Dissidia: Final Fantasy has just dropped in Japan, and many of you are probably wondering if it’s import worthy. You could just wait until the game releases in the US around June 2009, but if you just can’t wait to get your hands on this PSP exclusive fighter, you should know what to expect before you drop the dough.
Dissidia is an action RPG fighting game hybrid that stars the heroes, heroines, and villains from the Final Fantasy series. It features separate stories for each of the main characters with cutscenes and full voice-acting. The Story Mode plays out on a grid full of battles, obstacles, and treasure with each battle only taking a minute or two, which is perfectly suited to the PSP.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy Opening Cinematic (Japanese)
It’s important to note that the PSP does not have any region locking so you’re free to import the game and play it on your American PSP at will. The game also allows you to install game data to a memory stick, which helps reduce load times. I installed 512MB of the game and load times were minimal if not instant in most cases.
Read on for my full report on the Japanese version of Dissidia: Final Fantasy as well as two additional gameplay videos.
Dissidia may be total fan-service, but it just happens to be packaged in a great game. The fights are energetic, look amazing, and present an actual challenge at higher levels. The game mechanics are pretty simple, but leave a lot of room for customization in a character’s equipment, accessories, abilities, summons, and more. Characters begin battles with a certain amount of “Brave” points (BP), which is indicated by the number above the health bar. By pressing the O button, you’ll make “Brave” attacks, which take BP away from your enemy and give them to you.
Cloud Strife vs. Squall Lionheart
Then, you can make HP attacks, which trade BP for damage. If you have 800 BP, you’ll do 800 damage (plus bonuses and chances for critical hits, of course). This then reduces your BP to zero until it builds back up. Reduce your enemy’s BP total to 0 and you’ll “Break” them. This lets you boost your own BP far above what you have stolen from the enemy for devastating attacks. Throw in the EX meter, which functions like a Limit Break meter and you’ve got opportunities for amazing special attacks.
Characters can run up walls, slide along obstacles, and perform double jumps and air dodges to further increase a character’s movement abilities. The camera gets a little awkward at times, but you can lock onto your enemy and for the most part it functions well.
There is also a Battle Mode where you can gain experience and ability points by fighting with unlocked characters. Setting this mode up requires a bit more Japanese than the Story Mode (ironically), but it’s easy enough to setup your epic Final Fantasy dream battle and crank out some quick fights.
Tidus vs. Zidane
Some games are notoriously import friendly, but action RPG type games – especially from Square Enix - don’t normally fall into this category. The RPGness does rely on cutscenes and the dialogue makes it tough to get by the language barrier.
Dissidia is a stats based action RPG and much of the game can be deciphered by trial and error. Equip this item and my “Attack” value gets bigger? Sign me up. Some of the more complex items will give bonuses and penalties that aren’t so easily figured out, but there is enough English to tell you when your character is getting stronger or weaker. There are some handy guides online to find out what the menus mean, as well.
Not knowing Japanese hasn’t stopped me from having a lot of fun with the game. If anything, it’s going to function as a nice holdover until the English version comes out in June. There’s a mess of unlockable characters and tons of depth to character building that will most likely implant this UMD in your PSP when you get the game. It’s a must have for any PSP owner, let alone any Final Fantasy Fan.
Want to know more? Hit me up with questions in the comments section below. If you want to see any specific fights or cinematics, let me know and I'll try to get them captured for you.