During this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Square Enix had Dissidia Final Fantasy NT on full display for gamers in attendance. The demo at the Square Enix booth was fully playable, so players could finally get a real taste of this arcade-style brawler. Fans of the original Dissidia Final Fantasy games for the PlayStation Portable will find the new installment familiar, but the upcoming PlayStation 4 title has some very notable differences as well.
This is a full console version for the PlayStation 4, so it has some new PlayStation 4 graphics and visuals. The graphics and visuals for the game definitely look topnotch. So, it’s great to see all these classic, iconic characters of Final Fantasy history and lore rendered with current-gen graphics and character designs, such as Cecil Harvey from Final Fantasy IV. The E3 demo had a nice variety of characters for players in attendance to choose from as well, including such franchise luminaries as Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII, Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII, Lighting from Final Fantasy XV and Tidus from Final Fantasy X. Even the Onion Knight from Final Fantasy III is playable. The demo had a total of 14 playable characters to choose from, which was nice, so the final version should stand to have even more characters for the roster. Overall, the character variety for the roster looks very promising so far. The final product is set to feature a roster of over 20 characters.
Now for one thing, this new Dissidia installment was not developed by Square Enix. It was actually developed by Team Ninja, and the game definitely has a Team Ninja feel with its gameplay. It’s a bit reminiscent of Team Ninja and Koei Tecmo working on The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Warriors for Nintendo. That being said, as a team brawler game, the demo was a lot of fun and really worked. The demo at E3 showcased the three-versus-three team brawler mode. So, it’s all about assembling a team of three characters and facing another three teams of Final Fantasy characters. The game even has a chat wheel for characters to communicate. Before a match, each team also gets to vote on their Summon Creature to use during a battle, such as Odin, Ifrit, Shiva or Bahamut. So, even the Summon Creatures are classic and iconic creatures of the Final Fantasy franchise. After a certain amount of time and building up a summon meter, players can summon the creature during the battle.
The game is focused on real-time combat and battles, so this isn’t an RPG or action-RPG. Each character appears to have multiple sets of attacks to choose from. Some of the abilities can reinforce HP. There’s definitely an element to building up energy meters to focusing and releasing more powerful attacks. Releasing the combos and fighting with the giant swords of the likes of Cloud and Squall can be very satisfying. The controls and combat for the demo were all very responsive for the most part. The gameplay maps also give you plenty of room to play around with.
In terms of the combat, it’s fairly easy to set up your target and battle your designated opponent. Gameplay allows players to switch targets, so players aren’t stuck fighting only one character during a battle. So, players do have the opportunity double-team or even run away from a particular opponent to switch to another one. For the team battles, good teamwork definitely helps. In terms of attacks, there are the Bravery attacks, which will lower the fighters’ Bravery stats and the HP attacks, which will lower HP based on a character’s Bravery level. Once a player’s Bravery level gets to zero, a Bravery break can be performed. Players are also equipped with dashing and jumps to traverse around the maps, and there looked to be a nice variety of combat arenas and terrain to choose from. Overall, the combat and gameplay were very seamless. It seems the fights can definitely descend into button mashing, but having a good strategy is key to domination as well as supporting the other teammates.
What’s also interesting about the Summons is that they can be a make or break technique for a fight. However, even in a fight where one team is behind, utilizing the Summons won’t necessarily turn the tide back in the opposing side’s favor. That’s probably preferable that the Summons have not been made too overpowered, so they won’t necessarily cost you a fight if the other side successfully uses one.
The demo was not without its flaws. The game’s camera system is a bit wonky. After multiple play throughs for the demo, the camera seems to get a bit lost at times. Other times, it has trouble centering on the characters you want for the battle, or it would even lose your characters during the skirmishes. The camera system is just a little too frenetic and all over the place. Hopefully, this is something that the developers can fine tune or really smooth out for the final release.
While the focus of the game is online, multiplayer 3v3 battles, there will be offline gameplay as well. I was told by Square Enix representatives at E3 that there will be some type of single-player, story-based mode.
This game looks like a nice companion to 2017 being the 30th anniversary of the franchise, and it definitely celebrates the franchise’s entire history. Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is in development for an early 2018 release in North America. The console version of the game will be available exclusively for the PlayStation 4.