Released today on PlayStation Network is a demo/prequel to Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy. Dissidia Duodecim Prologus follows Final Fantasy XIII lead character Lightning and the Warrior of Light from the original Final Fantasy through 012: Treachery of the Gods.
While Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy has a map to walk around in, you wont find it in Prologus. The game goes from one bad guy battle to a brief cutscene to the next fight. There are four stages to clear in the mini-scenario, but Lightning never gets a break or a HP boost. You have to win all of them with one life bar. There may be someone aligned with the Chaos side that might surprise you…
In addition to story mode, Dissidia Duodecim Prologus has an arcade mode. Pick normal for five rounds, hard for 30 battles. Seven playable characters are available right after you install: Lightning, Kain, Warrior of Light, Garland, Kefka, Sephiroth, and Jecht. None of the characters can be customized and they all have a pre-assigned assist character. You’ll fight more Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy characters including Shantotto, Terra, and the Cloud of Darkness.
The battle should be familiar to anyone who played Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Brave points hover over your life bar. These represent how much damage you’ll deal when you hit an opponent with a HP attack (square). Players siphon points from an opponent’s brave meter with brave attacks (circle). If you drain an opponent’s brave meter down to zero you send them into break status and obtain a cache of brave points between the two life meters.
Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy adds assist characters in the ring. When Lightning has one bar she can call the Warrior of Light to jump in for a brave attack (L1 + circle). Two bars and you can do a HP attack, like the Warrior of Light’s Ultimate Shield. Assist attacks can be used to distract an enemy while Lightning prepares a HP attack or as a combo extension. Although, this tactic probably isn’t recommended, assist characters can absorb a blow if you call them out right before an opponent strikes you. Assist characters are temporarily knocked out if they get hit.
One other difference between Dissidia: Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012[duodecim] is how enemies react to EX cores, items that fill up a super meter of sorts. In Dissidia Duodecim Prologus, opponents are more aggressive about collecting the glowing bells and switch into EX mode as soon as their meter is filled.
I mostly played around with the two newcomers, Lightning and Kain. Kain from Final Fantasy IV has his trademark Jump attack. It’s a HP damaging move in Dissidia Duodecim Prologus. You can hold down the square button to charge his jump and the longer you hold it the further Kain travels. Let go and Kain leaps in the air and straight down at his target. Jump timing seems like it takes some practice. I found this move more useful as an evasion technique since it gets Kain out of harm’s way fast. Kain’s other HP damaging moves in Prologus include Gungnir, a mid-air attack where Kain lobs his spear at an enemy, and Dragon Fang, a forward stab. I found Gungnir the most useful out of the three. You can just float in the air throwing spears until one of them connects.
Before you can do that you need to chip away brave points with Kain’s fast combos. His Spiral Claw makes him arc upwards and Crasher Type is a mid-air somersault attack. Think Blank’s roll, but with Kain and a spear. Kain has one long range attack, Cyclone, a mid-air move that throws a ball of wind. In EX mode, Kain transforms into a holy dragoon and players have to mash different buttons during his EX burst to power it up.
Lightning brings the Paradigm Shift system from Final Fantasy XIII into Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy. In Commando mode (Attacker in Japan), Lightning has quick sword combos like the ground move Smash Upper where she does a spin slash and slams her opponent into a wall. She also has Ruinga, a slow firing grenade-like attack. On impact it explodes and sends an enemy soaring upwards. Ravager (Blaster in Japan) turns Lightning into a projectile character. She can shoot homing fire blasts by using the Fire spell, slow moving water orbs with Watera, fast wind bursts, and a powerful ice spell. If an enemy gets too close she can hit them with Thunder in mid-air. Medic (Healer in Japan) gives Lightning a single move, Cura, which doesn’t restore HP. It boosts her brave and can be comboed if Lightning is you mash circle.
Players can switch paradigms by pressing L and R at the same time. Having three forms makes Lightning extremely versatile. You can fire off spells and take screen space as a Ravager. While your enemy is distracted by floating water orbs and ice blasts you can switch to Commando to dash in for a combo. Lightning has the same HP damaging moves with all three paradigms one makes her throw Odin’s swords, another has her call lightning down before hitting her enemy with a cross slash, and the last attack is a sword air dash.
Beating the game in arcade mode clears missions. Dissidia Duodecim Prologus gives players goals such as complete normal mode with Jecht and beat 10 fights in hard with Sephiroth. Clear enough of these and there, perhaps, may be a reward…
Square Enix also revealed the Third Form outfits for The Warrior of Light and Garland. Both are based on artwork from Yoshitaka Amano’s original designs.
When you purchase the game you get two files, one for Dissidia Duodecim Prologus and another 486KB character assist file, which allows you to use Aeris/Aerith as an assist character in the retail game.