The translation of DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY? A Final Fantasy fan’s dream. Dissidia 012 is yet another excellent PSP offering from Square Enix, which beefs up the traditional fighting game genre with a unique RPG spice. The story may seem somewhat confusing at times, but at Dissidia 012‘s heart is a wealth of characters from the Final Fantasy universe. If you’re a fan of at least a couple of Final Fantasy games, there is plenty in here for you. Expect hours of gameplay, in the 30+ hours range, with the long story mode and everything to collect (and learn). Rounding out the package is a solid soundtrack that fans of the long running RPG series will recognize and enjoy. There is plenty of value packed in DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY, which now stands as another great exclusive PSP game.
4.75 out of 5 stars
DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY review
The Final Fantasy game series is synonymous with role-playing games. So why would Square Enix take the series into the fighting arena? Fan service. And Square Enix truly delivers and speaks to its fans with its next advance of the Dissidia series, DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY (which henceforth I will refer to as Dissidia 012). In Dissidia 012, warriors from Cosmos and Chaos clash in action battles or RPG-like battles. Characters span heroes and villains from the original Final Fantasy game through Final Fantasy XIII. Over 30 characters are included, along with alternate outfits. A single-player Story mode offers a very long storyline campaign that easily surpasses 30 hours of play. At times, the storyline may sound convoluted. The story is essentially about the amnesia induced Final Fantasy heroes being summoned from their worlds to battle a flood of manikins unleashed by Chaos. Dissidia 012 is much deeper than any fighting game you’ve likely played. Battles take place in large arena spaces, there is a deep level of character customization and a vast amount of support equipment and items to unlock.
Gameplay modes included in Dissidia 012 include a Story Mode (a long single-player campaign mode), Battle Mode (various quick arcade battles or extended gameplay matches) and Communications Mode (for multiplayer matches). Players can set their preferred Battle Style to either Action-style or RPG mode. For players who want to experience a traditional role-playing game command menu and less action-oriented gameplay, the RPG mode offers that. I tried it out for a bit, but felt I was missing out on the free-controlled action experience. Players can change the mode as desired, so test each out and maybe mix the modes up for different experiences. An easily accessible menu manual explains much of the gameplay, which is uniquely presented using characters from the Final Fantasy universe.
Action battles are basically made up of striking an opponent to steal or earn attack points, known as Bravery Points. By accumulating Bravery Points, powerful attacks can be unleashed to drain an opponent’s Hit Points (HP Attack). These are the two main attack mechanics used in Dissidia 012. An Assist Character accompanies players, which can be called in once the Assist gauge is filled. That is mainly useful for backup in battles, but is not player controlled. Another meter to fill up is the EX Gauge. A EX Mode can be used once filled, and leads to the most powerful attack type offering the biggest eye candy, EX Burst. No Final Fantasy game is complete without a good share of Summons, which players will be able to unlock and use as well.
Battles take place in various 3D arenas. Environments are not particularly detailed but offer vertical height and a large play area, something you don’t see in traditional fighting games. There are also some limited destructible objects in the environments. By hitting a button, players can wall run to avoid enemy attacks or slide along a path. Block and Evade attacks can also be used for a brief opening window to land a hit. Players earn experience and advance attributes such as Hit Points, Defense, Luck and more. Equipment includes hand weapons, gloves, helms and body armor. Accessories range from one-time bonus items to booster items that can be activated in certain battle conditions.
The Story Mode difficulty can be set to Moderate, Normal, or Strong, depending on what kind of a challenge you want. The Story Mode offers a world view exploration mode. It won’t take long to spot the pattern and limitations of the world view. The third-person world view consists of enemy gateways (some that are replayable, some that conclude a chapter), treasure chests, Moogle Shops, chatting with allies, and encountering an enemy. Again, the environments in world view are pretty simple, but offer a nice variety to grid battle matches. Once a gateway is entered, a grid battle screen appears. From there, players can engage various enemies and enter the battle arena. A few pre-rendered cutscenes that appear at milestones along the storyline are gorgeous. Characters can also be leveled up by playing in the Battle Mode (and vice-versa via Story Mode). Just when you think you’ve finished the Story Mode, it goes on.
Dissidia 012 is packed with a tremendous amount of content. It is practically a Final Fantasy character encyclopedia in itself. PP earned during gameplay can be exchanged to unlock plenty of extras from the PP Catalog. This includes additional playable characters, alternate costumes, new stages, calendar bonus items, icons and much more. There are maybe hundreds of unlockables. Unlocked cutscenes and in-game scenes (over 300!) can be replayed from the Collection menu option as well as replaying save battle data. Character Files give a history of each Final Fantasy character and Summons in Dissidia 012. Music and voices can be unlocked as well. The music is another exceptional part of Final Fantasy’s history provided in Dissidia 012. Composer Takeharu Ishimoto has created an incredible soundtrack, worthy enough to stand on its own (listen to a sampling here on the iTunes Store). From light piano pieces to heavy rock infused tracks, this is another signature of the Final Fantasy series to enjoy in Dissidia 012. All of this content adds to the replay value, including the addictive Calendar system, which rewards players with bonus stats on certain days. One day of the week can be set as the player’s most frequent play date, which enhances character stats for that day.
DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY is a surprisingly deep game. There are many more features I haven’t even scratched upon in this review. At the debut $29.99 MSRP, it is well worth the price for all the hours of gameplay, tons of unlockable content and rich history of Final Fantasy characters. There is a bit of a learning curve for first time Dissidia players and some time to be spent in the game’s item menus (when don’t you do that in a Final Fantasy game?), but stick through it and you’ll reap the incredible value that Square Enix has given in Dissidia 012. Players who are fans of at least a couple Final Fantasy games and want to try a bold new presentation of its characters, get Dissidia 012. Square Enix has even provided a budget teaser game on the PlayStation Store (for $2.99), DISSIDIA duodecim prologus FINAL FANTASY, which introduces players to an original prequel with Lightning. Hardcore Final Fantasy fans, don’t miss Dissidia 012; this game was made for you. DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY is yet another PSP gem that is a keeper in your gaming collection and surely among the best games released for the PSP in 2011.
Thanks to Square Enix for making this review possible.
DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY trailer (see here on YouTube):