Square Enix never fails to disappoint these days. Firstly, with the release
of extremely shallow games like the Final Fantasy Crystal Chonicles series and
now with Final Fantasy Dissidia.
The story of Dissidia takes place in a time where Cosmos (the goddess of
light) is fighting and seemingly losing to Chaos (the lord of darkness). If you
think that storyline is cliche enough, sit tight because it actually gets worse.
In order to assist Cosmos in her battle and to stop the world from descending
into darkness, the ten heroes, each from the ten FF games, have to collect
crystals. The developers at Square Enix must have either have a crystal fetish
or a serious lack of imagination. The whole game therefore revolves around
searching for these ridiculous “crystals”.
Each character has a unique storyline as they journey to find their alloted
crystal. I am most familiar with the quests of Cloud from Final Fantasy 7 and
Cecil from Final Fantasy 4. By the end of Cecil's journey, I had had enough
of the game and decided to sell it. The stories were, for lack of a better word,
stupid. Cloud and Sephiroth relive their feud for the thousandth time and Cecil
still tries to see the good in his brother, Golbez. I personally feel these
insecurities were best handled in their respective games however Dissidia tries
to take them places, they don't need to go. What results is an absolute hatred
for the once loved characters like Cloud and Squall. To be honest, by the end of
their quests, i was literally shouting “get over it you morons” at Cloud
As for the battle system, Dissidia is a hybrid of the RPG and fighting genre.
The crew at “Good Games” have accurately described this as a game trying to
be both but not really succeeding at either. I have to agree with this
statement as the elements of each genre does not play out as effectively as one
There are two types of attacks, HP and Bravery. Bravery in simple terms is
like the characters defense. If it reaches 0, the character experiences
“break” status and starts to take serious damage if attacked. Therefore, the
main strategy should include trying to reduce the enemy's bravery so that more
HP damage can be inflicted. It sounds interesting enough on paper, but it
executes quite differently. In order to attack the enemy you have to get near
them first. But this is made harder by having an extremely large battle area.
Most of the time, your character will be whizzing through the air trying to
reach the enemy only to be caned by their perfectly timed combos.! Or you may
find yourself unable to proceed forward because theres a boulder in the way, and
instead of whizzing around it, the character just tries to go through it. Later
on, the characters receive the ability to sidestep obstacles such as these but
it makes the first initial battles extremely frustrating.
If the action based battle system seems a little too chaotic for your tastes,
you can change to command based combat which allows you to choose one of four
tactical strategies that your character can then employ. These commands can be
selected at any time during the battle and can allow your character to perform
actions such as guard, concentrate on hp attack or bravery attack or just run
away. While this is useful, it does get a bit boring at times and you'll find
yourself choosing one command, then leaving to do something else like read a
book while waiting for the battle to end. It also has the same impact as the
gambit system in FF12 where you leave your characters to perform their tasks,
while you as the player, take a back seat and just watch. It leaves you with a
rather disconnected feeling as a player.
Characters can also make use of the Ex Mode can be define as limit breaks.
Once in Ex mode, the character or enemy regains HP, has greater defense &
attack power and can execute limit breaks. While these are good and all, SE
introduces yet another frustrating tradition – mashing buttons. If you have
ever played FF10 you will remember how damaging, Lulu's limit break could be to
your controller. Well in Dissidia, you will find yourself punching buttons and
putting your PSP through the kind of carnage that will undoubtedly reduce its
life span. Perhaps, this was SE's plan all along, after all the more PSPs that
get damaged, the more money Sony can make.. If you have any respect for your PSP
at all, you'll give this game a miss.
Overall, I found the battle system quite boring. After a few battles, I was
over the whole game and just wanted to move on.
Well I've talked a lot about the bad, now lets get to the good. Dissidia has
some of the best graphics you can ever expect to view on the PSP. You can look
forward to seeing characters such as Terra and Squall brought to life in 3D
graphics and the cut scenes are exceptionally good. However, if you're like me
and can't stand to see the characters butchered anymore than they already have,
you'll be forwarding most of these cut scenes. In addition to the graphics,
I was very happy with the soundtrack of Dissidia. In fact, it was my favourite
aspect of this game. It was brilliant being able to listen to your favourite
battle music while fighting it out.
Another great thing about the game are the sheer number of unlockables from
costumes, to summons and characters. There are a lot to choose from and you can
purchase these using PP which you gain from battles as well as reading the daily
Mognet letters. If you do enjoy the gameplay, you can easily find yourself
spending hours unlocking various goodies to your hearts delight.
In conclusion then, my experience of Dissidia has been really disappointing
and after a string of substandard Square Enix games, I am reluctant to pick up
any of their upcoming titles in the near future and this includes Final Fantasy
13. A lot of their focus seems to be on the aesthetic rather than the quality
of gameplay and immersing stories – two features of what made previous FF
titles a huge success.