Dissidia: Final Fantasy Hands-On

Who wins in a fist fight between Final Fantasy legends?

by

TOKYO--It's been a little over a year since Square Enix announced its all-star game featuring the heroes and villains of the Final Fantasy universe. While we've only seem CG trailers and very few in-game scenes up until now, we were finally able to get our hands on the game at Square Enix's DK Sigma 3713 Event.

To recap what's known so far, Dissidia is an all-star brawl game where you get to fight one-on-one with characters from the Final Fantasy series. The character designs are by Tetsuya Nomura who's been working on the series since FFVII, but the game includes many older characters starting from the first installment back in 1987. Though the complete roster hasn't been announced yet, it seems so far that the developers are releasing characters from almost every game. Here's a quick list of all the characters we could confirm at Square Enix's event:

FFI: Warrior of Light, Garland
FFII: Firion, The Emperor
FFIII: Onion Knight, Cloud of Darkness
FFVI: Kefka
FFVII: Cloud, Sephiroth
FFVIII: Squall, Ultimecia
FFIX: Zidane, Kuja
FFX: Tidus, Jecht

With Final Fantasy being Square Enix's most famous franchise, the developers are obviously paying a lot of attention to giving an authentic feel to the characters. In the new trailer, Squall and Sephiroth were quite calm even in battle, whereas Tidus seemed pretty heated up when he met his father Jecht for battle. Kefka was shown for the first time, and he's kept his infamous twisted personality from FFVI. While the Cloud of Darkness preferred to kill off her adversaries on the spot, Kefka stopped her so he could have "fun" with them.

The demo that we played allowed us to pick from four characters: Warrior of Light, Tidus, Onion Knight, and Garland. As you'd expect, each of them fights in different styles. For instance, Tidus from FFX is a well-rounded fighter who uses his sword and also fights with blitzballs; in fact, one of his moves is the Jecht shot. Garland, an armored antagonist from FFI, is bigger and more of a heavy-weighted fighter who's slow but powerful. The Onion Knight from FFIII may look dinky compared to the other fighters, but looks can be deceiving. Aside of being able to use magic, his sword attack hits multiple times in a brief second, very much like it did in FFIII. The game only uses two buttons for attacking, which we'll explain later, but you can perform different kinds of attacks by holding onto a direction when you press an attack button. The attacks also change depending on whether you're in the air or on the ground. We're told that you can gain new moves as you progress through the game and power up.

As is usual for a Square Enix game, you can grow your characters and make them stronger. Though the details weren't explained at today's sessions, we did see that our character would level up after battles and also gain ability points. We also saw that we earned a knife after beating one of the characters with Tidus, though we couldn't confirm if it was actually an equitable item because the menus were disabled.

Dissidia is essentially a head-to-head fighting game, but it's quite different from the traditional type, such as Tekken or Virtua Fighter. A better comparison would be Capcom's Power Stone; especially the way that you're constantly moving around in a 3D battlefield. However, the map is bigger and the characters are much more versatile when it comes to moving around. In fact, the way that you can float while in midair melee combat or run on walls and perform extremely high jumps or air dashes, feels like you're controlling the superhuman-like Cloud from the FFVII:AC movie.

Dissidia's battle system is pretty simple, albeit a bit unique. Each player has a life bar, and there's a number displayed on top of the bar called brave points that signify the player's attacking power. Similar to most fighting games, you win when you deplete all of your opponent's life. There are two buttons you can use for attacking, and they're both essential for winning. The square button (called the HP attack) does damage to your opponent's life and is based on your number of brave points. The circle button (called the subattack) does damage to your opponent's brave points and allows you to acquire your opponent's points.

The key to winning in Dissidia is to keep hitting your opponent with the circle button because that'll power you up and make your opponent's attacks weaker at the same time. What's more, there's a big bonus if you happen to drain all of your opponent's brave points. The game goes into "brave break" time, which is where your opponent's brave points don't recover for a short while. During the brave break, you get a massive bonus of additional brave points, which allows you to strike your opponent with a powerful hit.

When we played the demo, we were constantly trading brave points with our opponent in a seesaw fashion using the circle button. Once we got the upper hand, we'd attack with the square button to inflict damage. The battle was basically a repeat of that process because your brave points reset to default once you get a clean hit on your opponent with the square button (you don't lose any if you miss). However, the game is more than just simple button smashing. Some moves require precise timing to pull off, and you also have a number of methods to dodge them, such as guarding or quick evade.

Attacking your opponent also raises a meter on the side of the life bar called the EX gauge. While the EX gauge only builds up gradually when you attack, it can be accumulated faster by collecting items called the EX force, or even better, a huge item called the EX core that sometimes appears onscreen. When the EX gauge maxes, you can go into EX mode by pressing the R and square button together, which will make you more powerful. With the Onion Warrior, for instance, you can turn into a ninja, which powers up your sword attacks, or a sage, which makes your magic attacks more powerful. In the case of Garland, he'll become tougher and won't get knocked back by attacks while he's transformed.

What's more, if you make a clean hit with the square button while in EX mode, you can follow up with another move called the EX burst by pressing the square button again. The camera zooms in on your character, and you can execute a devastating special attack. In the case of Tidus (who didn't seem to change his looks during his transformation), his EX burst was an overdrive attack from FFX. Similar to FFX, the camera zoomed in on him and a timing meter was displayed onscreen, requiring a precise button input to have the move succeed.

The demo only featured about two stages, but we saw that they're going to be themed after the FF titles. One was a beautiful crystal-like plane with streaks of light flowing all around, which was somewhat reminiscent of the crystal rooms in FFIII. The streaks of light could be used for gliding from one area of the map to another. Another stage was based on the last area of FFX and featured a lava pit with rocky platforms. Given how easy it is to avoid falling because you can double-jump and run on walls, the lava pits felt more like an aesthetic than a penalty zone. But if you fell, you'd be brought back to safety in Final Fantasy style: Warp (Dejon) magic.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy already seemed pretty solid in its current state. The graphics were top-notch as you'd expect from Square Enix and up to par with Crisis Core or perhaps even better. The game is slated for release in December in Japan, so it won't be long before we can get our hands on the final product. Square Enix has also announced that there's going to be a PSP bundle for the game. Square Enix is also collaborating with beverage maker Suntory to release another lineup of Final Fantasy potions for Dissidia.

Discussion

335 comments
alexch
alexch

sounds awesome. Kuja should be fun to play as. What about summons as characters?

woods0419
woods0419

it would be nice to have summons with the characters... How about Sephiroth's Supernova as a super move?

aznboy11595
aznboy11595

we need Zack, Vincent Valentine, Genesis, and Angeal

Klyern
Klyern

a button smasher and zack isnt even there??? oh yhea, i cant wait, to shoplift one and burn it that is ¬_¬

dareough
dareough

ive only played tacticts and i loved this i wonder if you need to know any of the ff lore to play or if there is a good story behind it or if its just more of a fighter like tekken

daddyslttlpiggy
daddyslttlpiggy

I am way excited for this game I have been fueding with my friends for years who the best FF character is and now I can prove to them once and for all who the best is. this is going to be great, the only problem that I have right now is tha it is not out yet!

karateyoyo
karateyoyo

We could really use this. I say, add ALL the Final Fantasy characters in!!! :D I'd like to play as Tifa, Vincent, and Yuffie! Sephiroth would be AWESOME!

atrofiado
atrofiado

Like the idea of playing with Sephiroth...awesome stuff in this game!!

RoxasF
RoxasF

I REALLY WANT ZACK FAIR, AURON AND AERITH

RoxasF
RoxasF

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

RoxasF
RoxasF

WE NEED ZACK FAIR AND AURON AND AERITH

jmartin1016
jmartin1016

They should make a gmae like this for PS3 and 360. With a bigger roster and online matches.

Brandon2127
Brandon2127

Sounds like a smashing game. Definitely goes to my CANNOT WAIT list.

Sefveron
Sefveron

Yeah who knew they would put sephiroth into a final fantasy fighting game.... hes only the most infamous and famous villain of all time! , anyway i hope Auron makes it into the fold, aswell as zack, i wanna see how a zack vs cloud fight would turn out , i mean would they need to share the sword?

sebaste
sebaste

This is gonna be fun!

jt200482
jt200482

sephiroth is a definite for this and what about aerith i know she wasn't much of a fighter but it would be so cool to see here in action as well and either zack or cloud both are my boys

Chi_Kayla
Chi_Kayla

I hope they have Yuna or Ashe in it, that would be awsome :D

Chi_Kayla
Chi_Kayla

I hope they have Yuna or Ashe in it, that would be awsome :D

ise1880
ise1880

its not easy to put a lot of charaters in a game. Im glad it not a bunch of people with no personality. I would like each character to have ther oun style and not just a bunch of clones of each other.

Xdra
Xdra

how insane would it be if you could play Sin...

ultimatlifeform
ultimatlifeform

There's supposed to be more than 20 characters. I believe 25 was the number confirmed as a minimum, which means some are unlockable. Some will probably definitely appear from FFXII, but I could also see additional characters from games present. My biggest hope is to see Tifa, but Yuna is also another I'd like to see, and I'm sure there's others that could work well from different titles. What's up with Zack, though? He's basically Cloud with black hair! I don't see him appearing. As for the remaining characters, I'm pretty sure Ex-Death was confirmed. Cloud has not, but hey, who's gonna leave him out?! Bartz is definitely the one from FFV, and as far as FFVI goes, Terra is easily the best choice. Yes, I know she's optional in the World of Ruin, but so was about 90% of them. The rest of the game, including the end, pretty much all revolves around her.

DAKYON
DAKYON

we need ZACK FAIR !!!!!

rockwii13
rockwii13

THey need more characters. How about Zack Fair and Auron, huh?!

NovaSky
NovaSky

This can go bad if they don't have enough characters. Seriously this game could have more characters than Smash Bros. easily but they're not going to include everybody which sucks.

aznstyle11
aznstyle11

So many games I want!! Well this is another one for the wishlist.

Unabomber256
Unabomber256

Every time I come up with an idea for a game somebody makes it! I was talking about a FF fighting game years ago and it looked just like this in my head! They are probing my mind! I can't escape!!!

terra_ultmia
terra_ultmia

Mewt2021: the reason why Jecht was in this game is because of Tidus. father/son battle. who do you think? son resent father cuz of mom's loves and ppl popularities. wat more do you need?

CMakaCreative
CMakaCreative

Unless they add hidden characters, I don't think we'll see Yuna, Tifa or any other eye candy in this game. So far it looks like only the main characters & end bosses will be making an appearance in the game. Though they list Cloud in this article, there has been nothing official about him in the game yet, but I doubt they'll leave him out. Cecil & Golbez are in it. So far, those confirmed are: (Final Fantasy: Warrior of Light ~ Garland), (Final Fantasy II: Firion ~ Emperor), (Final Fantasy III: Onion Knight ~ Cloud of Darkness), (Final Fantasy IV: Cecil Harvey ~ Golbez), (Final Fantasy V: Exdeath),(Final Fantasy VI: Kefka Palazzo), (Final Fantasy VII: Sephiroth), (Final Fantasy VIII: Squall Leonhart ~ Ultimecia), (Final Fantasy IX: Zidane Tribal ~ Kuja), (Final Fantasy X: Tidus ~ Jecht) It doesn't look like they're going pass FFX. But they might include hidden characters so I guess we'll just have to wait & see.

thanos723
thanos723

i wonder if this is coming to america

DAKYON
DAKYON

i agree with RoxasF

DAKYON
DAKYON

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

DAKYON
DAKYON

perfect , squall is in !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

wargero
wargero

hmmm maybe some ffxii characters? vaan would be kinda lame but bosch or balthier would be sick.... might make it a bit hard with a gun though

jstrife
jstrife

cloud... yes... this is perfect...

Mewt2021
Mewt2021

Cecil got announced for this game, it's on Kotaku if anyone wants to see it. This game just doesn't have enough characters, I mean the ones in it are good but they really cut the roster short so far. I'm confused at why Jecht is in it, I don't want to say he wasn't a important character but I don't think he was important enough to be given a role in this game

barroticks
barroticks

i will have this game bellieve it