Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: February 12, 2018
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT is a fighting action RPG available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. The Final Fantasy series originated on December 18th 1987 when Final Fantasy I released for the NES having garnered worldwide acclaim ever since throughout the mainline story and accumulated numerous spin-offs in wildly varying genres and approaches. Despite there being two Dissidia: Final Fantasy games released at retail on PSP between 2008 in Japan and 2011 on a worldwide scale; Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT is actually a port of an arcade game titled Dissidia: Final Fantasy which was available in Japanese arcades from 2015. Can Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT achieve the same quality as its two highly praised prequels?
Players begin by randomly selecting one of seven summon stones before having the choice of participating in an optional tutorial in order to practice the basic and advanced techniques of brawling and how core battles should be approached. You can select the character and battle set of your preference as well as one of your previously unlocked summon stones. Each tutorial can be played in any order within any category with basic tutorials covering movement and camera, targeting enemies, dashing, bravery, defending EX skills, summons, chat messages and how to achieve victory conditions with the opportunity to enter a mock battle. Advanced tutorials include cancelling dash attacks, cancelling evasion and guard, depleting bravery, ranged attack strength, poise, interrupting and tandem attacks, alongside core battle tutorials such as switching targets, attacking the enemy core, defending your core and achieving victory conditions with the chance to fight a mock battle. The tutorials are helpful as they provide the starting platform towards learning the general and more complex gameplay mechanics; therefore it is advised that players experience the tutorials before venturing into fully fledged modes and battles.
Story mode sees the player attempting to recover memories of what had occurred within the realm by expending memoria to unlocking panels on the map with each panel providing a story focused cutscene. Unfortunately, the vast majority of story mode is a sequence of cutscenes with only an occasional battle instead of a traditional story mode that would intersperse story cutscenes and battles in a greater frequency of gameplay, while seemingly having less of an emphasis on the story mode in comparison to Dissidia: Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy. However, one unit of memoria is earned each time the player successfully completes gauntlet mode; therefore requiring a significant amount of gameplay within gauntlet mode in order to progress through story mode’s cutscenes.
Gauntlet mode tasks the player with fighting through a series of matches against A.I. controlled opponents, although there is initially only the basic trial comprising of six battles within a standard match, core battle or random match with extensive statistics and grades displayed following every match. Five story trials are progressively unlocked within gauntlet mode after expending memoria to unlock a certain quantity of panels in story mode that would relate to a story trial in gauntlet mode involving specific characters. A summon trial is also unlocked in gauntlet mode after unlocking a substantial amount of story mode panels in which the player must attempt to defeat all 7 summon monsters individually in any order you prefer, albeit fighting as and alongside any allied characters of your choice instead of being required to use certain characters as was the case in every story trial. The further a player’s team progresses during gauntlet mode results in greater rewards such as a treasure item for attaining 8,000 points, 1,000 gil for reaching 11,000 points, a second treasure item for 15,000 points, another 1,000 gil for reaching 29,000 points and a gauntlet runner for attaining 43,000 points within the basic trial.
Sparring match allows the player to fight in a fully customised match including the rules set of a standard match or core battle, a single match or best of 3 or 5, length of match between 1 minute to 10 minutes or an unlimited length and both parties losing or highest total score winning in the case of time expiring; selecting your character; selecting your two A.I. controlled allies; and picking your three A.I. controlled opponents. Due to the amount of customisation options; sparring match is actually a pretty good mode to ease your way into practicing fighting moves outside of the tutorial.
Players can level up their characters and ally characters within their team by achieving victories, being of the most importance to your team’s performance and gaining points from performing certain types of attacks on enemies. Accumulating XP will gradually improve your character’s level as your ally character’s levels increase in parallel based upon their individual performances too as the characters collectively improve from the lowest rank of bronze through all the ranks of silver, gold and platinum. Levelling up unlocks new EX skills, HP attacks, gil, text chat messages and more besides.
Character design is faithful to its subject matter as a roster of 28 playable characters are categorised from throughout the Final Fantasy franchise including Cloud Strike from Final Fantasy VII, Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII and Noctis Lucis Caelum from Final Fantasy XV, while also embracing the early retro games with such characters as Warrior of Light from the first game, Onion Knight and Cloud of Darkness from III, Bartz Klauser from V and many more besides. Character customisation occurs at the shop when up to 5 alternative costumes, multiple weapons and chat messages can be purchased through gil earned during combat. For instance, Cloud Strike has two ex-soldier op 1st class and three cloudy wolf appearances, alongside hardedge, fusion sword and force stealer weapons, while there are also a multitude of additional text chat messages.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT distances itself from Final Fantasy’s turn-based battles in favour of real-time free-flowing action focused battles. Every character has their own unique HP attack fighting moves such as Cloud Strife performing a cross-slash that quickly strikes the opponent three times, although charging before performing a cross-slash makes it more effective with an increased range and bravery damage, while meteorain sends meteors towards distant enemies in which charging also increases range. In contrast, Lightning’s HP attacks include crushing blow which performs a fighting move that sees Lightning rushing forward and cutting through enemies within mid-range, while razor gale allows the player to position their blade to form a gust of wind that relentlessly pursues your opponent. However, EX skills are not as unique as characters share the same EX abilities such as mighty strikes increases the attack power of nearby allies, while poisonga deals damage over time to enemies within the effect radius and share bravery distributes one-third of your bravery to each ally. There are also 7 summons in which you initially only have one available to summon before gradually unlocking the remaining summons during combat. For instance, a dragon named Bahamut breathes fire, increases EX skill gauge gain and increases effect durations, while Shiva freezes her enemies, quickly restores bravery and increases bravery default value.
Environment design is as faithful to Final Fantasy’s subject matter as the character design as the environments span from the very first game through to Final Fantasy XV with a total of 14 environments that each have their own unique size and verticality in which characters can scale up walls and structures. Environments provide the opportunity to fight in front of the backdrop of the reactor in Midgar from Final Fantasy VII, while further scenery includes the town known as Cornelia were the warrior of light began their adventure in the original Final Fantasy and the Alexandria kingdom from Final Fantasy IX.
Treasure can be claimed and spoils earned in battle can be viewed, while an in-game shop allows you to purchase character items, player icons and 20 sets worth of battle music tracks from the first game until Final Fantasy XV via in-game currency referred to as gil.
Downloadable content includes a season pass containing 6 characters with alternative costumes and weaponry, alongside 5 soundtrack songs, although for a cost of £24.99; it would have been appropriate to have some new environments or a remaster of both Dissidia games from PSP.
It is disappointing to not see a Vita release of Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT, especially considering the series originated on PSP with Dissidia: Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy released exclusively on PSP in late 2008 in Japan through 2009 worldwide and 2011 respectively, although remote play is a consolation. Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT’s remote play performance is excellent as the graphics, audio, controls and general performance retains the quality of the PS4 version. Control optimisations are minimal yet effective as switching between enemy targets has been re-mapped to the top and bottom right of the rear touch pad, while the rest of the controls are naturally mapped to the same buttons; resulting in a comfortable remote play experience.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the default control scheme consisting of pressing triangle to perform EX skills; pressing O to perform bravery attacks; pressing square to perform HP attacks; pressing X to jump; pressing L1 to guard from an enemy attack; pressing R1 to dash through the air; pressing L2 or R2 to switch between enemy targets; pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad followed by a corresponding face button to select a text chat message; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to manoeuvre your character; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to pan the camera angle; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Touch pad implementation is somewhat limited as it is only used to close the text chat window, although it would have been nice to see the touch pad integrated into fighting moves, while the light bar produces a colour that represents the summon you have chosen for your character, alongside a strangely subtle quantity of vibration given the amount of impact behind each of the HP attacks and EX skills which only occurs here or there during an enemy summon attack.
There are numerous alternative control schemes including 12 sets of face button inputs for performing attacks and jumping, alongside 8 sets of shoulder button inputs for guarding, dashing and switching between enemy targets, two methods of targeting enemies and two ways of selecting text chat messages. Such a quantity of control input customisation is an excellent design choice as it compliments the responsive controls, while providing the player with the confidence of knowing that there is a definitive control scheme that will perfectly match their fighting style.
Graphically, Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT possesses excellent character models and environments for some of the most known characters and environments in the series, while the particle effects showcase the power of every character’s unique HP attacks as well as the shared EX skills and summon attacks.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the title menu, main menu, story mode menus, offline modes menus, online modes menus, character customisation menus, treasure menus, options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the touch pad and the right analogue stick. Menu backgrounds comprise of bright light shining upon your highlighted option with particle effects dancing around the crystal core directly above the option as dark clouds gather in the distance.
Voice-overs capture the character’s personalities accordingly as some voice-over artists return from previous Final Fantasy games such as Steve Burton voicing Cloud Strife which he has done so since Kingdom Hearts in 2002, while Doug Erholtz voices Squall Leonhart as a recurring role ever since Kingdom Hearts II, alongside Jason Spisak voices Bartz Klauser that he previously voiced in World of Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy Explorers, Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy and Dissidia: Final Fantasy as part of a large, talented ensemble cast. Sound effects include performing HP attacks, EX skills and summon attacks, the impacts of attacks dealt by your character on nearby enemies, scaling the environments and the appearance of cores. An extensive soundtrack spanning the history of Final Fantasy from classical harmonious to retro music from the earlier games, while the DualShock 4 speaker produces particular sound effects such as signifying the imminent arrival of a core.
The trophy list includes 56 trophies with 48 bronze trophies, 5 silver trophies, 2 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Storyteller bronze trophy for unlocking five memories related to the story and the Up to the Challenge bronze trophy for completing the basic trial in gauntlet mode. Harder trophies include the They’re Free! What An Offer! gold trophy for claiming 300 treasure items and the An Alias for All Occasions silver trophy for obtaining 50 titles. A major misstep with the trophy list is that the vast majority of it revolves around being good enough to beat players during online multiplayer ranked matches as there are 36 online multiplayer trophies in comparison to 19 single player trophies before reaching the platinum trophy. The hardest online multiplayer trophy has to be the Hardened Veteran gold trophy for winning 300 ranked matches. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 30 to 50 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are 8 difficulty levels including bronze, silver, gold, platinum, mythril, diamond, adamant and crystal with each difficulty level of your opposition reflecting the levels your character and allied characters are capable of levelling up to. The major differences between difficulty levels include stronger, more aggressive enemies with a wider range of HP attacks, EX skills and summons.
Rather surprisingly, there is no local multiplayer which was forgivable on PSP due to its screen size, but that is not the case on home console as every gamer would struggle to think of a single home console fighting game that did not embrace at least some form of local multiplayer.
Online multiplayer supports 2 to 6 players, although the performance varies between playable and less enjoyable due to lag creeping in that inherently interferes at the most obtrusive of times as it is capable of occurring during combat; potentially turning the tide of combat in favour of your opponent which is when the online multiplayer can become frustrating. If the lag is rectified, then online multiplayer is competitive and entertaining, although it is concerning that at launch; a fighting game that focuses more on online multiplayer in comparison to previous Dissidia: Final Fantasy games has varying quantities of lag.
Online multiplayer allows players to join a solo match or party match within ranked matches, alongside the ability to create a custom match. Solo ranked matches pits you against players of similar skill levels, while party ranked matches form two teams each consisting of 2 or 3 players to do battle in what is essentially the equivalent of gauntlet mode in single player. Every reward that can be earned during gauntlet mode in single player can also be received when playing online multiplayer matches.
When creating a custom match, your first step is to choose a chat character to communicate with other players within online lobbies. Creating a custom match allows the player to select their basic settings of maximum and minimum rank of anywhere from bronze to crystal in terms of players that have potentially levelled up to a much higher level than you; connection strength of no restriction, 2+ dots or 3 dots; a region that is the same region, country or area or even worldwide; a casual, hardcore or training playstyle; and maximum occupancy between 6, 12, 18 or 24 players. Meanwhile, advanced settings include further preferences such as a standard match, core battle or random match; static or shuffled formation of parties; voting or randomly selected stages; time-up ruling for both parties to lose or the highest total score winning; match length of 1 to 10 minutes; series length of single match, best of 3 or best of 5; and rather interestingly the choice of A.I. combatants. Social settings revolve around the use of the share feature, voice chat, who can hear the voice chat and the possibility of implementing a password that players must enter to be able to join the online lobby in a method of hosting a public or private online lobby. Alternatively, players can select a custom lobby search including a maximum and minimum rank, connection strength, region, a standard match, core battle or random match and playstyle.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT’s replayability stems from gauntlet mode and story mode in single player, while extensive character customisation for all 28 characters and unlockable HP attacks, EX skills and summon attacks in addition to XP and levelling up, unlockable treasure items as rewards and further character customisation items for purchase in the in-game shop in exchange for in-game currency, alongside a fusion of competitive and co-operative online multiplayer will keep players returning for some time, although the lack of local multiplayer reduces the potential replay value if you are not interested in online multiplayer.
- Title: Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT
- Developer: Team Ninja (Koei Tecmo)
- Publisher: Square Enix
- System: PS4
- Format: Retail/PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1/2-6 (Online Multiplayer)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 27.23GB (Version 1.01)