Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Review

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT has to be Square Enix’s most ambitious attempt on this branch of the franchise yet. Developed by Team Ninja, who is responsible for the Dead or Alive series, it shows some merit in the form of three-versus-three combat that requires for coordinated team play to secure victory. Initially released for Japanese arcades in 2015, it seemed like a promising successor to both the original Dissidia title and the follow-up, Dissidia 012. While the console version of this arcade fighter fulfills some expectations in some areas, it leaves much to be desired in others.

Last month I had the opportunity to try out the open beta for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT on the PlayStation 4. While I had a great time trying out the roster of characters that were released in batches over the three day period, I found my experience hindered by poor connectivity that remained persistent between matches. Unfortunately, regarding the Online experience little has changed. I quickly booted up Dissidia NT upon release and queued for Solo Ranked – one of the two modes available for online play in NT. While my first match went without incident, the several that followed were riddled with lag. Inputs failed to register and characters moved around the beautiful, dynamic environments at a snail’s pace, breaking the fast and deeply immersive combat.

After a few hours experiencing persistent connectivity issues I decided to opt for the Offline modes. I immediately dove into Gauntlet mode which features a series of six three-versus-three fights similar to other arcade fighters. Players are able to select their entire team, including the A.I. controlled characters, to fashion your team to your needs. Once in Gauntlet players can select from a handful of teams for them to fight, all ranked from Bronze to Mythril depending on progression. After some time grinding away in Gauntlet I decided to mix it up and try Core mode. This is a fairly simple mode where players must defend their own crystal and shatter the enemy’s to achieve victory. The first few times I found this entertaining, but I quickly grew bored with and jumped back into Gauntlet mode. However, there is one incredibly frustrating element to these A.I. fights that cannot be avoided without hours upon hours of grinding and that is the A.I. itself.

The A.I., while helpful for a time, quickly becomes a hindrance in Gauntlet mode. Players must spend hours fighting against the A.I. to level up their own A.I. players which become useless as they progress through higher difficulties. Instead you are left desperately defending your A.I. comrades from the opponent, babysitting them and hoping you are able to K.O. the enemy A.I. before time runs out or your own partners are knocked out. This quickly became the case for me as I progressed through Gauntlet to attain player levels without subjecting myself to the Online connectivity issues in order to progress the story.

And this is what I find most unfortunate regarding story progression in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT – the lock behind player level. In order to progress the story, players must grind out player levels to unlock Memoria, an in-game currency to redeem story scenes and battles. While I spent a large amount of time grinding out player levels in Dissidia NT, I became exhausted with this system as experience awarded to a player through combat is determined on their placement after a match. Given my network issues with the Online play it was rare that I came out in first through third place (which are the most beneficial ranks to receive experience from) which left me with little rewards or experience. This was incredibly similar to the beta, which was an incredibly similar experience to me when compared to the final product.

Outside of the slow, tedious progression of the story, the narrative itself is similar to that of the previous titles. It is nonsensical and loaded with fanservice. Interactions between the cast are fun to watch, as the unique personalities of both the Warriors of ‘Cosmos’ and Warriors of ‘Chaos’ interact and come together for an explosive final encounter. As a long time fan of Final Fantasy VIII, I was always happy to see Squall on screen and watch his interactions with his comrades – and perhaps this was one of my favorite things about Dissidia NT. Simply watching my favorite characters interact and share brief moments of dialogue that left me feeling nostalgic for their respective titles.

This can be said for the shop purchases as well. Grinding out currency from battles is one way to choose character icons, skins, weapons,music tracks, and more to customize your experience. I snatched up the original version of Final Fantasy XIV’s Heroes as quick as I could, adding it to my personal playlist to make the fights more invigorating. Treasure mode allows you to spend currency received from increasing your player level to use the loot box mechanic mentioned in my impressions piece. This time around I wasn’t nearly as fortunate and racked up large amount of icons before I received my first player skin and music track. These items cannot be sold to the shop either to spend your currency on items you’d rather have in your possession, which isn’t uncommon for these mechanics.

While my experience with Dissidia Final Fantasy NT was mostly the same, I found myself with a similar feeling when the beta ended. The game has a lot of unrecognized potential due to the unstable netcode, but when everything comes together it works incredibly well; combat is smooth and fluid, character animations and models are gorgeous, and the dynamic battlefields are incredibly engaging. I just wish I could have appreciated all of this without feeling some kind of frustration when inputs wouldn’t work in the online mode, or when having to babysit my A.I. companions in the offline mode.

All in all, those who enjoyed both the original Dissidia and Dissidia 012 will deeply appreciate what Dissidia Final Fantasy has to offer. That being said, those who are Final Fantasy fans and want to see their favorites duke it out in nostalgic battlefields might want to take a chance with this fighter as well. However, if you are worried about connectivity issues or aren’t particularly invested in fighters, this might not be for you. 

VERDICT

Pros

  • Gorgeous graphics, character models, and beautiful dynamic environments.
  • Lends itself heavily to nostalgia, making it enjoyable to fans of the series.

Cons

  • Unstable network, leading to potentially frustrating matches.
  • Hours of grinding required to level up A.I. companions to make Gauntlet and Core modes tolerable beyond Bronze level.
  • Story progression locked behind Player Level and in-game currency.


Disclaimer: Review code for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT was provided to Nova Crystallis by the publisher Square Enix.


Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is now available on PlayStation 4.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT English voice cast talk about their roles and experiences with Final Fantasy

The official Final Fantasy youtube channel released a behind-the-scenes video showcasing some of the the English voice cast for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. Grant George (Warrior of Light), Steve Burton (Cloud), Ali Hillis (Lightning), Ray Chase (Noctis), Bryce Papenbrook (Zidane), James Arnold Taylor (Tidus), Doug Erholtz (Squall) and Natalie Lander (Terra) all discuss their roles and experiences with Dissidia Final Fantasy NT and beyond.

You can check out the video, with some little cute bloopers at the end, below.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT releases worldwide January 30th, 2018 on Playstation 4.

Want to know more? Check out Kazuma’s impressions of the Dissidia Final Fantasy NT open beta.

 

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Open Beta Impressions


Back in August I had the opportunity to play Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, Square Enix’s ambitious 3 vs 3 fighter. While the roster was small, I was fairly impressed with the team-based gameplay and focus on cooperation between allies in order to secure victory. Despite the cluttered UI, which has since been changed due to player feedback, I found the game mostly enjoyable – if not somewhat of a variation to the previous Dissidia titles. Local multiplayer worked quite well and inputs were incredibly responsive as a result, allowing for an enjoyable experience overall for both those familiar and unfamiliar with the series.

The most recent open beta expands upon the roster and mechanics, allowing for players to get into the thick of it and explore different features available to Dissidia NT shortly before its scheduled launch. A handful of new characters allowed for a better look at the diversity of the lineup, giving the players the chance to test out the different character styles available to NT. Recently, however, my experience with the open beta have caused my impressions to shift.

Once I loaded up the beta on my PS4 I immediately took to playing Jecht, one of the primary antagonists of Final Fantasy X, and found his new moveset to be a great deviation from the previous installments. His basic combos no longer require timed button presses to allow for different executions or chains in his attacks. Even his HP attacks like Triumphant Grasp have been changed, and while it took some getting used to, it is a system more accessible to newcomers. These simplified controls, outside of the addition of EX attacks, are beneficial to characters like Y’shtola or Ramza.

However, lack of proper tutorials on each character’s specific skill set, or any sort of interface that would have given me any clue as to what skills were available to each directional input, left me scratching me head and fumbling around during online battles. There were instances while playing Lightning that I would accidentally trigger her Paradigm Shift, causing my attacks to change and, as a result, would sometimes cost me a valuable stock. Dissidia NT could greatly benefit from unique tutorials for each character regarding their specific skill set, or another sub menu to allow for the viewing of how to prompt or use specific attacks and directional attacks.

The emphasis on team-based gameplay can cause unexpected and even disastrous shifts in the battle if you are matched with someone unfamiliar with even the most basic mechanics of the game. This can lead to frustrations among team members, as the balance can quickly become shifted if a player is stuck against a wall and left to constant wall-juggling if an ally does not come to their aid. While this was a common mechanic in both the original Dissidia and Duodecim, in NT it can quickly result in the loss of a stock, and subsequently a defeat as there are virtually no other ways to escape.

Due to issues with network connectivity inputs, such as pressing L1 to guard or dodge, can be rendered useless, leaving you at defenseless against Bravery or HP attacks from your enemy. Both this and an unfortunately high amount of lag left me feeling less than satisfactory regarding my experience. This often left me at the mercy of my opponent while I would desperately be pressing my bumper to evade, hoping the game would recognize the input despite the lag and take my character so safety while the connection either stabilized or sent me, and my team, back to the main menu.

Summoning felt incredibly rewarding when matches were long enough to execute them. While beneficial, they didn’t immediately signal a loss for the team unable to execute this feature first which I found to be incredibly fair – since I was often part of teams unable to execute this feature quickly. Summons do have benefits outside of casting a variety of Bravery breaking AoEs across the field. Odin and Shiva provide especially beneficial effects that can swing the tide of battle towards the summoning team with passives that allow for slower Bravery regeneration or simply lower the enemy team’s Bravery to zero.

Outside of the online and offline combat, the beta offers a brief glimpse at the Treasure and Story features. While the Story option is rather self explanatory, players need to acquire player levels in order to unlock currency to redeem cutscenes or unlock battles in the branching path. What story elements were shown proved to be pretty barren in terms of any explanation or motive. Those unfamiliar with the previous story line of the Dissidia franchise might just as confused as the Crown Prince Noctis, who is thrust into scenario unexpectedly, but hopefully future cutscenes will elaborate and flesh out and fill in any gaps for those who are new to the series. As it stands there is little to say about this function in particular.

The Treasure menu was locked to loot boxes, the Shop function remaining locked until the full release of the game. In order to get currency players need to level up their individual player level in order to spend said currency for items. These can range from character skins, icons, weapons skins, and voice lines. All of these items so far seem completely cosmetic and won’t affect the combat whatsoever. While this didn’t initially bother me, I realized that currency easily became difficult to acquire if I was not ranked in the top three at the end of every battle. Gil is handed out sparingly while character and player level experience is rewarded based on rank, which can make grinding for items and rewards tiresome. This concept is not unique to Dissidia and can be found in a variety of other competitive titles, but I felt like the reward of four or five gil at the end of a defeat was incredibly discouraging.

That being said, I felt as though my time spent with the beta was hindered by connectivity issues and a lack of better explanation of mechanics in the game itself. While Dissida Final Fantasy NT has a lot to offer, I couldn’t ignore these glaring flaws, despite having a few exciting matches. One can only hope the issues with the netcode are resolved on launch, as Dissida NT could prove to be a enjoyable, if not unique, experience overall.

Please look forward to our full review of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT which will be posted sometime after launch.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT will release January 30th on PlayStation 4. The Open Beta will run until January 21st.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Developers provide hints to six new DLC characters

During the final live stream event for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT before its release in Japan, the development team shared some hints on the six new DLC characters coming with the game’s Season Pass.

Here is the list of hints provided and which half of the numbered Final Fantasy games the new characters are from:

  • New male character (from new half)
  • New male character (from old half)
  • New female character (from new half)
  • New male character (from new half)
  • Female character who previously appeared in Dissidia Final Fantasy series (from new half)
  • New male character (from new half)

Fans are guessing that the fifth character listed could be Final Fantasy X’s Yuna, who appeared in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, or Final Fantasy XI’s Prishe, who appeared in both Dissidia 012 and Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia.

The developers also revealed during the live stream that each DLC character will be available individually for 800 ten, plus tax. The Season Pass will be a pack of all six characters for 4000 yen, plus tax. The Season Pass will also include two color variations and two weapons for all six characters.

You can check out the live stream in its entirety below.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is scheduled to release for Playstation 4 on January 11 2018 in Japan, and in America and Europe on January 30 2018.

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Square Enix teams up with Amazon for the Dissidia Fantasy Finals Tournament

Square Enix has teamed up with Amazon for a new pre-order promotion event for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. Players who pre-order any version of the game from Amazon will not only receive the exclusive Cloud Strife Nail Bat DLC, but will also be able to participate in the Fantasy Finals Tournament by attempting to predict the outcome of the matches, allowing viewers the chance to win prizes.

To participate, pre-order Dissidia Final Fantasy NT on Amazon to be given a special pre-order code that can be entered on the Dissidia Fantasy Finals website under the login button. Pick which teams you believe will win each match by January 14th and you will be entered for a chance to win various prizes, including a custom Dissidia Final Fantasy NT arcade cabinet.

The Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Fantasy Finals Tournament livestream event begins January 17th, where some of the world’s top fighting game streamers will be competing against each other in a battle royal. You can check out the list of participants on the official Dissidia Fantasy Finals website.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT will launch worldwide for Playstation 4 on January 30, 2018.

Noctis receives A Princely Welcome from two familiar faces in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT

Alongside the release of the opening movie for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, Square Enix also unveiled a new cutscene that gives us another glimpse into the game’s story mode. Prince Noctis finds himself awakening in a strange wasteland and is greeted by two faces familiar to Final Fantasy fans.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is scheduled to release for Playstation 4 on January 11 2018 in Japan, and in America and Europe on January 30 2018.