Final Fantasy Dissidia Duodecim is an unusual fighting game in of itself, in that it’s a weird RPG/fighting hybrid. Instead of just climbing through the ranks via numerous battles in a 2D arena, these fighters have actual RPGing to do. There’s an overworld to explore, game boards (think checkers) to traverse and pick your fights, potions to collect, Limit Breaks to achieve, weapons and accessories to buy, and experience to be gained. Instead of teaching yourself button combos, you learn different abilities as your characters level up, just like one would in an actual Final Fantasy game. So in the end, the guide has two jobs: offer strategies for each character you battle and inform you how to max out your character.
Even though this strategy guide really does its best to fill both of these positions, its overall page layout detracts from finding any of this information efficiently.
By the time I received the guide, I had already gotten through about the halfway point of Scenario 012 and was ground instantly to a halt. I thought I would have to level grind to get further, but I also hoped that the guide would offer some strategies I hadn’t thought of, such as certain accessories or tips as to what the manikins and boss would do in battle. At the very least, it would have a suggestion for what level I needed to be. Most of these assumptions and/or hopes were wrong.
For starters, no level suggestions are ever given. If you look at the screenshots provided, the guide writers had their characters at level 100 for each level in the main story. I suppose that if I cared to level up my characters all the way up to level 100 I could soar through the levels as well, but I just wanted to minimalize my way through, even if it meant working hard. Sure beats the method of level grinding in this game. So when I saw the lack of suggestions for levels, I was enraged. After I calmed down, I took note of the chart that listed the enemies with their levels, and took those numbers as level suggestions. These are the same numbers you can easily find by scanning your game board, but by having the list in front of you, you can see what levels you should be thinking of before you even enter the board.
It was at that point that I realized what was really bothering me: while each page depicting each board holds a lot of information, the layout of the page hinders one from finding what they are looking for efficiently (save for the map of the board).
In addition, since the print of the text is so tiny, it forces the user to pick up the book and read instead of finding what they want at a glance. For a fighting game, that can be a little annoying for the user, unless the user is only using the guide when he or she fails a particular battle.
Other than this layout issue, the guide is packed full of all the information you never thought one little game would ever have. There are the usual charts of armor, items, accessories, and summons, just as one would expect. There is also a full PP Catalog (not unlike the fat volume JCPenney would send to your parents and grandparents) that lists everything one can possibly buy with PP and how much it costs. There is also a full listing of all the game’s Accomplishments–not that anyone really cares, I mean, unless they’re official Trophies, I doubt many will really try to get them all, but that’s my rambling two cents.
The most impressive appendix to me is the list of all the Moogle mail you can receive over the Mognet. The sender, letter contents, your reward for receiving the letter, and how you get the letter are all carefully explained. This is not for 20 or so letters; this includes hundreds of seemingly insignificant letters that consists of branching letters and chain mail. If the writers didn’t get this info directly from the developers, then God bless them for finding each one.
Despite all of this information, the guide completely lacks one feature that was advertised on the back cover:
Discover the best ways to power level your heroes, advance their abilities, and earn items.
I read this guide cover to cover, and I found no such information. As one who hates level grinding, I would have loved to have found these tidbits. Not sure if this was an oversight on the back cover design or if something got omitted post print, but it was still a huge disappointment.
All in all, for those who really want to get all of the RPGing out of Final Fantasy Dissidia Duodecim as humanly possible, then this guide will not disappoint. If you’re looking to just burn through the game, then the strategy guide will offer you little assistance. All of it is helpful, but not as meaningful for your purposes.
SGR Rating: 4/5
Authors: Phillip Marcus and Elizabeth Ellis
Editions Available: Paperback
Acquired by Publisher