‘Yeah, better leave it to Cloud!’
It’s been nearly a week (plus beta change) that I’ve put Dissidia NT to the test, and I’ve come out of the arena with mixed thoughts.
For one, I’m totally okay with the goofy arcadey brawler tint. 3v3 might seem chaotic and unnecessary, but sometimes I just want to chill and mindlessly battle it out with games like The Bouncer after a bunch of technical sessions with Guilty Gear Xrd and Street Fighter V.
It’s just a shame that Square Enix didn’t seize the opportunity to iterate on that arcade formula and add more stuff to do in the home release.
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (PS4)
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Square Enix/Koei Tecmo
Release: January 30, 2018
I spent most of my time in my review in progress talking about its flawed but fun fighting mechanics, so it’s high time I start to dive into NT‘s content — or lack of, rather. I’m fully aware that NT is an adaption of a Japanese arcade game, but I still held out hope that more single-player content would be added in the same vein as the past two Dissidia games.
After my initial tests with skirmishing online and off, I came across one of the biggest shortcomings of NT — there’s no real story mode at all. What subs as a “story” option on the main menu is basically a glorified cutscene viewer with a scant few fights. Instead of battling your way through an epic story in real time, you’re expected to earn “Memoria” through playing gauntlet mode offline to unlock story bits. Only then can you view the (mostly charming) interactions between cast members, then you rinse and repeat until you earn the privilege to do so again.
Another issue is that 1v1 and 2v2 gametypes (which are a great way to break up the constant 3v3 formula) are also restricted to AI sparring and custom matches. This is something that can be fixed immediately and opened up to every mode, as I know a lot of folks aren’t even interested in NT unless it has this feature. It’s not a complete dealbreaker for me as I still enjoy the chaos, but in the long term it would be great to break things up with a little Cloud vs. Sephiroth duel with traditional matchmaking. NT‘s modes are basically “offline and online,” with options for standard matches (kills) and core battles (area control). Honestly I could even do without the core battles, it’s just the campaign setup and the lack of all-around 1v1s that sting.
Surprisingly all the currencies (treasure, gil) in NT are fairly incorporated into the game. None of them are linked to microtransactions yet, though the game is supported by a season pass that doles out more characters. If you can deal with playing the same modes over and over there’s a lot to unlock, and more cosmetic content and skills (HP and EX) are a fun goal to work toward.
All the while I was still enjoying the combat system. Sure it’s not quite as tight as the last PSP iteration, but it nails that arcade feel and looks fantastic. Over time I started to discover more and more nuances, like frame-specific data and the intricacies of the dodge mechanic. There’s a ton of characters to experiment with too, most of which feel properly incorporated — and with a roster that’s comprised of a few spinoff appearances like Ramza and Ace, it’s incredibly full before any add-ons hit.
Dissidia NT is fun to play, but it could use a few tweaks that could easily come as low-effort updates along with its existing premium DLC. More modes, some UI tweaks, and combat flow upgrades would go a long way.
[This review is based on a retail built of the game provided by the publisher.]