Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy

Dissidia Disillusioning

The Final Fantasy spin-off prequel falls a bit flat.
Author: Andy Curtiss
Published: April 4, 2011
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We should probably establish first that I am not a Final Fantasy fan-boy. There are titles in the series I adore (ie: FFVI, FFX, FF Tactics) and there are titles in the series that I loathe (ie: FFVII, FFVIII, FFXI) and of course the grey area in between. I say this because there are some RPG fans out there that draw a line in the sand based on someone's like or dislike of the Final Fantasy series. Which is foolish in my humble opinion. But that aside, I could be described as mostly middle of the road. Square Enix seems to do this odd little dance with me - one step forward, two steps back, three steps forward, two steps back, etc. Though I believe that when they manage to put together truly inspired gameplay with a richly told unique story they are virtually unstoppable. Very few companies out there can do it up like Square Enix can.

That being said, however, Dissida 012 doesn't really do it up for me. It actually disappoints me a bit. The one thing I can generally rely on with a Final Fantasy game is a story that I will enjoy. Even if I don't like the gameplay or one or two of the characters, I generally enjoy the story as a whole. So that tends to be the starting point where I begin to nurture my love of a Final Fantasy game. Dissidia missed the train when it came to that though. The concept of clashing Gods calling warriors to their sides is fraught with cliches and memories of games (and an X-Men comic story arc) that have done it better over the years. If you strip away the fact that the game is a Final Fantasy reunion and only look at the story itself it's quite transparent and flimsy at times. Of course there are the little struggles between the sides and the threats of betrayal... but none of it is that shocking. Now couple that with the fact that the writing just falls flat. It seems like there should be some kind of AI behind the scenes saying, "Insert random heroic uplift here. Insert brooding hero quote here. Insert quiet bystander hero quote here."

One of the best examples of my point is the fact that you need to have played ALL the other FF games to have any idea who the characters are and why they are the way they are. If you hadn't played FFXIII then you'd think that Lightning is just some quiet, brooding bitch. And without FFVII Tifa seems like a random, generic character who needs to have her undergarments made at a tent and awning shop. You don't get the same sense of their character as you do playing the game they came from. So then... what's the point? Why even have them in this Dissida game? That very idea got me to thinking actually. There's really no reason in the world that Square Enix needed to use the FF arsenal of characters on this game other then to garner sales. They very well could have taken the mechanics of the game, the controls and the basic idea of epic one-on-one battles and applied that to a NEW game. Or a new series. Instead we have the cast of the FF games, suffering from amnesia and feeling a bit stale over all. I mean sure... it's cool to see some of our favorites in a new light. But it all feels like a half-hearted marketing ploy to keep people thinking of and playing old FF games.
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