Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT is the confusingly named new release by Square Enix, developed by the boys and girls a Koei Tecmo, the title hopes to bring arcade fighting thrills combined with Final Fantasy to the home console. Is it worthy of praise or just another side title no one should talk about? Warp on to find out.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT is the latest in the Dissidia spin off series, home to titles just as Duodecium & Opera Omina, yes interesting naming all over!. For those unfamiliar with the series, think of it as an all star brawl for the Final Fantasy series, Cloud vs Squall, Zidane vs Kefka, Tidus vs Ex-Death you get the drift.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT releases on the Playstation 4 after a lengthy tenure at the arcades in the Japan, naturally being a home release Koei-Tecmo have had to make some additions to justify the asking price, the main of these would be the story mode.
Unlike most Story Modes this one is a little unique in it’s execution. Rather than it be a linear path you follow consisting of cutscenes and battle, it’s based on the famous Sphere Grid and can’t actually be played in one sitting, at all.
After playing a match online or offline via the gauntlet mode you’ll be gifted some nodes, it’s through these collectibles that you unlock cut-scenes or the battles in the story mode. What this boils down to is, you need to grind battles to see the Story Mode to it’s end. Honestly it seems like artificial padding, I’m not a fan of this at all especially when the pay of is ho-hum at best.
The Story Mode in Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT isn’t all bad, there are some genuinely great character interactions and writing to be experienced. The boss battles which I won’t spoil are also fantastic but overall it’s the artificial padding that really hurts the experience.
The characters models look stunning, you can see the levels of effort that has gone into each character to bring them to current gen standards. Each of the 28 characters all stack up compared to Noctis Lucis Caelum of Final Fantasy XV fame.
The levels themselves also look quite nice and accurately represent the title they are from, often an iconic landmark such as Besaid Island or Midgar. They are quite barren though which is a shame but with the control scheme and the gameplay being as it is, it’s understandable that this is the approach K-T took.
Being that Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT is a celebration of sorts it would be naturally befitting to have the right kind of music, of course this game has classic tracks from Final Fantasy & they sound just as good as ever within the field of battle. There are a few new “dubious” sounding tracks but on a whole I can’t knock the soundtrack.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT features both an English and Japanese dub to cater to your preference, I personally use the English dub for reasons I’ll go into now. The game is awfully chatty, especially your Moogle “navigator” who is screaming advice at you every two seconds. The voicework overall is of a high standard BUT repeating lines over and over again will lead to annoyance, EX-Death and the Moogle is a combination for pain.
So what exactly is Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT?, It’s an Arena Fighter with a focus on teams, Similar to the recent Gundam Versus. It’s 3vs3 all out battle either to reduce the opponent’s stock or to destroy the other player’s crystal.
The combat in Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT is one that on the surface can feel really shallow but spend sometime with it and you’ll realize that there is tonnes of depth in this one. Each character has unique gimmicks which dictate how you play them, Squall can change his attributes on the fly with the Junction system, Ramza uses his powers to strengthen the team and lead them to victory & Sephiroth can use his to extend combos and really put the hurt on the other characters.
Each character has a defined role, Vanguard, Assassin. Marksmen & Specialist, despite controlling similar each of these attack and defend in different ways, Vangards are your all out assault while Marksmen sit behind attacking from a distance. It’s learning this kind of team synergy which separates winners from losers in Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT.
You defeat your opponents in Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT through it’s Bravery & HP system, Bravery attacks strengthen your HP attacks while weakening theirs, HP attacks are the only way to inflict damage and defeat a character. Alongside this there are summon crystals that appear, attack these to fill the summon meter and unleash one of the iconic Final Fantasy summons to aid your victory.
The all out combat can get a little much at times, fortunately there is another interesting and addictive mode, Core Crystal Defense. In this mode you are tasked with destroying the other team’s crystal while protecting yours, no damage can come to a team’s crystal if any member of the team is within the safe area, team work is absolutely essential for this mode and it is so very rewarding to pull off a victory.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT features several modes to dabble in, the previously mentioned Story Mode, Offline “Arcade mode”, Online Battle and Core Defence, Gallery and Character Customization. Pretty much standard selections for a Fighting game bar the “interesting” story mode.
From what I played of the online battles it’s a mixed bag, some battles worked well and the in game voice commands helped secure victory, otherwise it was a laggy mess and unplayable. The matchmaking seemed pretty populated, hopefully with future updates the game keeps it popularity and even gains more so the online remains healthy.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT is the product of being a niche genre and an arcade port, people expect more content after the PSP titles and it’s initial light offerings might not keep them around enough to discover the depth of the title. Give the game a few hours, understand the Story Mode is nothing but a flashy extra and throw yourself into the nuances of combat and you’ll see why the game was so popular in arcades.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT doesn’t initially offer you the experience you’d expect from a Dissidia game but offer it some time and effort and it rewards you with one of the most fun Arena Fighters around, fantastic Final Fantasy fan service and brilliant team based online battles.