It seemed like just yesterday that the original Dissidia: Final Fantasy took the PSP by storm and became one of my favorite games of 2009. Square Enix cobbled together Final Fantasy characters from the entire series and unleashed them on each other in a fighting game arena, allowing fans to decide who would really win in the kind of battles normally reserved for fanfiction. Well, Dissidia is back for a second helping, but before that, a prologue chapter has been released for consumption on the Playstation Network.
I was originally skeptical of my purchase, as despite the low price I couldn’t help but feel that this was nothing more than a paid demo. The feeling subsided, however, when I remembered gladly shelling out for Dead Rising 2: Case Zero and loving every minute of that. And like Case Zero, there would be some things carried over when the actual game was released on March 22. Thus, I pulled the trigger.
1. Let me just get this out of the way now, because I’ve been wanting to say it for a very long time. This game has a title that is beyond stupid. I understand that Dissidia II may have been a little bland, but honestly, gluing random Latin phrases together in a fruitless attempt to sound sophisticated is just sad. Your game’s title shouldn’t have a number of syllables that rivals the amount of playable characters. And don’t get me started on “Prologus.”Â
2. If you didn’t like the gameplay in the original Dissidia, the sequel will not sway you. The gameplay I relatively unchanged, and much of the locales and music are the same. Granted, this is just a small sample of what’s to come, but this feels like a Dissidia 1.5.
3. Duodecim includes the addition of assist characters. You can equip them with skills similar to what you would do with the character that you are playing as, but they can give you a hand during critical moments in battle. There’s an additional bar located under your health that fills up as you inflict damage on your opponent (and slowly drains while you’re not doing anything). Also, you can seal your opponents ability to unleash their assist buddies on you too if you strike at the right moment.
4. The story mode included in Prologus can be completed in less than 20 minutes. Not a big deal, if said chapter was mildly interesting, but unfortunately, it’s filled to the brim with pointless banter sandwiched between battles. It follows Lightning as she tags along with Kain, Jecht, and Warrior of Light and examines whether or not they are worthy of her companionship. In doing so, they wander from place to place and get into fights with the people they run into. Honestly, not so different from the original, but I expected improvement after a two year incubation period.
5. Lightning has the ability to shift paradigms, much like she could in Final Fantasy XIII. Commando is going to be your standard melee attacks, Ravager allows for long distance magic attacks, and Medic allows you to heal any damage you’ve sustained during the fight. She’s a great entry point for new players, since her various fighting styles are simplified versions of those from other characters.
6. Kain specializes in aerial combat as you might expect. He has a nasty arsenal of lance attacks as well as a few magical attacks for long range if the situation calls for it. And he wouldn’t be a Dragoon if he didn’t have the infamous Jump attack as one of his HP abilities.
7. Aside from the story mode, there’s also the arcade mode, similar to the demo to the original Dissidia. You pick from a set of eight characters (one of which that must be unlocked) that includes the Lightning, Kain, Jecht, Warrior of Light, Garland, Kefka, Sephiroth, and Cloud. From there, you fight a series of five battles (or 30 if you picked the more challenging one) and then you battle away.
8. Prologus has an achievement system that unlocks various rewards and items that can be carried over into the main game once it is released. They’re pretty run of the mill, including such things as clearing the story, clearing the arcade mode with each character, and so on. You also unlock Aerith as an assist character just for purchasing this.
9. There was a small sampling of new locales in Prologus, including Bahamut from Final Fantasy XII (the flying fortress, not the dragon) and the Prima Vista from Final Fantasy IX. I tend to shy away from stages that consist of huge pits, as falling into one and being warped around is jarring and takes away from the intensity of the battle as is the case with Bahamut. The Prima Vista stage was a lot of fun, and one that was not only nostalgic, but has me looking forward to future duels in it.
10. I don’t know why I expected any more than what I got. I was just really hoping that like Case Zero, that I would get an early sneak peek at all the new features in the sequel in addition to an experience that could stand on its own two feet. This was not the case with Prologus. Is it the same hectic combat I’ve come to love from the original Dissidia? Very much so. Did I need to spend an extra $2.99 to figure that out? Hell no. Technically, it cost me more than that since I had to add a minimum of $5.00 to my wallet before it would let me purchase this $3.00 demo. That’s more of a Sony quirk than a Square-Enix one, but I find it irritating all the same.
My advice? Save your money and put it towards the full version next week. Call it a demo or call it pre-release DLC, but the whole thing reeks of nickel and diming the customer. Sadly, I took the bait.
Tags: Dissidia 012 Duodecim Final Fantasy, final fantasy, Prologus, Square-Enix, squareenix