Enjoyable game marred by a lackluster story.
The game's saving grace is its battle mechanics IMO. It's more of a fast-paced rhythmic game than a button-smashing, hacking and slashing fest. Although, there's a rapid-button smashing sequence implemented here somewhere. Every character's move is explicitly timed that after executing an attack will leave you vulnerable to counter-attacks assuming that you missed hitting your opponent. With that being said, evading an attack and positioning yourself at your opponents flank will increase your chance of landing a counter. A perfectly timed block will stagger your opponent and leaves him vulnerable a little bit longer. Blocking and evading needlessly leaves you wide open to attacks as there's a slight delay of moving again. It's like dancing. Something like that. Reflex and a good rhythm makes for almost a sure way to win. It can be sometimes intense than what is written here.
Whereas most fighting games have a weak and heavy attacks, here you have Bravery and HP attacks. The game gets more interesting with this. Bravery Attacks won't technically hurt your opponents but will fill up your HP Attack count every time your attacks hit. HP attacks are the one which really chip your opponent's HP down to 0. Store up a 5000 HP attack and that would be the amount of HP damage you give if it lands. It's hard to store up and maintain a 9999 HP Attack since there are lots of factor that drains your stored HP Attack count. So there's a whole lot of choices to select from like either execute a one-hit KO attack or slowly defeat an opponent with fast and light HP attacks.
A leveling system adds a nice touch to the game. Level up a character to unlock new skills and attack moves. Skills and attack moves can be leveled-up as well by earning AP. It's pretty much like the FF and KH games. Some mastered skills and attack moves will unlock a newer one or a sub-skill.
Now to the characters. Selected characters from FF1 up to FF13 are here. Hair gels and fashion sense aside, each character has their own fighting style. Newcomers like Lightning and Tifa are a fresh addition to the fighting scene. So they're more than just eye-candy. It's a good fan service.
Visuals are decent. In-game graphics are okay although it's a little bit grainy. Pre-rendered cutscenes are superb although there's only a few of them. And the awesome fight scene of the first Dissidia is somewhat missing. That kinda sucks. As for the sounds, it's great. The soundtracks are remastered, especially the older ones. It's awe-inspiring and stirs the inner reluctant fanboy inside of me. It's good fan service. Dissidia's main theme FTW.
Now to the darkside. The blight of the game. The story is about the eternal conflict of Order vs. Chaos, Light vs. Dark, Good vs. Bad, The Universe vs. Your Mom. Lame joke aside, the story could've been passable enough if it was not for the shallow characters interaction. What little character progression the game has is still shallow. The portrayal of characters are shallow. Dialouges are shallow. Everything is shallow. I'm not an extreme, hardcore follower of the series but the idea of having a game that has all the FF series into it makes me think that this game would have a grand story since its base on a renowned RPG itself. But..*sigh*..nevermind, I'll give up on my rant.
Dissidia 012 Duodecim has a decent battle system and tons of unlockables and features that could probably waste a great deal amount of your time if you don't keep track. It's a great fan service but it could've been the ultimate one if it weren't for some things that keeps it from being so IMO.
Superb Idea. Just Poorly Told.