Square Enix is a company that is synonymous with the Japanese video game industry. No other franchise defines Square Enix quite like the Final Fantasy series. Naturally, Final Fantasy is the focal point of Square Enix’s booth at Tokyo Game Show 2017. In particular, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (Dissidia NT), Final Fantasy XIV, and Final Fantasy XV are the major attractions of the booth, although other Square games like The Evil Within 2 are featured as well.
Fans will recognize Dissidia NT as the sequel to the popular Dissidia Final Fantasy on the PlayStation Portable. Revamped for modern home consoles, Dissidia NT was available for TGS 2017 attendees to test. Visitors teamed up for intense 3-on-3 combat in the tried-and-tested Dissidia formula.
Unlike many of the other games at TGS2017, Dissidia NT had a relatively short line. It was already available in Japanese arcades and its open beta had recently concluded. Nevertheless, it was obvious that people were still excited to try the game. It’s perhaps because of a curiosity that revolves on what type the game this would truly be. As a player, I was more excited than curious.
Dissidia NT: First Impressions
The basics of the Dissidia NT remained largely similar – if not the same – as those with the core game. In a nutshell, the game makes use of Hit Point (HP) Attacks and Brave Attacks. HP Attacks still did direct damage to your opponent’s Hit Point (HP) bar, hence the name. Brave Attacks increased your Bravery, which determines how much damage your HP Attacks do. Fans used to the game’s mechanics also know that Brave Attacks can decrease your enemies’ Bravery value. Defense options still included limited shields and aerial dodging for players who want to take on different tactics during play.
There were three bars: the Health bar, the Stamina bar, and an unknown white bar. My experience with the previous iteration ensured that I wasn’t completely lost due to the Japanese instructions. The goal of the game is to of course deplete the HP of the enemies. However, that’s the thing – if there’s anything Dissidia showcases, it’s stunning and fast-paced battles. Defeating opponents were anything but easy.
New Fighters, Changes
As with any fighting game, the most significant draw was the diverse cast of heroes and villains. The new heroes recruited into the current cosmic conflict of Dissidia NT include Y’shtola Rhul (FF XIV), Ramza Beoulze (FF Tactics), Ace (FF-Type 0), and the recently announced Noctis (FF XV).
I decided to take Y’shtola and Ramza out for a spin. Y’shtola was a Specialist with powerful ranged magic attacks. Ramza was a speedy physical fighter with strong charge attacks. After selecting their heroes, each person chose what kind of attacks they can equip. Additionally, I could assign pre-selected call-outs for quick communication with your team. These could be efficient ways to turn the tide of battle, especially in multiplayer. Unfortunately, the last two bits (call-outs, and attack selection) I only learned post-demo, since they were all in Japanese.
The biggest change in Dissidia NT for me was the introduction the 3-on-3 team elements. The original game was hectic as enough as it is, but now the additional four other people tested the limits of my game-sense. I always had to keep tabs on the locations of both my enemies and my teammates. Thankfully, the presence of colored arrows eased this dilemma by providing visual information of which character was attacking whose.
There was one new game-changing element that I was completely ignorant about until an enthusiastic Square Enix assistant literally had to take the controller from me. Dissidia NT incorporated classic Summons like Odin and Ramuh into the game. Breaking giant crystals floating on the battlefield filled up the white bar. This added an additional factor to consider in heated battles. I had to keep my eye out for the Summon Crystals and fend off any enemies who tried to claim them for themselves. The payoff was worth the effort seeing Ifrit and Shiva descend onto the battlefield to smite enemies.
Conclusion, Verdict (so far)
Overall, Dissidia NT retains the same core gameplay while adding several new elements to enhance the experience. It still has the kinetic and intense action fans have come to love, and provides more ways of fast-paced combat thanks to new heroes and features. Hopefully, the story mode lives up to expectations, as it picks up years after the last game. Dissidia NT is expected to release on January 30, 2018, worldwide.