Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dissidia Playing Log: Part 3

Hello, Space Monkies!

"Final Fantasy III" was without a doubt the best Final Fantasy title on the original Nintendo, and it was certainly a treat to play back when it came out... if you were Japanese. You understand that the game took no less than sixteen years to finally be released outside of Japan, and even than only a Nintendo DS remake. Not that there's anything wrong with remakes, the original NES versions of these games are absolute abominations to look at and play - even the most deluded and nostalgic man in the world has to admit that. FFIII was not without things that really pissed me off (no Save Points within dungeons, and a seriously fucked-up magic system), and it didn't have a plot - at all. But it still holds enough love in my heart for me to care a great deal more about it than the earlier two games. Hearing the overworld theme play in Dissidia was a nice moment for me.

The hero of Destiny Odyssey III is "a boy with the legendary title of Onion Knight", instead of the game's actual hero, Luneth. I guess they went with this anonymous blond character with candy stuck in his air over grey-haired Luneth because Luneth was an original character created for the DS remake. So bully for you Japanese who could play the original Japan-only version. Even so, I came to like this Onion Kid, even if the "legendary" title of Onion Knight is a total Narm-fest. He travels around with "Final Fantasy VI"'s heroine, Terra, protecting her from Chaos's many baddies. I don't know why mighty Terra, master of gamebreaking magic combos needs protecting, but that's a minor issue. Not-Luneth's mantra is simple: "don't fight battles you know you can't win", and I have to agree with him. At one point Onion Breath runs into Exdeath, and decides inexplicably that this foe is too much for him. So instead of fighting Onion geodes Exdeath's immense ego and makes the idiotic villain go home without a sword being drawn.

Stuff like that is what makes this chapter far superior in pretty much every way plot-wise to the other two. Onion Knight and Terra actually seem to have some kind of comradely and a real relationship. Something actually happens this time instead of just empty running from place to place ending up with a Crystal gained. I mean yeah, that happens too, but at least actual events take place. You see, Terra is still suffering from her mind control problem, which Kefka is all too willing to exploit with the help of the half-naked Cloud of Darkness. (It can't be a fighting game without fanservice.) She is eventually turned into a puppet by the enemy, and during the game you wind up fighting her! Yeah, you're fighting one of the good guys! Its pretty sad that this game has gotten by expectations down that low that this little bit is enough to get me excited. Onion Knight gets a pep talk from Cosmos, and then saves her. It isn't the most complex plotline, but its better than merely passable. This is an example of what the first two chapters should have been like.

I mean yeah, the moral of Onion Knight's story does amount to basically "ignore reason and listen to your heart", but I can forgive even that load of nonsense pseudo-philosophy with a plot this good. Its all balanced out by a few scenes of Kefka acting completely bonkers as usual.

Fighting wise Onion Knight is probably my favorite character so far. He has a nice bit of speed and great air and ground combos. Even better, magic actually can deal some damage this time! Best of all is his aerial HP move, "Comet". You aim Onion Knight's furry of deadly magic meteors, giving you a much better chance of hitting your target. I think its range is a little less than what Firion's HP attack could do, but range is an acceptable trade-off for precision guidance. The only problem I have with Onion Knight is that his Brave combos are incredibly weak, and they don't seem to ever send the opponent flying.

What really makes me happy is Onion Knight's Limit Break. While in EX Mode, he'll change Job Class to either Ninja or Sage (sadly my favorite Job Class, Dragoon, is not included). Previous Limit Brakes had generic systems for pulling them off: spam the O button, hit this combination on the D-pad, the usual. But Onion Knight has this system where you have to enter turn-based RPG style menus and look for the right spell or item to use. Its great to see this game have a sense of humor and parody the difficulty of menu-fighting that this series is all too-often guilty of. Man, I have plenty of horror stories about rushing through the menus to find the write spell and accidently hitting "Death", wasting my turn.

Random battle system complain time: EX Cores. These items will randomly appear on the stage and will boost up your ability to go into EX Mode. However, they appear in random spots, usually very far away from where you're fighting. Its impossible to find them if you can't see them, but the Computer characters can naturally sense their locations. So as soon as Core comes into play, they'll make a B-line for them before you can even react. Usually I'm so focused on fighting that I miss the message. The only times you'll get a Core is when they appear right before you. So the computer will go into EX Mode about twice as often as you will. This wouldn't be a problem against a human, but alas, I'm all alone here. Looking at the comments for these entries proves that fact.

So altogether, this was a much better chapter for me. I'm still not 100% sold on any one character yet, and I have been trying them all out. I just need a few more hundred PP and I can get the last four villains to play as. Next up is Cecil from "Final Fantasy IV". Can his Dissidia appearance prove to be more satisfying than that circus of mediocrity that was FFIV?



  1. Try equipping the booster accessory "EX Core present". You'll get a little icon that glows when one is in the battlefield, which will help until you can easily notice the flash that heralds an EX Core.

  2. Yuan, you're always there to help someone.

    And Blue, the best stories (unsurprisingly) are Terra, Cloud, and Zidane. There is one bad thing. After beating Terra and Cloud, according to your way of play, who MUST do Spuall, and his is an abomination.

  3. Thanks, Yuan. I'll try equipping that Accessory as soon as I find it. In three chapters of playing I've found just about twelve hundred billion Accessories, and strangely no Helms at all. All of these Accessories give such weird sorts of explanations as to what they, like "1.5 When EX Core is in Play". 1.5 what?? I just try to stick with the ones that give nice, simple benefits, like 10+ Attack. Or Phoenix Down, which keeps you alive for a bit.

    Also, I'm not so much afraid of playing as Squall as you might think. I'm dreading FFIV more, in fact.

  4. That's the one, Blue! "1.5 When EX Core is in Play". When it glows, all your boosters are increased by x1.5, so if you have a 10% damage booster, for example, it's now a 15% damage boost. You can get some truly ridiculous boosts (x20!) if you mess around with them.

    As for Helms, you're better off buying them in the Shop. At the beginning, you'll probably be a little strapped for cash, though...