Did any of you guys ever play Dissidia on the PSP? I don’t know about you all, but I thought that game was amazing. From its UI to its gameplay and mechanics, it wasn’t perfect or…balanced but it was fun. I spent a great deal (I maxed out the clock…) playing that game. From customizing movesets and accessories to learning the ins and outs of my characters, I sunk HOURS into that game and played religiously. As I did, I sat and sighed as I then moved to play Super Street Fighter 4 saying, “Man, if only I could play Dissidia like this”.
So imagine my hype as Dissidia NT is announced. I was screaming inside. I was ready to cry. I wanted this so bad as a mega fan of the last game. It would have a bigger roster, more moves, amazing graphics, and maybe more balance. Maybe. Point was, I was happy as hell. Fast forward to the time of writing and I can’t think of a time I’ve been more let down.
Let’s start with the good. I don’t want this to be a mere ranting session. The game looks amazing. That cannot be denied. Character models look stunning and detailed, movement is fluid, and attacks are flashy. As I played, I never had a complaint on how things looked…except for that one stage where everything is covered in what looks like pink tiles. That stage was ugly before, and now it’s ugly in high definition.
Another thing I appreciate is the simplification of stages. A complaint I remember about Dissidia was that the stages were way too huge and slowed the game down with how much people liked to hide. Personally, I thought this was alleviated by the lock on system, but I understand the frustration. Especially when you’re using a HP attack and it’s blocked by the terrain. Yes, it’s strategic and kind of the point but it doesn’t stop it from being annoying. Well, now that’s more or less gone. Stages are more open with less terrain in the way. There’s still some to make sure they aren’t too basic, but it’ll keep the game from being hide and seek and more of a fighting game. As a fan of the mid-range rushdown style Sephiroth offers, I appreciate this change.
Alright. That’s all I got for the good on my end. Now to be…”critical”.
Let’s start with the balance so far. This game is basically Cloud and friends. Despite the stages being open, they’re still huge. This should make it so punishing moves is easy but Cloud here can cover absurd amounts of ground by charging his moves. And with little terrain in his way, he can tear through teams by himself. Also, maybe it’s just me, but that change seems to also benefit mages or “marksmen” (I’ll get to that in a second) who can keep a distance and just shoot you down as you try to approach. The balance of this game thus far seems to cater to how well your character can cover ground to attack. That’d be fine if your defensive options weren’t so bad and if it weren’t for that dash meter where you have a limited amount of time to cover ground.
Dodging and blocking seem off here. Particularly dodging where you have an insane amount of recovery behind your dodge that you might as well not even use it. Blocking is alright and can more often than not get the job done, but attacking from a block seems to also take forever. Perhaps it was my character as I played Cecil mostly, but I found that my matches were won not by being defensive or having to weigh my options as I made my approach/escape. They were won by simply attacking over and over with little thought behind it. That lack of thought mostly comes from your lack of options in attack.
In the older Dissidia, you could not only choose your Brave Attacks but also your HP Attacks. Here, you have premade loadouts that…are okay? But I missed my ability to customize my moves and create my own Cloud or Cecil to reflect how I like to play them. Instead, I have to tolerate Cloud using Meteorain or Cecil’s trash Brave Attacks. Pursuits? Gone. Moves having extra effects? Seemingly gone. EX Mode? Done and gone. Limit Breaks? Outta here. So much feels removed from this and stripped down to what feels like a more skeletal Dissidia.
In EX Mode’s place is Summons…which CAN make or break a match, but probably won’t. I barely used them and don’t remember a time where I lost and said it was because of a summon. All they do is cluster the already messy screen. And I do mean messy. As hell. Having to keep up with 3 opponents is hard enough. But with all their flashy attacks, the awful UI, and summons taking over the screen during their activations, the screen is hard to keep track of and look at. Winning and losing can just…happen. You may not see any of it and it just happens. I’m sure there is a bit of finesse to this, but more often than not the team who threw out the most attacks wins.
That may be the biggest complaint I have. The strategy and nuance seems absent here. What made the game fun seems to be discarded so SquareEnix could make some 6 person Final Fantasy party game. Brief note, the netcode is trash, too. Your matches will either be passable or a lag fest. Plus, matchmaking takes forever. It can take anywhere from a minute to 10 to find a match. But, I expected that from a beta that depends on 6 people playing at the same time. I can only hope they consider how FPS games do something like this and improve the netcode in the future.
But back to my main point. Dissidia NT feels like a much more simplified Dissidia game and perhaps that is for you. I won’t knock it if you like the new feel of the game. Perhaps it was for the sake of balance or to compensate for the 6 player format (which I hate with all my heart. I miss 1 on 1). Perhaps it was to make a faster game overall. Whatever the reason, I am not a fan. However, this is a beta. Things can change and when the game ages a bit, perhaps the depth I’m looking for will be there. I have a feeling this game will be more fun once you can create your own groups and play with people you know instead of random people.