Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy Playtest – Dissidia 1.5

By Spencer . April 4, 2011 . 1:19am

attack3_FIX copy

The war between Cosmos and Chaos came to a close in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. As a prequel, Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy is a record of the twelfth war and sets up the events for the final battle between the two gods. While you could select any character’s Destiny Odyssey (read: story) in Dissidia, Dissidia 012[duodecim] tells its story in linear chapters starting with Final Fantasy XIII lead character Lightning.


The new Cosmos characters Laguna (FFVIII), Yuna (FFX), Vaan (FFXII), Tifa (FFVII), Kain (FFIV), and Lightning (FFXIII) and their battles with crystal doppelgangers called Manikins are the focal point in story mode. Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy, much like Dissidia before it, touches upon each character and the universe they’re from, but never delves deeply into any of them. A taste of Laguna’s lighthearted nature, a flash of Lightning’s stern personality, and a dash of Kain’s shift allegiance were thrown in a giant Final Fantasy melting pot to create this game’s story. In battle, the characters fit in much better. Each newcomer has a unique fighting style.


DDFF_Jan_01_b-C_FIX copy


Lighting brings the Paradigm Shifts from Final Fantasy XIII into the Dissidia series. She can switch between an up-close attacker and a Ravager when you want to spam the screen with spells, like giant water bubbles. Lightning can also cast Cure spells to boost her brave without striking her opponent, but since offense is more important than stocking brave being a Medic isn’t that useful. Pick Laguna and Dissidia 012[duodecim] almost feels like a third person shooter. His basic attack is a machine gun blast that automatically chains each bullet. The President of Esthar can fire homing rockets, lob grenades, and combo shotgun blasts. Tifa is an agile brawler with Blizzard spells. Kain has his trademark Jump attack, which lets you leap into the air and crash into an enemy from the sky. The Final Fantasy IV dragoon is also a powerhouse in the air with spear dives and throws. Yuna uses her Aeons to attack. Since Shiva and Ifrit (partially) pop out of portals Yuna has more range than other fighters.


Perhaps, with the exception of Vaan (another weapon master), all of the new characters add a new flavor to the established Dissidia combat system. If you skipped the first game, Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy recreates the flashy Final Fantasy battles, but this isn’t exactly a fighting game. Your basic attack takes "brave" away from your opponent and adds it to your side. You chip away brave from each other until one player triggers a slower attack that converts the brave into HP damage if it connects. New for Dissidia 012[duodecim] are assist characters. You can summon an ally to distract an enemy while you pull off a HP attack or call in an assist during while you’re under attack to cancel a combo. Assist characters add some extra variety to the game, but EX Bursts are still your most powerful move. If full, your EX gauge (read: super meter) can also be used for an EX Revenge, a combo breaking technique that slows down time for a few seconds so you retaliate with a combo. Instead of blocks and counters, fights in Dissidia tend to comedown to who can grab the glowing bell to charge their EX meter the fastest.


It’s that or your character’s level. Actually, that’s probably the most important factor in a Dissidia battle. Outside of arcade mode with preset characters, strong characters trump weaker ones. After each fight you’re awarded with experience points, gil to buy weapons, PP to increase the effect of bonus days, and maybe KP (kupo points) to buy items from moogles. You’ll see moogles with giant red noses flying around the barren world map. While the map is a throwback to the Final Fantasy series, the area you explore is more like a hub world. There are a few glowing orbs to touch, a handful of treasure chests to unlock, and the occasional Manikin wandering around. Most of the action takes place on game boards again, but this time its easier to chain fights (a trick to earn more KP to buy more stuff) since battle skill items are plentiful.


DDFF_Feb_01_e-2_FIX copy


Complete the twelfth war and you can play the thirteenth war, the story from Dissidia: Final Fantasy too. While the original game is part of Dissidia 012[duodecim], you play through those events with 012’s rules and balance tweaks. Square Enix also added reports with additional quests and labyrinth mode. That’s a souped up version of colosseum mode where you use cards to move through a dungeon. Players seeking high level equipment will want to check this out. Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy also has a robust quest maker where you can set up a few fights and more importantly pre-battle events. Using the PSP’s keypad is a bit of a nuisance to write a fanfic, but it’s possible to create your own stories to swap with friends. Too bad Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy doesn’t have an online level sharing hub that supports infrastructure mode. The main way of sharing quests is copying files from your Memory Stick on to the internet.


Square Enix learned a thing or two from seeing sales of Capcom’s Monster Hunter G re-releases. Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy may be labeled as a prequel to Dissidia: Final Fantasy, but I think this game is more of an expansion pack. Dissidia fans will enjoy the new characters and the assist system. However, if tug of war style brave system from the original Dissidia: Final Fantasy didn’t pique your interest this game won’t change your mind. Since Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy is made for fans, are there any fans out there that made custom quests? I’d love to see them!

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  • ffboi7

    I’m enjoying it so far! Though I gotta admit the storyline is a bit confusing, but I’ll eventually catch on! Started without my original Dissidia data so I’m gonna have fun replaying the 13 cycle xp

    • You would have to regardless of data transfer.

      • ffboi7

        Oh I know that. What I meant is that I didn’t carry over my level from Dissidia which you can do correct?

        • Yu_TheKing

          Yeah you can do that. I did it so that I wouldn’t have to re-master everyone again.

          • ffboi7

            I don’t mind re-mastering everyone gives me something to do while taking a break at school.

          • Yu_TheKing

            I see your point but I was also playing FFVIII, FFIX, Disgaea 2, Valkyria Chronicles 2, and Marvel vs. Capcom: FTW among others.

  • Never played the first one, so I’m glad to hear this one also includes the story of the first one. Does that mean aside from the gameplay differences, there is no reason to also buy the first if I buy this one?

    • Pretty much yeah. Duodecim’s story mode is more streamlined compared to the first one. The first one was really annoying. Also, the battle system’s been improved so that turtling is less rewarding.

      • OneOkami

        What is turtling?

        • Playing extremely defensive. Like in the first one, players wait for an opening more than trying to land an attack, because blocking is godly and counterattacking after a block results in a critical hit. 012’s assists try to remedy this by rewarding attackers with tricking your opponent into dodging and combo abilities.

          • Its just more of the same with the added ability to call in assist for an unavoidable attack. Many guard break into wall rush combos that can lead to massive bravery gain our breaking your opponent. Really, the only thing that’s really changed is that you can now do viable combos with assists. Beware of characters that can combo into hp attacks. They, can easily abuse the system.

          • OneOkami

            I’m fairly new to this game and still learning the ropes, but are you sure assists are unavoidable? Unless my eyes are deceiving me, I’ve been able to avoid them.

          • doomspeller10

            Assists are NOT unavoidable unless you know exactly how to chain them. You can dodge or defend from assists and even attack them to lock the enemy’s assist bar. Even better, if you’re in ex mode and hit the enemy’s assist, you’ll produce an assist break and will gain map bravery. Conversely, if your assist hits an enemy in ex mode, an ex break will occur and you’ll get map bravery. This was done in order to balance the game, since EX Mode was way too powerful in the first Dissidia. Most accesories that help you build your ex bar faster will make your assist bar go up slower, and vice versa.

          • Code

            They are like every other move in the game, there’s always a certain dodge direction/timing, or a counter, even against assists. Although at the same time I think assists proximity/start-up speed can make them easy to create a situation where they are almost unblockable. 100% agree with the HP attacks+assists though, particularly ones that link from Brave-HP attacks opened with an assist, that is very tricky.

            Yeah you can definitely avoid them, although the CPU at least so far from what I’ve played doesn’t use assists too aggressively.

          • @doomspeller10 they are easily made unavoidable and there are viable builds to prevent your opponent from building Assist Gauge as well as building your own substantially. They can comboed from a wall rush in this game if your opponent has no gauge(depends on build) into a high damage hp combo off just an assist bravery attack due to the special dash they added at the end of assist hits.

  • Vaan #WINNING

  • I’m working on a 5-part custom quest where you have to battle against all of the original characters (+Prishe and Gilgamesh). The story is that the Warriors of Chaos have gotten ahold of a virus that allows them to take control of their corresponding warrior of light. ParaDissidia (An homage to Parasite Eve). I thought it would be cool because 1) Laguna is like playing a TPS and 2) Lightning has an alternate Aya Brea costume, so why not?

  • kupomogli

    The storyline is absolutely awful. Just like the first game. I like the rebalancing of the game though. Maybe I just haven’t played the original Dissidia for awhile, but it seems that you can no longer immediately block less than half a second later as soon as your block goes down. Which is a good thing that way if someone randomly blocks, you can wait until their block goes down and then attack with a brave attack if you’re trying to break them. Just feels that when playing against friends I can now hit them with a brave attack during the opening of their guard easier than before before they can do anything else.

  • I’m still playing first, since I purchased it only 2 months ago. I’ll be getting 012 some time later. And this is for sure one of the most addictive games I’ve ever played.

  • Angeru_Lito

    Im having a Blast with this game …but in all honestly they need to nerf Prishe when I had my first battle with her it was like Dissidia on Acid, she´s super fast and combos are easy to chain she actually has real combos thats great I also like the references made in their intro videos (Prishe and Gilgamesh) are probably the best in the game so funny

  • So far I’m on chapter 3, and hell I don’t understand the story at all, not that I knew more in the first game..But whatever the gameplay is slick! I like the RPG Mode, sometimes I can’t really concentrate on the game, so it is easier to play, while doing something else, the new characters are awesome, hell Vaan is probably my best character at the moment!

  • karasuKumo

    Story mode was never its strong point but the free battle is immense, quite a bit harder than the first. Sephy is weaker but Garland is a beast!! It’s like they switched haha. Bartz spams Ragnarok Blade, and the opponents chase the Ex Core as it appears on the field! Not complaining, I like a challenge ^^

    I’ve only just started Laguna’s story, I’m honestly only playing the story mode to unlock Prishe and Gilgamesh. Just as you start to get into the story for that character it finishes :P. Best characters for me are: 1st Tifa, Joint 2nd Kain and Lightning and in at 3rd is Yuna :D

    Only complaint is the lack of the “Return to Character Selection” shortcut after a battle -__- Why was that taken out?

  • CashmereFungus33

    now all we need is that one kid on here with his Vaan obsessions XD

    seriously though, this is a pretty cool game but the story and dialogue is cringeworthy

    I also really like Lightning’s aya costume but I hate the idea that you have to buy a horribad game to get it!

  • Is it me or is it just my imagination that I’m the only one who kind of understands 012’s story? @[email protected]

    • You’re not the only one. The Character Files in the museum explained the story much better though.

      • Yeah, the character museum definitely added more backstory to the characters, and 012’s story is miles better than 013. I barely understood what happened in 013.

        • Yu_TheKing

          Yeah, I feel the same. Seems like everyone was thrown together and just rolled with the punches. No real skepticism of what was happening…

        • Although 013’s story makes so much more sense if you play it right after 012’s.

    • I’ve been following it too. It’s quite interesting when it’s all laid out.

      • Yeah, it’s not as bad as people make it to be.

    • Code

      I think I followed it fine >w<' In fact I think it really adds a lot more clarity and depth to the original's plot opo; I kind of wish though there was even more report files omo; I really enjoyed how the storyline is conveyed through those.

      • I like how they included scenes which flesh out the story in the report. It’s like getting a buy one get one offer ^_^ I’ve unlocked only report 5, though. More work needs to be done!

    • they gave up hope in trying to kill the manikins one person tells the secret and they go off to seal the rift where they came from knowing that they will die if they was to even do that. It’s slightly confusing but understandable.

  • I just wished they had put Auron in. I’d have loved to have seen banishing blade, tornado, dragon fang etc.

  • Testsubject909

    My biggest peeve with this game is the lack of love for the older generation Final Fantasies and the hidden boner for FF7 contained there-in.

    Nearly the entirety of the post-FF6 games have gained a new character to play with and FF7 has two (Tifa as a playable and Aeris as a support).

    In the meantime, FF1-2-3-6 remain without a substantial addition. Squeenix’s obsession over FF4, and most likely capitalizing on their latest remake of FF4 as well as doing some indirect advertisement of the game via the inclusion of Kain, is sustained.

    Though, mind you, they did some good damage control by including Gilgamesh, but considering how he’s reappeared in various other Final Fantasies to begin with, though it helps to introduce his roots to new fans of FF (who started on FF7 and above), it still has this stench of “Promote the new, screw the old”.

    That aside, the game is just fine. It’s pretty much as the review states, an expansion pack rather then a complete overhaul. And hopefully, on their next Dissidia (and let’s not kid ourselves here, there will be another Dissidia). Hopefully they’ll be kind enough to balance out the entire cast.

    • Code

      Have to keep in mind FF4 has always has been highly praised in Japan, it’s the reason why it’s gotten so many ports/ and been the target for sequel — and probably received so much love in Dissidia. I don’t know, even with Tifa being one of the six main characters in Duodecim 012’s plot, Cloud/Sephiroth never nose in there outside of a couple short extra scenes packed in. Personally have never felt like they favor FF7’s characters in either the original or Duodecim, they’ve always been fairly isolated if anything. As far as Aeris, that’s just the nature of advertising, they had to pick someone they knew even the softest FF-fan would probably know, I don’t really put much weight into that bonus.

      I will agree though Final Fantasy 1 through 3 generally don’t get a lot of attention in this one; but to be fair FF1 does get another playable character which gives it 3 characters now. FF2 though really could have used some love. I do feel like at least Firion/Emperor gets a lot of cross over in both game’s plot, but another character still wouldn’t have hurt. FF3 I think suffers from the fact all the player characters had no clear identities in the original. I mean they could have injected the DS’s re-imagined characters like Refia, but like Luneth seems more like potential costumes, over a character slot.

      But yeah still a little sour over FF6 not getting a character, and FF11 getting a second character opo;

      • Draparde

        I’m actually glad they included another FF11 character. as it only had 1 in the first place, 11 and 12 where behind any of the others even in the first game lol (though that “title” now belongs to 13 i suppose). i do understand what you mean though and i would have loved to have seen some older characters from Final fantasy’s i have yet to play, or only played a bit of.

        • Code

          I will admit I do find Shantotto, and Prishe at least fun in Dissidia >w<' But yeahhh, I can't help but feel like FF11 is still taking up potential characters slots from other FF's that I'm really wanting more playable characters from I guess opo;;

      • FF1 Doesnt get a new character….Unless your talking bout Feral Chaos, in which case your wrong as he is not classified as a FF1 character.

        • Code

          Talking about “Desperado” Chaos who is now playable >w<' So now FF1 has Warrior of Light, Garland, and Chaos playable.

    • Exkaiser

      At least Warrior of Light and Bartz got some snazzy alternate costumes based on their old sprite designs, which is some pretty nice fanservice. Most older fans are more used to the sprite designs than Amano’s artwork for the characters as it is.

      Don’t forget that all three playable FFVII characters got a bonus promotional costume to promote the game.

      That said, even with the fanservice skewed towards the new kids, Dissidia’s fanservicey enough to even make a guy who hates the series (like me) enjoy Final Fantasy again.

      • Code

        Yeah totally agree, Warrior of Light, and Bartz, and others did get some nice costumes >wo>~!

  • I kinda disappointed with Duodecim, like some of my friends already said, its looks more like a expansion pack than a full game.

  • I kinda disappointed with Duodecim, like some of my friends already said, its looks more like a expansion pack than a full game.

  • doomspeller10

    Actually, the best way to be stronger is not level or ex mode, but using multipliers in the correct way. Seriously, with the new Lv gap multipliers I’ve been able to defeat lv 120 manikins, hell, even Feral Chaos lv 130 using a Lv 1 weaponless Cloud. Those multipliers will be banned in tournaments for sure.

  • IceRomancer

    I’m loving everything about this game except the lack of finding items like elixirs and electrum to upgrade my equipment with! The first dissidia had a whole mode dedicated to finding rare items like that :(

  • I´ve been enjoying this game :) , i didn´t play the first one, so almost everything is new for me. The only negative aspect i could find was using Lightning in the story mode…

  • HAHHAHHAHHAH! EX Mode = strongest? Bwahahahaha! Assists are the core element, EX has been nerfed so much it’s just a little > useless.

    • doomspeller10

      Actually both of them keep a balance in the game, I would say none of them are stronger or the core element on their own. Both of them have pros and cons.
      Ex meter:
      Ex revenge allows you to break a combo or instantly retaliate after an HP attack (provided you’re still alive) to dish out a number of free hits for a variable time though your ex bar depletes completely. You can even prevent an assist if the opponent is hitting you and the assist hasn’t hit yet. If you manage somehow to refill your ex bar and enter ex mode while in ex revenge, your opponent’s assist meter will be completely depleted (doesn’t happen normally, you’d have to fiddle with original rules to achieve this). Ex bursts were effectively nerfed due to critical damage reduction, but they’re still useful. I will say that I didn’t find the new character’s ex mode abilities that useful… perhaps Yuna has the best of them (with the exception of Feral Chaos).
      Assist meter:
      Using an assist to block will protect you from a final blow IF timed right but you can’t counter instantly, and connecting an attack with your assist will deplete the opponent’s ex bar a little for every hit and will allow in some cases to teleport behind your opponent and connect another attack. And of course, if you time right your assists no matter the case, you can combo a lot.

      And there’s of course ex breaks and assist breaks. I still haven’t seen what happens if you and your opponent call an assist and they hit each other at the same time (or if it is even possible)… I guess it’s a double assist lock.

  • Contrary to what I’ve been reading from others, the story is actually very good, in my opinion. It’s just not written out like a movie or other games.

    With the reports and the video feature in the museum that displays -every- cutscene chronologically, the story is there. You just actually have to think about it, and connect the dots yourself. It’s fun, try it sometime!

    • Angeru_Lito

      The Story bits in the reports I say are better than some of the story, that last pic remind me of my favorite scene in the game the flashback that now you can play , Shanttoto vs Grabanth and this is mostly because the way they act, they taunt each other and get on the other nervs specially cocky shanttoto, thats the way that at least for me the story should have been insted of the whole Light vs Dark if everybody kept their memories I think the battles would´ve been great Juna shocked to see a “real” Tidus or Cloud finally getting his revenge I dunno at least it would´ve been more like the real last brawl than just a quest to defeat chaos/cosmos , but I gotta say some of the intro quotes are awesome one of lighting is “don´t bring a sword to a gunblade fight”

      • Yu_TheKing

        Definitely, the intro quotes add more fresher dialogue before the action takes place.


        Lightning to Squall: Prepare for your lesson, Schoolboy.

        Tidus to Prishe: Hot-blooded, just the way I like ’em.

        • Angeru_Lito

          Yes the new Characters got some of the best ones Lighting super bitter ones Laguna getting awkward with Cloud of Darknes, even Vaan is not one of my most used characters but I crack a bit when he ask almost everybody “How Old are you?”

        • Draparde

          i enjoy those too, i unlocked shanttoto’s just to hear what insults she had for everyone lol.

  • Code

    Picked Duodecim up last week and really enjoying it. I found 012’s plot just the right size to be really palatable, but not over stay it’s welcome >www<'

    • I actually enjoy using Kain. Using his air dash cancel keeps the pressure on enemy, and being able to choose which direction to send the enemy after you hit them with an aerial brave attack is pretty fun too. I think what I enjoy the most out of him though is his rising and diving HP attacks; They’re really fun to watch.

      • Code

        Yeah from what I played of him I could tell he’s really technical, I figure I’d just have to play him more and figure out some of his finer points to really get over that unwieldy feeling >w<'

  • Guest

    “Perhaps, with the exception of Vaan (another weapon master), all of the new characters add a new flavor to the established Dissidia combat system. ”

    Once again, useless Vaan is useless

    • Man Vann is good to use if you know how to play with him…

  • PrinceHeir

    will pick this up along with Tactics Ogre and Birth by Sleep :D

  • Since I’m done with much of what I need to do and only have to do Labyrinth, I’ll quit for now and play 3rd Birthday.

  • Guest

    Expansion pack or not, duodecim is a great value for the price: the remastered 013 storyline and new 012 one with quest creation and other features make it an overall great game

  • Draparde

    Played it and enjoyed it, i still dont know if i like playing as Tifa or Prishe more though ><

  • *sigh* If you think this gme ais an expansion you clearly dont get it. Its so much more than that… SO much more…

    And Vaan isnt just “another weapons master”, he is completely different to everyone, like the other new guys, with different attacks depending on if you hold the button when switching to a different weapon.

    Im annoyed there was no new characters for IX, i think Vivi would have been cool. Of course, FFVII is covered with love, all together 4 characters, if you include Aerith, which you should.

    I love this game, its so much more than the previous one, is MORE than an expansion pack… god just hearing people calling it that makes my blood boil… the tweaks to the battle system makes battles much more interesting, the Original Quest MOde means I’ll NEVER get bored of it, and I think it is 100% better than the original.


    • Curious, but does calling it an expansion take away your enjoyment from the game?

      It doesn’t for me! I mean I enjoyed playing Super Street Fighter IV after SFIV and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite after Monster Hunter 2G.

  • gotta love prishe skillchain combos!! love FFXI am still playing it!! and the other is yuna the summoner!! love the summoner class!! but i choose rydia over yuna any day!!

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