The Final Fantasy video game series has a rich heritage, with many titles and spin-offs over the years. With last December being its 30th anniversary, the launch of a new Dissidia title feels timely.
The Dissidia series was previously available only on the PS handheld game console, with Dissidia Final Fantasy in 2008 and Dissidia Duodecim in 2011.
Both titles focus on action role-playing game features and contain selected characters from one era of the Final Fantasy universe.
For Dissidia NT, publishers Square Enix and Koei Tecmo have partnered Team Ninja - known for Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden and Nioh - to develop the title.
Dissidia is a Latin word for disagreement, while NT stands for "New Tale", although some have speculated that the acronym is a nod to Team Ninja for its contributions to the video-game industry.
Others think that NT is a reference to Tetsuya Nomura, the iconic character designer of the Final Fantasy releases since the 1990s, who is involved in this project and the much-anticipated Final Fantasy VII Remake.
In this game, selected characters from the Final Fantasy universe are summoned to an alternate dimension to perform the bidding of two gods, which consequently made them turn on one another.
PRICE: From $80.90 (PS4 only)
GENRE: Action fighter
There is no explanation as to why these selected characters have made the cut or why others were omitted. But fans of the Final Fantasy spin-offs are probably rejoicing at being able to see characters such as Ramza from Final Fantasy Tactics and Ace from Final Fantasy Type-0. Six more characters will join the roster later through the Season Pass content.
The characters in the PS4 version look great - especially retro favourites such as Cloud, Sephiroth, Lightning and Squall, which have been refreshed in high-definition resolution.
In this game, the focus is on 3-versus-3 combat. Players select three characters to form a team for battle. Tip: Familiarise with the four classes and aim for a good mix. For instance, Vanguards are powerful while Assassins are agile. Having a Marksman lets one keep one's opponents at a distance. The Specialist class is capable of surprises, with its unique spells.
There is an added perk when playing offline: A player can switch between characters to manage attacks. In the online mode, you might find those characters controlled by other players.
Your objective is to drain your opponents' combined meter by employing two types of attack: Bravery attacks that drain stamina and HP attacks that affect the life meter.
As with past games, one can acquire abilities called EX skills, which come with buffs that boost or protect one's character. As EX skills come with a cool-down period after use, one has to strategise on when to use them.
One more thing: Maintaining one's momentum will allow one to call upon the help of huge creatures.
A highlight of this game is unlocking cool soundtracks and outfits to customise one's play.
In this game, one will be charging into countless battles, so being able to head out with different outfits and accompanying music help keep the experience fresh.
One of the appeals of Final Fantasy is its cutscenes and Dissidia NT presents them through a string of animated episodes.
However, they need to be unlocked using Gil, which are in-game credits acquired by playing the other game modes.
This means that unless one farms the credits first, one will be going through the story mode in a fragmented way, which dilutes the experience.
• Verdict: Dissidia Final Fantasy NT packs a punch with its visual upgrades, but will need more content down the road to sustain interest.
• Nizam Mohd is a freelance writer.