The Japanese port of the arcade game with the same title comes now to consoles, and with the beta, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT just got a huge demonstration of how the felt before its release this January 30.
Platform: PS4 Build Tested: Open Beta
You start off with the opening cutscene which brings you to the plot of the game. Champions all over Final Fantasy titles being summoned by a god and a goddess being at war with each other. This time, champions of cosmos and chaos from the previous Dissidia titles are being summoned by the Goddess of Protection Materia and the God of Destruction Spiritus. Familiar faces from the previous titles return and are now added with a number of new characters for the first time on the series including Prince Noctis from Final Fantasy XV, although unplayable on the demo, the demo still shows a huge portion of the roster up to 15 playable characters.
The core gameplay focuses on 3 versus 3 battles in which you select 4 types of classes: Vanguards, who move slowly, but their attacks have a wide range. Assassins, who do not hit particularly hard, but are highly mobile. Marksmen, which are much more effective when sniping from afar. And Specialists which possess unique abilities that distinguish them from the other three types. As most of my favorite Final Fantasy characters are assassins, I ended up playing that role the most, namely Squall (Final Fantasy VIII) and Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII). But trying out each different class broadens the experience of the game to a good degree.
As for how the fighting system works, it looks and feels like a little complex at first glance, however, after a trip to the tutorial and a few rounds of games, you get to realize its mechanics is actually simple and even casual friendly.
Using the (X) button will do bravery attacks and combos to stock up Bravery and deplete your targets bravery. Then using your Square button to unleash a devastating HP attack to deplete your enemies health points with the amount of Bravery you stock with HP attacks. Each character has 4 different types but you are able to equip only one in every match. But these are the iconic and extremely visually satisfying attacks the characters make from Squall’s “Rough Divide” to Cloud’s “Cross Slash” to amazing and devastating spells like Ultima and Holy!
Continuing to gameplay, you have 2 EX skills which your character can equip and change mostly stat buffs for your allies or stat debuffs for your enemies.
And of course, it would not be a complete Final Fantasy game without summons! You and your allies vote for a summon to use in battle and can be summoned once the summon gauge is full, which can be done by attacking foes or destroying summon cores. Each summons has a different effect on your party and once you are able to unleash their fury, it will definitely tip the scales to your advantage in battle.
On the not so active parts of the game, we have its amazing character customization. The best part of Dissidia Final FantasyNT for me personally is it takes a few RPG elements of a Final Fantasy title and adds it to the core fighting game. You could change different EX skills to familiar spells like Poisonga or Vacuum to a whole different set of abilities.
A change of costumes and skin loadouts of these memorable characters and the weapons they are wielding are unlocked through opening treasures. But the best part of the character customization is equipping your character with a battle music and arranging it as you please. They are still unlocked by opening treasures or purchasing them in the shop, but with epic musical scores from all over Final Fantasy title, this is the best nostalgic dose the game injects you.
As mentioned, there is a treasure shop in the game which has a lootbox system, while highly frowned upon by many these days I honestly do not mind as its purely cosmetic and adds a bit of collecting aspect to the game.
In the couple of hours I’ve had my hands on the game, it had been an up and down rollercoaster of emotions going from good to bad to good again, realizing the game is not meant to be played alone but with a part of two other friends. For a fighting game, this is a very welcome and totally different approach as fighting games are usually a duel of two players, but instead, playing cooperatively with others brings forth a different mix to the fighting game genre.
A few downsides of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT to start off is that flashy doesn’t always mean it looks good. Sometimes there are just too much going on in front of your screen and it’s difficult to understand what’s exactly is going on in the game. Ranging from other players casting huge spells to the big summons that go on, you are not exactly sure anymore what’s happening around you as everything is just flashing lights.
And with the move set, although seemingly overwhelming at first, is actually simple and not too much depth in it. Let’s face it, doing combos and pressing X four times, there is not much input for the player. While this can vary from pressing up or down, or simply being in airborne or doing a dash, everything just ends up really simple but uninteresting.
That aside, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is a great ride for nostalgia. From using each memorable character you grew up playing with on a Final Fantasy title to the amazing music that brings back all hours you were grinding for XP. The beta was a taste of what the full game is, which is somewhat a sweet nostalgic one. I’m hoping for more to come when the full game launches at the end of the month.