Dissidia Final Fantasy NT
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.