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Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy Review

Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy Review

There have been plenty of Final Fantasy spin-offs throughout the years, but when Dissidia: Final Fantasy arrived on the scene it allowed fans around the world to live out their fantasies. They could finally pit characters from the different main series Final Fantasy games against each other in fast-paced battles, but the title didn't deliver on every front. Cue Dissidia 012 duodecim: Final Fantasy, a title which hopes to make up for the original's deficiencies.

Set as a prequel to the original Dissidia: Final Fantasy, 012 features an array of new characters who take the forefront throughout the experience. The original characters do appear, but Lightning, Tifa, Vaan, Laguna, Kain and Yuna are the main focus, as they try to find a way to stop the endless war between Cosmos, the Goddess of Harmony, and Chaos, the God of Discord.

One of the main criticisms of the original title was with the execution of its story, and the lack of any real depth. Things which have been somewhat rectified in the prequel, but some concessions have been made. There is a lot more structure now, as each chapter progresses the story, allowing you to experience a new character each step of the way. It allows for a more paced progression as unlike the original, taking the role of a different character actually adds some depth to the experience. The downside here though, is that you may have to use characters you don't like, and at the start of almost every chapter, you'll be greeted with a character who's all the way back at level 1.

The story still isn't the deepest around, and it pales in comparison to the standard Final Fantasy experience. But it does help to explain exactly what's going on in the original title, and has a plausible explanation of why these new characters weren't featured. In short, if you were disappointed with the execution of the story in the original, you should feel a bit more satisfied this time around. The characters are more involved, the story is better and the interactions between characters feel much more natural.

With those improvements out of the way, let's get onto the gameplay. Dissidia is a fighting game at heart, albeit a wildly different fighting game, but there is a distinct twist to its execution. Each character does have a health bar (HP), but they also have bravery (BRV). The catch, is that your BRV stat denotes how much damage you'll do when you land an HP attack. So, without BRV, you can't decrease your opponents HP. Much of the battle is then a back and forth, with both characters trying to accumulate BRV in order to win the battle. It was an innovative system when it came out two years ago, and it's still an innovative system now.

To mix things up a bit, there are some new mechanics thrown in, but it's worth pointing out that each of the new characters brings some new depth to the table. Each character, new or old, performs different attacks when they're in the air or on the ground, but the new characters have a lot more variety. Laguna, for example, has moves which focus on charging. His basic BRV attack is a machine gun, but a simple button press isn't effective at all. Holding the button down allows for a considerable amount of BRV damage, but while firing, you also have the option to move around freely. His air attacks follow a simple premise; his shotgun being very weak if tapped; his rocket launcher only firing one missile unless charged. It might not seem like a lot, but it means that different strategies have to be employed. And this could be seen as a benefit of the new campaign structure - it makes you experience the different characters on offer. Going from Laguna, to Kain, for example, is a difficult transition. One is a predominately long-ranged fighter, while the other specialises in close-ranged combat.

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