Over the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to play the video game, Dissidia Final Fantasy 012. The game is a console game for the psp. It came out during a time where indie games and app games were becoming more popular, but despite that it showed how console games still have a place in gaming. For this game, I felt that the aspects of the game and the community around it made it a good game.
The game was released in 2011 by Square Enix. Square Enix is a game company in Japan that is known for their Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts games.(“Square Enix”, n.d. ) It is a prequel to the game Dissidia Final Fantasy. Instead of a sequel, they decided to make a prequel due to the good ending of the first game.(“Dissidia Final Fantasy 012”, n.d.) In addition, they added the same story from the original game to Dissidia Final Fantasy 012. This allows the player to also experience the story after the prequel. Compared to the first game, this game has added features to it such as an assist system, new characters, and more balancing of the characters.
The genre of Dissidia Final Fantasy 012 is mostly a fighting game. Like Street Fighter, the player takes control of a character and battles against another character. The characters in the game comprise of the main characters and villains of the main Final Fantasy games, such as Sephiroth and Lightning. The fights are fought in a 3d arena with factors such as timing and distance playing key roles in success. Despite mainly being a fighting game, Dissidia takes aspects of other genres, such as the rpg and open world genre. The rpg genre is categorized as a game that allows the player to take control of a character or multiple characters, whose actions are based on your decisions, and use them to complete the game. Although Dissidia is not entirely a rpg game, it does take aspects of it. For example, the game has a leveling system, which is where characters have levels. The higher the level, the stronger the characters are. Also, you are able to change the equipment of each character, enabling them to become stronger. The open world genre is categorized as enabling the player to explore an open field. In Dissidia, there is a world map In order to progress through the story, the player must interact and traverse through the world map, which also contains shops and items.
The aesthetic of a game is all the aspects that the player themselves experience through play, whether it be through graphics and audio to the rules of the game.(Egenfeldt-Nielsen, 2016, p.121) Through the game’s graphics, audio, and rules, the game creates a nice feel for the player. The graphics are 3d and are very detailed. In addition, the world map and fighting stages are very diverse. They offer nice sceneries ranging from castles, to mountains, and to trains. The battles themselves also have nice graphics, with each character being able to do different, distinct attacks. Besides the graphics, Dissidia also has a nice range of music. The music in the game are taken from other Final Fantasy games with the inclusion of several new ones. The use of the music can offer to the player a sense of nostalgia and excitement. In addition, the sound effects of the characters being attacked or breaking boxes adds a satisfying and realistic feel to the player. The rules themselves gives the player an exciting feel. In the game, you have a number called bravery. In order to defeat the enemy, you must deal hp damage to them. The amount of hp damage is the same amount as your bravery. Bravery is accumulated by doing specific attacks called bravery attacks. After dealing hp damage, your bravery goes to 0 and resets to its initial value. If your bravery goes below 0, then a break occurs. This gives the other character, whether it be you or your enemy a boost in bravery. In addition, the player and the opposing enemy can have an assist character, which can help in attacking each other. Each character can also use summon stones, which are items that creates an effect to the enemy or player, like creating an immediate break in their bravery. By having these rules, the game creates a very fast paced, high risk feel to the game. It makes the player experience being anxious of their bravery number, and of being hit with a high value hp attack. The higher the bravery number of the player, the more driven they will be to defeat the enemy. The higher the enemy’s though, then the more the player will experience a sense of fear or anxiety to losing to their opponent. In the end, by having these rules and mechanics, the game gives the player an exciting, competitive experience.
The game’s stories are divided into scenarios. The overarching story is that there is an eternal cycle of war between two gods that can not be broken. In each cycle, the gods summon heroes and villains to do battle for them. There are two factions, those aligned with the goddess, Cosmos, and the other with the god, Chaos. The story begins in the 12th cycle where we follow the main characters in their journey through the war. The narrative in the game is composed of a vector with side branches and a braided plot. It is a vector with side branches because the game follows a chronological order that will always reach a certain endpoint. It has though side quests, called reports, that gives the player extra content, but are not necessary to completing the game. It contains elements of a braided plot, because in one of the scenarios, the game allows the player to move around chapters by changing characters you play. You can then instead view their story. By doing this, the player does not have to play in sequential order, but can instead jump around.
Besides the in game aspects of Dissidia, there is also a good community around it. Many of the players who play the game are people who played other Final Fantasy games. In a way, the game can act like an advertainment game, which is where it advertises for a company or product. This is because for some players, this game may be their first Final Fantasy game. By having numerous characters from the different games of the series, it can motivate players to experience those games too. In the community, there are numerous mods that are created by players for the game. Mods are “a piece of software which modifies the appearance and/or rules of an existing game. Mods are often made and published by enthusiastic players.”(Egenfeldt-Nielsen, 2016, p. 166) These mods range from new alternate costumes or modified stages. Besides mods, there has been competitions between players. In a specific competition, “Rise and Fall -- the final tournament for the Dissidia Final Fantasy Duodecim community -- took place in December 2017. Fans and competitors had been convening on the Dissidia forums since the late 2000s, but with the looming release of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT the following month, Rise and Fall would mark the end of the Duodecim era. “(Khan, 2018) . Despite these competitions, there may be few or none now due to the recent release of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT in 2018, which focuses on 3 on 3 gameplay. There may instead be competitions for that game.
Overall, I feel that Dissidia Final Fantasy 012 is a great game. I feel that the game offers a good story and aesthetic, and it has gameplay that is exciting and fast paced. The game has a great community around it that involves other Final Fantasy fans, who want to see their favorite characters together. I have not played any other Final Fantasy games except for Final Fantasy Tactics and Crystal Chronicles, but Dissidia Final Fantasy 012 has made me more interested in the other Final Fantasy games. I personally recommend this game to anyone that is unsure of playing it.
Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S. (2016). Understanding Video Games, 3rd Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781317533122
Square Enix.(n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2018 from the Wikipedia:
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2018 from the Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissidia_012_Final_Fantasy
Khan, Imad.(2018, April 11). The Future of Competitive Dissidia Final Fantasy Remains Murky. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/esports/story/_/id/23115432/the-future-competitive-dissidia-final-fantasy-remains-murky.