Last year Konami released a fighting game for the Wii featuring characters from its popular Castlevania franchise (Castlevania Judgment) to mixed reviews. This year Square-Enix has followed suit on the PSP with their game Dissidia Final Fantasy which features the main hero and villian from each of the first ten numbered editions of Final Fantasy since the franchise was founded on the NES way back in 1987.
Dissidia Final Fantasy brings back memories of older gamers. meshing them with the later-released newer-generation games in the RPG franchise. The appearances of the older-generation characters have been updated to match the current ones and give them a nice standardized look to them. Character voices have also been added to those who previously had none. The look and sound of all of the characters, good and bad, are all excellent and are one of the many bright-points in the game.
The overall plot, although it's told through a series of mini-storylines appropriate for each hero, is a pretty good one. It's a basic "good vs evil" one but it's presented in a way that only Square could do right. Each individual hero has his (or her) own demons to confront and (upon the completion of that hero's storyline) a crystal to acquire. The crystals are used (storyline-wise) in the effort to defeat Chaos, which is Dissidia's main antagonist.
Dissidia is a near-perfect brawler. Near perfect in that the controls aren't quite what they should be. They harken to those in the successful Kingdom Hearts franchise in that it's full-bore action in a 3D environment, but it doesn't always fire on all cylinders. The main complaint to be had in combat is Dissidia completely ignoring the laws of gravity and while that allows the game to deliver some very epic-seeming battles, it just feels wrong. Like the aforementioned Castlevania Judgment, the game seems to promote button-mashing rather than skill and tactics like other fighting and Final Fantasy games. Square must have realized that the high-octane battle controls wouldn't be fore everybody, however, as the option for the more traditional menu-driven Final Fantasy battle system opens up shortly after the game begins.
For fans of the Final Fantasy franchise, Dissidia will prove to be a pretty good game as it is chock-full of fan service (if nothing else because of Cloud Strife and Sephiroth). For other gamers, Dissidia can hold its own although it will probably spend time on the shelf after a while of playing.
Final Game Guys Grade: B+
Dissidia Final Fantasy is rated "T" by the ESRB.