Super Final Smashtasy Brothers was a tad on the nose.
Ever wanted to play a Final Fantasy fighting game? Well here you go. Dissidia Final Fantasy was released for the PSP in 2008. Tetsuya Nomura started the idea off as a spin-off of Kingdom Hearts but decided to use Final Fantasy characters instead since apparently the idea of Disney characters fighting each other wasn’t too comfortable for them. Although the game wasn’t directed by him, Nomura did the designs for all the characters and worked along with the staff to make it appealing to a international audience. Did it work? Well, let’s see.
Ladies and Gentlemen, even in the realm of Final Fantasy, a fighting game like this is not going to have a plot worth diving into. Not like this game actually knows that, the amount of cutscenes in this game are fucking staggering. From Final Fantasies I to X, protagonists have been summoned by Cosmos (goddess of harmony) to defeat Chaos (the god of discord) and his team of Final Fantasy antagonists. However this war has been continuously repeated. Everytime a side wins the losing side loses the memories they had of the previous battle, take a long nap, and wake up when they are called back to the war. However Cosmos now wants her warriors to find their “crystals” which will give them the power to end things for good. Thus the warriors fuck off to wander around, have a tiny arc that doesn’t mean anything but drags out, get their crystal under convenient circumstances and watch their goddess die at the hands of Chaos. The warriors almost die, live thanks to their crystals, beat the shit out of Chaos and end to war. They return home and the game ends.
That’s skipping over a good deal I know but hear me out, I have quite a good number of reasons for telling the story like this besides it not needing to be in a fighting game. Firstly the story is split into ten main chapters, covering how each warrior gets their crystal. You only need to beat one of these stories to unlock the final chapter. Of course I did EVERY chapter and let me tell you how each arc can usually go.
- It’s a poor recreation of the arc that character had in the game they came from.
- It’s a arc detailing a underwhelming problem that character has and why we need them to fight their respective antagonist to get resolution. Problems include: Cloud not having a reason to fight, Squall learning how fight on his own….but with his friends (makes the same amount of sense in context), Terra for some reason losing control of her powers at times, Cecil fighting Golbez to prove how his friends make him stronger (ugh this shit sucks).
- A story that just has the characters go about, talk shit to the villain, have the villain talk shit to them which somehow gives them doubts, and then they fight after a resolution scene with the character by himself or with his friends.
- A poor excuse to overuse bad purple prose every ten seconds and/or repeat what the person just said using different words in a attempt to sound deep.
- A combination of the story sets I just mentioned.
Combine all that with the amount of cutscenes there are and you WILL get sick of the fucking story soon after the first chapter you play, especially since there are only 11 locations in the game for cutscenes to happen in. Now I know a lot of people enjoy this story, specifically for the backstory about the gods and how it serves as retelling of the Final Fantasy I story but JESUS it’s a fucking roundabout way of making that story have some kind of connection to this one. The story as expected, leaves nothing to cherish besides a few good cutscenes here and there but the amount of repetition and nonsense and prose and overall NOTHING to the narrative as a whole makes me VERY surprised that Nomura didn’t direct this game. Some of you out there may get some enjoyment out of it, personally I think skipping the story wouldn’t exactly leave anyone missing out on much. Hell, I would only consider the voice acting meh or passable besides a few exceptions; mainly the returning voice actors from other games and Golbez’s fucking awesome voice. Exdeath and Garland are pretty good too with their ham factor but besides them the rest most likely just didn’t get any good voice direction with their characters.
Now the actual fucking game
Dissidia is a 3D fighter with RPG elements. Each character has something that makes them unique and better than others in specific areas. Zidane is great at air combat, Onion Knight can perform light and quick attacks that can chain into more attacks, Cecil has the ability to swap between his paladin and dark knight persona’s for different atatcks, Bartz mimics attacks from everyone with different touches added, and Terra is a powerful spellcaster. That’s only some of the 20 different ways the game lets you fight so there’s bound to be a few out there that you enjoy.
However I said this game has RPG elements for a reason. Half of the trick to winning is having good gear, which follows the rules you’d expect. All your gear can be bought from the shop which is accessible via the customization menu. You can also use materials you get to trade for new items. The shop gets new stock via getting new materials and levelling characters up. The shop also lets characters power up with new materials; this lets them equip weapons from what you own that they normally wouldn’t be able to or increase their equipment slots. We also have accessories which, along with raising stats, also can have their effects multiplied. When you equip a accessory with a yellow-ish ring icon, if you equip items that say things like “When HP is maxed” or “When Level is 1-9” it means that any yellow ring accessories you have equipped will have their effects multiplied when their requirements are met. A good set up of these can really make things go well.
Levelling up does a number of things besides raise stats: You can learn new moves, skills and abilities as well as increasing your SP so you can have more of those abilities and moves on you at once.
In battle characters can lock on with the “L” button and jump/double-jump with “X”. Triangle is used for interacting with the environment, indicated by orange arrows appearing around the character. Using this you can do things like wall-run, grind on rails and dash across large distance. Pressing “R” and Triangle at once will have the character fly quickly towards what they’re locked on to. Circle is used for BRV (Bravery) attacks and Square is for HP attacks. BRV attacks drain the opponents BRV and adds it to your own. HP attacks uses the number of BRV you have to damage the enemy, reverting your BRV back to zero if it connects. When your BRV hits 0 it’ll regenerate to what it was when you started, the speed of which can be altered via different methods. BRV Break is when a BRV attack drains all of a character’s BRV, giving the person that attacked them a Stage BRV bonus. Obviously you don’t want your opponent to have this but when they do its countering time. “R” lets you block a BRV attack leaving your opponent open if you block successfully. Dodging is done by pressing “R” and “X” as well as moving in the direction you need to dodge.
Now if the opponent is close to winning there are ways of tipping the scales (lol). EX Mode can be activated by pressing “R” and Square when your EX Meter is full. EX Mode gives the character regeneration as well as abilities unique to them but the best part is the EX Burst. Connect a HP attack in EX Mode and press Square again to do a EX Burst. During this you’ll do great BRV damage though this can be increased if you do what the game tells you to during it, which is different for specific characters. FINALLY there are also Summons which can be activated at will or during certain situations depending on whether they’re AUTO Summons or not. They fuck shit up in various ways, like tripling your BRV or swapping it with a opponents. You obtain Summons mainly through story mode so you’ll have to play a great deal of it to get a lot of them.
NOW if that sounds complicated, don’t worry you have the game to give you loads of good tutorials/tips and many battles to try different things out.
Time to move onto the different modes.
Story mode has you pick a chapter and then you go through 5 boards with that character. Each board has you move with DP (Destiny Points not Double Penetration) towards enemies, chests and items. DP is used to get PP and items at the end of each board, you’ll still be able to move without DP but you’ll be missing out on some stuff if you waste it by running from battles and getting DP penalties. Bonus DP can be gained by performing specific actions in battles like winning within a certain amount of time. The main idea of the board is to use your DP wisely so you get some good items by the end of the board. Board Skills are there to help you out too when you get them, which lets you do things like being able to lower the enemies’ health or heal before the fight begins. Its not the most interesting set-up, and its best you play Story Mode in moderation to avoid losing your sanity but the thing is not a lot is unlocked before you beat story mode. Beating this mode in itself can be a chore since the final chapter takes a LOT of levelling and good gear to clear but at least I can pick whatever character I want to play as during that.
Arcade Mode is you taking a pre-set character through a bunch of fights for PP and a couple of items, there’s not much too it even on the unlockable difficulties. Quick Match is self explanatory but since XP is determined by the enemies HP you can do some neat grinding tricks by beating a enemy that is high in LV but has a dumb AI thanks to you tinkering with the Quick Match settings. You have to unlock the ability to raise the enemies LV far above the one you’re currently at though.
Sadly the only thing you can do before beating the game is unlocking the playable antagonists via the PP Catalog as well as a whole bunch of other things there like new battle music during the post-game. PP is gained by winning battles, enough said. Villain characters I don’t generally use because they don’t have a board in story mode you can go through to get them stuff and XP, its Arcade Mode and Quick Battle only for them till you beat the game. Duel Coliseum is unlocked in the post-game, letting you fight enemies of different levels, earning you medals. Medals can get all sorts of different things when they appear in the Coliseum Deck but you can also just trade them in for PP when you leave the mode. After beating the game some Story Mode chapters open up. 2 of those chapters lets you get Shantotto and Gabranth as playable characters (Vaan isn’t here for some fucking reason, Gabranth is the only FFXII representative). The final extra chapter consist of gruelling fights against Lv. 110 characters (you cap at 100) then ends with a rematch against a overpowered Chaos. I’ve gotten to that rematch and cant fucking get past it, the fucker is next to impossible even with my Lv. 100 team of Zidane, Onion Knight and Cloud.
The Chocobo and Moogle Messages stuff are simply there to encourage you to play the game. The former lets you pick a chocobo that gives you bonus’ for battling while the latter gives you PP and items for interacting with it if you play the game once per day. Calendar bonus’ give increased payouts for battling depending on the day and what calendar you use which depends on what gamer you tell the game you are (which can be changed at any point). Completing Accomplishments and performing specific actions for Battlegen get you new stuff too. In Battlegen’s case it’s for getting a good chunk of all of the materials and you only have a chance of getting the material when the action is performed. Even then specific materials can only be created by certain characters with Battlegen.
Sweet mother of god, just fucking say if that game is good or not.
Look I’m going to cut myself short here because you probably get the picture by now. While there is LOADS of repetition in this game full of countless amounts of battles that one go through, there is loads of fun in picking my favourite character, in using tons of different means to make mine the strongest one, in turning the tides at the last second, in using strategy to get around a really tough opponent, and in unlocking all sorts of shit. I think you get the picture. If not let me put it this way; unless the in-game clock is somehow wrong (which I really, really doubt) I’ve spent over 90 hours on the game. And this does not surprise me considering how much I’ve played it since I got it nearly a year ago. It’s a fun handheld fighting game with a bunch of bells and whistles. I have my problems with how a lot of things are set up and the story is utter garbage but I had a lot of entertainment with this game specifically its post-game stuff. The remixed music is pretty nice too. Too bad its multiplayer is really fucking limited since there’s no online multiplayer, its only wireless local multiplayer. Who the fuck wants to play this with me? I found my copy for 10 euro in Gamestop, the digital version is a bit more expensive. If you have a PSP/Vita and are interested then go ahead and get it, I don’t think this one is just for Final Fantasy fans though the references to the series help a good deal when going into the game no doubt. Also might make the time I put into this game have some kind of slight real-world application if I get people to buy it.