Dissidia Final Fantasy Review

By Raymond Padilla - Posted Aug 19, 2009

Final Fantasy fans will love this game for the graphics, music, gameplay, and -- most of all -- the sheer awesomeness of multiple FF heroes and villains teaming up. Even though the plot lacks depth, it's just cool seeing Cecil, Tidus, and Cloud adventuring together. Although Dissidia is a fighting game, it's definitely not for the Street Fighter crowd. But it is an excellent PSP title that's best for RPG fans that want a little more action and a change of pace.

The Pros
  • Gorgeous graphics and wonderful music
  • Surprising depth
  • Tons of replay value
The Cons
  • Storytelling not up to Square's standards
  • Some of the voice actors are irritating
  • Too repetitive for some gamers

There’s no denying that Square-Enix is one of the premiere developers and publishers of role-playing games, but its track record with fighting and action titles is a bit spotty. The company is giving it another go with Dissidia: Final Fantasy for PlayStation Portable. Mixing fighting gameplay with a heavy dose of RPG elements, the game will erase any memories you have about The Bouncer and have you reminiscing about Final Fantasy games of years gone by. Most of its strong points are areas you’d expect Square-Enix to succeed in, but its weaknesses are aspects in which you’d expect more from the company.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy

Dissidia is best defined as a fighting game, but it has little in common with titles like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Soulcalibur. The levels are bigger, the defiance of gravity (and physics) is taken to a ridiculous level, and the controls are simpler. Although there are some special moves, a lot of the game can be beaten with two simple attacks. Sounds easy, hey? Not so fast. Although the controls are easy to pick up, learning the timing, how to take advantage of the terrain, when to mix up the basic attacks, and how to optimally accessorize your fighters can be deep. I love the fighting system. It’s easy enough for RPG fans (that might not be skilled in fighters) to enjoy and deep enough for those looking for a challenge.

Square Drops the Ball in…Story?!?


Whether you think it’s fan service or the greatest video-game team-up of all time, there’s not a whole lot to Dissidia’s story. There’s a huge bad guy (Chaos) that has gathered villains from the various Final Fantasy games in an effort to (wait for it…) destroy the world! Naturally, there’s a heroine (Cosmos) that has rounded up the games’ heroes to stop him. While it’s not as vapid as the plot in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, it’s not exactly riveting stuff.

In story mode, gamers are treated to cutscenes that expand on each of the ten characters’ stories. This is probably the most disappointing aspect of the game. Most of the stories are bland, a few of them are memorable, and some of them are wretched. Cloud’s (FFVII) plot is particularly asinine and made me want to punch him with Kaiser Knuckles. It’s easy to excuse the uneven storytelling because Dissidia is a fighting game, but I (and probably many of you) hold Square to higher standards.

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Best Looking PSP Game Since Square’s Last PSP Game

As expected, Dissidia dazzles with its graphics. The cutscenes and the in-game action are gorgeous. I haven’t played a PSP game this good looking since Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (the games actually use the same graphics engine). The only drawback is that the game’s camera can’t keep up with the action at times. Battles are fast and can use a lot vertical movement; there are times when you’ll get hit simply because you’re stuck at a bad angle and can’t see the enemy.

Longtime Final Fantasy fans will love this game’s score. Using popular tracks from each of the games, the score takes familiar tunes, modernizes them in some cases, and serves up the best gaming soundtrack I’ve heard all year. The voice acting is mostly good and uses several of the actors found in the games and anime. It’s kind of weird hearing characters from early FF games, like Firion (FFII) and Cecil (FFIV), yap so much, but it’s also completely cool. I was disappointed in Zidane’s (FFIX) voice actor -- his nasally voice made me want to strangle him with his tail.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy

Ready for the Grind?

Although the game’s action is all fighting, in between bouts it’s just like an RPG. There is a ton of level-grinding to do. There is a massive amount of character customization. The game has unlockables galore. Many RPG fans will find these activities highly appealing. Getting the most out of the game requires a lot of the old lather-rinse-repeat routine, which is great for RPG fans and probably boring for gamers with short attention spans.

In addition to the main story mode, there are arcade, vs., and local Wi-Fi modes to enjoy. There aren’t many additions, save for the excellent Shade Impulse mode, that mix up the gameplay. Although the game is more complex than it appears, it doesn’t have the technical depth of, say, Street Fighter IV. With that in mind, some players might find the game’s repetition to be tedious.

Finally!

Final Fantasy fans will love this game for the graphics, music, gameplay, and -- most of all -- the sheer awesomeness of multiple FF heroes and villains teaming up. Even though the plot lacks depth, it’s just cool seeing Cecil, Tidus, and Cloud adventuring together. Although Dissidia is a fighting game, it’s definitely not for the Street Fighter crowd. But it is an excellent PSP title that’s best for RPG fans that want a little more action and a change of pace.