Hands On: Dissidia Final Fantasy

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Among the playable games on offer at the Square Enix "DKΣ3713" event in Tokyo over the weekend was "Dissidia Final Fantasy," a PlayStation Portable title that brings together characters from previous Final Fantasy games to represent the side of Cosmos in a series of battles against the bad-guys of the side of Chaos.

The game is due out in Japan in December and we got a chance to try it out.

For any fan of the Final Fantasy series, the idea of having a selection of the favorite characters come together in a single game is an intriguing idea. In making "Dissidia Final Fantasy" Square Enix didn't just put the characters into a new game but brought with them some of the elements of the games they originally inhabited.

The first battle scene featured Tidus from "Final Fantasy X." Each side begins with a set number of points and as you battle the winning side begins accumulating points from the losing side by successive attacks initiated by pressing the round button. When one character gets down to zero the winner ends up with not just all of the losing characters points but also bonus points that help build strength for future battles.

The battles are fast-paced and you end up running back and forth, forwards and backwards as you attack and take-cover. When you get near some walls or columns triangles appear on screen and that's a signal to hit the triangle key so you can run up the walls.

A little spice is added with an EX gauge that builds up during action. As this reaches its maximum you can invoke EX Mode with the push of the right button and square key. This steps the battle up one notch and if you manage to get the button timing correct when a special symbol comes on screen you enter EX Burst mode that helps make light work of ridding the field of enemies.

Each EX burst mode includes a small challenge that you need to get correct to make use of the special features. With Tidus it's a dot moving right and left across the screen that you need to stop in a central zone.

The challenge brings a flavor of the Final Fantasy in which they original starred so it's a nice addition for experienced gamers. For example, Warrior of Light from Final Fantasy I gets an attack boost if you follow a series of left, right, up and down button pushes while Onion Knight from "Final Fantasy III" gets to EX Burst success through a command window that brings up various magic spells.

Characters we saw during the demo included Tidus, Warrior of Light, Squall, Onion Knight and Garland but you know they'll be more in there!

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