The battle between Order and Chaos rages on in this portable prequel to 2009's RPG/Fighter/Brawler Dissidia Final Fantasy. With new characters, various improvements and an added story sequence, will this be worth another trip into the endless cycle of battle?
Dissidia 012 [Duodecim] Final Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Sony PlayStation Portable
Rating: T for Teen
When you hear Final Fantasy and fighting game, you usually don't put two and two together. Having said that, the thought of a fighting game having heavy RPG elements would not be possible. Square Enix has proved our little minds wrong with their Final Fantasy fighting game on the PSP.
Story: The goddess of order, Cosmos, and the god of discord, Chaos, are locked in conflict and both sides have summoned warriors from the Final Fantasy multiverse to fight as their champions. During the 12th cycle of this conflict, beings known as Manikins, who take the form of memories of the summoned warriors, have surfaced and are continiously growing in number putting the side of Cosmos at a disadvantage. A few of Cosmos' champions have banned together to find the source of these Manikins and put a stop to their seemingly infinite numbers.
The story may not be for everyone but is still very Final Fantasy and fans of the franchise will appreciate it as it still retains a lot of cinematic flare the series is known for. You might find some significant plot holes in the story but Reports (side missions and extra cutscenes) in the game try to fill those gaps in by showing events that lead up to the 13th cycle. The 13th cycle being the main story in the 1st Dissidia game.
Its not everyone's cup of tea but hey, its flashy and to me that makes up for it.
Gameplay: The action in this game is a mix of 3rd person brawling and heavy RPG development. Each character can level-up, learning new abilities and equip different items and accessories to boost stats.
There are two main types of attacks, the brave attack and the HP attack. Each character starts off with a base brave value, attacking your opponents brave will reduce theirs and add to your own. You brave value corresponds to how much HP damage you can deal to your opponent. Giving enough damage to reduce your opponent's brave to below zero puts them in a break state. Being in a break state make you the wimpiest character in terms of attack and defense, you basically have no attack power until your brave recovers to its base number. Putting your opponent in a break state awards you with their bravery and the stage bravery.
Sounds complicated but the basic gist of it is that you work to deal a lot of damage to build up your brave and use that brave to deal HP damage on your opponent. This unique fighting system makes a very intense back and forth between characters in battle and with the game having such a fast pace, you are always on your toes.
This game can ask a lot of precision, especially if you are facing strong opponents who have a higher level. What type of move to use, when to use it, when and where to dodge or block and landing that counter hit can be a thrilling experience. Summons are also present in the game and have various effects that can turn the tide of battle completely around.
This may all be very overwhelming at first but the game eases you in with a well explained tutorial when you first boot the game and picture tutorials that you can view multiple times in the options menu to a point where most of the motions you will be performing will be second nature.
Features: With the full roster of the 1st game and 9 new characters added in the second game, I'd say that's a pretty rich selection of characters. Every character feels unique and different enough to cater to any kind of style you like. From the straight forward power fighter to the trap setting magic user to a combination of both. Experimenting with different characters just adds to the fun.
A team battle system has been added to the game which lets you choose 5 characters to face off against another 5 in either a tournament style or a round-robin style. This is a great way to farm experience as each character in your party gains the experience of the character you are currently using.
Another new feature which I think will play a significant difference in the play style of the 1st game is the addition of a new assist system. You build up your assist bar by performing and chaining attacks. The assist bar consists of 2 segments, the use of 1 segment is for brave attacks and HP attacks cost 2. Depending on who you choose your assist character to be, where your opponent is on the battle field and what type of attack you wish to use can play a huge role in your strategy and can change up the game in a great amount. Aside from using your assist character to attack, you can also substitute your character with when you're in a bind. It may lock your assist bar for a set period of time but that's better than taking that huge 9999 brave damage right?
I can go into the other changes and additions but to notice and appreciate them, you'd have to have played the 1st game as much as I did.
Multiplayer: Multiplayer hasn't changed as much as in the 1st game, you can partake in 1 on 1 battles via adhoc, trade ghost data and friend cards. Still no online play but really, who plays online on their PSP?
Bottom line is I think this game is still awesome despite having a somehow forced story and retains majority of the same mechanics as the 1st game. I loved the 1st game but the additions and changes made in the 2nd game are more than enough for me to acknowledge Duodecim as a worthy addition to my PSP library. Oh and did I mention, when you beat the 012 story you unlock the revamped story of the 1st game?
Score: 95 / 100
Pros: Very rich varied roster
Ridiculous amount of content
updates, changes and additions are for the better and add to the overall game
graphics are still top notch
you can still cheat the special day on the calendar
Cons: story can get very confusing
grinding is still required
Feral Chaos is an annoying bitch