Dissidia: Final Fantasy has been a title we've been keeping an eye on a lot lately, and hence, it's one of the first games we decided to see out on the Tokyo Game Show floor. We moseyed on over to Sony's booth to get in a quick session before going at it again and taking in another short round over at Square Enix proper. Five characters were available to play: Firionel, Tidus, Squall, Warrior of Light, and Zidane. We decided to try out different characters for each play session and tested out the skills of Squall and Tidus.
The overall battle system is rather easy to pick up; attacking with the square button deals the amount of damage currently in your "Brave" gauge while attacking with the circle button drains your enemy's Brave, replenishing your own and then eventually putting enemies into a "Break" state as you can see here in these videos. Now while the general concept of the game's battle system is easy to grasp, mastering the play style of the individual characters is another story. After having played as both Squall and Tidus for a solid amount of time, we noticed that neither character played like the other. Even though their special moves use the same button inputs, they move and attack completely different.
Playing first as Squall made the game feel sluggish for Squall in Dissidia has slow sword swings and most of his attacks awkwardly link together. Tidus on the other hand is swift and his attacks easily chain together, making it easy to slice and dice an opponent (pun intended). This, to us, seems like we're going to have very unique experiences for each individual characters. As this is a fighting game, that will probably make mastering another character not only a challenge but will also carry excellent replayability.
Each character has special moves which they can do and apparently these mimic their respective limit breaks, overdrives, etc -- Squall can do some of his limit breaks such as Blasting Zone where he smashes a beam of light over his enemies (pictured). No doubt it's a smart way of injecting even more fan service into an already fan service-heavy title.
Battles can drag on depending on how well you keep watch on your enemy. Sometimes you may be leading and other times your opponent may start chaining you and take over. It can be a seesaw battle at times, and others can be over in a hasty minute. You really have to focus on maintaining a balance between your HP-based attacks and Brave-based attacks; do this by keeping watch over Brave points and making sure there's enough to actually do any damage and also stay out of Break status.
Trying to avoid enemy attacks as much as possible is also (and obviously) a great strategy. Sometimes enemies can get away with extra hits as you recover quite slow after an attack; for example, if an enemy attacks with multiple long range projectiles and you fail to dodge it, chances are you'll get hit by all and won't be able to dodge the successive ones. This then brings us to an apparently missing block option, which may or may not be there as we didn't actually find one. A block option would help greatly as the alternative of constantly running around can get a bit tedious.
As for other areas outside of the battle arena, we unfortunately did not get much experience with those. The chessboard-like sequences you may have seen in our trailers in the past was not available to try out, and of course there's not much shown on the story side of things. Anyway, that was our time with Dissidia at this year's TGS. The game is releasing in Japan on December 18, while an announcement aimed for locales outside the island nation are still yet to be heard of.