The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Discussions about which popular video game characters could beat others in a fight are widespread and stupid. These hypothetical match-ups serve only to rile up the most devoted nerds, leaving all other gamers to shake their heads in derision. For better or worse, Dissidia makes these long-imagined battles a reality, pitting heroes and villains from the entire Final Fantasy series against each other in fast-paced, addled combat.
Dissidia’s main strength is its relentless pandering. If you love Final Fantasy characters, your jaw will go slack with amazement as you watch Cloud and Sephiroth cross swords, or witness Terra’s transformation into her Esper form. Spells flying back and forth, mid-air combat, and ridiculous limit breaks come together to form an approximation of the high-octane battles that were previously relegated to the series’ cutscenes. The speed of the action and the top-notch presentation is almost enough to make you forget the game isn’t good.
For all of the emphasis on fighting, Dissidia’s basic combat mechanics are remarkably unsatisfying. The erratic camera, shallow mechanics, and unreliable commands for performing specific attacks make implementing strategy difficult. Unlocking new moves, equipment, and costumes involves grinding through the repetitive story mode – a shoddy board game framework that moves you from fight to fight. Playing the story mode in a fighting game may sound pointless, but the restriction on two-player matches leaves you with few options; multiplayer only works locally, so you are limited to squaring off against friends in your immediate vicinity who also own the game.
In a similar vein as last year’s Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Dissidia is only valuable to gamers who can look past massive flaws and appreciate being immersed in the lore of the series. The concept may delight hardcore fans, but the unrefined gameplay ensures that everyone else is left out in the cold.
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You know your game stinks when even the computer-generated characters’ faces are awash with shades of confusion and disinterest. Square’s attempt at servicing fans by pitting Final Fantasy’s greatest heroes and villains against one another only lasts as long as the action-packed introductory movie. The aerial combat that follows can best be described as a poor rendition of Armored Core, where most of your sword strikes fall short, the camera would rather frame nothing, and magic is as uneventful as a spell flying off of Neville Longbottom’s wand. The most enjoyment this game delivers is found in its menus, where a wealth of equipment, summons, and attacks can be assigned and purchased. These thrills are fleeting, as they all lead back to the battlefield and the horrid plot, which I suspect might be random lines cut from previous Final Fantasy games jammed together. I’d pay top dollar to see Squall fight Sephiroth, but not when it seems they sold their souls to get a big check like they do in this game.