Final Fantasy 012 - Duodecim PSP Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.3
Graphics 8.5
Sound 8.4
Value 8.0
Distributor: UbiSoft
Classification:
PG
Review Date:
May 2011
Reviewer:
Ho Wong

8.2


Final Fantasy 012 - Duodecim

Final Fantasy Dissidia 012 - Duodecim is the prequel to Final Fantasy : Dissidia (FF:D) released in 2009.  As a prequel, it improves a lot on FF:D but still contains some common weaknesses which make this game less than perfect.  It still is a great game, in its own right, with loads of gaming flourishes that will keep the fans of the previous game happy.

Duodecim occurs in the same universe as FF:D - characters from all the different Final Fantasy games are drawn together in a world where Chaos and Cosmos are battling each other, using them as pawns in their eternal struggle.  The characters are tasked by Cosmos with finding their crystals in order to defeat Cosmos.  I won’t go too much into the basic mechanics of the game, as I will be rehashing a lot of what was said in reviews of FF:D, but I will concentrate on the differences.  The original game seriously had truckloads of depth, complementing the battles and Duodecim has everything that made the original so involving plus more.

The story mode, where most people will spend their time, will have you travelling through the new overworld.  The overworld is actually one beautiful expansive area, utilising a behind the character 3rd person perspective and reminds me a lot of FFXII’s Dalmasca with cool weather and lighting effects.  The music, I found, is a great improvement, borrowing familiar themes from FFXII and FFXIII and more. From the overworld, you can enter gates leading to the familiar overhead boardgame-like areas of FF:D allowing you to choose the order of your battle opponents in order to complete the board.

The battles are a noticeable improvement and are as fast and frantic as ever.  Interestingly, the RPG mode is now the default (instead of turning up as an option a couple of hours in) and certainly is an enjoyable and now viable way of playing Duodecim. It allows you to concentrate on strategy, without having to worry on dealing with the often annoying camera or using the right move, as the characters seem to have some contextual smarts in this mode. The arcade mode is still there for the hardcore amongst us.  Characters now can switch “paradigms” (I am borrowing the term from FFXIII, for want of better) where different HP and Bravery abilities are available depending on the paradigm (eg Commando, Ravager, Medic). The graphics have definitely been turned up a notch, with more outrageous effects, especially in EX Mode sequences. The mid-air chase sequences, with the camera mega-zoomed up, and quick-time events still excite.  A new assist meter, that when filled, allows you to call an additional Assist character to come in to help you adds an extra degree of strategy.

The plot of the game is unfortunately again the weakest part of the game, having different disparate characters thrown together and to hope for some sort of chemistry may be asking too much.  The motivation, to help Cosmos triumph over Chaos, is not particularly motivating at all and is hampered by sometimes cheesy, uninteresting dialog. The story does progress at what seems to be faster pace that FF:D, with events of consequence actually occurring.  (This is a marked change from the previous game, where that no matter what the characters said, nothing much happened, and everyone seemed preoccupied with their own thing).  It is also a refreshing change to be able to play Vaan, Lightning, Tifa and Yuna, some of the most popular characters from the Final Fantasy universe.

Duodecim is a worthy prequel to FF:D.  It improves on FF:D and still keeps rewarding Final Fantasy fans allowing them to reenter the Final Fantasy universe once more.  Even though the story itself is still manufactured, it is an improvement upon the original.  The depth of the game allows gamers to get lost within, but it is questionable if the story will keep them motivated.






 
 



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