PSP Review – Dissidia: Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy enters the fighting genre, but does it win the battle?

Cosmos, the goddess of harmony. Chaos, the god of discord. Reigning from distant realms, the two gods had gathered warriors from all lands to lead them in savage war. Cosmos and Chaos were of equal strength. It was believed the conflict would last forever. However, the balance is now broken. Those who answered Chaos’s call created an inexhaustible force. And under vicious attack without relent, the warriors fighting for Cosmos started to fall one by one. The conflict that has continued for eons is now about to end in Chaos’s favour. The world has been torn asunder, sinking into a vortex of disorder. As for the few surviving warriors… their fates have yet to be determined.
Square-Enix has taken a rather large risk with Dissidia. It’s not your standard Final Fantasy game, nor your standard cross-over. Essentially it’s a fighting game mixed with a few RPG elements like upgrading your weapons, combat itself is the main gameplay of Dissidia with 1 vs. 1 battles. It starts out quite confusing, but soon becomes second nature and somewhat predictable. That’s not a bad thing in this case as I became comfortable with how to play the game.

The story mode lasts around 20+ hours and sees you play against the best Final Fantasy line-up there is. The story itself may seem like fan-fiction, but it does the job well and for a spin-off is quite deep and enjoyable. The line-up is brilliant…if you have ever wondered who would win in a fight between Squall and Sephiroth, now you can! There are also bonus characters to unlock as you progress and overall, it’s mighty impressive.

That’s not to say that Dissidia doesn’t have its share of problems. Combat does become simple and routine after a while and the story mode is split into different battles via a chessboard-style grid which you move and engage pieces in a fight to progress the story. Also, the lack of online really hurts the potential for the game. You can play locally via ad-hoc which is great, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before.
Dissidia isn’t your normal fighting game though; it does have a certain Dragonball Z vibe to it. Mostly because you spend a huge amount of time fighting in the air, but it also has some nostalgia of Advent Children with Cloud and Sephiroth fighting it out. Cutscenes are high in production value, especially the opening fighting sequence which feels like it was inspired from the Dead Fantasy series by Monty Oum. Voice-acting is also top-notch for the most part, not to mention a great soundtrack.

It also holds up very well for a PSP game. The framerate is steady, despite a lot of things going on at any one time and the visuals are strong. My opinion of Dissidia is divided, but in terms of visuals and pleasing fans…it can’t be beat. It seems to pick every little thing that any FF fan would like such as a certain character or unlockable, it’s just brilliant in terms of content. It’s undeniably the best PSP game of the year.

The Verdict

Dissidia: Final Fantasy may very well be the best spin-off for the series so far with a rich story, good combat system and an outstanding list of characters to spar against. It may have a few issues but they are small and don’t hold back what is a brilliant game for the PSP. A must-have for any FF fan.