Final Fantasy is one of the most popular video game franchises in the industry. Since we first started up our adventure on the NES, we haven’t been able to get enough of the mystical tales of warriors of light rescuing princesses and such. Typically, it’s always been an RPG, and very few times has it wandered too far away from that genre. The biggest reason is because Square-Enix, has proven time and time again that they are incapable of making anything that ISN’T an RPG.
That being said, it comes as no surprise that this latest game, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, a fighting game/RPG hybrid, is anything but memorable. Like most Square games, it’s simply too ambitious, and yet too simplistic, to be anything other that mildly entertaining for only a short while.
Let’s take a look at the HOTS, and mostly NOTS, of Dissidia: Final Fantasy
If there’s one thing Square-Enix does right, it’s graphics. While we have seen better graphics on the PSP, these are easily some of the best. You’d be hard pressed to find a PSP game that can top this games fluidity and beauty. The character models are well detailed, and the animations are top notch. Then of course there’s the opening cinematic, which could easily be something done on PS2 or maybe even PS3. Of course, its all pre-rendered CGI, so don’t expect the entire game to look that good.
The music is also great. Though, I feel this one may be cheating a bit. There’s some nice original music, but most of what you’ll hear is slightly redone classic Final Fantasy tunes. Depending on who you fight, will determine what battle music you hear, so if you fight Cloud, expect to hear the Final Fantasy VII battle theme. It’s a nice touch, and a great throwback to the classic games.
For all it’s gameplay issues, one has to appreciate how ambitious this game is. It tries to separate itself from the other fighting games out there by implementing various RPG-like systems, such as levels, item levels, special abilities, summons, etc. The only problem is, some of these systems are simply not needed. So long as you keep your level high and your equipment updated, you’ll have little reason to check out some of the more intuitive and inventive systems in the game.
Fighting, sort of
When you read further down you’ll see fighting mentioned again. It’s hard to place the fighting in this game, because on one level it works, and can be fun, but on other levels it’s derivative and flat. The fighting is fast paced, and when the camera works, can be pretty intense. Sending an opponent flying into the air, jumping at them, and continuing your assault is as satisfying as you can get, and is a nice nod to the popular fighting Anime’s out there. I also like that you have to fine tune your fighting, and can only win by attacking both your opponents HP and bravery. The fighting can be fun, but as you’ll see later, it doesn’t last.
So hear we are, the NOTS. I would love to tell you that there are only a few, and that these shortcomings don’t hinder the game. If I told you that however, I would be lying. Here are all the problems and annoyances with Dissidia: Final Fantasy
You think if there’s one thing they would get right in a Final Fantasy game of any type, it would be the story. However, I think the writers were all on vacation when this script was written because this story is WEAK. Sparing the little details, the gist is pretty unimaginative. Basically, an evil god and a good goddess are at war, and they’ve each selected ten heroes to help them win the conflict, these are the various heroes and villains from different Final Fantasy games. Sure, it sounds kind of interesting, but seeing it play out is anything but impressive. The cutscenes are more boring than anything, and often times don’t explain much. Luckily, there’s the option to skip past them, one many of you will take full advantage of.
Writing and Acting is horrible
It amazes me how poorly written and poorly acted this game is. Ever since Square-Enix released Final Fantasy X and introduced full voice acting into the series, the voice over’s have always been top notch and easily on par with Hollywood films. However, in this game most of the actors just sound bored. I suppose some of that can be attributed to the atrocious translation. It should be said, the translation isn’t HORRIBLE; you won’t be seeing any “Engrish” in this. The problem is that it seems no one was brought in to fix up the dialogue and make it flow better and sound more natural. You’ll see a lot of lines like “What are you doing? This is not the time for us to be fighting, we have many other important matters to attend to and do not have the time for this.” Now, that isn’t a direct quote, but it’s a close enough example to the type of writing you’ll see. Very stiffly translated, and very stiffly acted.
Bad camera angles and annoying level designs
The camera is your worse nightmare in this game. Unless the enemy is standing right in front of you, expect to be struggling to pan the camera around to find them. The game has a lock-on feature, with the press of a button you can lock-on to your opponent, or the EX Cores that randomly pop. While this is a good idea in THEORY, it tends to just become a burden when the enemy is jumping all around and your camera is completely flipping out. Add to that, the HORRIBLY designed levels. Most of the levels are bland, matrix looking places with random holes and islands just sort of thrown onto the screen. There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to any of them. You’d think with this being a Final Fantasy crossover fighter, that the levels would be inspired by the various different games and characters, but once again we get an example of cheap, cop out level design that’s completely uninspired and just plain annoying to look at. It’s too bad, because Final Fantasy has always been known for its gorgeous environments and landscapes.
And here we are once more at fighting. Again, for all intensive purposes, yes, the fighting does work and can even be fun at times. You can set different button combos to perform different attacks, and the idea of attacking both a characters bravery and HP is pretty intuitive. However, all the great ideas are pushed aside for this bland, one-dimensional fighting system. It basically boils down to tapping the circle button to do a bravery combo, knocking your opponent into the air, and then attacking with an HP attack. Sometimes you’ll be forced to grab an EX core so that you can pull off a special move, and at times you’ll have to time out a button press and dodge an enemies attacks. As long as you can master dodging and bravery combos, you will win.
Overall, Dissidia: Final Fantasy is a pretty underwhelming experience. It’s a mostly bland fighting game, with cool but downplayed gameplay systems and a boring and forgettable storyline. Playing as the great Final Fantasy heroes and villains is cool, but it would be that much more enjoyable if there was simply more substance. For all its shortcomings, it still does have some fun to offer. The idea of selecting the length of the game was a nice new idea that could be used in future games. If you’re a hardcore Final Fantasy fan, then chances are you’ve already purchased and completed this game. For the more casual gamer, you may want to skip this one. It just doesn’t offer solid enough gameplay to warrant the $40 price-tagDissidia: Final Fantasy Review,