Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy Review

By Marissa Meli - Posted Mar 16, 2011

Pseudo-fighting game Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy is, besides a nod to fans of the base-12 number system, the second entry in a series of titles that pits characters from all over the Final Fantasy universe against one another in an epic fan-servicing battle between Cosmos and Chaos. Yes, I hate to bring you the shocking news, but the struggle between good and evil is not over.

The Pros
  • Can switch between RPG and Action modes mid-game.
  • Final Fantasy fan service explosion.
  • If you loved the first Dissidia, you'll love the second.
The Cons
  • Series newbies will be lost.
  • Lame checkerboard navigation system is back.
  • Combat can get repetitive for those not into grinding.

Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy Review:

Pseudo-fighting game Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy is, besides a nod to fans of the base-12 number system, the second entry in a series of titles that pits characters from all over the Final Fantasy universe against one another in an epic fan-servicing battle between Cosmos and Chaos. Yes, I hate to bring you the shocking news, but the struggle between good and evil is not over.
 


 
Stay On The Grind

If the last game's combat had you tripping, you'll be happy to know you can choose between Action and RPG modes at the start of Dissidia 012. Action mode lets you freely control the character, just like you did in the first Dissidia. RPG mode will give you a simpler layout that asks only that you choose between moving, fighting, finishing, and defending. Once selected, the character will play that choice out automatically for as long as you let them. If you try this and find you don't care for it, you can switch back from the Options menu. I switched back and forth during my playthrough, and especially appreciated the option to cruise on auto-pilot when the action got repetitive or The Bachelor finale was on (kidding, kidding—I DVR’d it).

Dissidia 012
offs a variety of playable characters (including welcome newcomers Kain, Tifa, and Lightning) with distinctive fighting styles and plenty of new moves.  It’s a shame then that the combat as well as the baddies you encounter between boss battles can get repetitive if you aren’t used to the grind.

And yet, I kept trudging on, no doubt thanks to my own girlish fan-squeals and the prospect of leveling up just a bit more, grabbing that one last sword, and copping another lushly-named accessory. Having the opportunity to call in friends to assist you for the first time in the series didn’t hurt, either, especially owing to the consequentially renewed sense of communal struggle that the game is supposed to be all about. It would be much better, however, if they stayed for a prolonged period of time instead of dropping in to give you a quick hand.

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Check Yourself, Wreck Yourself


In the original Dissidia, you moved your character around a wee little checkerboard to travel from battle to battle. This was exceedingly lame, especially when used to navigate a universe-bending squabble of the gods. Talk about anti-climactic. Unfortunately, the checkerboard system is back, though you will also traipse through a more realistic world map to get around, talk to pals, visit the Moogle Shop, and nab goodies.

 

This is a step in the right direction, but is ultimately lacking in lasting appeal. The rest of the menu system, complicated as it is, is fine, but not great. The mystical game of angst checkers, though, needs to be scrapped entirely.
 


 
Non-Fans Need Not Apply, Kupo.

If you’re tentative about diving into the Final Fantasy universe, this is not the place to do it. You’re not going to be tickled by guest appearances, plot twists, and lore mingling like dedicated fans, even if pastel-coiffed sulking and lines like “I’ll show you how Lightning strikes” are universally appealing. Gameplay will not be enough to sustain you in Dissidia 012 if you can’t appreciate the story, but if you can’t appreciate the story, this isn’t the game for you.