Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Beta Impressions
It hurts me to say it, and it hurt me to play it, but I was very disappointed to play the Dissidia Final Fantasy NT beta. I loved the PSP games, so I was understandably hyped with the new game was finally coming to the PlayStation 4. However, what I got was a game that felt like a PSP title, in fact, it even felt like a step back from the PSP's Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.
The lack of new mechanics is what really what hurts Dissidia. First of all, the dash is completely neutered. The original games were about chaining combos together using dash cancels and follow-ups in very fast-paced combos and gameplay. Almost like a twitch fighter. You could chain a combo the entire length of the screen and back if you had the timing down. In this game, you can only really dash cancel the end of combos, and even then sometimes the dash is too slow to continue the combo.
However, your opponent has a very similar window to recover and counter. This meant that whether a combo kept going or not depended on the timing of the players, which is what kept it somewhat balanced. In this game, the dash is extremely slow, and it has a meter you have to manage. This change kills the flow of the game and makes it a hassle to get from one side of the arena to the next. It might take you three bars of dash just to reach one side, which makes it hard to get back to a teammate. It also just makes the game feel slower than any iteration of Street Fighter IV, in my opinion.
The EX Mode does not make a return, and I honestly miss it. EX Mode, and all of the things that used EX Meter, added a layer of depth to the game that is missing from Dissidia NT. In 012, deciding between keeping the meter for EX Mode or using EX Revenge was a huge thing. The lack of EX Mode also means no supers, or EX Bursts as they were called, in this game. Getting an EX Burst was satisfying and fun to look at, but they're sadly absent from Dissidia NT.
Honestly, this is probably the only updated mechanic that makes sense. In NT, your team has a summon bar that fills as the match is played and by hitting summon crystals. Once the summon bar fills, the team must enter the summon stance to fill up a second summon bar to activate the summon.
While I do miss the instant activation balls from 012, this change makes sense from a team perspective. Additionally, you receive bonuses for your selected summon before activating it, which is nice. The summons look flashy, and that's it, but this change makes sense with the change from 1v1 to 3v3.
I would put a mechanic here, but it’s virtually useless with the amount of hitstun in the game. I was only ever able to recover when I was hitting the ground, and not in mid-air, like the old games. However, I rarely even got a chance to recover because the hit-stun in this game lasts so long.
Bravery Attacks return and work the same way as in the older games, much to my pleasure. Use them to drain your opponent’s HP.
Dissidia NT is now a 3v3 team game, debarking from the original 1v1 gameplay of its predecessors. In the Beta, you could choose any of the Final Fantasy I-XIV protagonists, and each character had two battle presets. These presets determined what skills your character had, except for the character specific skills.
Gameplay felt terrible. It felt like playing one of the originals underwater, and that was when the netcode was being lagless. All of the moves feel like they take forever to come out, and have a ridiculous amount of recovery. Couple this with the new dash that takes forever, and you have a game that makes Chess look fast. While the slowed-down gameplay might be better for 3v3, it makes the game not feel like a Dissidia game.
The dash also basically makes it impossible to get to your partners in time to save them if they’re on the other side of the map. It really feels like it hampers the 3v3 aspect. The game gives you these beautiful open maps, but no way to efficiently traverse them. So splitting up from the team is usually a bad idea. I spent more time running to try and get to my opponents than actually fighting them. A better dash would fix this.
Combos feel terrible, and they last forever. Instead of fast combos, we have slow combos that rely on the games massive amount of hitstun to connect attacks that in the past games would never connect. The combos don’t honestly feel right to perform either. They feel awkward and like they shouldn’t be working. Again, because of the hitstun, there are no real recovery options. This means that you just have to sit there and take the combo, which leads to one combo deaths that you can't prevent.
The game feels like a PSP game with PS4 graphics. It feels like it would the first in the Dissidia series, not the latest. While the game’s visuals may have been upgraded, the combat depth has been severely downgraded. This is currently my most disappointing game of 2018.