Dissidia is a brand new fighting game featuring an all-star Final Fantasy cast that pits the heroes against the villains. It started as a spin-off to Final Fantasy series on the PlayStation Portable so its root are firmly placed in its handheld origin. The release of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT makes it the first time the series has transitioned to consoles. Before it was announced for the PS4, the game originally released for the Japanese Arcades. The console release has included the initial 14 character roster that launched with the Arcade version but increases the final roster count to 28 fighters. This is a big number of characters with a mix of old and new cast, while 6 additional fighters will be released as part of the Season Pass.
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT keeps the series tradition of having completely out of place subtitle in its name. The simple acronym NT can be interpreted in many ways. It can either be considered New Tale or New Tournament. The developers intended the title to be open this way, however it does make the name confusing to follow for someone who is new to the series. The story might be familiar to those who have played the past games since it essentially has the same premise. This is a standard good versus evil story where the good side is ruled by Cosmos and evil side by Chaos. It is a battle between the Goddess of Protection and the God of Destruction.
First, to get something out of way, there is no traditional story mode featured in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. The game instead has been divided in a story mode and gauntlet mode, which works like an Arcade mode of a fighting game. The story mode is simply a series of cutscenes that require a certain amount of collectible memories to unlock them. These collectibles are unlocked by playing the Gauntlet mode which offers two different type of battles: Core and Standard. Core is basically ‘attack the enemy crystal’ battle where you target the enemy crystal and destroy it before they do the same against your crystal. The standard battle is a 3 vs. 3 brawler that lets you control a main character along with 2 AI controlled fighters. The aim here is to incapacitate the enemy 3 times and to avoid having the same thing happen to your party members.
The battle system in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT features slick animation and fluid controls but the combo system is severely limited in how it works. The combos are executed by the direction button along with the attack button. Depending on the input pressed, the attacks might play out differently. Aside from the normal attack which is also called ‘Bravery’ attack, there is the ‘HP’ attack that lets you deal the final blow to the enemy. It is a system that has been taken directly from the past games but with some new tweaks this time. The issue with the combos is that if you miss out, it leaves you open to opponent attacks and while the computer controlled opponents play fine on the normal difficulty, it can be frustrating to deal with them on a higher difficulty setting. You will be punished severely for even a tiny mistake and there is good chance that you unintentionally keep missing out on combos because of the chaotic nature of battles.
Speaking of the confusing battle system, the main reason why it often doesn’t work is due the variety of moves that the opponent can perform at a time. They can fly through the air, dash around, side step and climb trees or objects to get to higher ground, so landing a combo when they are moving with such fast pace is pretty hard to master. The best bet here is to use a ranged fighter so that they are not vulnerable during close quarter combat. If you attempt to attack opponents that are jumping around and miss your attack, it is possible that two or more can gang up on you and perform chained combos that can completely deplete your health risking your life in this process.
It will take a while to master the combat system here, but frankly speaking, it is not as easy to follow in the start. The combat becomes even more disorganized once you throw in the summons that can be utilized in each battle by each team. It results in a influx of special moves and effects on the battle screen and the UI itself doesn’t make it easy to keep track of the battle. Despite that, I managed to enjoy most of the fights especially when it was my character that was wrecking havoc on the enemies. Of course, the game is extremely challenging once you try to tackle the higher difficulty battles and they are necessary to attempt since they will be available in the gauntlet mode.
There are plenty of collectibles to discover in the game. Aside from the Player Icons and Battle Music, you can also customize some of their appearance by unlocking costumes or weapons for them. You can either find Treasures by playing the Gauntlet mode or purchase these items from the in-game shop for a set amount of coins. Each fighter can get experience points after battle and gain a level which results in them learning new EX skills or HP attacks. These can be all equipped before a battle. If you are having trouble with your favorite fighter in battle, perhaps try leveling them up to unlock some useful skills that can improve their efficiency in combat.
I didn’t manage to spend much of my time with the online multiplayer however the lag during matches can add to the frustration of an already difficult combat system that requires precise movement. The online mode offers a ranked mode along with a lobby system that lets you join lobbies created by other players, or create your own lobby that friends can join through a private ID system.
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is a fighting game with action role-playing elements developed by Koei Tecmo’s Team Ninja and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 4.
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT does offer the ultimate fanservice, but it is held back by the lack of single player content and a poorly designed story mode. The combat system is fun although flawed in design due to the chaotic nature of battles.