Dissidia 012 Duodecim: Final Fantasy Hands-On

Lightning and Kain Highwind join the cast of Dissidia characters in this sequel.

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It looks like the battle continues in Dissidia 012 Duodecim: Final Fantasy, which was recently announced as a follow-up to last year's action role-playing game and fighting game hybrid Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Also for the PlayStation Portable, Duodecim looks to follow the same formula more or less from a gameplay standpoint. However, a new assist feature has been added that allows you to summon an ally to help you in battle. At the 2010 Tokyo Game Show, Square Enix had a demo of the game on the show floor, so we got to play as the nimble and ever-so-moody protagonist from Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning. Also new to the game is Kain, the less nimble but possibly just as moody dragoon from Final Fantasy IV.

We weren't given a ton of time with the game (or any instructions in English), so we quickly jumped into a round using Lightning to get a sense of how she plays. Like in Final Fantasy XIII, she is fast and weaves around the screen easily, leaving a trail of rose petals behind her. She has a ranged gun attack, which can be used with the circle button, and the square button unleashes a devastating lightning attack that can end the battle rather quickly. Lightning can also use the paradigm shift feature in battle, which gives her the ability to swap between various roles on the fly.

While everyone has their own play style and preferences, we had more fun using the dragoon Kain. He was a bit slower than the acrobatic Lightning, but he had good range with his long spear and was able to cover a lot more ground by jabbing at the enemy. When you get a chance to toss someone in the air, the X button will appear so that if you hit it at the right time, you can get another attack in and keep juggling your opponent. The square button charges up Kain's signature jump attack, where he vaults high into the air and comes crashing down straight onto the enemy. If he doesn't recover as quickly as you would like, you can bring in what looks like a clone to help fight temporarily by using the L and circle button to use the new assist feature. It is a convenient feature when you want to take a step back.

It's called the FX mode here, but it's essentially the EX mode from the first game, where once your gauge is full, you can transform and execute new attacks. Kain ditches his dark armor and switches to a lighter blue armor and loses his helmet, which we've seen at the end of Final Fantasy IV. Like with the previous game, much of the appeal is really to see some of your favorite characters from past Final Fantasy games come out and fight with a new set of cool moves.

Along with the demo, we watched a new trailer of the game, which featured many of the characters you've seen before, like Cecil, Onion Knight, Golbez, Zidane, and Terra. More new faces are supposed to join the cast, and the last part of the trailer showed Sephiroth and Tifa, having what could be a heart-to-heart conversation (probably not). The entire trailer was in Japanese, so we can only guess as to what was going on. But it seems that the war between Chaos and Cosmos is not over.

Dissidia 012 Duodecim: Final Fantasy is set to be released in Japan in 2011.

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