Dissidia: Final Fantasy review David Smail October 1, 2009 PSP 1 Comment Dissidia is the culmination of the first ten Final Fantasy main series games. Rather than in a straight up RPG, like the Tales series has done with its universe-blending titles, Square Enix united its main characters and villains from the Final Fantasy series in one RPG/fighting game. Cosmos, goddess of harmony, and Chaos, god of discord, are waging a war for control of the universe. The balance tips in Chaos’s favor when he summons villains from throughout the Final Fantasy universes to aid him in his quest to defeat Cosmos. In retaliation, Cosmos summons the heroes to defend her and help her vanquish Chaos. As many heroes are killed, the warriors are brought to the brink and Chaos his final assault. ‚ It’s up to the heroes to band together and defeat Chaos. Story mode focuses on the ten heroes fighting for Cosmos. Each player has their own unique storyline which plays out as you progress through the game. Each character’s arc is a piece of the larger story, so the game requires you to play through the battles with each character. It can get a bit tedious, but the antagonist section “Shadow Impulse” definitely makes the Story mode worth playing. These chapters let the story of the war between Chaos and Cosmos unfold naturally, without cramming too much into a few cut scenes. ‚ Story mode not your thing? That’s fine. If you’re just looking for a quick fight, the Arcade and Quick Battle modes allow for quick one on one battles with the computer. Communications mode allows you to fight friends using the PSP’s Ad Hoc wireless system. Additional levels can be unlocked for an expanded game play experience. Fighting/RPG Publisher: Square Enix Developer: Square Enix Aug. 25, 2009 The fighting system of the game is fantastically designed. The 3D arena allows fighters to go head to head while using the arena itself to enhance the experience. During the fights, timing is everything. You need to be able to block and evade the attacks while launching counter attacks as quickly as possible to get the upper hand. During the battle, you rely on your HP and Bravery Points. Using Bravery attacks allows you to steal your opponent’s Bravery and then use a Limit Break to launch an attack that will decimate your opponent using the accumulated Bravery Points. This brings a level of balance to the fight which is reminiscent of the fighting systems of the original games. The coolest aspect? When you fight, you can glide across walls and fly across the arena in order clash against your opponent with very cool special effects. Which brings us to graphics. Graphics wise, Dissidia is on par with Crisis Core and in some ways exceeds it. The special attacks are presented in a fantastically colorful and creative manner. When your character slides across mako energy streams, the graphics sleekly show the character glide through the air as if it was natural. Sometimes when executing special moves, the graphics can lag a little, but this isn’t a major detractor from the game. When the graphics are coupled with the RPG element, you are given a truly fantastic experience. One of the best aspects of the game is customization options. Armor, weapons and accessories help customize the characters and boost your fighting stats. One of the highlights for me was being able to unlock Squall’s Cadet uniform and Cloud’s Advent Children costume. The customization is optimized by Dissidia’s character play styles. Each character has their own fighting style which makes playing each fighter a unique experience. Each fighter is forced to face off against their nemesis in a final epic showdown which will help guide their story arc. While most fans will recognize that the pairings make sense, some will obviously point out the Jecht wasn’t Tidus’ main villain (but then again Tidus was about as real as the spoon in the Matrix, so we can disregard that small issue). As a Final Fantasy fanboy, this game delivers on all fronts. As a fighting game fanatic, this game holds up to some of my toughest criticisms. The game is an experience, with a lot of unlockable content and beautiful graphics. The story comes together in a good way that can satisfy the diehard fans but could leaves something more to be desired. There is a secondary card battle system which players may want to explore for additional fun, but multiplayer is definitely where the game shines. Points accumulated throughout the game (fighting and card game) allow you to unlock the numerous bonus features (including two hidden characters that fans will be happy to unlock). When you go head to head with your friends, it’s a fun way to see who is better at coordinating themselves within the arena. My advice is to train on the highest difficulty level in order to train your reflexes during the harsh battles. Playing on difficult is incredibly brutal, but rewarding when you fight on normal and can easily block and counter your opponent’s moves. While this game is fantastic, there are some points where it disappoints. Like most Japanese to English games, sometimes it is very apparent where the lip moves are not in sync with the voice track. This is no big deal, but it’s a little issue that can take away from the experience. While the roster is strong, the new story doesn’t give the characters the depth their original games did. In this respect, new comers may not appreciate the full scope of the characters and think that they are not as fully developed. The scheduling system for the game could be a bit of a turn off from casual players, but it isn’t a major feature if you’re just looking to fight. Blast Factor: This game helps unite all the Final Fantasy games in one spectacular game.‚ The pinnacle is definitely the head to head fighting between each game’s hero and villain. Those battles alone are the realization of the final battles from each and every Final Fantasy game and beautifully remind diehards why they fell in love with the games in the first place (and continuously email Square Enix to remake certain chapters for the new consoles – *cough* Final Fantasy VII *cough*). This is a fantastic game and definitely one PSP owners should have. For a compelling story and an excellent fighting experience, check out Final Fantasy Dissidia. You’ll spend hours exploring this game fully and won’t want it to end. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go play some more. 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