One of the most anticipated titles for the PlayStation Portable this year is Square Enix's Dissidia: Final Fantasy. The game brings together stars from all of the main titles in the Final Fantasy franchise in one, big free-for-all where the victors will decide the fate of the world. For North American fans, the waiting ends in two days.
To celebrate Dissidia's upcoming release, we've put together a little primer on the characters that comprise the game's playable roster. Today we have Part 2 of a two-part feature where we focus on the representatives of the last six Final Fantasies (you can read Part 1here), so dig right in. Be warned, however: spoilers abound.
We kick off the second part of this QJ special with spiky-haired, Buster Sword-wielding Cloud Strife, arguably the most iconic and well-known Final Fantasy protagonist in the franchise's history. In Dissidia, Cloud's character has already moved past the events of Final Fantasy VII, meaning he's no longer a second-rate Zack Fair wannabe. His attacks are powerful, as suggested by the sheer size of the weapon he carries, and Dissidia's devs have stated that they made Cloud most suitable for the more casual players. That's understandable, seeing as he's most likely the one character even those not really into Final Fantasy would first recognize.
Following Cloud into the Dissidia universe is another Final Fantasy icon -- the One Winged Angel, Sephiroth. Sephiroth follows Cloud's character design by wielding another impossibly proportioned sword, Masamune. Unlike most of the villains in the Chaos camp, Sephiroth doesn't really seem to care one whit about controlling or destroying the world. He's just there to constantly and continually mess with Cloud, goading him into fights again and again. Kinda like a kid in grade school who doesn't know any other way to get his crush to notice him but by being a jerk. Haha, I kid, I kid.
Squall Leonheart is Final Fantasy VIII's representative in Dissidia's heroes roster. He comes equipped with his trademark Gunblade, which in my opinion is one of the cooler weapons ever introduced in the Final Fantasy franchise. As in Final Fantasy VIII, Squall is still a loner in Dissidia. Again like VIII, players can also tap the R button during his trademark Renzokuken's multiple hits to increase the attack's damage.
Dissidia's villains roster features two hot women. We already saw one back in Part 1 of this special feature, and the other is right here in the form of Ultimecia, the time-traveling sorceress who loved to possess others in Final Fantasy VIII. Ultimecia possesses great magic power and brings them to bear against her enemies in Dissidia to further her plans of world domination. Be careful of this one if you're playing as a more up-close-and-personal kind of fighter since as with the magic-users in Dissidia she specializes in ranged attacks.
Tantalus Theater Troupe member, master thief, and self-proclaimed Casanova Zidane Tribal is the lead character of Final Fantasy IX, so it makes sense that he's the one representing the game in Dissidia. He's also a breath of fresh air in the Final Fantasy franchise since he serves as a welcome break from the emo-ridden leads in the two previous Final Fantasy titles before IX. It was very welcome to me, anyway. Zidane's thief skills lend very well to fighting with speed and dexterity, so those who prefer to run rings around their enemies would do well to master his mid-air combat skills and fancy footwork.
In contrast to Zidane's happy-go-lucky nature, Final Fantasy IX bad guy Kuja is a cruel narcissist who thinks he's far superior everybody and everything. When he finds out that he's mortal, that he's gonna die somewhere down the line, he also turns into a total psycho. I'm convinced that he wasn't really all that sane to begin with anyway. Come on, look at that codpiece he's wearing and try to tell me that there's nothing wrong with this guy. Did you look? I'm sorry, but you can't unsee that now. He might share some outward similarities with Sephiroth in terms of looks but Kuja isn't much of a physical fighter, relying instead on flashy magical attacks.
We've seen brothers in this list before, so let's take the family relationships to the next level with the father-and-son tandem (albeit on opposite sides of the battle) from Final Fantasy X. Fighting for Cosmos is Tidus, Blitzball player extraordinaire and walking dream. No that, last thing doesn't imply that he's dreamy, he's literally a dream given form, although in his character design puts forth a much wilder aura compared to his appearance in DissidiaFinal Fantasy X. He's a star athlete so it's a given that Tidus is physically fit. In Dissidia, his Blitzball skills manifest in him being one of the fastest attackers.
Standing over on Chaos' side looking like a total badass is Tidus' father Jecht. In Dissidia, Jecht is a returner in the struggle between Cosmos and Chaos. He was originally on the side of the good guys, but ended up on Chaos' team in this particular war. Bit of a nod there to Final Fantasy IX, where Jecht fought to save the world before being turned into another core for Sin. Jecht shares some similarities with Golbez in that he's not really a bad guy per se. He's also the most visibly older character in the game and has the distinction of being one of the very few Dissidia villains to focus mainly on physical attacks.
For the final two characters in the Dissidia roster, we turn to a pair of entrants from two separate Final Fantasy titles. Representing Final Fantasy XI and rounding out the heroes' side is Shantotto, a famous professor of magic. Shantotto is an extra character in Dissidia so she doesn't really serve any purpose in the game's storyline aside from being one of the heroes who fought for the side of Cosmos in the past, but her magic attacks are still fierce enough to be of use to players who prefer ranged combat. Plus, she's like tiny, which combined with her speed makes her a rather hard target to aim at.
The armor-clad Judge Gabranth essentially serves as Shantotto's evil counterpart in Dissidia. Just like the latter, Gabranth doesn't really have any impact on the game's main storyline since he's an extra character. He was also present in a previous battle between Chaos and Cosmos, helping out the bad guys at the same time Shantotto was in Cosmos' roster. Gabranth is not a character for newcomers to use, since there's this restriction on Gabranth's moveset that forces players to really strategize and carefully time their attacks if they want to emerge victorious playing as him. Definitely not for the button mashing set.
That's it for our two-part Dissidia: Final Fantasy character roundup. The game is officially out on August 25, so all you North American gamers don't have to wait too long to try out all these characters. Happy gaming, folks!