Dissidia Final Fantasy Arcade is adding Final Fantasy VIII’s Ultimecia to its roster, the ultimate sorceress who can control and manipulate time. This isn’t her first appearance in a Dissidia game, but this time around she’s being given quite a few new powerful spells to add to her arsenal.
As part of the Marksman class, Ultimecia is not to be trifled with, and to see a classic character given new life in the Arcade version of Dissidia makes my heart swell with joy. I’m so glad Square Enix hasn’t forgotten about one of its most memorable villains and is doing fans a favor by revitalizing her and keeping her relevant in the Dissidia competitive fighting arena in the arcade.
One of my greatest triumphs and failures as a gamer and diehard Final Fantasy fan was losing to Ultimecia in the ultimate battle at the end of Final Fantasy VIII. I was young, inexperienced, and had few Phoenix Downs left to save me. My attacks did a pitiable amount of damage due to my refusal to grind through the game. I ended up having to backtrack several hours through the game to acquire some Hero Drinks to keep Squall and the rest of my party invincible.
Hell’s Judgement was the bane of my existence, reducing my entire party’ HP down to one, hence my need for the Hero Drinks one after another. Bio, Quake, Meteor and her irritating and powerful ability to absorb party members into time itself made facing off against her a ridiculous battle of attrition. Ultimecia didn’t come to play, but after I finally got a few Hero Drinks in my system I was able to push her off into oblivion.
Since then, Ultimecia has been one of the most formidable foes of Final Fantasy in my eyes, but it’s not just her strength that’s dazzled me over the years. It’s how awesome she is. Fine, fine, being sadistic and evil and cold-hearted isn’t “cool” and shouldn’t be aspirational goals, but I sure did find both Edea and Ultimecia some of the most best-dressed, intriguing characters back during my first Final Fantasy VIII playthrough.
Impeccable fashion (that plunge, though), black feathered wings, fur collar, talons, and makeup on point? Ultimecia took a page from Kefka’s book of fashion and put together a powerful sorceress look while working to compress all time and space to become a “living god.” She knows what she wants, after all. Her fashion choices extend behond her person, however, as her castle is an opulent spread with faux-Victorian charm, as is her waiting room in Deling.
Ultimecia acts through the bodies of others to accomplish her wicked deeds, and in Dissidia she’s just as nasty, having manipulated Final Fantasy VIII’s Seifer Almasy, Final Fantasy IX’s Kuja, and nearly Sephiroth in a bid to take over the world. Growing up with Japanese RPGs and mostly male villains, I never really had an evil female villain to “look up to” in a world of cookie-cutter female character purity, so those accomplishments always counted as pretty important to me. Even if she does want to compress space and time and essentially reduce me to nothingness.
I always thought Ultimecia (and in turn Edea Kramer) deserved more time in the Final Fantasy universe, and I suppose this is all we’re getting since she’s been defeated and all that, but at the very least Final Fantasy’s coolest sorceress lives on in Dissidia Final Fantasy Arcade. And she still slays just as much as ever.