by Maja, reviewed on
New Sequel In The Best-Selling Franchise
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, pronounced as Dissidia Duodecim (latin for twelve), is the next game off the Final Fantasy production line at Square Enix. It has been conceived as a prequel to its predecessor Dissidia: Final Fantasy and will attempt to improve upon the whole experience, particularly for long-time fans of the franchise. The success of the previous game on the PSP seems to have encouraged Square Enix to pack Dissidia 012 with plenty of features that make this a more than worthy addition to the Final Fantasy franchise.
Enter The ‘Stage For The Eternally Continuing Conflict’
Dissidia 012 does not stray far from its predecessor in terms of characters, plot and battle locations, but the changes made will certainly spike some interest. The storyline of Dissidia 012 takes place during the twelfth cycle of the battle between the gods Chaos and Cosmos, and explains why the additional warriors in this entry were not present in the thirteenth cycle of predecessor Dissidia. The plot and consequent gameplay is similar to the ‘Destiny Odysseys’ of the previous game, but also follows the path of the warriors fighting for Chaos as well. In telling the story, players can roam freely around a world map this time that is more accustom to the traditional Final Fantasy series on the console. This includes various scenarios and cinematic events that take place alongside the story to flesh it out. As with the main titles in the series, entering conversations and forming parties is essential on the world map. The developers are promising a 60 hour journey this time around that will also include the story of the previous Dissidia game, which gets an upgrade to the improved gameplay mechanics.
Another interesting fact is that you are given the choice to upload your saved game data (like character levels) from the previous Dissidia into this new one. Speaking of characters, Dissidia fans will definitely enjoy the return of all 22 playable characters, as well as eight new characters from previous franchise sequels like Gilgamesh from V, Vaan the sky-pirate from XII and Kain Highwind from IV. If you download the demo Dissidia Duodecim Prologus, you will find that it unlocks Aerith from VII as an Assist character also.
The Ultimate Final Fantasy Fighting Experience
The majority of the action-RPG style gameplay remains intact from Dissidia with battles being the main focus of course. The two types of offense, namely the Bravery attack and HP attack return. EX Mode is still activated by collecting EX Force, and enables you to do those essential EX Bursts and become even stronger although it is toned down slightly for game balance. One of the novelties is the Assist system that enables you to invite your allies to participate in battle with you and fight by your side, coordinating moves and creating new battles. Another addition is the RPG mode option for battle, which can prove useful for players who prefer the more simple style of play that takes over character movement and locks on to enemies. Another mode available is the tournament mode where multiple players can fight against each other in both one-on-one and group battles so you can team up with your friends this time around. New communication features are promised and a Watch mode will allow those who are not participating to simply observe the events on their PSP.
Characters still have the ‘Skills’ command but have also gained new abilities and attacks, such as a HP upgrade that can exceed the normal limit. The enemy system is reported to be similar to Final Fantasy XII or XIII, where they can be spotted on the world map, but are also able to attack you while on the map, forcing you into a battle scenario. The tiled board gameplay of Dissidia makes a return when a player enters a dungeon, but before entering players can accept challenges and reap extra rewards upon their success. Even more arenas, summons and a more expanse retro soundtrack will also be features in this upcoming prequel. All of these innovations and additions enable the game to keep the best traits from the predecessor, but evolve past it into something new and improved which aims to please all types of Final Fantasy fans.
The Final Final Fantasy?
The Final Fantasy series has been with us since the eighties, with its characteristic graphics, music and gameplay. Many of us have grown up with it and looked forward to the more sequels, stories and merchandise. Although it can be argued that the series has become over-saturated, Dissidia 012 looks to bring the PSP spin-off up to the quality of the console titles in the series, and certainly surpassing its predecessor in every way imaginable. With Square Enix still managing to bring out titles in the series that meet a great success, it seems we may never see the final Final Fantasy, and for good reason.