The original Dissidia, for those who don’t know, was a crossover fighting game featuring the heroes and villains of the Final Fantasy series. The oddly named sequel features a brand new storyline that takes place before the original game, and adds a few new mechanics that serve well to enhance the game’s foundation instead of radically altering it.
Fresh Faces The new additions to the roster of playable characters all are very fun to play, and can hold their own against the new cast. I’m very glad to say that each of the newcomers has a fun and engaging play style. Many of the characters utilize new inputs and dynamics that give them a more individual feel. Kain’s style is based around staying above his foes, while many of Vaan’s moves are altered by holding down the attack button.
The Assist System - Probably the most talked about new feature in the game is the ability to call assist characters into battle to help you out. While it’s nothing compared to the crazy possibilities in Capcom’s Vs. series, it serves the same purpose: it helps certain characters overcome their natural weaknesses. Assists are called by using a meter that builds up only when you are attacking. One bar lets you summon a character to perform a bravery attack, while two bars will give you the option for a HP attack. Assists can be used to start or continue combos, or to simply give your opponent something to deal with while you move in. The bars can also be used to escape chase sequences. The versatility of the assists give the game a huge helping of offensive and defensive options.
The World Map - While not entirely mind blowing, the addition of a world map does help improve the pacing of the story mode. The old boards are still there, but they are reserved for dungeons. On the world map, you can encounter additional enemies, bonus dungeons, and treasure chests.
Several Fresh Coats of Paint - New stages, new music, new costumes, new items… there’s a truckload of new content to explore and unlock. The returning cast gets new moves and some rebalancing as well. If you were disappointed that your favorite fighter wasn’t so hot before, you will be glad to know that they have improved for the better.
Data Transfer - There isn’t much that needs to be said about this, but if you played the original, you can transfer your items and character levels over. A very smart move on Square Enix’s part.
Load Times - While the individual load times aren’t so bad, I don’t understand why I should have to deal with them between battles when I launch a chain series. Dungeons can feel like a chore when there are a lot of enemies to take care of, and the way the game was designed seemed to result in a huge number of load screens. I wouldn’t mind fighting on the same stage and just having new foes come in after defeating others, if that’s what it would take to make things go faster.
Linear Progression - Story mode is a big deal in this game, since it can sometimes be tough to find other PSP owners with the game. The original game let you choose the order in which you played each character. While it was initially confusing, you were able to make sense of everything once you played more of the characters. Many were interconnected, and you would see things from a different perspective. DuoDecim goes in a straight path. While perhaps that was the easier way to present the plot because of the way it was written, it also loses that old feeling of uniqueness when you play as each character. Instead of each character finding their own path, they just fill a role. This aspect mostly ends up as a matter of personal preference, but it’s a change I didn’t care for.
I may be sounding a little picky about the storyline, but regardless, it’s still well done, and miles above other fighters. As for the rest of the game, it’s pretty much more of the same with some excellent additions and tons of new content. You can even unlock the storyline of the first game after you finish the main campaign, redone with the new mechanics. There’s no need to play the first game anymore.
However, if you weren’t a fan of the original, the changes probably won’t be radical enough to make you change your mind. It’s a easy choice if you liked the original or are just a huge Final Fantasy fan. The depth of gameplay and fan service should please anyone that enjoys an offbeat fighter.
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