|Dev: Square Enix|
|Pub: Square Enix|
|Release: March 22, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p||Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes|
The story mode is fairly lengthy by itself, and if that wasn't enough content for you, Duodecim also includes a revamped version of the original Dissidia story, complete with world map and other bonus content. Though the fighting game genre is typically one that is permeated by multiplayer modes, Duodecim does an excellent job of nailing the single-player experience. The game really feels like an RPG despite the game's battle format, and improving each character's skill set (which varies quite widely) and outfitting them with the perfect gear will certainly eat away hours of your life. And if that wasn't enough, the game has an expansive PP rewards system that allows you to unlock new costumes, characters, difficulty settings, and modes by playing and replaying the game. The amount of things to discover in Duodecim is nothing short of amazing, and if you are a completionist when it comes to the Final Fantasy universe, you can expect to settle in with this one for fifty hours or more.
In addition to the tweaks and expansions made to the story mode, the battle system has been changed since the last release too. The battle system still remains strategic, and relies on your ability to beat the bravery out of your opponent and then finish him or her off with a barrage of high-energy attacks. The game features two control schemes: action and RPG. The action control scheme allows you to use different button combinations to perform high-flying attacks, while the RPG controls are simpler and feature single-button actions that change depending on battle and character context. The action controls are most rewarding, but the RPG controls work well enough if you are trying to blast your way through battle quickly with the simpler controls. But no matter which way you control, the game includes a new team assist element that gives you yet another strategic element to use in battle. Instead of just going for the direct approach to steal bravery, or finishing off an enemy with a few rapid taps of the square button, you can call an ally and divert your enemy's attention while you can get in the perfect position to strike.
Visually, Duodecim keeps up the high standard set by its predecessor. Cutscenes look beautiful, and the new world map is nicely detailed. Although event arenas are plain, the character animation is fast, and when you've got support characters, summons, and all kinds of crazy weapon attacks all firing at once, the lack of background detail is forgivable. Though the visuals aren't perfect, sound in the game nearly is. All of the characters are fully-voiced (even during battle-grid selection scenes) and most of the performances are by very familiar voices. The score is also extremely well done, and the game's main theme is certainly up there with the best of Final Fantasy music.
It's hard to classify Dissidia 012 Duodecim: Final Fantasy as either a fighter or an RPG, as it pulls so much from both of these genres. This burgeoning series is really carving its own path in the video game world, and Duodecim's unique blend of a deep RPG overworld and strategic in-battle gameplay makes it fun, functional, and most importantly, new. Final Fantasy fans the world over will lap this title up, and if you were waiting to see if there was enough content in the follow-up to 2009's breakout title, you'll be more than pleased with the offerings in Duodecim. Though people not interested in Final Fantasy might find the references a little too heavy-handed to enjoy the game fully, Duodecim's gameplay certainly falls into a category all its own, and is enjoyable based on its own merits. Though it's the characters that sell the game, it's the deep RPG elements, unlockables, and battle system that will keep you coming back to the world of Dissidia.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer