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Dissidia: Final Fantasy review

AT A GLANCE
  • Ridiculous amounts of FF fan service
  • Incredibly fun, once you know what you're doing
  • The chance to slap Cloud's whiny emo yap shut
  • Underlying mechanics can get confusingly complex
  • Camera tends to get hung up on walls, low ceilings
  • The unholy bastard of a final boss

Choose your path

At the heart of Dissidia is its story mode, which is where all the cutscenes we mentioned earlier come into play. It’s also a lot longer than you might think – each of the 10 protagonists gets a separate storyline (in which each one hunts for a unique power crystal), and finishing at least one of them opens up “Shade Impulse,” the second half of the story in which the heroes unite to fight the dark god Chaos.

Chaos is, incidentally, the exact kind of final boss Japanese fighting-game designers seem to be so fond of these days – the kind so difficult that playing through the rest of the game doesn’t even begin to prepare you for what’s ahead. Granted, that makes it awesome when you finally beat him, but doing so takes careful memorization of his attack patterns, expert timing and inhuman patience.

Regardless of which half of the story you’re playing in, a big part of the reason story mode is as long as it is is that it’s structured like a board game, in which you’ll pick fights with seemingly endless clones of the other fighters.

Above: This is gameplay bait-and-switch, but it works 

This would get tedious if not for three things: first, the “fake” opponents differ wildly in terms of power and intelligence, and a lot of them will drop prizes if you meet certain conditions in battle. Second, plenty of the battles are optional, for those who want to grind. Third, the grinding makes the rare face-offs against “real” enemies (which usually come with a cutscene or at least a little bit of text) much more gratifying, if only because you know they’ll pose a more serious challenge.

Playing through story mode also enables you to beef up the character of your choice with new equipment, new attacks and accessories that can boost your attributes and combat abilities. You’ll also find Summons as you play, and while these won’t actually appear and fight for you, they can be equipped to give you a quick charge or cut down your opponent’s Bravery when certain conditions are met.

Above: Also there’s that Chocobo on the right, who hunts for items while you’re out fighting 

Meanwhile, if grinding and cutscenes aren’t really your thing, you can jump straight into the game’s arcade mode for quick battles against random opponents. There’s also an ad-hoc mode for pitting your beefed-up characters against a friend’s or trading “ghost” gameplay data to fight against. Online connectivity would have been much better, of course, but then this is a Japanese game, meant to be played primarily on commuter trains within easy reach of other players.

On the upside, Dissidia has a bunch of other weird stuff going on just beneath the surface, including hidden Moogles that send you letters with special bonuses for every day you play, which can in turn be used to unlock new characters and other extras. It also has an install feature that dramatically cuts down on load times, so maybe we can forgive the lack of true online play this once.

Above: Besides, it’s already better than 1998’s Ehrgeiz, the last fighting game to star Final Fantasy characters 

More Info

Release date: Aug 25 2009 - PSP (US)
Available Platforms: PSP
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Square Enix
Developed by: Square Enix
Franchise: Final Fantasy
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Fantasy Violence, Partial Nudity, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

25 comments

  • Felixthecat - August 29, 2009 9:56 a.m.

    He does, "we have ways of dealing with your homophobia". Such wording.
  • Samael - August 29, 2009 2:30 a.m.

    Chris kicks ass.
  • Felixthecat - August 28, 2009 9:43 p.m.

    We have... no ways of dealing with you sir.
  • MechGyver - August 28, 2009 7:43 p.m.

    I could do Squall´s voiceover, I was told that I have an emo voice.
  • v3mEpiDemiC - August 27, 2009 9:22 a.m.

    I would get this game but you know financial problems.Got to save up for MW2.I hope it sells well for a sequel can come out. p.s Cloud and Tidus owns all!Trust me im a doctor.
  • RickyV300 - August 26, 2009 11:33 p.m.

    why do you smash cloud so hard???
  • Cyberninja - August 26, 2009 2:27 p.m.

    i bought the bundle yesterday and i wanted to kill aeris buy still a good game
  • RonnyLive19881 - August 26, 2009 1:04 a.m.

    Finally get to give the super fag Cloud a well deserved beat down by my two favorite Characters Tidus and Locke! I wonder if Yuna is a good fighter...
  • drprofessor - August 25, 2009 11:11 p.m.

    I love this game immensely but the blocking is a little spotty to me. Still an awesome psp experience.
  • goodguy - August 25, 2009 10:53 p.m.

    i gots it already and mite i say i blows ta pants of pretty much and fighter ive played
  • mariovslink - August 25, 2009 10:40 p.m.

    Day one purchase and this game is fun :D good review as always
  • Cloud1Fair3 - September 1, 2009 2:26 a.m.

    That is not cool going on my profile, really really not cool, what was that a picture of anyways? W/e I hate the way you guys bash on everything. So you know what if you guys wanna mess with my profile on here, cool I'm not gonna let it bother me. I happen to dislike most of what you guys review, the site overall is cool which is why I joined. But seriously, why do most gamesradar editors need to bash everything? Is it an inferiority complex or something?
  • Felixthecat - August 28, 2009 10:39 p.m.

    Hold on... @Cloud1Fair3, is'nt that the gay pride flag that the guy is holding anyway?
  • GamesRadarChrisAntista - August 28, 2009 8:01 p.m.

    We have ways of dealing with your homophobia.
  • Cloud1Fair3 - August 28, 2009 3:24 a.m.

    Seeing as your an avenged sevenfold fan Ronny Live I'll forgive that dumb ass comment about Tidus being less faggy than Cloud. Just take into account that Tidus is known as a crybaby and always acts like a big queer, Cloud isn't really emo just because gamesradar says he is gamesradar's editors are pretty gay themselves I've noticed anyways. Cloud was a bad ass mercenary that just didn't give a shit, he'd bitch slap Tidus' whinny ass if they met which should have been in Dissidia.
  • Ban - August 27, 2009 7:44 p.m.

    I loved Ehrgeiz i used to play it in an arcade in New York
  • shortish - August 26, 2009 10:05 a.m.

    i agree with shockolate, at least cloud was in the army or whatever im stoked i only just brought a psp though
  • shockolate - August 26, 2009 4:30 a.m.

    @RonnyLive Tidus is infinetly more of a fag than Cloud. Remember the laughing scene. Remember it.
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - August 26, 2009 2:40 a.m.

    i want to play this but i don't have a psp :(
  • Amnesiac - August 26, 2009 2:36 a.m.

    @RonnyLive: Locke isn't playable.

Showing 1-20 of 25 comments

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