The Dissidia series is about as close as most people are going to get to a Final Fantasy fighting game (let’s not discuss Ehrgeiz). While the first two games in the series, Dissidia Final Fantasy (same title) and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy were only released on the PlayStation Portable, the new has been released in Japanese arcades and will be coming to the PlayStation 4 sometime in the future. If you’re familiar with the previous games, you’ll have the basic concepts of Dissidia down, but the new game has a few significant differences.
Developed by Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden vets, Team Ninja, the new Dissidia is a three-on-three fighting game that bears more resemblance to Powerstone than more traditional fighting games. The battle system for the new title has been remade from the ground up thanks to the new development team. Players can switch between all three characters on their team, while the two characters who are not actively being used are controlled by the AI.
To give the game an RPG feel, the playable characters are divided into four combat categories including Heavy, Speed, Shoot and Unique. Heavy characters are generally close quarters combatants who pack a big punch and focus on power above all else. Speed characters are far more agile than the rest of the cast, making them easy to move around with and potentially evade incoming attacks. Shoot characters are focused on magic-based attacks and should generally keep their distance during battles. Unique characters are the ones that don’t fit well into the other categories and have a special attribute or play style all their own.
When the arcade game released there were 14 playable characters, one from each main line Final Fantasy title. Over time there are plans to include up to 50 characters in total, so if your favorite Final Fantasy character wasn’t featured in the initial lineup, there’s a decent chance you’ll see them later on. At present the game includes the Warrior of Light (Final Fantasy), Firion (Final Fantasy 2), Onion Knight (Final Fantasy 3), Cecil Harvey (Final Fantasy 4), Bartz Klauser (Final Fantasy 5), Terra Branford (Final Fantasy 6), Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy 7), Squall Leonhart (Final Fantasy 8), Zidane Tribal (Final Fantasy 9), Tidus (Final Fantasy 10), Shantotto (Final Fantasy 11), Vaan (Final Fantasy 12), Lightning (Final Fantasy 13) and Y’shtola (Final Fantasy 14). Ramza Beoulve (Final Fantasy Tactics) will be the first character added to the game after the initial roster.
There are two main attacks for each character, Brave Attacks and HP Attacks which coincide with Bravery Points and Health Points. As you might expect from a fighting game, Health Points are the life bar for your characters, while Bravery Points control how powerful your character is. You can use Brave Attacks to drain your opponent’s Bravery Points and add to your character. If you connect with an HP Attack, it inflicts damage equivalent to the number of Bravery Points you have and drops your Bravery down to zero. Once this happens your Bravery will slowly increase over time.
If you drain your opponent’s Bravery down below zero (into negative numbers) it results in a Bravery Break. This gives the attacking player a huge boost to their Bravery Points. You should plan around this accordingly by focusing on Bravery Attacks once the opponent’s Bravery Points are low and especially after an HP Attack has been used. There are seven Bravery Attacks per character (three ground-based attacks, three aerial attacks and one dashing attack), but only one HP Attack.
Like many other fighting games, there’s an EX Gauge from gives each character new attacks and more power once the gauge if full. You can fill the gauge by attacking and taking damage. Each character can equip two EX Skills to use once the EX Gauge is full. Customizing your character with attacks is crucial to winning matches, so experiment with various battle sets until you find one that works for you. We’ll have a more detailed breakdown of the potential battle sets in the future as we drawn closer to the PlayStation 4 release of the game.