Four days ago, the long-awaited 2015 Dissidia Final Fantasy arcade game finally came stateside with the release of its PlayStation 4 port, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. I tried out the open beta, and while it was enjoyable and certainly visually outstanding, it was brought down by a number of issues, such as a finicky camera and targeting mechanics. Shortly afterwards, I found out about its sister mobile game, Opera Omnia, and decided to give it a test run. Somewhat surprisingly, after spending a few days with it, I think I’ve found it to be significantly more enjoyable than its console brother.

The narrative is somewhat standard fare for mobile character-collection games, but it’s an above-average effort. Materia, the goddess of protection, who debuted in the 2015 game, tasks familiar (and mildly annoying) moogle face, Mog, with gathering up heroes from across various Final Fantasy games. The heroes then go on a journey to resolve “torsions,” destructive vortexes linking the various Final Fantasy worlds, picking up more members along the way. The roster is far larger than NT’s, and they all get their own moment in the spotlight.

I swear, if I hear this little fella say “kupo” one more time….

The game isn’t the most visually impressive when it comes to mobile titles, but the artstyle effectively recreates the PlayStation-era Final Fantasy look (sans the awful aliasing). Some of the models look better than others, but they all look great in motion. The score uses a stable of reused tunes from Dissidia NT (some of which have been remixed), and earlier FF games, adding further authenticity to the experience.

Though coinciding with the worldwide release of NT, Opera Omnia offers a different, turn based take on Dissidia combat. Like in the arcade version, you pick a team of three characters to take into battle. You use Brave attacks to deplete your opponent’s bravery, then expend it in HP attacks to deal damage to your opponent. Fully depleting their bravery “breaks” them, granting bonus bravery and increasing bravery gain in subsequent attacks. Character and enemy bravery will glow when they’ve accumulated enough to KO their rivals, giving a helpful indicator of when and how to strike. Focusing enough of your attacks on one enemy increases your chances of knocking them back, opening them up for a devastating chain attack.

It’s a little simple, but there are a number of wrinkles to the formula. Summons can be called after your party has dealt enough damage, granting bonuses like health and extra bravery, and allowing for some free turns. Character-specific abilities are useful for dealing with certain enemy types. Sazh’s Aim skill is useful against evasive bats, Tifa’s Beat Rush grants bonus bravery against skeletons, Vivi’s fire spell is effective against flans, and so on. All these systems create an entertaining combat experience that represents much of what veterans have grown to love about the series.

Most story quests have low level requirements and bonus missions for using specific characters, further encouraging experimentation among members of your party. Quests are generally free of a time-gate, so you don’t have to wait for your stamina to recharge before going on your next hunt. The only exception is the limited-time world of illusions, which has a meter that regenerates one point every 3 minutes.

At least it’s less than five...

In addition to your standard leveling, characters can also be strengthened with crystals. Each character has a corresponding crystal color, and using crystals of the same color can grant them additional stat bonuses and passive abilities. This is a great way to power up your favorite members, and I got a kick out of using the structure to power up my mains. Crystals can be farmed in event quests, but you are unfortunately limited to 10 attempts a day at present.

The game’s gacha comes into play with weapons and armor, similarly to last year’s Tales of the Rays. In this case, the currency used is gems. 500 can be used for a single pull, or 5,000 for a pull of 11 with a guaranteed 5-star weapon. You can buy them with actual money, but the game is exceedingly generous with them; I’ve racked up over 23,000 in my first few days of play.

Each character has an affinity for certain weapons and armor from their game of origin, and equipping these will give them an extra stat boosts and CP, used to equip passive abilities, as well as an aura. Getting the best weapon for your favorite character will end up being your most likely incentive to spend your gems, but between leveling and crystals, your choice members can still be viable even if you haven’t acquired their matching arsenal. Duplicates can be combined to “limit” break” gear, strengthening it and its passive bonuses. Weapons can be otherwise leveled with orbs, which you can get from story missions.

The game also features a multiplayer component, allowing you to team up with other players online for certain quests. There are only a few available and they both have rather high level requirements, so I don’t foresee it being a major play incentive for a while, but it could end up being a great way to bring the community together if it takes off. You can pick the lead member of someone else’s party to swap out for one of your own for a few turns in normal quests, helping to get through the more difficult quests and rewarding the player with some bonus gil.

All in all, Opera Omnia is a remarkably solid effort in the ever-crowded mobile character-collector space. With a layered combat system, multitude of ways to customize your favorite heroes, and wealth of content and collectibles, it’s well worth a look. It’s also free to play, so I’d highly recommend any player with a soft spot for one of gaming’s most prolific RPG series check this one out.

If you made it all the way to the end of this, thank you very much for your readership, and happy gaming!