Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia (Mobile Phones) Review

Well, here we are, at a point I never thought we'd reach...a review for a mobile phone game on my site.  If it was just some ordinary game, we wouldn't be here.  But here we are.

Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia is not the first mobile game I've played.  I've played a few.  However, it is the first I've felt compelled to write a review for, simply because I really enjoyed it.  Before we get too far, I should make fun of the name.  The Dissidia portion is a reference to the fighting game, which mixes heroes and villains from various Final Fantasy games together in a barely coherent story.  The Opera Omnia part...I'm not sure.  It's silly, but follows the current trend of weird subtitles for JRPGs that has been going on for the past decade or so.  Maybe even longer.

Unlike its fighting game brethren, Opera Omnia is a turn based RPG.  The turn order is based off a character's speed, and reminds me a lot of the system in Final Fantasy X (another good game).  When your turn comes up, you have the option of doing a Brave attack, HP attack, or using one of your skills.  To tie into the Dissidia games, this one also uses a similar system for damage.  A character's brave value is the damage they will do with an HP attack.  So, you want to use your brave attacks to drain an opponent's value while adding to your own.  When it is sufficiently high, you can use your HP attack to do actual damage.

It might sound strange at first, but I like it.  The system provides more strategy that you would think.  If you take brave damage that exceeds your current value, you become broken (no, not like Matt Hardy).  This shifts your turn back a space or more, while giving the entire opposing side a several-hundred point increase.  Plus, you can't do HP damage until you get enough brave back.  I should also mention that using an HP attack sends your brave to zero.  While you need to do damage, you should be careful when you do that damage.  If an enemy is targeting you right after that character's turn, you might not want to use the HP attack, unless it will finish them off.  Otherwise, you may empower your opponents when they strike back.

It's a pretty fun system once you get down a rhythm.  To mix it up a bit, each character has one or two special skills.  They can be heals, buffs, high brave attacks, multi-target attacks, or my favorite, the brave then HP attack ones.  They have limited uses per battle, so you have to decide when it's worth it.  For shorter fights, it's easy to blow the skills as necessary, while you want to be more discerning in their use during multi-wave boss fights.  While I was dismissive of the buffs at first (as I am wont to do), some of them are incredibly useful.  HP/brave attacks may be my favorite, but some of the others are almost as good, and might be more useful in the long run.

As post-battle rewards, you will occasionally gain colored crystals.  These can be used to further enhance the stats for characters, and get them additional passive skills.  Each character needs a specific crystal color, and only that one.  Maxing out their crystal levels makes them a powerhouse, but it does take a lot of crystals to do so.  Just make sure to set those passives.  Plenty of times I have forgotten to do so.  I tried to find at least one good character per crystal type, since I like to do the daily levels for each color (I could take or leave the money one).  They are great levels for the experience, but once you hit 50, they are still great for the sheer amount of crystals you can get from them.

One last way to make your characters stronger is with their equipment.  Weapons and armor have a rank, from 1 to 5 stars, with more stars equaling stronger equipment.  To level those up, you have to merge them with other weapons or special weapon/armor orbs.  If you merge it with another of the same type, it will "limit break" them, increasing their maximum level.  Hey, it's Final Fantasy, you have to have "limit break" in there somewhere.  Each piece of equipment has extra CP, allowing the equipped character to have more passive skills on.  This limit increases when the limit breaks.  Rank 4 and 5 equipment will also give bonus skills to certain characters.  If you fully max out it out (limit break it three times and hit the level cap), that skill is then unlocked for that character, so they can get it without equipping the associated piece.  It's a pretty cool system, but does take some luck, rare resources, or a chunk of money to max out the 5 star weapons and armor.  It can be worth it though!

The game's story is probably the weakest part.  It very much follows the "take all these characters and shove them into a strange world" trope that seems popular with mash-ups like this.  The story scenes aren't bad, they just don't add much.  The characters in them are usually appropriate, but you will unlock a lot as you go through the game, and they cycle in and out who appears in a scene.  There are a few funny scenes, and the characters act appropriately, but it's just not that memorable.  To make it better, you aren't limited in doing most stages.  There is a "stamina" system for a few levels, and the daily stages are limited, but the story stages are not.  If you want to blow through a chapter or two in one sitting, the game doesn't stop you!  I'm glad that a chunk of the game isn't the "play three stages, wait two hours" nonsense that other games have.  Also, only a very few select and rare stages limit who you can bring.  If you want to constantly use Cecil because he's awesome, you are free to do so.  I'm glad the characters don't have silly cooldown timers.

However, another massive plus Opera Omnia has over similar mobile games?  You get all the characters in the story or special events.  There's no random chance to get your favorite characters (and Lightning), just their weapons.  All in all, I like that.  It means you don't have to throw money at the game to get your favorite characters, just wait until they are available, or get to the part of the story where they are unlocked.  Plus, previous event characters eventually come back with permanent events, so if you miss someone great, just wait a couple of months and you can get them (and their 5* armor) at your leisure.

I do have a few other minor problems with the game.  One, the boss fights can be a slog.  Not only do many of them have a lot of HP (it is a JRPG, after all), but they tend to be the fourth or fifth wave of their levels.  I could deal with one or the other, but both together make them longer and less fun than they could be.  They also hit hard, which I would expect, but bosses seem to get a disproportionately large amount of brave for doing their moves.  One last quibble is how some of the female characters are treated.  I can only remember two so far, but Ashe (FF XII) and Celes (VI) have stumbling in some of their attack animations.  You might be able to get away with Ashe, since she is a princess, but they why does "she" choose to use a big, two-handed sword?  Celes is less forgivable.  She's a powerful general, and swordswoman, and mage, and opera singer.  If she just launched a ground wave at the opponent, she wouldn't stumble to follow that up because she's a girl.  I have yet to see a guy treated like this, and I'm frankly disappointed Squeenix did this.  It's not unexpected for Japan, though.

While it's not a phrase I would have thought I would say, I really like this mobile game.  Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia is a lot of fun, and a solid RPG.  I like playing it, making my characters stronger, participating in the daily events, and getting characters I like from the various games.  I would definitely encourage turn-based RPG and Final Fantasy fans to try it out for a few days.  I have yet to spend any money on the game, but have plenty of strong characters, weapons, and armor.  I actually want to spend money on the game because I enjoy it so much.  It's...a weird feeling.

The Good:
Mobile game with lots of Final Fantasy characters, and not many of the limiting traps of free-to-play games.

The Bad:
Boss fights can be a slot, and of course the curse of RNG.

The SaHD:
I like to refer to Cecil's "darkness" skill as "hitting them with the no parents"...thanks Lego Movie

(Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia was downloaded for free on the Android store)

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