Author: Heath Flor
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/dissidia_012_final_fantasy/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
Just when you thought you couldn't get enough Final Fantasy to quench your thirst, Square Enix releases Dissidia [duodecim] 012 Final Fantasy (say that 3 times fast!) for the PSP. A prequel to the original Dissidia Final Fantasy, the game promises to expand on the story of the battle between Chaos and Cosmos.
Final Fantasy fans who have played the original Dissidia Final Fantasy will find [duodecim] 012 very familiar territory. However, they will also find many new features to bring them back for a second go around. New characters Lightning, Tifa, and Kain join the roster; there are plenty of new items and a few new areas to be had also, including the new world map area. The biggest change by far though is the Assist feature that allows you to team up with your favorite characters in battle.
Playing through Story Mode guides you through the battle between Chaos and Cosmos. The game flow is very tedious as you must first select a chapter of the story, find a gateway on the world map, enter the gateway, move around the gateway board to find a Stigma of Chaos pawn, and then finally enter battle. If you're lucky there will be a few "Manikins" -- evil copies of the warriors for Cosmos -- to battle against which earn a few more XP on the world map.
Let's not mince words, here: the story is pretty lame. The dialog between the characters ranges from tolerable to mind numbing. To be perfectly straight forward, the character interactions feel forced; there are even moments where the characters speak absolute gibberish just to stay in their adopted role. This forced integration is hard for me to swallow, especially since the stories of past Final Fantasy games is the reason I began playing RPGs in the first place.
The load times can be painfully long, as every single thing you select prompts a load screen, including talking to other characters or opening your inventory. Luckily there is an option to install data so you can reduce load times. While there is still a bit of load time, it is at least more tolerable.
You have two options for the battle style: Action Style and RPG Mode. While action-style allows you to input every command, RPG mode allows you to select which actions your character will perform. The Action Style Mode can be very difficult to become accustomed to as the battlefield is fully three-dimensional and often times you will be fighting your enemies in the air.
The action itself feels very fast paced. In fact, there are times where an enemy can get the jump on you and finish the match in a few short seconds. Characters lunge across the screen and fly through the air in attempts to finish each other off.
Unfortunately during all of the action the camera can lag behind; sometimes it will force you to continuously adjust it in order to see what is going on. During battle, the camera will often get stuck either behind or against objects on the battlefield. This is especially evident on multi-level arenas when you're locked onto the enemy who is on a floor above or below you.
Battles are fought using only two main attacks: Bravery Attacks and HP Attacks. You must first steal an opponent's bravery before launching an HP Attack; damage from an HP Attack is equal to your bravery. Because your character begins with little bravery points, it's imperative you steal as much as possible from your enemy before unleashing an HP Attack. On top of the basic attacks you also are able to perform Summons, EX Burst Attacks, and Assist Attacks.
The graphics are definitely pretty, and the cut scenes are drop dead gorgeous. You'll still find some scenes have choppy edges here and there, especially around character outlines. The issue is easily overlooked most times, but still is noticeable on occasion.
After selecting "New Game", you have the option to transfer data from your Dissidia Final Fantasy save file. This is a nice bonus which allows you to unlock various items and even have your characters start at the level you left off in Dissidia Final Fantasy. If you haven't played the original, fret not: these are merely bonus incentives and do not detract from [duodecim] 012 at all for newbies.
If you don't have Dissidia Final Fantasy save data, you will be prompted to select your name, play plan, and your preferred subtitle language. The play plan is merely the difficulty setting; you can select between Casual, Average, and Hardcore, which can be changed at any time in the Customization Menu.
The Customization Menu gives you a plethora of options to choose from. Here you will find menus with which to customize your abilities, equipment, accessories, summons, assist, level, EX mode, play plan, and calendar, plus basic game options. Wait, there's more: you will also find your accomplishments, battle gen items, battle tips, and on top of everything else, you can shop 'till you drop.
If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed, you're not alone. However, [duodecim] 012 does try its best to slowly introduce all of the features available. Even so, my head was reeling during the first few hours of game time. Once you progress past the data entry and tutorials, you move onto the Start Menu which houses Story Mode, Battle Mode, Communication Mode, the PP catalog, Collection, and Data Config.
Dissidia [duodecim] 012 Final Fantasy, besides being a mouthful to say, is having an identity crisis. On one hand it wants to be a fighting game that allows you to pit your favorite characters from the Final Fantasy universe against each other in one of a kind battles only rabid fans could dream of. On the other hand it wants to be an RPG, albeit a mediocre one.
The bottom line is this game is made specifically for fans of the Final Fantasy series. There is so much fan service to be had here that many newcomers won't be too bothered with the fluff. Dissidia [duodecim] does, however, stack the deck in its favor by giving players an incredible amount of options, items, action, and game time. With so much to offer, it truly is a game difficult to pass up for any Final Fantasy fan.
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