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APFFRT 4 Round 1: (2) Final Fantasy XIII-2 vs. (31) Dissidia Final Fantasy

APFFRT 4 Round 1: (2) Final Fantasy XIII-2 vs. (31) Dissidia Final Fantasy – August 22, 2013 11:46 AM (edited 8/22/13 7:46 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
The final matchup of round 1 comes between two of my favorite recent FF games. Dissidia not only consumed all my free time for a good month or so, it really helped bring me back to playing the series almost exclusively. Hell, it made me like Squall. FFXIII-2, on the other hand, is largely notable for its ending. In fact I don't remember either of these games starting off with a real bang, so anything can happen here.

Game 1: Visuals
Dissidia is a very pretty game, and pulling off the feat of making every FF character look visually consistent is a nice trick. They did this by basing the characters on Amano's original art, which can be a bit strange since some of them look little like their in-game sprites - in Cecil's case, his paladin form isn't even using the same weapon type! The battle arenas are a bit sparse, which is necessary for the style of combat. They are meant to evoke certain areas from various games, but are only partially successful in this. Overall, the game is attractive but there's obviously a lot of graphical re-use going on.

FFXIII-2 has nice graphics, but it's lacking in the variety department early on. Valhalla is a bleak place lacking any real color, and New Bodhum isn't much better at night. All of the combat graphics are neat, but they're kind of extraneous. The new character designs are also all over the place. Lightning's armor is fine, but Serah's new outfit is as out of place as her old one, and Noel is one pair of giant shoes from being a Kingdom Hearts character. I do like Caius's look, even if his sword is pretty blatantly Nightmare's Soul Edge.

Neither game has particularly inspired graphics, but Dissidia has a much wider variety early on. Seeing classic FF characters in 3D is fun, whereas seeing characters you already know in slightly different outfits is kind of not.
Dissidia Final Fantasy leads 1-0

Game 2: Audio
Playing Dissidia 012 earlier in the APFFRT, I found it hard to remember why I got so into Dissidia. Well, this game reminded me of one big reason: the music. Every battle arena has music from its game (or maybe that's based on enemy), and it all hits my nostalgia bone hard. The voice acting isn't half bad, either, even if some characters are a bit annoying. The various battle callouts and sound effects really sell the whole thing. This is a game where a battle feels like what it's supposed to be, if that makes any sense.

I am not a fan of Lightning or Serah's voice acting, mainly because of their personalities. Lightning is just female Cloud, whereas Serah is somehow both the heroine and a damsel in distress at this point. I mean, that's exactly what she was in FFXIII, so it's kind of inevitable. It does eventually change, but not this early. On the other hand, Noel and Caius are great, Caius in particular. He just has a great voice for a villain, and can deliver patently ridiculous lines as if they were totally cool. On the other hand, FFXIII-2's music is nothing to write home about, nor does it have any particularly noteworthy sound effects.

This one is tough because, nostalgia aside, FFXIII-2 might be better. It has the better voice acting, though not by a huge margin. I have to go with Dissidia, though, because the music is just so good. I spend so much time enjoying the sounds of Dissidia, while I spend nearly as much ignoring the sounds of FFXIII-2.
Dissidia Final Fantasy leads 2-0

Game 3: Combat
Dissidia's combat is excellent, and the game does a pretty good job explaining it quickly in a series of prologue fights. I'm not sure they've mentioned blocking yet, oddly enough. I could talk all day about the various movement abilities and whatnot, but the real brilliance of the combat system is the bravery and HP system. I've written long forum posts about how much I love everything about this system, so I'll spare you here - but suffice to say, it's pretty good.

FFXIII-2 does a much better job than its predecessor of opening combat mechanics early. You start with the Sentinel role and can paradigm shift as soon as you start to fight with Serah and Noel. However, most of the intro is spent as Lightning, whose combat has a lot of options but not much strategy. Provided you remember to heal when weak, it doesn't really matter which crazy attack you use. There isn't a whit of strategy here until you have to start shifting to Ravager+Commando to kill things faster, and even that is pretty lame with so few abilities.

FFXIII-2 hasn't even introduced most of its good combat mechanics by this point, let alone made them shine. I don't have a tamed monster, half of the roles, or even the ability to change my paradigm setup (as far as I can tell). In comparison, Dissidia combat is awesome right from the get go.
Dissidia Final Fantasy leads 3-0

Game 4: Advancement
Dissidia has a ton of point systems and I don't know what they all do. Story points appear to give you story abilities like Cure, as well as bonus PP. I have no idea what PP does. Exp levels you, which results in learning more abilities. CP, which may be static (but affected by gear?) lets you assign these abilities, which means a ton of character customization is available, even as far as fighting style. Gear all has a massive effect on basic stats, a la FF Tactics, another touch I like quite a bit.

To this point I haven't advanced in FFXIII-2 at all. I'm not even sure if I've gotten any points, or that's a system that's introduced later, but the Crystarium menu might not even be active yet. That's... not a good sign down 3-0.

Dissidia wins this one by default. FFXIII-2 just doesn't start fast enough to keep up.
Dissidia Final Fantasy wins 4-0

Conclusion
I love FFXIII-2, but it starts very slow. You don't even get to play as the actual main characters for 20 minutes. The opening storyline is great, filled with lots of portent and a couple of things that take on entirely new meaning the second time through, but mechanically it's just not that interesting. What is interesting is that this is technically the biggest upset of the tournament - although seeding Dissidia 31 is a bit misleading.

That concludes round 1 of APFFRT 4. Round 2 will begin... when I get around to it. Things have been super busy at work and FFXIV comes out this weekend, so I'll be busy getting guide info up for that. It could be a while before this resumes. Sorry!

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: APFFRT 4 Round 1: (2) Final Fantasy XIII-2 vs. (31) Dissidia Final Fantasy – August 22, 2013 3:05 PM (edited 8/22/13 11:05 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Wow, this was pretty surprising. I'd say FF13-2 is better than FF13, so to have it knocked out so quick is a shame. Even more of a shame is that if FF13-2 one just a single one of the first 4 rounds, it probably would have won the whole thing if it got to the story based rounds.

Re: APFFRT 4 Round 1: (2) Final Fantasy XIII-2 vs. (31) Dissidia Final Fantasy – August 22, 2013 3:16 PM (edited 8/22/13 11:16 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Yeah I was thinking the same thing. It definitely wins for story, and almost certainly for characters since I love Caius so much. World would depend on my mood and how I felt about depressing end of time locations, but that probably would have won too. But them's the breaks!

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
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