After years of being an exclusive Japanese arcade game, Team Ninja’s Dissidia: Final Fantasy is finally coming home on the PS4. At E3, Siliconera managed to get some hands on time on the console version for a quick impression.
The console version has a brand new story mode which centers around the conflict between the two gods Materia and Spiritus, replacing Cosmos and Chaos from the first two Dissidia titles. The new logo also features them locked in combat. Battles consist of two teams of 3 characters chosen from a variety of new and classic Final Fantasy titles, from FFI’s Warrior of Light to FFXIV’s Y’shtola. Each player has the freedom to choose whoever they want to be, which means theoretically you could have yourself a six man Tidus (Tidii?) blitzball match.
Both teams will also vote on a summon before each match, each granting specific buffs permanently throughout the match plus attacking the enemy team and granting an additional buff after being summoned. For instance, Bahamut increases unique EX skill gauge gain and additionally buffs effect duration once summoned. These creatures can be called out to help during the match once a team’s summon gauge is full. This gauge can be increased by both hitting opponents or attacking the summon crystal that periodically spawns in the match. Once the gauge is full, any player on that team can hold down the touchpad on the DualShock 4 to start summoning. It feels like you can also decrease the summon time if multiple members of your team summon at the same time.
The goal of each match is take out three of the opponents on the other team. This could be any combination, from killing the same player three times or each player once. Each match starts with 240 seconds on the clock, limiting the maximum game length. During our demos we encountered matches that ran from around a minute all the way to the four minute mark. In the demo, we were not able to see what characters our teammates or opponents picked before locking in our choice, so unless your teammates are directly communicating with you, it was tough to put together a team with synergy. On the other hand it also means that you won’t be able to counterpick your opponent’s team.
After choosing characters, players are able to still change their Battle Sets once they see what characters their teammates have selected, but before seeing their opponents. A Battle Set is a custom selection of skills that consists of 1 HP attack and 2 EX attacks. EX attacks seem to be global abilities (Poisonga, Teleport, etc.) with HP attacks unique to each character (i.e. Cross-Slash for Cloud), but for the E3 demo we were restricted to 2 preselected Battle Sets per character. It definitely felt like Terra’s two Battle Sets changed her overall gameplan during the match, with Battle Set A focusing on allowing her to constantly spam brave attacks then swiftly teleport and nuke a single opponent with Meltdown, while Battle Set B let her influence enemy movement with traps and debuffs before unleashing destruction in a wide area with Meteor.
Basic combat doesn’t deviate much from the classic Dissidia formula, with players focusing on using Brave attacks to not only deal damage, but to increase their own bravery while decreasing their foes. Once players feel their Bravery level is sufficient, they can use their HP attack which deals damage equal to their Bravery, often with additional modifiers. While Bravery and HP attacks are limited only by their attack speed, the global EX attacks are each on their own cooldown timer, with each character also having a unique EX skill that is also on a cooldown – Terra goes into Trance for a while, Shantotto briefly turns gigantic and shoots out a wave of energy. Finally, similar to the Gundam VS series, players are hard-locked onto a target at all times, but can cycle targets by pressing the R2 button or select the closest enemy with L2+R2.
During our hands on time during the demo, the game itself was fairly easy to pick up and play, especially for returning Dissidia series fans, with core mechanics becoming pretty clear after a few matches. However, the matches themselves were extremely chaotic, most likely from lack of experience from both knowing how to play the game to overall strategy and team synergy, but the gameplay depth was definitely apparent from the get-go. Because of the chaotic nature of these beginner matches, it was tough to narrow down key moments that led to victory or defeat, but definitely left me with a desire to keep playing another round.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT is tentatively set to release on PS4 in early 2018.