Review by SMuffinMan
"Unique, Stylish, and Innovative!"
When it came time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the first Final Fantasy, Square-Enix had something major plotted for the fans. Some thought it would be a remake of Final Fantasy 7, and nobody could've predicted what was about to be released. What we got wasn't a remake of Final Fantasy VII (thankfully), what we got is potentially the greatest fighting game of all time, and might even have the potential to one day be called a "classic". The game is most certainly unique, and really is mostly fan-service, which is why many will probably disagree with me on this review.
Story: 10/10-Since time immemorial, the gods have waged all-out wars with each other. The two notable being Cosmos, the goddess of harmony, and Chaos, the god of exactly what his name implies. Cosmos and Chaos have each chosen warriors to represent them in the battlefield and to destroy their opposing god/goddess. Each has chosen 10 warriors from 10 worlds to engage in combat for them. Cosmos has chosen the protagonists from each of the first 10 Final Fantasies. Chaos has chosen their respective protagonists. After a skirmish, each warrior is sent out to find a Crystal from their world and bring it back to Cosmos, as they are the key to her ultimate power which could defeat Chaos. Each villain holds the corresponding protagonist's crystal, and so the warriors must set out on journeys, sometimes together, so that they may get the crystals. Much like the FFs of old, this game, story-wise, goes back to it's roots (at face value at least), in that you must seek out and save the crystals. There are some new twists and turns however, and it turns out to be really neat.
Gameplay: 10/10-In story mode, you have the option to play through each protagonist's story, called a Destiny Odyssey. Each Destiny Odyssey gives you a game board to play on. In the top left corner, you have a number of Destiny Points. Every time you move your player piece, it costs you one Destiny Point. If you can get to the finish with a certain amount of Destiny Points, you will be given a reward, which range from Gil and PP, to Summons and great equipment. Pressing triangle brings you to a menu that allows you to go to the shop, change your equipment, and select which abilities you want to be able to use in combat. Also on the main DO board screen, pressing square allows you to access abilities such as Cure, to help you out with potential oncoming tough fights. If you fight a battle piece and are in between that and another one, you'll have to fight the other one as well. Now let's get down to the fighting mechanics.
Each battle is a one-on-one fight. You'll have a set of large numbers near your life bar and character portrait that tells you how much bravery you have. Pressing circle will make you do a Bravery attack. If it connects, it will drain your opponent's brave and give it to you. Get them below 0 bravery to inflict "Break", which will give you the entirety of the stage's brave pool, indicated in the middle-bottom of the screen. When your bravery numbers turn purple, this means that landing an HP attack will kill your opponent. Your HP and your opponent's are located just under the green bars. HP attacks are typically slow, but will break through an opponent's block if they decide to do so. Brave attacks are the only ones that can be blocked, though there are very few exceptions. Pressing R allows you to block, but it's more of a parry and has a very short window, so use it wisely. Pressing R and X at the same time will make you dodge, making you invincible for the dodge animation to both HP and brave attacks. When attacking (which has to connect BTW), dodging, and blocking, you will see little blue orbs fly about around you. That is EX Force and sometimes an EX Orb will appear in the arena, which looks like a bell. It's best to try and pick up as much EX Force as you can so that you can fill your EX meter, which is on the left side of your screen. Once full, pressing R and Square will make you go into EX Mode. If you land an HP attack when in this mode, you can press square again to activate that character's EX Burst. You'll be given prompts on-screen for instructions on how to perform that character's EX Burst attack, which will raise their brave and then land another HP attack.
After completing the Destiny Odysseys, there are a few more to play through, and you'll have access to the game's Duel Colosseum, which is a never-ending string of battles, and has plenty of amazing rewards to reap. Also, you have a large list of accomplishments to fill out. This will undoubtedly take you literally hundreds of hours to complete, which gives the game a ton of replay value. The online also helps with that, but I don't have a PS3 so I haven't been able to play true online yet.
Music: 10/10-Upon starting each battle, you'll be given to option to select a song from many games in the series. Each game comes with two tracks pre-unlocked, and then a third that you can buy in the PP Catalog. Most of them have been re-arranged and sound really great. You'll still end up being able to get some of the great 8 and 16-bit chiptunes though, which is pretty darn sweet if you're into them. The game also has some new and original tracks as well, and most of the Destiny Odyssey board themes are remixes of that game's respective world map theme. Overall they did a really great job with this soundtrack and you can tell that they put a lot of love into composing it. Most of the credit goes to the big man himself, Nobuo Uematsu for composing most of the original pieces that ended up getting rearranged.
Graphics: 10/10-This game looks fantastic on the PSP. All of the graphics are smooth and very well detailed. It's also great to see the final dungeons get a great revamp in 3D. All of the character designs are great as well, especially Chaos and Garland's new looks. Bartz looks well done too, they didn't use that creepy Amano design that he had in the Final Fantasy 5 intro where he looks like a zombie. Though there are only two full-motion videos, they look absolutely stunning and they certainly do not disappoint. Each character also has an alternate costume, and they did a great job with that as well, which includes giving Terra back her original green hair. Everything in this game just looks amazing.
Overall: 10/10: Some will complain about this game's "lack of plot", but what they don't realize that it's a call back to the older FF's when there wasn't much of one in the first place. There are a few twists, but nothing that's extremely deep or riveting. You're the good guys going on an adventure to defeat the bad guys. What's so wrong with that? Again, the game is mostly fanservice, but it's also quite unique. It's definitely worth a try if you're a casual gamer, and worth a buy if you're a hardcore Final Fantasy fan.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 07/06/10
Game Release: Dissidia: Final Fantasy (US, 08/25/09)
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