Are you Bravery enough?

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is a team-based fighting game that was released back in 2015 in arcades across Japan as Dissidia Final Fantasy. A few years later the PlayStation 4 is graced with its presence. Being the third release in the Dissidia Final Fantasy series, it does shy away from its previous entries as it is the first one to be team-based and the first one not released for the PlayStation Portable.

The game is a three-versus-three fighting game which sees characters from the Final Fantasy series fight it out on stages which are also based on locations in the entire Final Fantasy universe. Each character has a their own class which are Vanguard, Assassin, Marksman, Specialist and with this each character has their own fighting style.

One example is Terra Branford who is a magical caster who fits into the Marksman category and can perform attacks from afar whereas Zidane Tribal likes to get more up close and personal with his daggers and is an assassin doing attacks at a more close range. Because of assassins being able to get close and attack with no downtime it makes the perfect class to take down a Marksman. Marksman however are able to take down the more bulkier tanky class known as the Vanguard. The Specialist is a class of its own that is more difficult to master but once you do they are difficult to take down; this does not mean that everyone playing Specialists would automatically win as the game itself is one to learn and master. Having the right balance in a team is the Key to winning in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT.

After miraculously winning my prized medal at EGX during the Dissidia NT Tournament with fellow writers, it was apparent that I needed to learn the ropes with this game. Fortunately there is a tutorial which is easy to understand although I find the overall user interface a little overbearing although the team were aware of this early on and there is an option to change it to something more simplified. The tutorial will put you through the training needed to get you started. Characters can perform two types of attacks; the first are known as Bravery attacks which will decrease the opponents Bravery while increasing your own. The second attack each character has is a HP attack which will decrease the opponents Bravery by the attackers current amount. The HP attacks are unique to each character and consist of a skill or commonly a Limit Break associated with that character; one example would be Clouds Cross-Slash. Ex skills can have an assignment of two per battle and can consist of buffs/debuffs or more stronger attacks; these are usable by all however it still makes for some unique battles as each character has their own individual play style; Tidus attacking being very different to Zidane although they share the same classes as assassins.

Summoning is also a key feature of Dissidia NT and can highly increase your chances in battle; smashing these cores will allow you to summon one of seven well known adversaries. Each one having their own strengths; Odin will allow your rush gauge to recharge faster while Alexander can increase your party’s HP. These can greatly turn the odds in your favour if your struggling in battle so it is always worth going for them whenever possible.

The game features many modes; the main focus is online although the game does have a Story mode which has a lot going for it; however those who are in it just for the story will be disappointed to know you cannot directly blast through it as you will need Memoria to unlock each story segment which are won by doing either the gauntlet or by winning online. This in practice isn’t an entirely bad choice as it allows you to learn the game and soon enough you will come to some tricky fights in story mode especially the Summon battles. Not only do you unlock Memoria by playing but you will also earn ranks/gil and unlock new Ex skills as you rank up. The more you play as each character the more you will unlock for them including new Chat Messages for battle. These can also be obtained from Treasure chests which are also gained through winning Gauntlets. Opening a Treasure chest can also reward player icons and music tracks and will give you three random items at a time and will reward a sum of gil instead should you obtain the same item. Gil can be used to unlock most of the content too but isn’t as easy to come by and winning matches online still rewards so little especially if you are after a certain character costume or weapon as these are highly expensive.

The Story revolves around the heroes being summoned together to a world unknown to them; feeling confused as the two gods of this world are unknown to each other the characters each wandering off with different companions to investigate while the villains too also are here to cause disruption to our heroes. It is a charming story and each characters personalities are shown in full force. Squall is as anti-social as you’d expect; Zidane sees himself as a bit of a ladies man and Kefka is a crazy jester who just wants to blow stuff up. I will say as much as I love seeing all the characters in full high definition glory and it most definitely is the most beautiful character design I have seen in any Final Fantasy so far; it is slightly odd to see the Warrior of Light and Cecil both dressed in otherworldy attire whilst having a normal conversation with Noctis who looks rather casual. It is also odd that you can have a party of both Heroes and Villains; it is not often that you have Terra; Kefka and Cloud of Darkness on the same side against Cloud, Sephiroth and Zidane but it does happen.

Of course this is a Final Fantasy game so it wouldn’t be one without all the throwbacks to previous entries. The game contains the main protagonist and antagonist with a few exceptions from the first Final Fantasy up to Final Fantasy XV, not only this but Tactics and Type 0 make an appearance too. As mentioned before locations throughout the series appear as arenas where fights take place; my favourite being The Promised Meadow from Final Fantasy VIII; while it is a basic stage that is of flat terrain it transitions between the dark void and the flower field which is a nice reference to that entry. The music of course here is pure Final Fantasy with both old and new tracks making an appearance; you may relish in battles as you listen to the original Decisive Battle from Final Fantasy VI or maybe the new arranged version of the very first Final Fantasy Opening Theme; either way the new arranged tracks are spectacular and with the option to make your own playlists your battles can be tailor made to suit your ears.

While I adore Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, it does have its flaws. For one the computer AI is terrible for the most part in single player; especially against the Summon fights and most of the time my party was down while I carried on pummeling away; it also doesn’t help that these fights are extremely difficult. The lock on system isn’t too great as I have found myself unable to lock on some matches and locking onto summon crystals requires a slightly different key press only adding to confusion. When playing online at times I have experience some intense lag rendering the game almost unplayable; this has seemed to stabilized more recently but it definitely makes the online aspect not fun at all. If you can get past the flaws you will find that Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is a solid fighting game. There is no denying that the fan service here is second to none; you always know you are playing a Final Fantasy game even if it wasn’t for the annoying Moogle that goes kupopo after every match. The game from the get go has a strong roster of characters and I for one am super excited to see which likely heroes and villains will bolster the already heavy lineup in the future.

Team effort courtesy of Adam; myself and Adam

A PlayStation 4 Review code was provided by Square Enix