Dissidia is a 3D-fighting game franchise first available for the PSP in 2008. Its mythos and characters stem from the Final Fantasy franchise.
Unlike many fighting games, it uses tropes within the Final Fantasy franchise to keep it connected to its RPG routes and set it apart from more common button mashers.
All the characters can level up within the game, becoming stronger and making a clear gap when pit against characters of different levels.
It can be incredibly fast-paced. The better you get at it, the faster it goes. In that way, it requires far more attention to what you are doing than almost any other fighting game before its time.
This flashy style also creates fantastic in-game moments, which can feel like cinematic fight scenes plucked right from an anime.
Let’s delve into the specifics of a game that still helps keep me busy on long flights.
The original game came out for Sony’s first handheld console, the PSP.
The PSP had all the tools to be one of the greatest handheld consoles of all time. In my opinion, it certainly is, but aside from not being heavily marketed, it didn’t boast something the Gameboy had in spades. Original content.
Sure, it could carry and swap out memory cards. Allowing not just for Save Files, but for you to listen to long playlists of your favorite music or watch your favorite movies while in transit or bored waiting in lines. It even became(to this day still) a hackers paradise allowing players to play almost anything on it with an emulator. It didn’t have a Pokemon, and really, it never will.
It eventually got great content, like Monster Hunter and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Even finally getting titles that expanded the lore of their Final Fantasy franchise, games unique to the PSP.
FF7: Crisis Core and the standalone title; Dissidia Final Fantasy.
The Dissidia Franchise
1. The Original Dissidia (OG)
The two most omniscient Gods, Chaos and Cosmos, are amidst a great struggle. They’ve called forth their champions from alternate realities—the heroes and villains of the many Final Fantasy games.
Not all the villains Chaos summoned are true villains, such as the case of Jecht. Although he seems to give to the will of Chaos and assist the other villains, his real goal is to help his son Tidus overcome the obstacles laid before him. He regrets his actions as a father, but his personality makes it hard to do anything about this.
What makes a story like the above mentioned possible in a fighting game is two things Dissidia does.
One, it gives individual story arcs to ALL of its main characters. Each of which plays off the groundwork of the story’s lifted in their games.
Second, it does not shy away from the problems the villains or the heroes might develop due to clashing personalities.
A few examples are of characters like Terra and Cloud, who struggle with finding purpose in this new environment. Yet a character like Firion has a clear motive for peace and isn’t afraid to give pep talks to his allies. Thus, some less formidable heroes play the most significant role, rallying the mightier heroes onward.
There is a lot of good interactive dialogue between the characters that remain sensible with who they were in their worlds. It is well done.
Ultimately, that very key trait allows the Heroes to overcome Chaos. While the Villains intend on plotting and becoming Gods themselves or scheme for their desires, the heroes rally together.
There is a vast amount of story to be had by engaging in each individual’s path. Unlockable cutscenes and a lot of terrific dialogue will hit home for players who had enjoyed the games from which the characters derive.
You don’t need to have played any of the other FF games to enjoy the game. Though if you have, some of the beats will be more effective. The personalities are on full display, and the overarching tale of Dissidia is not difficult to grasp.
Chaos, The God of Discord(ala Dissidia), grabbed a bunch of super-villains to take control over some powerful Crystals of Light and disrupt the balance of Good and Evil. Cosmos, The Goddess of Harmony, purified some heroes to counter Chaos’s plan because she is too weakened to fight herself.
Ten heroes and ten villains from FFI through FFX arrive initially, but many more from the games are released into the fray as new titles drop.
2. Dissidia 012 Duodecim
This next title begins before the events of the first game. It contains the entirety of the first Dissidia but adds more characters from the original game to enhance their tales.
This installment adds Assist character options for combat and fresh storylines for new, playable characters. Like, Yuna(FFX), Tifa(FFVII), and Laguna(FFVIII).
At the start of the story, the OG heroes have no memories. Some of the OG cast are even fighting for Chaos. You help fight back and push the OG cast onto the right path by playing the new characters. Ensuring the first game’s events can happen, you can then play in this version without picking the first one up.
It’s one of the best sequels in any genre’s history in that it keeps all the things that worked about the first and only added more depth and content to the title.
3. Dissidia Final Fantasy NT
This game came out for the console. Its story is new but does not receive the same love or detail as previous titles. It can come across as very vague and uses short cutscenes and dialogue to convey connections.
In this sense, it can be more alienating to a new player who doesn’t know the characters. Perhaps it is more similar to other fighting games where they only give minimal story-wise unless you go out of your way to learn more by reading lore.
The Goddess of Protection, Materia, and the God of Destruction, Spiritus, summon warriors from all over the FF franchise to fight. The fighters all retain their memories, which leads them to investigate instead of blindly following the Gods.
Well, in theory. In reality, all the investigating is battling, but the game sells this idea best it can.
You eventually join villain and hero to defeat Shinryu, the Celestial Power that pit Cosmos and Chaos against each other in the first games. Go figure, Shinryu is responsible for this conflict as well. Once defeated, all the characters get to return to their home and leave shadows of themselves behind to appease Materia and Spiritus’s endless struggle.
Related read: Comprehensive Shinryu Guide.
This time around, the fights are in 3V3 team battles. They changed a lot of the fundamental dynamics from the original Dissidia. Story mode and solo play do fall short of Dissidia NT’s predecessors. It makes up for this a bit with a more enjoyable online function for worldwide multiplayer.
4. Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia
My goodness, these names. Opera Omnia is a free-to-play mobile game I encourage you to pick up and grab. It is available on Android and iPhone and is pretty damn easy and full of fun.
It’s more turn-based, not a fighting game anymore, much more RPG. It only loosely borrows the mythos of the Dissidia series. You still use similar attacks, but it’s more of a standalone title.
It parallels the story of NT with the same conflict of Spiritus and Materia. Still, it’s claiming the fights are causing space-time to collapse. So a Moogle named Mog, who you may know from FFII or possibly FFIX, appears to help collect light crystals and stop the collapse.
It has the most extensive cast of characters of any of the games in the FF franchise(Over 150 as of this writing), including nearly every villain and hero from the original FF franchise and its alternate titles like FF Tactics or FF Type-0. With new characters still being scheduled for addition.
Characters level up and gain skills via collecting Materia to unlock them. You can equip each of them with a weapon and a piece of armor but only have a team of three at one time. Enemies are fought in waves, so the wisest option is keeping a varied team to handle the more challenging battles.
Gameplay for Dissidia OG and 012
Dissidia takes place on random maps laden with obstacles, many interactive. The character can fight on the ground or engage in aerial combat utilizing the surroundings and attacks to stay afloat.
You speed around the map, utilizing two types of attacks or Summon.
Each Summon has a unique effect listed in-game when equipped. Characters can call Summons if they have equipped a Summonstone. There are over 45 different Summons by Dissidia 012, including series staples: Ifrit, Shiva, and Bahamut. A summon meter is shown in combat to let you know when you will be able to call it.
A Bravery Attack in Dissidia depletes your foes Bravery and increases yours. As your Bravery increases, it will add to the overall damage of your HP Attacks.
When you want to do actual damage to your enemy, you will unleash an HP Attack. It will damage equivalent to the Bravery accumulated. However, it will temporarily reset your Bravery to zero.
If you knock an enemy into the edge of the map, the ground, or a solid obstacle, it is called a Wall Rush. Wall Rushing an enemy grants extra HP or Brave damage based on the attack you used. However, a player cannot be killed by this and will remain at 1HP if the damage would have put them over.
When you are hit with a Bravery Attack at zero Bravery, it causes Break.
When a player’s Bravery is below zero, they take more damage, do less damage, and can’t perform any HP Attacks.
You also have a gauge that fills up as you play, unlocking an EX Mode for each character. An Ex Mode is the Limit Break in Dissidia.
When a character enters EX Mode, they are their best selves. Their attacks are more powerful, sometimes unblockable, and they gain many skills unique to each of them. They do not last the whole fight, but they usually end it. Suppose your enemy has entered EX Mode; run and dodge accordingly. Oh, and pray.
To enter EX Mode, you must collect the EX force that drops when players strike each other to fill up the EX-Bar you can see on screen. You can also collect EX Cores that appear on the map.
It is sometimes wise to immediately run around the map searching for EX Cores when fighting a more powerful enemy.
After each fight, the character you used gains experience, AP, and Gil. With more experience, the character will level up, and their basic stats will improve as well as their total Crystal Points(CP)
CP is what you use to attach skills and moves to your character. You can customize them in coordination with how you prefer to use them. That means you can fight a friend’s version of the same character at the same level, but there may be differences in attacks. The choices aren’t too extensive, making it an excellent addition instead of the over-complicated process it could have been.
AP is used to “Master” moves learned, making their CP cost less, meaning you can gain access to more moves overall.
Use Gil in stores for equipment and unlockable items such as characters or outfits. All items and weapons are purchasable in-store depending on the character’s level.
In the first installments of Dissidia, a character’s unique equipment would add certain bonuses specific to them.
They would also be able to use various weapons borrowed from throughout the titles that gave some boosts to stats or matched with armor to complete a set.
The armor is divided into three sections—Head, Hand, and Body. Equipping armor boosts stats, including starting Bravery and attack and defense.
Equipping a set of armor can provide a nice bonus to the player, and it is a good idea to seek out these sets that fit the combat style of your preferred character. Some of these may need Weapons to activate. An example of this is:
- Equip any 3 of the following to activate.
- Gold Sword, Gold Hairpin, Gold Shield, or Gold Vest.
- Gain 50% more Gil after combat when activated.
A character can equip an accessory in addition to the other equipment. Accessories provide another, usually minor boost. Anywhere from Luck bonus(chance to land a critical hit) to regenerating Bravery faster while not being attacked.
The Main Menu
You can choose to enter Story Mode with any of the characters for a unique experience with each. You can also look at a PP catalog for purchasing all the in-game content with Gil obtained from battles.
You can choose to enter Battle Mode for free-fighting and leveling up or view your collection of scenes and so on. As well as, and very significantly so, Save or Load games here.
Lastly, you can connect to a nearby friend on another PSP to have fun PvP battles by selecting Communications Mode.
In the OG Dissidia, you can access the shop and character screen on the first screen after loading. In 012, you will do these things via the World Map Menu screen. There are a few other changes in 012.
In Dissidia 012
Unique to the follow-up title is your ability to choose one of the many characters to be your Assist character. When fighting, you can call them in to perform special assist attacks or skills in addition to your own.
The only non-playable assist character is Aerith from FFVII.
If you attack and knock out an enemy’s Assist character while in EX Mode, or they yours, before it can finish what it is doing, you cause Assist Break. It makes your assist character blocked for a while and gives the player who caused it a Bravery Boost.
If you use an Assist to stop and knock an enemy out of EX Mode by having them hit them while the enemy is trying to trigger their Limit, they will lose their EX Mode.
If a player attacks you themselves when you activate EX Mode in Dissidia 012, you will lose your EX Gauge, but time will slow for them. You will then be able to pummel them voraciously for their audacity.
The World Map
In Dissidia 012, you can traverse a World Map. It allows you to advance the story, unlock cutscenes, and engage in random encounters. There are shops to choose from on the World Map, and you can tailor the party you want to travel with. You get to select any member of your party when you enter combat unless it is a specific story-based conflict.
Gameplay in Dissidia NT
The Controls are the same, Bravery Attacks and HP attacks. Yet, weapons no longer do much. Also, it is no longer a One Versus One combat game during Story Mode or Online Play. You can do 1V1 or 2V2 matches in NT in sparring mode by going to Offline Modes and selecting Sparring Match.
There is more or less no use for equipment in this title other than looks.
The summon in this title joins the fight as an extra party member for a short while. The party must work together to break Summon Crystals to initiate a Summon, which will then come down and help fight the enemy. In addition, there are only seven, and you choose which you can summon before each match.
Each player has a shield they can use to block or dodge. It does deplete, however.
4. EX Mode is now EX Skill
You can equip and unlock different EX Skills for the characters now. These can range from attack boosts, limited robust attack options or stat changes, or skills that quickly recover HP. Though they have more options, they are no longer something to be as feared as an EX Mode was.
You’ll find yourself using EX Skills multiple times in a battle.
5. It’s not for the PSP
Yeah, the title moved to the PlayStation 4 and PC, respectively. There is a free edition available on Steam and PSN with minimal content if you want to give it a try.
It can be argued the earlier titles had too much customization(of which I enjoy). Still, this one cuts down on it significantly. You can now only equip your characters with 1 HP Attack and 2 EX Skills. Their Bravery Attacks are unchangeable.
Otherwise, the fighting itself still applies to growing your Bravery up to land that one nasty HP attack.
7. Story Mode
You cannot progress in Story Mode without collecting Memoria Tokens. These are gained by participating in random battles, not in Story Mode. I admit to not finding that decision favorable for solo players.
Characters in the Main Titles
In OG, 012, NT, you can find the following characters.
- The Warrior of Light: Balanced but lacking power. Improved in NT.
- Garland: A tank with good Wall Rush.
- Firion: Good ground game with some nice long-range attacks.
- The Emperor: Best at setting traps and utilizing the map.
- Onion Knight: Well-Rounded stats boost significantly at LVL. 93.
- Cloud of Darkness: She has the most versatile HP Attacks.
- Cecil Harvey: He can switch between two styles in combat. Melee and Ranged.
- Golbez: He is good with combo chains at all ranges.
- Bartz Klauser: Quick attacks. Good support character in NT.
- ExDeath: Excels at counterattacks. His style changed to mainly attack in NT.
- Terra Branford: She is a great ranged combatant.
- Kefka: His attacks are sporadic and hard to defend.
- Cloud Strife: Best Wall Rusher in the game. Stronger in NT.
- Sephiroth: Large hitboxes when striking.
- Squall Leonhart: Most balanced in OG, 012. Nerfed in NT.
- Ultimecia: Powerful long-range fighter. Nerfed a bit in NT.
- Zidane Tribal: He is speedy and balanced.
- Kuja: He can hover without attacking and is good at mid-range.
- Tidus: Fast attacker with great dodge.
- Jecht: Powerhouse in close combat.
- Shantotto: Hard to hit and chains magic.
- Gabranth: Need to unleash his Ex Mode/Skill to make the best use of him.
The Following Characters are only in 012.
- Gilgamesh: Random attacks but still well-rounded.
- Laguna Loire: He is a decent long-range character, not super competitive.
- Prishe: She is swift and excellent in close combat.
- Feral Chaos: The only character unique to Dissidia itself. He is a powerhouse.
The Following Characters can be found in 012 and NT.
- Kane Highwind: Good combo attacker. He has the highest jump in-game.
- Tifa Lockhart: She is an okay melee fighter in 012 but a top-tier melee in NT.
- Yuna: Mid-range in 012. Long ranged and top tier in NT.
- Vann: Good at Mid-Range and Melee.
- Lightning: She’s a well-rounded character.
The Following Characters can be found only in NT.
- Locke Cole: A quick attacker that does more damage when hitting from behind.
- Rinoa Heartilly: A very versatile character despite being mainly ranged.
- Kam’laaut: Gets stronger upon landing hits.
- Vayne Carudas Solidar: Can toss opponents making for good team combos.
- Snow Villiers: Enters a powerful form at critical HP, which lasts until knocked out.
- Y’shtola Rhul: She is a long-range fighter with excellent assist capabilities.
- Zenos yae Galvus: He is well-balanced but not the best team player.
- Noctis Lucis Caelum: Noctis is an excellent melee fighter.
- Ardyn Izunia: This is a good tank character.
- Ramza Beoulve: Well rounded for solo combat and assisting his allies.
- Ace: He has decent close combat with better options at range.
How has Dissidia Been Received?
The first two titles were very well received especially considering coming out for the PSP and not the console. Dissidia NT has not been as well-liked by fans of the series or critics, though initially doing well in Japan.
- With fighting games, the more you play, the better you get. Play each Story Mode to practice.
- When playing seasoned opponents, use a strategy that doesn’t fit your character’s typical playstyle, such as spamming Firaga with Cloud and keeping distance.
- When fighting a higher-level enemy, run around the map to find EX Cores or Break Summon Crystals to overcome the gap by getting your powerful skill out first.
- Dodge. Learn to dodge.
Question: What Does Dissidia Mean?
Answer: It’s the plural form of discidium. A Latin word meaning “discord or disagreement.”
Question: Who is the Best Dissidia 012 Character?
Answer: It’s hard to beat a skilled ExDeath Player because of his counter game. Fast characters like Tidus and Zidane are also easy to become good with and top tier. I’m nostalgic for Cloud, but I admit he is a bit of a high-risk character.
Terra and Ultimecia are pretty great. I have the most challenging time against Jecht when playing, but he’s a good foil for Cloud. Squall is probably the most straightforward character to master in OG or 012 if it’s your first time playing and ranks high in most tier lists overall.
Question: Who is the Best Dissidia NT Character?
Answer: Yuna in NT, I think, is one of the best, thanks to Valefor. Cloud got an almost unnecessary upgrade, very top tier in NT. Squall got nerfed a lot. Terra and Tifa are both good, and I’d argue Ramza, if used right, is one of the better team players.
Question: Who is the Villain in Dissidia?
Answer: Chaos is the main villain, though it could also be said the real main villain is Garland. Garland claims he will one day become the entity that is Chaos. That was his goal in the very first FF game. It’s a fun turn of events, albeit a tad confusing. A pretty cool twist. Though in NT, it is Shinryu, which is hinted at in 012.
Question: Why do People Dislike Dissidia NT?
Answer: The changes felt alienating to the loyal fan base for the most part. Players also had difficulty due to poor team matching for online play. Solo-play is also not as engaging as the previous titles.
Question: Why Isn’t Laguna in NT?
Answer: His character was liked in FFVIII by fans, for sure. Yet, his character in Dissidia didn’t work so well, and ultimately he didn’t catch on in that franchise.
Question: Do you Have to Own a PSP to Play the Original Dissidia?
Answer: It is the only licensed way to play it and 012 currently.
Question: Which Dissidia is Better?
Answer: I believe Dissidia Duodecim 012 Final Fantasy is the best in the series.
Question: What Does Duodecim Mean?
Answer: It means 12 in Latin.
Question: Was Dissidia Supposed to be a Kingdom Hearts Fighting Game?
Answer: Yes and no? The director of the game, Tetsuya Nomura, had initially intended to make his idea a spin-off of the Kingdom Hearts Franchise but opted to go with Final Fantasy characters instead. That could be because Disney didn’t want their characters used in a fighting game, or Tetsuya saw more potential in the Final Fantasy Character pool. A character pool full of already established fighters.
Question: What Games are Similar to Dissidia?
Answer: Ehrgeiz is a lesser-known fighting game, in the vein of Tekken 2, for the original PlayStation that uses some FFVII characters.
The Super Smash Brothers franchise.
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM as well as Jump Force and the My Hero Academia game: My Hero’s One Justice.
Despite being on a handheld console that didn’t get the love it may have deserved, Dissidia persevered with love. Via the APP version of it for the phone or the creators’ dedication behind NT, Dissidia’s future is not gloomy.
It ends up being a remarkable addition to the fighting game genre and even has trickle effects in other titles. Some of Dissidia’s fast-paced, larger 3D combat maps can be seen more often in other fighting games since its initial release. It gives you extraordinary visual battles with friends more often than not and has become a positive addition to the FF franchise overall.
If you’re a fan of fast-paced combat, give Dissidia on the PSP or Dissidia NT a try.