Dis­sidia Fi­nal Fan­tasy NT

TechLife Australia - - DISCOVER -

TEAM UP AND FIGHT! $99.95 | PS4 | www.dis­sidi­a­fi­nal­fan­ta­synt.com

TEAM NINJA’S LAT­EST is a me­chan­i­cally ex­cel­lent 3v3 mul­ti­player arena fight­ing game, and no­body is play­ing it. We can’t blame them: Dis­sidia Fi­nal Fan­tasy NT’s core is a spir­ited take on the genre, man­tled in a mess of in­ad­e­quate base con­tent, poor pre­sen­ta­tion and tech­ni­cal is­sues. Yes, you can en­joy its lavish fan-ser­vice bat­tles on a su­per­fi­cial level, but get­ting the most from Dis­sidia NT re­quires a sig­nif­i­cant time in­vest­ment.

A con­sole port of an ar­cade game, it’s easy to see why Dis­sidia NT’s singleplayer of­fer­ing might be lack­ing, if harder to for­give it. The to­ken tu­to­rial gives scant in­for­ma­tion on the game’s con­trols and un­ortho­dox bat­tle sys­tem. Each team of three play­ers shares three stocks, or lives, be­tween them — the first team to lose them all is de­feated.

Hit­ting X has your char­ac­ter per­form Brav­ery at­tacks to build a me­ter: when it turns a glit­ter­ing pur­ple, you can fire off an HP at­tack that deals dam­age. Pre-se­lected EX Skills on tri­an­gle of­fer al­ter­nate at­tacks, party-wide buffs or enemy de­buffs. The right bumper lets you dash af­ter (or away from) the enemy team, un­til your stamina bar is de­pleted. Well-timed bumper presses also al­low you to chain Brav­ery at­tacks into each other for longer com­bos. The left bumper is re­served for your guard, turn­ing into a swift side­step when com­bined with a di­rec­tional in­put.

These are the ba­sics, and a sur­face knowl­edge of them will get you through Story mode, a se­ries of short cutscenes that of­fer thin jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for why the FF se­ries’ best are beat­ing each other up. Largely non-in­ter­ac­tive, it’s a dis­ap­point­ment that doesn’t make the most of its rich ros­ter. Most baf­flingly, ev­ery cutscene is locked away be­hind Me­mo­ria, an in-game cur­rency earned by par­tic­i­pat­ing in on­line and off­line bat­tles. The off­line ar­cade mode is al­most in­stantly weary­ing. The prefer­able op­tion is jump­ing straight into on­line play, with nary a prac­tice mode or char­ac­ter move list in sight. But be pre­pared to wait a while to be match-made.

In­fu­ri­at­ingly, the game’s fo­cus on 3v3, its lim­ited modes and lack of be­gin­ner­friendly pack­ag­ing means that, as the on­line well of com­pe­ti­tion runs dry, we’re re­peat­edly matched with a sin­gle op­po­nent with the re­main­ing four slots filled by in­com­pe­tent AI. Those of you solely tar­get­ing our bots for an easy win ought to be ashamed of your­selves.

For the first few hours, Dis­sidia NT can seem im­pen­e­tra­ble. Count­less bars, me­ters and in­di­ca­tors lit­ter the screen. If you’re clued in on fight­ing games, you’ll even­tu­ally un­cover a sin­gu­lar, so­phis­ti­cated ad­di­tion to the genre un­der­neath all the clut­ter.

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