Features / Previews

Dissidia: Final Fantasy Preview

Dissidia: Final Fantasy Preview

Written by Kyle — 11 Dec 2008

A couple weeks ago in the article about the state of Final Fantasy a curious title was mentioned, Dissidia: Final Fantasy. As stated then, most Final Fantasy fans hungry for some pure RPG gameplay won't find what they're hoping for in Dissidia, but no-less a lot of Final Fantasy fans are looking forward to it. What exactly fans are looking forward to is a split between what has made Super Smash Bros. such a hit: fandom and gameplay.

Dissidia is a fighting game, but not in the traditional sense. Unlike Smash Bros., which has 3D characters battling it out on a 2D plain, Dissidia features characters fighting in 3D in fully 3D environments. As another comparison, battles are like those of Kingdom Hearts rather than Street Fighter. The characters of Dissidia, which are at least the initial draw for those waiting for the game, are the protagonists and antagonists from nearly every past main series Final Fantasy game. If you're a fan of Final Fantasy VI, you can expect to have wild battles between Terra and Kefka; if you're a fan of Final Fantasy IX, Zidane versus Kuja will certainly bring back memories. The only game not represented by a character so far in Dissidia is Final Fantasy XII, but a recent announcement stated that it would be present within the game. Further more, the character designer for all the characters in the title is Tetsuya Nomura. Nomura however was only the original designer for Final Fantasy VII, VIII and X, not the rest of the series.

Gameplay in Dissidia is not too far from games many Final Fantasy fans have played before. The game is being developed for the Playstation Portable however, and features wireless one-on-one battles between you and a friend, or foe rather. While in Smash Bros. the aim of each fight is to knock your enemies off of the stage, the objective in Dissidia like many games before it, is simply to bring your enemies health down to zero. Every battle in Dissidia consists of the player versus a select Final Fantasy antagonist, so there are no one-on-two or one-on-three battles to speak of in the game; that is unless that feature is yet to be announced. Final Fantasy fans will enjoy all kinds of familiar sights and attacks in battles. Antagonists and protagonists alike can each achieve what is called 'EX Mode' which is somewhat similar to Final Fantasy IX's 'Trance Mode' wherein characters become much more powerful and enjoy a few more special attacks in their arsenal. Within those is an 'EX Burst' attack, and much like Final Fantasy VII's limit breaks, is a very strong and unavoidable attack.

The graphics of Dissidia are much like those of a Playstation 2 game. Fellow PSP game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII's graphics are wildly described in the same manor, and as-such Dissidia actually uses the same engine as Crisis Core. Battles are fast, flashy and action packed, yet there is one thing Dissidia surprisingly edges out Crisis Core in, and that is the amount of dialogue. Square Enix has said that the amount of dialogue in Dissidia is double that of Crisis Core's. Whether that's in reference to overall text and spoken dialogue is unclear, but it at least does mean that the story line of Dissidia is no after thought. Players choose one character from the side of good at the beginning of the game, for example, Cloud Strife. Players then proceed to fight each antagonist from each Final Fantasy game, as the story of the side of good against the side of evil progresses.

What is known about the story is that there are two gods, Chaos and Cosmos, that have continuously fought over the balance of light and dark. During this, Chaos summons the aid of the villains of past Final Fantasies to gain the upper hand over Cosmos. The heroes of Final Fantasy are thus summoned by Cosmos to equal the playing field and defend against Chaos. The story will prove, once Dissidia is on store shelves, whether or not it's a means to an end -- that being an excuse to force all the fan favourites of Final Fantasy to fight each other -- or if it's a genuinely strong and fulfilling story.

Dissidia lands in Japan next week, but the exact date of its arrival in North America is still unknown. Crisis Core was about a six month wait for North Americans, but on an increasing basis Square Enix is toting that it wants to decrease localization times for eager players waiting in North America and elsewhere.