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PAX West 2017: Dissidia Final Fantasy NT

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I went into Dissidia Final Fantasy NT more as a fighting game player than as someone with experience with the previous Dissidia games. I’ve played some of Dissidia Final Fantasy 012, enough to tell that the combat system is odd and something I have a hard time getting used to. That being said, it’s not like I was going into Dissidia NT completely blind, having also spent a bit of time with the closed beta prior to PAX. The demo build at PAX West seemed to be more or less the same as the beta build, without the online play, limiting the game to only being against the AI.

The gameplay was 3 vs. 3, with every character aside from mine being controlled by the computer. The combat system has the Bravery system from previous Dissidia games, where using Bravery attacks increases your Bravery and decreases that of your opponent. You can also use HP attacks, which reduce the target’s HP by an amount equal to your current Bravery while completely draining your Bravery when the attack connects. In general, your goal is to keep hitting your opponent with Bravery attacks until you can completely take them out with a single HP attack, while making sure the opponent doesn’t do the same. The combo system is rather simplistic, since there’s only two attack buttons and most of the time you’ll only be using one of them. Different attacks and combo routes come from holding the stick in the four cardinal directions, and from using attacks while in different states such as standing, dashing, or jumping.

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Characters are divided into four categories: the health-heavy Vanguards, the mobile Assassins, the ranged-focused Marksmen, and the more unique and varied Specialists. Everyone will naturally have the classes they work best with; I most enjoyed playing as Zidane, an Assassin, while I had a more difficult time playing as the Marksman and Specialist classes. It makes gameplay more varied, but at the same time the same strategy of focusing my attacks relentlessly on a single target until I can take them out worked the same across all classes.

The general lack of complexity in the basic gameplay seems to be somewhat offset by the chaotic nature of having six characters active at once. It’s difficult to keep track of everything going on around you, but especially when playing against AI opponents you usually don’t have to. Often times it’s enough to focus mainly on your target and any enemies that are currently targeting you, as shown by targeting lines similar to those seen in Final Fantasy XII‘s combat. Combat usually consists of pressing the Bravery attack button until your Bravery counter turns purple, indicating you can take down your target with a single HP attack, then taking them out and moving on to someone else. I assume the process would be less simple against human opponents, but by focusing on targets in the PAX demo I was sometimes able to end fights in a matter of seconds.

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For better or for worse, Final Fantasy Dissidia NT is a very different kind of fighting game from others I’ve played. I’d have been interested in trying the 1v1 or 2v2 modes, but neither was in the demo or the beta. Personally I prefer more technically-demanding fighting games, but I can see the enjoyment to be had with the chaotic nature of Dissidia NT. It may be different in a simple one-on-one fight, but not having gotten to play it myself there’s no way to know. As much as I found the gameplay somewhat uninteresting and repetitive, I’m sure there are others who may enjoy it more. It’s probably also the kind of game that’s more fun to play with human allies and opponents.

Chris Melchin
Chris is a computer science student who has been gaming ever since he knew what to do with a Super Nintendo controller. He's a fighting game player, with a focus on BlazBlue and Under Night In-Birth games. His favourite games include Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Persona 5, and Little Busters. He started watching anime in high school, and his favourite series is Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. He also writes Vocaloid music for his personal YouTube channel, and has a (slight) obsession with Megurine Luka.