Thursday, March 24, 2011

12 hours in 012.

The prequel to Dissidia, duodecim (meaning 12 in Latin) has “new” characters, new upgrades, and a shiny cover. Initial thoughts of the game were as follows: thank god I updated my PSP yesterday, holy crap it takes an hour to do the data install?

It’ll make sense as you read on.

Positives:

The “action” setting in battles has sped up. It feels more like an updated take on traditional fighting games. Unlike the original where you had several seconds to push the X button to chase down an opponent, this time you have to be quick on the button mashing.

MvC is a nice touch. And by that I mean the Assist system. So very old school Marvel vs Capcom. It allows you to have more unique combos and HP kills without disrupting the pace of battle.

Much needed “new” characters. One of my complaints about the first game is that there was not enough variety, or women. I understood the set-up and why it worked, but I didn’t like that there were a lack of choices. The “new” cast adds more life to the line-up. Though I’m sure people are still doing their Cloud vs Squall battles.

DP to KP. That crazy DP system in the first game? It’s been replaced by everlasting Kupo! With DP you could get chapter bonuses, such as AP, xp, or a random assortment of items, but only for that section of the story. It’s been replaced with KP, which transfers to all characters in story mode (yea!) and can be used to buy items from Moogles on the world map in the story. It allows for more customization of your characters and a better chance at picking up rare items that you might not win with DP.

World Map! As part of the graphics update and the no-more puzzle piece feel of the fighting levels, there’s a world map. You can kind of, sort-of see how all of the battle arenas are connected to one another…through dimensional gates. The world map allows you to fight random battles, pick up items, and play with the Moogles.

Loads of customization! The options in this game have been greatly boosted from the previous. You have one on one battles with the CPU, of course, still there, but the addition of creating your own quests, including dialogues and screen animations, round-robin battling, and more descript options, were needed upgrades.


Negatives:

We need more bad guys. Some of the most memorable bad guys are in 012, but not all of them. You know who I remember fighting all of these years? Seymour (FF10), Seifer (FF8), Zorn and Thorn (FF9), Xande (FF3, and technically the main villain, not Cloud of Darkness), and basically anyone from FF11 and 13 since those villains are noticeably absent on 012. If we’re talking about a battle between the gods, I’d bring in all the ammo that I could, including the names listed above. While some of the good guys go to the bad team for a little bit, it’s not the change that was needed. You know what would be nice? The ability to make your own character. Who doesn’t want to be in a Final Fantasy game? Something to think about.

New Game + isn’t a New Game +. You can move your character levels, PP unlocks, and some achievements from Dissidia to 012, but that’s it. All of those weapons and armors you spent so much time working on? Gone. Those summons? No longer there. I understand trying to play on a more even field, but did you have to take away my Lionhart? If we took the time to play Dissidia at 100+ hours, we should be allowed to keep some of our items. Just saying.

Rare item drops and equipment upgrades take forever. Currently I have Yuna, story mode, at level 24. She’s still wearing level 1 gear, because that’s all that’s available at the shops. Like Dissidia, 012 has the same item system set up that if you buy or obtain the base item for a product, the upgrade will appear in the shop. 12ish hours in and I’ve only seen one upgrade item appear for a level 30. So not only did none of my items transfer in New Game +, I’m going to get kicked in the butt with having to take twice as long to get “rare” items. Great. Thanks SE.

Still need adhoc to play online. Also a dumb idea in need of a massive upgrade. If you want to play with friends, you still got to boot up adhoc and hope for the best. The only addition to online play for fighting only is that you can add characters to your roster for round-robin style or assist. Nothing has changed in this arena, which is annoying.

World Mode feels like needless fan-service. Is it nice to have a break in the monotony of moving from one game-board to another? Yes. Does World Mode really need to be there? No. Just stick the Moogle store next to the shop in the main menu. Done! World Mode is there just to make the fans happy. It really serves no other purpose.

If you’re a Final Fantasy fan, you probably already picked up this game. If you’re not, you probably won’t even look at it. If you’re in-between, the combat of 012 has been improved and feels more active and immersive then before. Worth a look at the very least.

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