Game Review: Dissidia 012 [duodecim] Final Fantasy (PSP)

OK, first and foremost, that title is way too long. I could barely even spell it, much less say it. Why couldn’t Square-Enix just call it Dissidia: Final Fantasy 2? Or Plus? Or Deluxe? Oh well. For the rest of this review, I’m just going to refer to it as Dissidia 012, otherwise my poor typing fingers are going to fall off! Anyway, the first Dissidia game was a very creative and engrossing 3-D fighter starring characters from the popular Final Fantasy series of RPGs. This newest update adds extra features and tweaks, as well as several brand new characters! One of the best PSP games ever made just got even better!

With Dissidia 012, Square Enix didn’t just poop out a standard fighting game using their characters. They made an original 3-D action fighter that’s all their own. If you had to compare it to other games, it’s a smidgen similar to Kingdom Hearts, the Dragon Ball Z fighting games, and a pinch of Smash Bros. for fan service. Two fighters run around 3-D arenas based on locations in the Final Fantasy universe (my favorites being the lunar terrain from FF4 and Kefka’s Tower from FF6).

Characters have two basic kinds of attacks: Bravery and HP. Bravery attacks whittle down numbers from your opponent, and these Bravery numbers dictate how much damage you give opponents when you use HP attacks. Other skills you’ll utilize include summoning monsters to aid you in battle, running up and around walls, and collecting light particles to fill up a meter so you can use EX attacks. It’s all a pretty creative concept that adds a lot of strategy to the action-packed battles. Only problem is the learning curve is pretty steep.

Dissidia 012 adds a lot of new features to the mix. Existing characters can learn new attacks and skills. Most importantly, there are some new characters, including Kain from FF4, Tifa from FF7, and even Lightning from…um, whatever Final Fantasy game was released last (I can’t keep count anymore). You can have an extra character assist you in battle as well. There’s even a new story mode, and I also hear it has the game’s original story as well, so if you missed out on that in the first game, you can enjoy it here, too. Speaking of which, players who already have the first Dissidia game can import their file here so some of their records and items will carry over to 012. Some multiplayer modes round out the package.

Dissidia 012 is just as robust and complicated as any RPG. You can equip characters with armor and accessories, manage their monster summon spells, find treasure in the newly added overworld map, gain experience points, and much more. It’s possible to play this game for hours and not find all the secrets or get tired of the gameplay. The graphics are some of the best on PSP and fans of FF music will love all the remixed soundtracks. The only problems I could find with the game were the steep learning curve and the ridiculously long title (which isn’t much of a problem at all). Dissidia 012 is an excellent update to one of my favorite PSP games of all time, maybe even one of my top five favorite PSP games alongside Loco Roco, Mega Man Powered Up, and Ys Seven. Even if you have the first Dissidia game, 012 is worth getting for all the cool extras.

Kid Factor:

Dissiida 012 is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Partial Nudity, and Suggestive Themes. It’s a fighting game, and the characters hit each other with weapons, magic, punches, and kicks. But there is no blood or grisly deaths. Bad language is used very sparingly in the story. Some of the female characters are rather well-endowed and not wearing enough clothes, but it’s typical anime stuff. If you’re OK with your kids playing Final Fantasy games, they’ll be OK with this one, too. I would be fine with kids younger than teens playing Dissidia 012, but because of the reading skill needed and higher learning curve, it’s best for older kid gamers only. And huge Final Fantasy fanatics, too.

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