Father and son do battle.
Our visit to Square Enix included a four-match demonstration of Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Taking the reins of Cecil, I battled Squall, Firion, Zidane, and finally Garland.
Round 1: Squall
The first round introduced me to the basic mechanics of the game and the two main forms of attack. The circle button attacked my opponent's break, reducing the amount of damage he could deal and increasing the amount Cecil dealt. The square button, meanwhile, attacked Squall's health, causing the actual damage needed to win. There was also a simple jump and block command available.
Cecil himself started out in Dark Knight mode. As far as I could tell, switching between Paladin and Dark Knight modes occurred randomly, though I'm sure there was some sort of method I was unable to figure out. As a Dark Knight, he had a terrific, long distance break attack, but a weak damaging attack. His attacks seemed to be fairly powerful, but didn't have too many hits. The Paladin, on the other hand, was very combo-oriented, slashing wildly with a sword.
Defeating Squall was quite easy, and it was on to the next round.
Round 2: Firion
This round introduced a new mechanic, EX mode, which was a lot like a limit break. Unfortunately, I was never quite able to get the hang of how it works. It's activated by holding the block button and pressing square, and it can be used to launch an incredibly powerful ultimate attack. I managed to pull it off once during the demo, but not in this fight. Firion was just as easy as Squall, until I got him down to low health at which point he started running away like a pansy. Once I finally caught up to him, it was on to round three.
The Onion Knight
Round 3: Zidane
Fighting Zidane made me very sad, as he happens to be my favorite Final Fantasy character. Sadly, he was not an available choice for a playable character in the demo, so I was forced to beat the tar out of him in order to proceed to the final battle. This round introduced some movement commands using the triangle button. By holding the block button and pressing triangle, a dash move was used in order to quickly close the distance between myself and my opponent. Likewise, in certain spots a small symbol appeared over the ground. Pressing triangle activated an area-sensitive movement ability, in this case wall-running. Cecil could dash up a wall to get to a higher ledge.
Zidane took slightly longer to beat, but he still went down fairly quickly. Only one opponent remained.
Round 4: Garland
This final round was unquestionably the hardest of the four, and took much longer to conquer. Garland was fast and hard to deal damage to, so it took a while to wear him down using the skills I had learned in the previous matches. The battle was truly epic, and far removed from anything seen in a typical fighting game. In fact, the game feels much more like an action RPG than a fighter.
The fight was a close one, too, as at one point he was able to remove all my break points. I had zero while he was sporting over a thousand! However, I made a comeback and ultimately emerged victorious. The entire fight had a truly epic feel to it, and was a ton of fun.
That's where the demo ended, but I walked away knowing a lot more than I did. Keep your eyes open for an official review closer to the game's release.