Video Game Review: Dissidia: Final Fantasy ( Japan Arcade)

Thank you Internet for this amazing photo

Thank you Internet for this amazing photo

While exploring the Land of the Rising Sun, I was also present for the release of Square Enix‘s latest installment in their fighting game series- Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Debuting for fans and owners of a PSP (which was probably only around 500 people worldwide), Square Enix made a game that allowed players with pit their favorite iconic Final Fantasy heroes (which for 90% of fans was probably Cloud Strife) against other heroes and villains (once again probably Cloud Strife or Sephiroth) in this 3D RPG Fighter series. Being a fan of the original game, I was pretty excited to try out the arcade version when it debut on Thanksgiving (Because Japanese people don’t have Turkey!). If only the pilgrims had video games 500 years ago…

One of the big things I really enjoyed about Dissidia was the fact that it wasn’t your conventional fighting game. Square Enix tried their best to bring players as original of a title as possible by transcending the second dimension and I personally think it was a smart move. While people learned tips and tricks to bring up their technical game, the game itself was unique enough to keep my attention, which is all I really want in a fighting game. It seemed to do well enough because it spawned a sequel (or prequel if you paid attention to that lousy story.), which in my opinion was much better than the first game.

One of my biggest concerns with Dissidia was the fact that Square Enix never officially released this title onto home consoles, which would have been a brilliant move. Playing an intense fighting game on a handheld definitely didn’t bring the best experience possible. So while the series was good, I felt it wasn’t brought to its fullest potential. So fast forward about 6 years to 2015, where Square Enix decided to deliver fans a new experience by throwing Dissidia into their various arcades.

The game itself seems very familiar to the previous installments. Players control their character in a 3D environment in order to attack their opponents, either from up-close or from a distance depending on the character used. The biggest change to the actual game is the fact that instead of a single player battle, players are now grouped into teams of 3 to battle other teams. You’re forced to work together with your comrades in order to take down the opposing team, with the objective to kill every other member at least once to end the match (Or for some, ganging up on the weakest link).

Adding the 3 on 3 multiplayer battles gives players the ability to coordinate with their teammates to really give the game more a co-op competitive edge. The arcade system actually has a port for a headset so you can keep in contact with your allies while in battle to plan out strategies. With a scheduled port coming out to the PS4 at a future date, this would definitely be a great way to utilize the PS4’s microphone and headset function.

The ability to use the summons was also drastically changed in this installment, as instead of simply manipulating the attack power of characters or “Brave Points,” the summons actually come into battle to wreak havoc to the enemy. And it looks amazing.

Like in the original titles, the characters have completely different styles they focus on. The characters could vary anywhere from heavy melee types (Everyone’s favorite overcompensating blonde) to casters, which gave players a massive variety. No character is the same as another. Unfortunately one of the major drawbacks I had with the title was that there are only heroes playable in this installment. While they added a character from the 14th installment in the franchise, that only gave the roster 14 playable characters, a significant drop from the handheld titles, which usually paired up a villain with a hero.

The controller was another huge drawback to the game as Square Enix essentially cut a playstation controller in half and mounted it to each side of the panel to resemble joysticks with a big button in the middle you had to press in order to build up your summon gauge. The summon gauge button was probably the worst part about it, because to use it you have to take your hand off one of the controllers, which usually meant you were completely open to an enemy attack…

Why they couldn't simply add an extra button on the controller is beyond me...

Why they couldn’t simply add an extra button on the controller is beyond me…

One of the things I really enjoyed was the fact that there was no overly convoluted plot that you got swept up in with this game. Being an arcade title, Square Enix solely wants players to duke it out, and this decision is welcomed. While some might think a crossover is fun, I never cared much for the plot.

Being that this wasn’t on a handheld console, the graphics underwent a massive upgrade moving onto a bigger and better system. Characters not only look fully rendered, but the amount of detail that went into everything was incredible (we all know Square Enix loves their pretty graphics in a Final Fantasy game). Players have alterations on their outfits based on the amount of damage they’ve taken, making them look more battered and bruised the more you go on.

All in all, while the game was enjoyable and the new additions to game were great, I felt like it was very incomplete compared to the handheld titles that came out years ago. I’m hoping that the home console version improves on these functions as well as adds more characters for fans to play with. 14 just doesn’t quite seem like enough. It’s got potential that has yet to be tapped into, and while I look forward to seeing more, knowing Square Enix, it’ll probably be in the form of expensive DLC. (Yay…?)

Any thoughts or questions about this title? Feel free to leave a comment below and thanks for reading!

Gameplay: 7 Graphics: 9 Story: – Characters: 5 Overall: 6.5