Review: Dissidia Final Fantasy NT

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is the second (third if you count the remake of the original) Dissidia Final Fantasy game that takes characters from the iconic franchise and puts them up against each other in a fighting tournament. The original Dissidia games on PSP were popular, but now the series is making its debut on the PS4 home console.

Weak story

The story of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT follows the same structure as any other fighting game that pits heroes and villains from different media against each other. An alternate universe/dimension summons the characters to battle for the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ side until a bigger threat is exposed, forcing the characters to work together to save the day. Every now and then you’ll see some interesting or funny interaction between your favorite characters, but that’s all the enjoyment you’ll get from the story. It’s also presented in an unusual way. Instead of a separate gameplay mode that puts you up against several characters with cutscenes between every fight, you have to unlock parts of the story by spending tokens called ‘Memoria’. These tokens are earned by playing the other gameplay modes, which results in seemingly endless grinding and repeating certain character-specific fights to such an extent that once said fights happen in the story, you are already sick of them. There are also boss-fights in it that are so horribly designed that there’s a big chance you’ll drop the story before finishing it. In short, don’t buy this game for its story.

The story is nothing more than 'heroes and villains need to work together to defeat the big bad'
The story is nothing more than ‘heroes and villains need to work together to defeat the big bad’

Unique fighting mechanics

But the story is not the main focus of any fighting game and Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is no exception. The real meat is in the fighting mechanics. Dissidia has its own unique set of rules that are widely different from most other fighting games. You play in three-vs-three battles and control one character while the others are controlled by the A.I. or other players through the internet. To win a match, you have to K.O. all three fighters from the opposing team. To do this, you have to drop their health bar to zero, which is easier said than done. You basically have two ways to attack your opponents, being Bravery attacks and HP attacks. Bravery attacks are what makes Dissidia stand out as a fighting game since it adds an extra layer of strategy. You have to build up your Bravery points by attacking your opponent with Bravery attacks. Doing so will decrease their Bravery points and make their attacks weaker. The higher your Bravery points are, the more powerful your HP attack becomes. HP attacks are, as the name suggests it, attacks that decrease the opponent’s health bar. It’s possible to build up a devastating one-hit kill with an HP attack, but that requires a lot of Bravery points. There are also some skills you can use to buff your allies and debuff your enemies. These skills have to recharge after you use them, so don’t think you can spam poison on your enemies until they drop dead. Lastly, there are also Summons you can…summon. These Summons can give you buffs or damage your opponents when you’ve broken their crystal and pressed the touchpad for a long enough time. It’s a nice addition to the gameplay and fits perfectly with the Final Fantasy lore, but having to watch a cutscene every time you perform a summon makes it a nuisance.

The summons give the gameplay more depth, but the cutscenes they trigger quickly become tiring
The summoning system gives the gameplay more depth, but the cutscenes they trigger quickly become tiring

Too chaotic

While the combat is surprisingly deep in its own unique way, it also comes with several flaws that make it not so fun to play at times. To start off with the biggest flaw, the three-vs-three setup is just too chaotic to be able to tell what’s going on during a fight. Having to keep your eyes on your opponent and his two allies may sound like a good idea in terms of strategic gameplay, but in reality, it fills your screen with flashing characters that often interrupt you in your secluded fight against one of your three opponents. Speaking of filling the screen, the UI just takes up too much space. During the entirety of a fight, the following information is displayed: your health bar, your teammates’ health bar, your opponents’ health bars, your Bravery points, your allies’ Bravery points, your opponents’ Bravery points, names and portraits of every player, a mini-map, the countdown timer, damage numbers, the amount of points needed to ‘Break’ an opponent, your skills, the loading bar when you’re summoning and the buttons you have to press to use chat functions. It’s simply too much to keep it easy to read while fighting.

The screen can become so clutter at times due to the chaotic gameplay and UI
The screen can become so cluttered at times due to the chaotic gameplay and UI

Teamwork is key

The three-vs-three setup in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is not a mere gimmick. It’s clear that the game expects you to play with friends or strangers online instead of the computer A.I. Like I mentioned before, the gameplay expects you to take a more strategic approach instead of simply mashing buttons and pulling off flashy combos. That’s why the multiplayer mode is where you’ll spend most of your time, whether it is to earn Memoria tokens or to hone your skills. For me, the multiplayer is a double-edged sword. Playing with complete strangers will often result in matches being played the same way as all your previous matches. Dash to your opponent hit them with Bravery attacks, gather enough Bravery points to unleash a powerful HP attack and then fall back to a crystal and activate a Summon. Repeat this process until one of the teams is defeated. Playing with strangers makes it almost impossible to coordinate your attacks, which is a huge problem in a game that requires you to play strategically. However, if you manage to play with voice chat and teammates that are willing to plan their attacks beforehand, then the game becomes a lot more fun. Suddenly, you are able to destroy the enemy team in less than a minute and achieve A++ rankings.

If you want my advice, only use the offline modes as a means to learn the characters’ fighting styles, as it offers no real difficulty

Mixed visuals

Before I end this review, I want to talk a little about the visuals in this game. To start off with the positives, the characters and effects look great. It also runs at a locked framerate of 60 fps, which is always nice, especially in a console game. The weird thing, however, is that the game only runs at 60 fps when you’re actually fighting. Cutscenes, victory screens and the opening all run at 30 fps. It’s not a big issue or anything, but it’s just something odd I wanted to mention. The only real issue I have with the visuals are some of the stages you play in. The graphics of the environments aren’t always that pleasant to look at, especially in Cornelia and The Floating Continent. The textures of the ground and trees have a low resolution and they look like big empty spaces with almost no effort put in the backgrounds. This is most likely the result of wanting to maintain the high framerate and I don’t know if the PS4 hardware could handle more, but compare it to other games like Injustice 2 or Tekken 7 and you’ll notice a huge gap of visual quality.

In terms of visual quality, most of the effort was clearly put into the characters
In terms of visual quality, most of the effort was clearly put into the characters


I must admit, I find it difficult to recommend Dissidia Final Fantasy NT to anyone other than players of the original. It simply has too many flaws and plays differently than most other fighting games. The latter is not a bad thing per se, but it’s troubling in this case since the strategic element requires you to play with other people that you can coordinate your attacks with. Playing this alone or with total strangers on the internet that don’t want to chat makes every fight a chaotic mess. Pick this up if you know someone who also plays this or if you’re willing to chat with random strangers and are a team player, otherwise wait for a price drop or skip it completely.