Final Fantasy has been around for three decades now, so as you'd imagine there have been a lot of characters gracing the series over this time, from Garland all the way back in the original, through to Noctis in Final Fantasy XV, and the upcoming Dissidia Final Fantasy NT looks to unite a load of these characters, giving them modern polish and setting them against one another in a 3v3 brawler. We recently got to play the game at Square Enix's office in London alongside five other fighters, and after sampling characters from all across the Final Fantasy universe, we've got quite a bit to say about Team Ninja's title.
We were given a guided tutorial by a member of the Square Enix team before our session started, and that was probably for the best, as there are a lot of options available to you from the offset. Once you get your head around each facet of the game, though, it then becomes a lot simpler to manage all of the things happening in-game, especially when it comes to the different moves you can perform, a lot of which is indicated by a rather large UI inherited from the arcade version (that we were assured would be streamlined before release).
To talk about movement firstly, this is much like any other third-person game, since Dissidia is as much a brawler as it is a fighting game in the traditional sense, and while you're not running and jumping around the map, you can dodge with L1 and dash towards an enemy with R1, the latter being especially useful for those fighters who need to quickly close the gap between themselves and their opponent so as to use their heavy melee attacks.
After we'd (sort of) mastered this, then we were introduced to the combat system; with X you can make a number of quick attacks, but there's a catch in the fact that it doesn't reduce the enemy's health. Instead, what it does is it raises your bravery level, indicated by a number on-screen that starts at 1,000, and the higher this goes the more health you can take off with your character's HP attack, assigned to square. This then turns into a balancing act between whether you build your bravery high enough for one-hit kills (a risky tactic since getting hit reduces your bravery), or do you make more frequent HP attacks for lower damage.
Then they add even more layers to that, spicing up the combat with additional moves. For instance, as you build up your attacks and the battle progresses, three moves (one with triangle, one with up and triangle, and one with down and triangle) become available to you as well, although a lot of these are support moves, raising the bravery of teammates around you or lowering the dash gauge of enemies, for instance.
Then there comes summons. On each map crystals will spawn which players can hit to raise a bar at the top left of the screen, and once filled by one character you can hold the middle button, or the whole team can hold it to speed things up, to call your summon of choice to the battlefield, which are pretty much huge monsters that deal major damage to the enemy team and have extra effects as well. It's risky since you are vulnerable while summoning, but the payoff is huge.