Dissed and dismissed.
All right, let’s rip the band-aid off this one quick: If you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy series, you’ve already bought yourself a copy of Dissidia, played through the story mode as Cloud, maybe toyed around with some of the other modes or characters, and then promptly put it down for something else. If you don’t feel the compulsive need to buy anything and everything with a Chocobo in it, you may want to sit this one out. Because all this really is is another piece of memorabilia for all the fat girls dressed as Aeris and the other product-hungry fanboy masses.
[image1]The one thing FF:D has going for it are the characters. There's someone from nearly every main Final Fantasy game in the series. If you wanna be an Onion Knight, be one. Or would you prefer to reminisce over the old 16-bit days as Cecil? Really, the roster is the best part of the game, but I even feel that’s flawed. It’s always just protagonist vs. antagonist from every game (with the exception of a few hidden characters) which leaves out some fan favorites. I would have loved a chance to stomp someone into the ground with my boots as a dragoon or blast my enemy with a fire spell as a dark mage.
Graphically, everything looks as good as you would imagine it would… kinda. The rendered cut-scenes look fantastic, but the in-game models and environments are much less impressive. It’s got a choppy, unpolished look to it, which carries over into the combat arena. There are some serious clipping problems in some of the arenas that feature destructable environments. Maybe it’s all because of the UMD format, but the PSP can do better than this.
The plot is confusing and non-sensical. Basically everyone is still dealing with the same moral internal conflict they were coping with in their respective stories beforehand, while at the same time fighting in an eternal struggle between two warring gods with the universe as the ultimate prize. If I were Japanese, maybe things would’ve made more sense to me; as it was, though, like most of this game, it came off as filler.
Speaking of filler, let’s talk about menus and submenus. You will spend a lot of time here in menu-land, so get comfortable. It almost feels as if they’ve mistaken micromanaging for RPG elements. Spending a bunch of time bouncing around to make sure you’re performing at peak efficiency before every brawl gets tedious. When you couple that with the insane amount of loading time between everything, you may be waiting for a bus to "let's get down to fighting town" for a while.
Not that you’ll be too pleased with the combat, either. Fights get boring quick. Break down the “break” meter with one button, beat the life out with the other button, repeat. That’s the short and the long of it. You also jump around a bunch to the point of ridiculousness. I don’t know why they bothered putting the ground in some of these levels. You just end up double jumping through space, doing an attack, and then jumping some more.
[image2]Each character has a unique fighting style, which would usually be a good thing, only in this case, it makes the characters imbalanced. Some characters like Jecht, who require close range and charging time to execute moves properly, are at a huge disadvantage facing characters who can simply shoot magic spells from across the arena. Sephiroth has been dramatically overpowered as well.
Along with everything else that I didn’t like about Dissidia, there’s the chess board. When you play story mode, you are placed on a checkered board of varying geometric designs and given a random number of moves to make it from point A to point B. This means you may not reach every possible brawl on the map, unless you want to be penalized for not reaching the final point within your allotted moves.
It seems that any time Square Enix tries to prove to the world that they can make more than super awesome RPGs, they underwhelm. I'm afraid that Final Fantasy: Dissidia falls into the category of mediocre attempts at branching out. Anyone remember The Bouncer? How about Ehrgeiz? Yeah, it hurts, doesn't it?