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Locking On With Dissidia

We check out a bit of Final Fantasy fan service for the PSP at TGS 2008.

The Onion Knight has never looked so good, or moved so fast.
After months of hearing muddled details and making plenty of jokes at the game's name's expense, I finally got to play Dissidia: Final Fantasy for myself at the Tokyo Game Show. This title, which pits notable characters from throughout the Final Fantasy franchise against each other, is pure fan service, though the format is such that I suspect it'll appeal to Japanese fans a bit more than their Western counterparts.

I went into Dissidia basically expecting Ehrgeiz 2, but what I got was something more akin to a reskinned Virtual-On. With the camera locked behind my character's back, I flitted around a glowy, abstract environment, locking onto my opponent and throwing crazy energy attacks. The game moved quick and the graphics were sharp, which is all well and good, but if I didn't know going in that this was a fight between the Onion Knight from Final Fantasy III and Tidus from Final Fantasy X, I'm not sure how apparent the Final Fantasy connection would've been.

Beyond the basic format, there are some weird mechanics going on in Dissidia. Each fighter has a tally of “brave points” that seem to act as a damage amplifier. The more brave points you have, the more hurt you dish out. And one of your attacks doesn't actually damage your opponent at all; it merely steals some of his brave points, making you that much stronger. (It seems like the other guy can steal those points back, though.) Once you've got a big mess of brave points, you can lay on the damage with your actual attack button to remove hit points en masse.

Another match type featured a little glowing bell hidden somewhere in the rather sizable arena, and once you grabbed that, you could engage a special attack mode that lets you lay on a canned attack animation that's specific to the character you're using. Squall's attack was similar to one of his limit breaks from Final Fantasy VIII, where he launches his enemy up in the air and slashes him about a billion times. There was a little rhythm game sort of thing that preceded this animation where I had to hit a button in time with a moving meter. The number of slashes was equivalent to the number of successfully timed presses.

Based on my brief time with Dissidia, I'm not sure that Square Enix has cracked the code on how to make a successful, non-RPG Final Fantasy game yet, though they should still get a certain amount of credit for continuing to try.
14 Comments
Posted by Ryan
The Onion Knight has never looked so good, or moved so fast.
After months of hearing muddled details and making plenty of jokes at the game's name's expense, I finally got to play Dissidia: Final Fantasy for myself at the Tokyo Game Show. This title, which pits notable characters from throughout the Final Fantasy franchise against each other, is pure fan service, though the format is such that I suspect it'll appeal to Japanese fans a bit more than their Western counterparts.

I went into Dissidia basically expecting Ehrgeiz 2, but what I got was something more akin to a reskinned Virtual-On. With the camera locked behind my character's back, I flitted around a glowy, abstract environment, locking onto my opponent and throwing crazy energy attacks. The game moved quick and the graphics were sharp, which is all well and good, but if I didn't know going in that this was a fight between the Onion Knight from Final Fantasy III and Tidus from Final Fantasy X, I'm not sure how apparent the Final Fantasy connection would've been.

Beyond the basic format, there are some weird mechanics going on in Dissidia. Each fighter has a tally of “brave points” that seem to act as a damage amplifier. The more brave points you have, the more hurt you dish out. And one of your attacks doesn't actually damage your opponent at all; it merely steals some of his brave points, making you that much stronger. (It seems like the other guy can steal those points back, though.) Once you've got a big mess of brave points, you can lay on the damage with your actual attack button to remove hit points en masse.

Another match type featured a little glowing bell hidden somewhere in the rather sizable arena, and once you grabbed that, you could engage a special attack mode that lets you lay on a canned attack animation that's specific to the character you're using. Squall's attack was similar to one of his limit breaks from Final Fantasy VIII, where he launches his enemy up in the air and slashes him about a billion times. There was a little rhythm game sort of thing that preceded this animation where I had to hit a button in time with a moving meter. The number of slashes was equivalent to the number of successfully timed presses.

Based on my brief time with Dissidia, I'm not sure that Square Enix has cracked the code on how to make a successful, non-RPG Final Fantasy game yet, though they should still get a certain amount of credit for continuing to try.
Staff
Posted by Raydanger

Looks pretty sweet, and I actually liked Ehrgeiz, I thought it was a pretty good fighting game....

Posted by PLWolf

I'm liking the way this is looking, plus you can pit Squall versus Sephiroth. MUWAHAHAHAHHA

Posted by Noxpectius

Finally........I can kick Cloud's ass.Praise Jebus!!!!!!
I enjoyed Ehrgeiz, but the Time of Me paying for everything that Square brings out has long come to an end.....about around the Time Dirge of Cerberus came out. Nice preview man.

Posted by AaronBelfast

Anyone know when the US/EU release will be?

Posted by Sanj

Maybe they should have gotten someone from the team that doesn't hate all things Final Fantasy?

Oh wait, there are none :P

Posted by mac512k

I think square should have went all out got everyone from every Square/Enix game and made a Smash bros style game... Of course i'm talking about the actual car from Rad Racer against Neo Bahamut. 

Posted by JackSukeru

I'll prob get it, so long as it doesn't get completely terrible reviews or sumtin'. Looking forward to playing as Zidane :)

Posted by majnuker

Wow. You gotta love it when a company keeps trying to milk a franchise. Remember all the pokemon and mario games? Jeez, Final Fantasy trading card game...2012 maybe?

Posted by hide

Guh, majnuker, your comment is more milked than these games. Why would they dump any of these franchises when they sell a tonne every time they come out with a new one, and it's hardly trying, they will sell.

Posted by Jayge_

Honestly, I don't even like Final Fantasy much, and I'll probably end up buying this game. From the videos and other Hands-On's that I've read, it's pretty clear that it's one damn-good "fanservice", although the use of that term is very light. They've put together a competent fighting engine, designed to let players actually take character's powers to the max. It's not an average fighting game; the characters here have varied, unique, and incredible powers. It'd be unrealistic to cram them into something incredibly stupid like a Naruto fighting-game (it may be a bad show, but the games don't even represent half the shit they have in it). It's specifically designed to simulate a really cinematic, cut-scene type battle. And it looks to have done that incredibly well.

I wish there was an editor who knew more about the state of the PSP and its games :-/ this is the second preview from Ryan in as many days that left a sour taste in my mouth with a lack of information.

Posted by ryanwho

So this is like "my first fighter" kind of like DOC was "my first shooter"? Well I guess that's smart, since most JRPG players couldn't last a second in a game that required real timing and reflex. Ryan doesn't need to be a Square fan to know a good or bad fighting game when he plays one. His lack of familiarity just gives him objectivity. Without the novelty of giving a damn who you're playing as, the game itself is underwhelming. If you do give a damn about the cast, you can probably convince yourself the game is a lot of fun.

Posted by Classic_Gs

This game looks beyond awesome, but I am skeptical about the controls on PSP.

Posted by Emandudeguyperson

This sounds cool, and I'm a total Final Fantasy hater!