Really? I have to type this? Sigh ... "Dissidia (duodecim) 012: Final Fantasy"
Last updated on April 08, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Being something of an avowed "Final Fantasy" fan, I made sure to pick up a copy of the horrendously named "Dissidia (duodecim) 012: Final Fantasy" and have been plugging away at collecting the fan-service ever since.

Rather than a full review let me simply state: If you liked the first one, there's just enough new content (especially in the area of new characters) to warrant a purchase. Also, many things transfer from the first game to the new (though, be warned, this is a prequel), which can give you a leg up on the the massive amount of collecting this game encourages. This has the added benefit of making the 80 or so hours spent on the original a little less painful. But, only a little.

Looking past all of that, and various other issues, what truly tickles my curiosity gland (located somewhere near one's heart cockles) is the horrendous story.

If you've even wondered what it would be like to get a mass of "Final Fantasy" cosplayers into a room and have them write a story, then you might find something interesting about "Duodecim's" story mode. Yes, for a company like Square, which is known and lauded for engaging storytelling, this game reads like inept fan fiction.

The thought had crossed my mind that the problem might be in the translation rather than the original scribe. However, if you've played "Final Fantasy Tactics," "Final Fantasy XII" (let's ignore, for a moment, the fact that the s on the end of marquis is silent) or "Final Fantasy XIII," you know that translating these games from their native language isn't the ordeal it used to be. The PSP re-release of "Tactics" was such a brilliant improvement over the muddled mess of the PS1 original that it was practically a new game.

The problem I see is this: Why even go to the effort of trying to piece together a story for what is, essentially, something made purely to satiate "Final Fantasy" fanboys' fantasies?

How many fighting games (which, at its core, this is) do more than go through the motions of creating a coherent story? Not many. Why? Because they're unnecessary. "Duodecim" would be an absolute, rush-to-the-store must-buy for the "FF" faithful if only it weren't bogged done by endless, pointless, boring cutscenes. Why aren't those cutscenes simply great, heaping gobs of cool action? The point of the game is to foster sweet, action-oriented set pieces.

Instead, we're stuck with a game that tells, within the first half hour of playing that the whole thing is pointless. Seriously, after a game goes out of its way to show you how pointless it is to spend time on it, it takes a powerful addiction to loot 'n' levels to continue on. Luckily, I am one of those with the necessary hunger.

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