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Dissidia: Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy: anyone who’s ever pressed an X button is familiar with Square’s behemoth that is the Final Fantasy series of turn-based RPGs. They’re a collection of epic tales matched only by their fiercely memorable cast – good luck bumping into a gamer who has never heard the name Sephiroth – and for anyone who has ever wished to see the gaming world’s most revered protagonists and antagonists duke it out, Dissidia: Final Fantasy is for you. Dissidia boasts characters from and all of them are interchangeable in combat, so go ahead and create the most absurd combination you can. Your fantasy match (no pun intended) awaits.

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This isn’t to say that Dissidia is geared directly toward fans of the series. Dissidia is one game that anyone can enjoy and will continue to enjoy for a long time to come, thanks to the game’s plethora of features. It’s safe to say that if you need to buy one PSP game to last you through the rest of 2009, this is the one. The story mode allows you to choose from ten of the series’ famous heroes and play through a completely unique story with voice acted cut-scenes and final encounters appropriate to each character’s counterpart villain. The plot that brings all of our heroes together is a simple one: The Goddess Cosmos and the God Chaos have declared war upon one another and have called forth ten of their most renowned heroes to play the role of soldiers. Each of the ten playable protagonists reacts differently to their new duty, and will progress through their campaign in a style appropriate to their personalities based on the Final Fantasy title they are native to.

” you will often find yourself skipping the pleasantries to get right into the action “To be frank, the cut-scenes themselves are generic and uninteresting, and you will often find yourself skipping the pleasantries to get right into the action. The story mode itself plays out like a game of chess, as you move your character piece to engage enemies and progress through stages, which is ultimately unsatisfying and far from engaging, even taking into account the little bonuses that await players who can traverse the boards in the least amount of turns. It’s not hard to overlook the obvious thinness of the story mode itself however, when what awaits you inside is a handful of fun and challenging combat sequences that rarely leave you wishing for more. Just be prepared for a sigh when you exit combat and return to the playing field, a sensation akin to waiting in line between rides at Disney World.

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The combat system in Dissidia is both highly unique and thoroughly enjoyable, and is a blend of fighter and action RPG. Characters have two types of attacks: bravery attacks, and HP attacks. Bravery attacks are used to diminish the foe’s bravery count (a numeric value displayed above each character’s health bar) while adding to your own, and HP attacks do damage to the opponent’s health based on the difference between his/her bravery and yours. Aspects such as EX mode (which grants access to final moves), blocking, dodges, counters, and stage elements that can be interacted with all come into play when one hopes to be victorious. All of these abilities come at a fair learning curve and are easily accessible while fighting, leaving you free to go all out regardless of your situation. Each individual encounter feels quick-paced, exciting, energized, and chaotic, and Dissidia is all the better for it.

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Don’t think you’ll be playing out these epic battles in choppy weather, either – Dissidia is simply gorgeous. Each stage is bright and sharp, character models are detailed and smooth, and attack animations are both stylish and true to their original appearances in games of the past. It goes without saying that when you’re not completely enthralled by the fighting you’re engaged in, you will be more than pleased with how the appearance of the game flows.

When you’ve had more than you can take of waiting between the action in Dissidia’s arduous adventure, you can play through gauntlet style matches between the 20 default characters, or you can level up your favorite hero in highly customizable one on one battles, using stages and equipment you have unlocked through story mode progression. Both of these modes allow you to accumulate currency to purchase additional character costumes, voices, and stages. Needless to say there is plenty to see and do in Dissidia, and you won’t find yourself at 100% completion for a long time to come. Should that time come, you still have an obligation as a Final Fantasy fan to save and upload the replay videos of your most memorable encounters to your computer, and share them with a community of players looking to out-do the next guy in sheer combat mastery with his/her favorite character. Combat video saving and uploading may very well be Dissidia’s shining feature once some really heated battle replays start to hit the internet. Sadly, Dissidia features multiplayer one on one modes, but has no online support. Mark my words: online match-ups would have marked the future of competitive handheld gaming. Maybe next time?

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As a package, Dissidia Final Fantasy is an investment that any PSP owner would be wise to consider. Although the main storyline may be dry and uninteresting, the combat system, stunning visuals, absurd degree of replayability, character customization, and unlockables to pursue make this title a generous one indeed. And the video saving/uploading feature as well as the supported 1v1 local matches make Dissidia even more engaging through the encouragement of competitive community. All of that aside, who in their right mind has never once yearned to witness the outcome of a fight between two of their favorite fictional characters? Any Final Fantasy fan will feel right at home here, and those who are somehow unfamiliar with the series will find an amazing title on their hands when they emerge from cryogenic freezing.

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in November 2008.

Gentle persuasion

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