By Spencer . December 24, 2008 . 3:25pm
I’m way deeper into Dissidia: Final Fantasy now with multiple Destiny Odysseys cleared. Cloud’s was a piece of cake. I won’t spoil the story bits, but I think you can imagine what happens. Cloud is an in your face character. At level one he has one projectile, a fire spell, and one distance closing attack. The Braver move is a mid-air dive towards Cloud’s opponent. If he connects with the other player he thrusts his sword downwards and slams them into the ground. Most of Cloud’s attacks are named after limit breaks like Crime Hazard, Cross Slash and so forth, but not all of them deal HP damage. Cross Slash does, but that three hit combo requires you to be on the ground and reasonably close to the other player.
Kefka is on the other side of the spectrum. As a magic user he mostly hangs out from a distance casting spells. Kefka’s spells are different from Terra’s since they don’t directly target enemies. Spinning Blizzaga throws an ice ball in the air that whizzes towards an enemy when it lands. Various Firaga starts out as a single bullet, but mid-flight it forks into three fire cones. Kefka’s main HP damaging attack is Trine, an enemy skill in Final Fantasy VII, that attempts to capture an enemy in a triangular prism. Trine is a pretty powerful attack since you can hit enemies and drain their HP even when you don’t see them.
Due to popular request I unlocked Ultimecia right after Kefka. Like Kefka, you want to keep Ultimecia far from other players. She flies around the screen raining arrows and swords on her opponents. You don’t need to worry about aiming. Just mash the circle button and stay in the air. Individual arrows don’t do much damage, but since she fills the screen with projectiles fighting Ultimecia is like being trapped in bullet hell. To balance her magic barrage her HP draining attacks like Grand Atlantica, which summons a huge water sphere, need to be charged.
Garland is just all around slow. He handles like a knight weighed down by heavy armor. Garland has to get real close, closer than Cloud, to deal any damage since he doesn’t dash forward to start his sword combos. Garland isn’t much of a mid-air fighter either. He starts out with a dual sword spinning attack that saps brave and Shijin, which launches five homing arrows. I found Garland works best if you’re defensive. Unless you’re fighting a magic user Garland should be in range to deal heavy damage after a well timed block.
In contrast Sephiroth feels light as a feather. Each sword swipe from Sephiroth is actually a flurry of low damaging strikes. The flurry extends Sephiroth’s range which is already a tad exaggerated compared to the other melee characters. Sephiroth also has a long range move where he summons four black orbs that close in on his opponent. When Sephiroth is ready to deal HP damage he has two options an earth splitting downward stab and an eight hit sword rush.
Bartz is an interesting character. He’s like the Edge Master of Dissidia: Final Fantasy since he uses a mix of moves from the other characters. By default he has Cecil’s Souleater attack where he thrusts a sword forward with dark energy and Firion’s long range axe trap. Bartz is fast too, but he isn’t as effective in the air. His mid-air HP damaging move is a cyclone spin that you can’t cancel out of if you miss. During his EX Burst all the weapons from the other characters like Squall’s Gunblade and Cloud’s Buster Sword appear around him which reminded me of Gilgamesh when he became a Final Fantasy summon. Speaking of Gilgamesh that theme from Final Fantasy V is in Dissidia: Final Fantasy.
Firion is also a weapons man like Bartz. However, he starts out with a basic blizzard spell that fires a speedy icicle straight forward when he jumps into the air. Firion’s combos tend to start by pulling opponents towards him. He can grab an enemy with a short range lightning zap or snag them with a spinning axe. Since Firion’s axe toss is a fast attack he is good against clunky characters like Exdeath and Garland. The only downside about Firion is he only has one HP smashing attack at the beginning of the game which is a straight arrow shot.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy also has a unique feature not found in fighting games since this is being called by Square Enix Japan a “dramatic action game”. Naming and genre pushing aside you can play Dissidia with traditional Final Fantasy menus. Go to the options menu and pick command battle to bring up a menu with commands during battle. Pick the fight command to deal brave damage, guard to block, or kill to instruct your character to dish out HP damage. During command mode your character automatically runs and even attacks. You can passively watch battles giving out orders when you feel like it. However, when you select fight you can’t choose which of your three attacks you do. Since your options are limited most people will look at command mode, think that’s neat, and go right back to active battles. Command mode is still somewhat useful for learning how your character’s custom move set works in combat.
You have lots of ways to customize your character in Dissidia and sometimes the computer can teach you a trick or two about which linked moves work well together during command battles. When your characters level up from fights they gain new support abilities and attacks. Take Cloud as an example. He doesn’t start out with Meteorain or Sonic Rave. You have to earn these attacks by leveling Cloud up. Once you get them you can set them in different attack slots to make your very own custom Cloud. Each character can be further customized by equipping weapons, accessories, and magicite. Magicite allows you to call an aeon which usually effects the brave statistic. The Magic Pot clones your opponent’s brave so you have the same number. Demon Wall protects your brave from dropping and Ultros splashes ink on the screen so you can’t see each other’s brave.
Customization has been my favorite part of Dissidia: Final Fantasy since it goes beyond playing dress up. There’s a lot of depth here and even after over a dozen hours I’m still scratching the surface of it.
Images courtesy of Square Enix.