic games for years" threw me off, and is plain contradictory/redundant. You didn't "always" suspect them "for years". One or the other, unless you were trying to suggest they've been pumping out formulaic games over the last few years, but that is a bit ambiguous. The sentence seems cleaner to me with one of those removed. I found that entire paragraph appeared to be setting up a contrast that never happened.

"Lastly, there's EX Mode. The EX Mode the bar on the far left," Sounds like you're giving directions to a lost driver based on a nearby landmark. It could be condensed into something like "Lastly, the EX Mode bar on the far left" just to throw out an alternative that seems simpler to me.

There was a bit of strange phrasing, "trying to simultaneously breach real-time into a turn-based concept" kinda works if you're suggesting it has to breach through real-time into turn based territory or summat, but I'm not sure if that's what you were trying to describe.

Not quite sure why I'm picking all these nits, as I'm sure you'd pick up on them, and more besides after reading it through. You probably set yourself up for people being overly critical with the usual standard of your writing, but this didn't seem on par with the usual stuff.

Maybe demo reviews just don't warrant this level of scrutiny, but I'm in a picky mood.

Cyyowyn:
Just out of curiosity, where do you download the demo? i would like to try it

the playstation network over your PSP.

I've tried the demo and it seems fairly.... okay at most?

I think my biggest complaint is the dash move. It's a bit tricky to pull off and you have to do it several times depending on your distance from whatever your target is. I do like the "smash" moves similar to Brawl although they are also difficult to pull off when using a melee character.

Overall I may pick this up after it gets a greatest hits title so I don't have to waste 40 bucks. Never been terribly fond of fighter games outside my own single favorite Rival Schools.

Hey Guys, Here is a complete list of all the Final Fantasy Dissidia characters. These are the Final Fantasy Dissidia supporting characters and selectable Dissidia fighters. Characters in Final Fantasy Dissidia series games are included on this list. The Final Fantasy Dissidia game characters fight each other in this fighter video game. The characters include eternal enemies Cloud Strife and Sephiroth. Feel free to use this list as a basis for your own favorite games character list.

final fantasy dissidia characters

 

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