bshirk's Dissidia: Final Fantasy (PlayStation Portable) review

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Final Fantasy 12's Vaan Reviews Dissidia: Final Fantasy

Hi everyone! I'm Captain Basch! Just kidding. I actually got tired of that gig awhile ago. Still, I make sure to show off my sexy, hairless chest to the ladies at every opportunity. But now, I mostly spend my time imitating my girlfriend Penelo, and that hot piece of ass known as Ashe. That totally gorgeous babe even inspired me to get a makeover! Oh my gosh, I get it already. You don't need to hear more about me hunting vicious sewer rats and my other heroic exploits. Instead, let me give you my impressions on a strange PSP game called Dissidia: Final Fantasy.

You know those other crappy Final Fantasy games created by Hironobu Sakaguchi? I'm sure you don't, since no one has played a Final Fantasy with random battles and offline gameplay before. Well if you have played a pre-Final Fantasy 11 FF for some strange reason, there's good news for you, as a certain cool company that gave me a DS-only FFXII sequel released a PSP title with all of your favorite Final Fantasy characters. That's right, Square-Enix released a fighting game with every villain and main character from the first ten Final Fantasy games. I guess a hot, shirtless male like me was too cool for them. It looks like someone at Square-Enix has the hots for Tidus. Oh well, their loss.

So anyway, like, there's a reason that this game is like, a big deal. Yeah, if you've been a Final Fantasy fan for long enough, you know what I'm talking about. Excuse me? You think that there's been a Final Fantasy fighting game before? Well think again, because Ergheiz doesn't count. Yeah, I'm not going to count a game featuring that blonde-haired dude with a huge sword that he can't even carry and his girlfriend whose huge knockers put Lara Croft's to shame. Sorry, Sephiroth fans, I'm not counting that lame game.

My humble servant Balthier asked why Dissidia: Final Fantasy is any different a moment ago. It's different because this fighting game can actually stand on its own, even without the Final Fantasy name. Dissidia may not be as good as some other fighting games, but at least it doesn't imitate Virtua Fighter, Tekken, Street Fighter, and Super Smash Brothers.

What makes Dissidia unique is its high-flying fights reminiscent of those in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and its RPG mechanics that have been grafted on to the fighting system. If you appreciated the Matrix-like action of Advent Children, you'll feel right at home with Dissidia, because the game sends your opponents flying into the air once you've pummeled them enough. After you've beaten your opponent senseless with several physical and magical attacks, your foe will fly backwards and you will then have the opportunity to chase him through the air faster than a chocobo carries me through Rabanastre.

While in the air, you alternate attacks with your opponent, just like I switch between hitting on Penelo, Basch, and Ashe. You can choose to perform an HP or Brave attack, which I'll get to in a moment, but you also need to pay attention to your opponent's stance to make sure that she doesn't dodge your attack. Likewise, you'll have to pay attention to your foe's attack timing; otherwise, you could end up as dead as an evil judge. Ha ha ha.

The coolest aspect of Dissidia's fighting system, though is the two different attack types you've been blessed with by the gods (psh, not that lame one from FFXII). Each character can perform either Brave or HP attacks, which I'll explain in turn.

As in any good RPG, all sorts of numbers are displayed by your character's name. You'll find a character's HP and maximum HP, and you'll also see a bigger number when represents your Brave Points. Brave Points are basically your enemy's first line of defense, as well as your own. You earn more BP by successfully striking your opponent with the circle button.

Once you've accumulated enough Brave Points and have depleted your enemy's BP, it's a good idea to strike with an HP attack (performed by pressing the square button). An HP attack will take away an amount of your enemy's HP equal to the Brave Points you currently possess. Doing HP damage is the only way to truly hurt your enemy, so it's important to build up a large stock of BP. A good way to do this is by completely depleting your opponent's brave. Your foe's BP will only be depleted temporarily, but it'll award you with a large number of points, which will allow you to do massive HP damage.

You know, I'm not even sure if I understood that, so like, let me tell you the fancy pants abilities you can use. In battle, you can use summons that cause various types of status effects, you can perform a variety of ground and aerial attacks (depending on what abilities you have equipped), and you can block, dodge, and jump. Keep in mind that you're doing all of this in super cool 3D movement. I wish I could have jumped in FFXII, but the dummies at Square obviously can't recognize my talents.

Anyway, another interesting aspect of the fighting system is Dissidia's many arenas. The arenas' textures may be a bit bland, but I loved fighting in the final dungeons of pretty much every Final Fantasy game. I mean, don't you remember how cool Garland's palace looked in Final Fantasy on the NES? Yeah, well now you get to see it in completely unrecognizable 3D. How awesome it that?

These dungeons are pretty cool with their multiple layers that you can wall run on and their destructible terrain, but it's hard to get used to Dissidia's fights due to the battle system's complexity. At first, it feels like you're fighting a slightly improved version of Kingdom Heart's drunken camera, but once you get the hang of the controls, you'll realize that the system is entirely manageable. There's a lot to learn since there are a variety of moves and gameplay nuances to memorize, but you'll soon have no trouble battling enemies if you stick with it longer than I'm without my mascara.

Even if you're a sissy that can't stomach Dissidia's fast-paced battles, you can still perform well if you turn on command-based battles. That's right, you can actually use traditional Final Fantasy menus to carry out attacks in battle without having to manually move your character. Imagine if my game had that. Would you think it's cool then? Say "yes," pretty please?

Okay, so all of that probably sounded complicated (and it is), but Square-Enix didn't stop there. They also granted characters the ability to gain levels, learn new moves, equip those abilities, and equip armor, weapons, and accessories (of four varieties). There are numerous character customization options in Dissidia, and if you play the entire adventure (without counting side quests), you'll probably gain at least sixty levels. Basically, that translates to hours of grinding, shopping, and building up your characters.

As in traditional Final Fantasy fashion, grinding would be no fun without the usual great artwork, music, and story, so Dissidia wisely delivers some of that. Personally, I didn't care, because my story was just so much awesomer, since I got to hunt monsters and fight a wannabe god.

Still, if you like that kind of stuff, there's a good chance that you'll be pleased. One of the best parts of Dissidia is that you finally get to see Yoshitaka Amano's original character illustrations come to life. The old Final Fantasy characters are no longer super-deformed sprites, so you finally get to see the infamous Onion Knight and the Dark Knight Cecil in their true glory. Some of these characters may look a bit effeminate to some gamers (unlike me of course), but most Final Fantasy fans will appreciate this change. Really though, did they have to make Bartz look like such a girl? At least Golbez looks as mighty as I had imagined.

If by chance you have trouble figuring out any of these inferior characters, there are several great battle tips and tutorials to guide you. These tutorials could be just as dry and annoying as my manner of speech, but thankfully they aren't due to witty writing using the voices of characters such as Quistis and Selphie that totally capture their personalities. Even though I'm not, like, smart enough to learn from tips, I read them for a good laugh (and so I could have some material for hitting on klutzy Selphie).

So all of the characters from Final Fantasy 1 through 10 look quite impressive, but how are their voices? Let me break it down for you, character by character.

Light Warrior- This dude needs to lighten up. I swear, he's got a stick up his ass or something.

Firion- He's always serious and a bit obsessed with roses. The guy needs to chillax.

Onion Knight- What a peppy little kid. I laughed when he claimed that he could protect the green-haired hottie, Terra.

Cecil- Once again, this dude is a bit serious, but he's got ambition, and at least he looks cool as a dark knight. His paladin form pales in comparison to my extreme sexiness, though.

Bartz- What happened to this guy? He was cool in FF5, but now he runs around like an idiot. Maybe he's just trying to pull Zidane's tail.

Terra- She actually has a decent voice and badass powers to back up that bod. I definitely prefer her in esper form, but she's still smokin' hot as a human. Like Ashe plus ten hot.

Cloud- I believe that he has the same voice as in Crisis Core, but it really doesn't fit the character. Cloud may have been uncaring (at first) and confused, but the depressed sound of his voice just doesn't match his personality.

Squall- This dark-haired guy may prefer to roll one deep, but the exaggerated loneliness in his voice is a bit too much (even for him).

Zidane- Arguably, the most disappointing voice in the game is Zidane's. It's hard to believe that this guy who sounds like a middle-schooler used to be a ladies' man.

Tidus- This beach bum isn't as ridiculous as me, but his wacky antics are back again thanks to the return of his original voice actor. Thankfully, his exaggerated laughs and hand gestures still provide for ROFL moments.

I'm not going to break each of the villains down, because I need to apply more make up soon, but most of them have awesome voices (especially Golbez, Chaos, and ExDeath). Kefka's is a bit lame, which is sure to be a disappointment for lovers of homicidal clowns, but that's how the world works sometimes, my friends. At least none of the baddies were as lame as the dude I had to fight.

So you're probably wondering, how's the overarching story that ties this ragtag band together? It's okay, especially if you're a fan of dualistic themes such as existence and non-existence and light versus dark, but it's nothing too memorable. Still, it's nice to see characters from several different Final Fantasies interact and battle. If nothing else, the plot is at least significantly better than that of any other fighting game. That's a good thing, because the cut-scenes and music are what will keep most Final Fantasy fans coming back to this tale about a conflict between warriors of light and dark.

Many of Dissidia's cut-scenes are quite impressive, and really push the PSP to the limit. What's even more amazing is that nearly all of these scenes were done with the in-game engine, so you're rarely taken out of the experience. However, there is one drawback to all of this visual splendor -- Dissidia's frequent load times. Even though loading is frequent, this problem is mostly negated by performing an optional install to your memory stick. This process takes one hour, but it's worth it to experience this visually pleasing game.

What Final Fantasy fans will probably like most about this title, however, are the stages, music, in-game trivia, character bios, and boatloads of bonus content. You won't find unlockable portraits of yours truly, but the remixed music of Final Fantasy themes and battles songs is a delight, and you'll probably appreciate all of the other bonus content as well. It'll take several dozen hours to unlock everything and complete all of the game's quests, so you'll be busy with Dissidia for weeks (if not months).

Ultimately, Dissidia Final Fantasy is a mixed bag. It's an innovative fighting game, it brings together much of Final Fantasy's history in one cohesive package, and it's visually stunning (like yours truly), but it suffers from too much grinding, cheap end of game bosses, and needlessly complex gameplay. For those who live and breathe Final Fantasy, Dissidia is a great nostalgic purchase, but be prepared to lose several hours of sleep grinding just to get to the next cut-scene. All that grinding shouldn't be a big deal if you enjoyed my game, but this time, you won't have the benefit of staring at my hiney (or Ashe's). I recommend buying this game only if you're a hardcore Final Fantasy fan, or if you're in the mood for a new type of fighting game.

My rating: 8 totally awesome points out of 10. Captain Basch told me to give it a '9,' but I said, "No." 

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