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Mordred Reviews: Dissidia


Mordred Reviews

Dissidia: Final Fantasy

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The Final Fantasy series is one of those things that just tends to divide people. You tend to either love them (and have a near irrational love of a particular game in the series) or find them overblown/pompous/stat heavy jrpg drivel. Should you fall into the latter grouping then I would go so far as to say that Dissidia is not for you. The Sephiroth on my desk probably tells you where I fit in that...


For those of you not already familiar with the concept Dissidia is a PSP fighting game with an all star line up of Final Fantasy characters. To start with 10 characters are available to you, each one the lead hero of one of the first 10 Final Fantasy games (lets see if I can do this from memory...I promise im being good...Warrior of Light, Firion, Cecil, Onion Knight, Bartz, Terra, Cloud, Squall, Zidane, Tidus...hey I did it:). As you progress in the quick battles and story mode you earn points which can be used in one of the games two stores to unlock the 10 villains (right....ermm...im not so good with the villains...Garland, Emperor somethingorother, Exdeath, Golbez, Cloud of Darkness, Kefka, Sephiroth, Ultemicia, Kuja, Jecht). Once youve finished the full set of story mode sections you can unlock extra missions to in turn unlock Shantotto (Tiny spellcaster from FF Online apparently) and Judge Gabranth (heavy armour and a double bladed sword, plus a pleasantly different fighting style). Unless you happen to be a hardcore Final Fantasy nerd then its likely that you wont recognise all of these characters, however each one does have a decent amount of story, and the opening section of the story mode plays differently for each character, both hinting at their backstory and defining the character enough for you to get an idea who youre playing as (although youll still want to jump straight in as your favourite). If you haven’t played a particular FF yet you wont have it spoiled here.


I must admit I would have liked to see some of the supporting characters in there, Vincent Valentine, Gilgamesh and Seifer Almasy would top my personal list, but I suppose everyones going to have a very different view on the subject.


As you would expect from a Final Fantasy title there is a suitably epic storyline, with our 20 heroes and villains being drawn from their respective worlds to fight an endless war on behalf of 2 gods, Chaos and Cosmos. The story is told through cutscenes in certain fights, text conversations between fights and narrated screens at chapter ends (which are apparently being read by the Cid of Final Fantasy One). Theres a few good action scenes between the obvious hero and villain pairings and a fair deal of plotting villains and brooding heroes (yes Squall im still looking at you here). As usual I wont spoil specific details but its pretty much what youd expect, an enjoyable enough excuse to settle the endless forum debate of whether Kefka would beat Sephiroth (hell no SEPH FTW!....Sorry, dont know what came over me there).


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As far as the actual fighting goes its essentially the Cloud vs Sephiroth battle from Advent Children. Every character is capable of moving on the ground (obviously), grinding on certain parts of the landscape, unlimited wall running and flight. Each player has 3 counters, a HP (life) guage, an EX guage and a bravery guage. As you would expect you lose the game if you run out of HP. Every character has 2 sets of attacks. The first steals the enemies bravery and adds it to your own bravery score. The second damages the enemies HP based on how much bravery you have accrued. This creates an interesting back and forth as a player might focus for most of the match on accumulating bravery and kill you in one single HP attack or whittle away at your HP for several minutes. Enemies can also be smashed in to objects and stage boundaries or "chased" into the air when hit by a powerful attack in which case a rythm based dodge/bravery attack/hp attack minigame starts where you have to predict when to dodge based on which attack animation the enemy is using. You can also dodge and block enemy attacks and if you block an incoming magical projectile its reflected back at the caster. There are relatively small numbers of actual abilities, with each character only being able to "equip" 12 at a time. Most of the actual strategy comes from timing blocks and dodges as well as maneuvering around enemy attacks. This may sound overly simplistic but its refreshing to play a beat em up where your not required to learn endless repetetive button combos and it works to very good effect, making relatively simple fights appear very cool.


Also theres the EX guage I mentioned. This is filled by collecting EX force from around the map in the forms of clouds of dots or EX cores (power ups essentially). Once the guage is full EX Mode becomes available. Once you start this up your HP regenerates, your Critical Hit rate is hugely improved and your character changes in some way (gaining their ultimate weapon or a boss form). Plus if you make a successful HP attack on the enemy you can execute one of that characters more dramatic attacks as a Limit Break. These control different depending on character. Some require button bashing to fill a power meter, some are timing based, and some simply require you to find the right spell in an old fashioned final fantasy character menu.


Of course theres also a good assortment of back end fiddling you can do with your characters, as every character develops persistently as you fight (across all game modes except arcade). As is traditional you have a basic assortment of stats (hp, attack, defence etc) and can level from 1 to 100. You can also equip weapons, accessories, summon stones and pick which abilities your character will use both in the air and on the ground. Gil earned in fights can be used to purchase new equipment at the shop as well as trading existing items found as loot. You also earn PP which can be used in the other store to unlock villain characters, chaos stages new music tracks and other bonus items.


There are 2 main game modes, the story mode features a series of game boards where there is a grid of tiles where you can move your piece around to choose fights, pick up items and eventualy move to the end point of the level (either a generic exit piece or a boss fight). This leads up to a traditionally epic final boss fight which I would strongly suggesting not trying to beat until youve levelled your favourite character up to the 90-100 region. Each of the 10 heroes has their own intro story of a few levels, ending in a showdown with their opposing villain (Cloud vs Sephiroth at the planets core with One Winged Angel playing is a particular favourite of mine), followed by a single lengthy main storyline which you can play as any hero. Once youve completed a single intro and the main story you unlock Duel Collisseum which is a card based series of random battles (and also just about the only place you can level up a villain character as they dont have much in story mode) and also a lot of fun. On completing all of the intros you get the extra story mode parts to get Shantoto and Gabranth. And after this an extra (and I assume final) story section appears which I cant really say much about as ive yet to manage to complete it with my Level 100 Cloud...


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Graphics and Presentation


For a PSP game Dissidia looks GOOD. Every character is well made and probably as highly detailed as you can possibly do on the PSP. Returning character designer Tetsuya Nomura (lead character designer for FFs 7, 8 and 13 among plenty of other things ) has done a good job of giving each character pleasant new visual touches as well as, in the case of the older sprite era characters, new 3d redesigns. Although it pretty much goes without saying each character is distinctive both in terms of their design and their different animation styles, but then most of these characters are unique iconic designs (lets face it as much as there has been many a debate on which villain is cooler even many who have never played an FF game, or even non gamers, would recognise Sephiroth).

Each of the 10 or so levels (plus variant chaotic stages each with a special effect) are also pretty, although as is common on the PSP not as detailed as the fighters themselves (much like Portable Ops) and in some cases a little flat, although you won’t have much time to pay attention to the stage textures. Each of the 10 main arenas is a location from one of the first 10 numbered final fantasies, for example the planets core where you fight Sephiroth (you get to grind around the level on the lifestream!) and the rift from FF5. Some levels also feature destroyable scenery (up to and including smashing apart the planets core rocks or the glass tanks in Kefka’s Palace.

The music selection is also just as good as youd expect. Each of the games has a newly remixed version of its world map theme, random battle theme and final boss theme (one winged angel is the old reunion version I think) as well as an extra unlockable track. Its a nice touch to see some of the old classics remixed again (big bridge and FF9 - Battle are both really well done), although the choice of unlockable song for FF7 is just plain wrong (the intro of "opening bombing mission" is so long you often dont get to the good bit).

And of course then theres voices...Cloud, Sephiroth (did you know Sephiroth is voicing the new 2010 Prius ads? I still dont WANT a prius, but now I do want to see one sliced in :two by a 6 foot dude in a leather jacket....), Gabranth, Tidus and Jecht are their normal voice actors (returning from Advent Children and Crisis Core) while the remaining characters have all been given voices for the first time. The actors are well chosen and the voices all fit their characters well, not that (returning actors aside) we can really say what the traditionally text based characters should sound like...Reassuringly though Squall does sound like a bit of an arsehole so theyre kind of on the right track (I like Squall but hes just asking for ridicule).


And a nice little touch which I didnt even notice until reading it in another review somewhere is that the boxes that pop up during a fight with the names of special abilities being used use the menu style from whichever game the character came from.


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Ill be scoring this game twice. Once from my perspective as a fan of the Final Fantasy series and once from the perspective of a person with absolutely no interest in the franchise, or JRPGs in general.

Grade:  A/C+
*Editor's Recommendation*/*unless youre really not a fan*


  • Story - 7/3 (An enjoyable excuse to beat someone over the head with a sword bigger than you / If you dont like FF you wont like this.)
  • Gameplay - 9/9 (Fan or not youll be hard pressed to find much to fault in the polished and cleverly simplistic combat.)
  • Presentation - 10/6 (From faithfully recreated characters to catchily remixed music this is FF through and through /  An assortment of androgenous characters and overblown villain cliches along with all the trappings of a JRPG...overcompensating weaponry, mad hair, and a hell of a lot of numbers.)
  • Total - 9/7


  • Conclusion -If youre a fan of FF youre going to like this. If not I would really suggest trying it anyway as this is probably in the all time top 5 PSP games and has enough longevity to keep you playing for a LONG time.



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