The story is pretty straightforward: Materia (the good guys) and Spiritus (the bad guys) are at war. Your mission (should you choose to accept it, heh) is to help Materia defeat Spiritus and his goonies. Along the way, you meet several beloved characters from Final Fantasy, like Zidane, Squall, Tidus, Ultimecia, and Sephiroth. The story doesn't focus on just one character, instead, it includes all of them. This can be confusing at times, and all the goings-on weakens the narrative somewhat. In addition, you can't enjoy the story from start to finish, as it's divided into smaller parts that have to be unlocked by playing through the other modes.
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Not only is the story structure weird, the characters are also weird. We were almost taken aback by some of the characters' voices. We played a lot as our favourite, Squall Lionheart, who we know from FFVIII as a cool badass, but in this game the voice actor makes him sound like a giant coward. And we're not sure what the developers were thinking when they designed the characters' appearance because a couple of them look like straight-up Barbie-dolls. Newcomers to the series will probably not mind, but for long-time fans it's quite noticeable.
The game has a lot of modes on offer, so there should be something for everyone here. Among those included you'll find multiplayer, where cooperation plays an important role, as all the characters are divided into four classes: vanguard, assassin, marksman, and specialist. Each class comes with its own preferences and specialities. Some are good up close, whereas some are better from a distance.
One of the things we found quite annoying with the multiplayer is that it takes quite a while to find other players to fight with. And you have to repeat the process after each fight. We really hope they fix this in a patch. In addition, the multiplayer matchmaking is terribly uneven, lumping newcomers in with veterans, which led to us getting our asses handed to us, on several occasions no less! In one fight we lost before even a minute had passed, and we still aren't sure what exactly happened. Sometimes it took way too long for our character to get up after having been knocked down, which was a bit irritating as we weren't sure if the game registered our button mashing or not. Despite all this, the multiplayer turned out to be a rather fun experience that succeeds in creating a unique atmosphere and huge adrenaline-rush when you finally manage to nab first place.
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Besides the multiplayer, you'll find other features such as Gauntlet. It's an offline mode where you fight your way through levels that get increasingly difficult. If that's not your cup of tea it's possible to make your own rules and set your own preferences for the sort of levels you want to play on. What annoyed us most about this mode is that 1v1 battles are no longer an option, only 3v3, which makes the battles cluttered and confusing.
Combat consists of your team destroying either your opponents or your opponents' main base. The main base is a giant floating crystal. It's important to not just rush headlong into battle, you have to think more tactically and strategically to win. All enemies have a barrier that you have to whittle down with attacks, before they enter a "BREAK" mode. When they do, you have to hit them with an HP attack right away to do any sort of damage to them. Boy, did it take us a while to figure that one out! But we still enjoyed the battles quite a bit.
Summons are back, as actual creatures this time (or Guardian Forces), to lend a helping hand during battles. You have to think tactically here as well, as each Summon has their own set of unique abilities. One summon might make you more powerful, while another gives you more health. Anyway, we quickly found the need for more summons than the eight that are included in the game. Why Square Enix has chosen to include only eight (and none of them being Carbuncle, Titan, Neo-Bahamut, Diablo, or Fenrir) is beyond us.
The music is as intense as it has been in previous games, but it gets repetitive and tiresome after a while. We were therefore very happy to discover that we could buy the original song with in-game currency. We would like to have the option to change songs in battle, but that's unfortunately not possible as of now.
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT comes with a lot of extra content, and you never quite know when you've completed the game fully. The game has its own store where you can buy the original soundtrack, new outfits for the characters, or even weapons, all for in-game currency. Obtaining the currency is time-consuming, so be prepared to grind. This does, however, prolong the longevity of the game. Additionally, you can also improve and upgrade each of the different characters, and Square Enix has announced a season pass, so we know loads of additional content is on its way.
However, at the end of the day, this isn't quite the Dissidia game we had expected for the PS4. It feels like a lot is missing, and we think there should be a lot more characters available from the start. We also think the game could have benefitted from having dynamic surroundings, like rain mid-fight, or maybe an earthquake that would mess up the ground and create different levels. That certainly would have made the battles more interesting and unique.
Although the game has its flaws, we had fun with it, especially the Gauntlet mode. We also got to play the multiplayer quite a bit, and it is definitely the most intense part of the game. Thus, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT delivers in a lot of areas but disappoints in others. This is more a game for newcomers to the series, although fans who just enjoy playing their favourite characters will probably get something out of it too.
6 / 10
Popular characters, variety in the arenas, plenty of nostalgia for fans, challenging, varied modes.
Lacks a proper story, more characters and arenas would be nice, matchmaking is slow and unbalanced.