Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy Review

Dissida 012 duodecim Final Fantasy

A year and a half ago, in August of 2009, Square Enix made many a Final Fantasy fan happen by releasing Dissidia: Final Fantasy, a fighting game featuring most of the prominent heroes and villains from the many Final Fantasy games. Everyone from Cloud and Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII to the Warrior of Light and Garland from the original Final Fantasy made an appearance, brawling in the war between Cosmos, the goddess of order, and Chaos, the god of, you guessed it, chaos and discord.

Square Enix must have loved the way Dissidia was received, as Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy is a welcome addition to the new franchise. The strong character lineup of the original is boosted even further, the gameplay is very similar (not a bad thing) with some minor tweaks, and the single-player campaign has evolved in ways that make the first game seem childish. Dissidia 012 will keep Final Fantasy buffs busy for months, just as the first one did.

The additions to the roster are all smart, not only in who they are but how they are added. The single-player story of Dissidia 012 is the twelfth cycle of Cosmos and Chaos’ eternal battle, a prequel to the original game’s thirteenth cycle. The main focus of this twelfth cycle is a party made up of the six new characters: Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII), Vaan (FFXII), Laguna Loire (FFVIII), Yuna (FFX), Kain Highwind (FFIV), and Tifa Lockhart (FFVII), who all fight for Cosmos. The three unlockable characters consist of one original character (Feral Chaos, a form of the god himself), a fan favorite (Gilgamesh from FFV), and another character from Final Fantasy XI (Prishe) that only MMO fans will recognize. Each character fits right into the Dissidia style of play seamlessly, and many fans will be pleased with the new additions’ fighting styles.

Cloud and Tifa

What’s interesting about the story is the extra character development some of the previous games’ characters receive. Terra (FFVI), Cloud, and Tidus (FFX) are all fighting for Chaos in this twelfth cycle, and a series of "Reports" that run concurrently with the main story will explain the reasoning behind the switch. The best part of the story mode, by far, is the elimination of the "board game" setting. Instead of moving characters from space to space, the player can explore a full 3D world map, allowing the player to experience the story in a more fleshed-out universe. Parties will consist of three characters at a time, each with their own conversation pieces. Random battles will occur, but they take the FFXIII "see the enemy in the world map and run into him" approach rather than the classic "walk around until something finds you." Not only that, but after finishing the story, the thirteenth cycle is made available, allowing the player to re-experience the original Dissidia‘s story in this new format. This inclusion extends the playtime considerably, making the game all the better for it.

The actual battles are very reminiscent of the previous game. The first game’s system, EX Mode, is recreated here, with fighters using Bravery attacks to weaken the opponent before unleashing an HP attack. Eventually the player can use an EX Burst to unleash a powerful special attack, usually rendering the opponent close to death. New to the system, though, is the Assist Mode, where the player can summon an ally to aid in the battle. There is a specific gauge for this, which is built by using Bravery attacks. The Assist Mode does add a new dimension to the battle, but there is a downside: EX Bursts and Assists are meant to balance one another, so using an EX Burst will revert your Assist Gauge to zero, thus requiring you to re-build it. This adds a new layer of strategy to your gameplan: will you focus on a certain assist, or are EX Bursts going to be your last resort?

Lightning vs Garland

Dissidia 012‘s graphics are some of the best on the PSP, with the sharp character models, colorful and bright attack sequences, and vibrant world map. The music is also very good, though most of it is recycled from the previous game. Where the game does take a hit, though, is the voice acting. Some of these characters sound like absolute dopes. It’s hard to tell if it’s strictly bad writing or voice actor inferiority, but there are times where the lines are so cheesy it’s almost unbearable. Considering the prominent voice actors in the game, like Ali Hillis (Lightning in this game, also Liara T’Soni in the Mass Effect franchise) and Christopher Sabat (Garland here, most known for Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z/GT), it’s a safe bet that the writing needs some work.

Dissidia 012 takes a lot of what made the first game good and tweaks it for the better, adding some substance to an already deep experience. Those who enjoyed Dissidia: Final Fantasy will feel right at home here, and newcomers to the franchise will most likely prefer the world-map-style story to the original’s board game method. While there are some issues, most of them are aesthetic and not an experience-killer. RPG fans, fighting fans, and Final Fantasy fans should embrace Dissidia 012, as it improves on its predecessor in many ways while still offering something for players of all three of those tastes. UPC: 662248910369

4 out of 5


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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