So everyone. I decided a quick blog was in order for Dissidia NT. To anyone on my friend feed, you will be very aware of my negative first impressions towards this game.
The game grew on me, through chance and another thing small thing you wouldn't expect, but that I think could help out a lot of games. My Initial Gripe with Dissidia NT
So I started Dissidia NT last week, having never played a Dissidia game previously. I am aware that NT is quite different to the previous entries in the series (more fighting, less RPG, 3v3 etc). I immediately ran into bad design choices.
The story mode is gated through an offline gauntlet mode, which means that you cannot progress the story without jumping out into a complete different mode to grind for a bit. You need to have 2 AI with you for the 3v3 battles and the AI are terrible due to being low rank (you need to grind offline to raise the quality of your AI partners).
Now... grinding up your AI wouldn't be such a bad idea, if it weren't for the fact that it is painfully slow as only the character you control gains experience and there are lots of characters. Not only that, but while playing with or against low rank AI the game is unenjoyable and very frustrating that you are being forced to grind just to continue the story.
On top of that, the story is 5 different routs of what seems to be the odd fight split up by boring and uneventful cutscenes.
In an effort just to finish the game and trade it in, I decided to blast through one story route to reach the end. This only led to more annoyances as you discover you need to do at least 2 routes and the last part breaks the rules of the story progression up to that point.
Needless to say, I was pretty unsatisfied with the game and this led to the comment on my friend feed, berating Dissidia for everything it could have been. What Changed?
As most of you know, it is very rare that I have access to decent internet. There was no exception while I was playing Dissidia NT and when I put it in there was the standard day 1 patch for modern games. This patch was 2GB and my internet reckoned a time of 16 hours to download. Of course, I opted for playing the game without installing said patch. After all, it isn't like the majority of patches make a huge difference... right?
As it turns out, this patch was a day one patch based on the feedback from the beta, in which everyone was complaining about how ridiculous the grind was in order to get anywhere. The patch made it so that AI got experience from fighting as well and that no character could be more than 1 major rank below the best character (e.g. I you have a platinum character, every other character has to be at least gold)
The result of this is that an unnecessary and unenjoyable grind that could have easily been upwards of 50 hours, was reduced to a manageable amount. Allowing the story to be accessed a bit faster and the AI to make for more enjoyable combat in a lot less hours put in.
Once I learned this I decided I would actually just clear the story routes and get a bit more out of the game since I no longer had a ridiculous grind in front of me. Summon battles
As I progressed through the game, I got to do some summon battles, which IMO are much more fun and engaging than the AI fighting 3v3. The summon battles do not play like a fighting game. Rather they play like MMO bosses with Dissidia combat mechanics. Your two AI play the role of your raid team and they get better the higher their rank is.
These fights were actually pretty enjoyable and I ended up clearing all single player content as the second half of the SP is essentially summons. I do wish they would have indicated that summon battles were a thing earlier, which could easily have been fixed by not gating the story content.
I would actually love to see the summon battles from this game on a grand scale with a much higher difficulty, but also with the ability for human players to control every team member to take the challenge on! Afterthoughts
My thoughts now are that due to the patch and taking the summon battles into account the game is much better than I first thought.
On very rare occasions I have been known to go from disliking a game to loving it. That hasn't been the case with Dissidia as whilst I think it is a much better game, it still has it's fair share of issues and the gating story mode with an entirely different mode is still annoying.
In the end, summon battles were actually good fun and it is just a shame a lot of people won't pay much attention to that content. I ended up doing all of the single player and trying a few matches online where the connection permitted.
Online play is definitely a focus for this game where you can enter alone or as a team of 3. The online is better than playing against the AI as with a decent team you know your two team mates are actually assessing the situation and playing accordingly, whereas the AI do their own thing regardless (of course, you get some players who might as well be AI
The majority of the trophies are online and for the most part these are fair for the typical person who will play this game a bunch online. The major exception is A++ with the characters as this relies on your team being bad, rather than you being particularly good. Still, I never consider trophies in my vies on a game, this is just an aside. The Patch
In some ways, I really appreciate the fact that the devs actually took the feedback from the Beta and fixed it in a day one patch. It shows some self awareness and made the game better for everyone who bought the game and had a decent enough connection to never play without the patch. I actually think a lot of games could be improved quite a bit with a patch to tweak some things and it doesn't happen often enough.
On the otherhand, it bothers me that we have entered a world where games are so haphazardly put out, because at the end of the day the mentality is that a patch can fix it if needed. Bit of a catch 22, but I think in this case the patch definitely saved the game. Final Summary
Post patch, this game really picked up some steam. I had a decent time with it. The online is good, but due to my connection I will be stopping at the point I have reached. If the patch did not exist, I am certain myself and many others waouldn't have played long enough to appreciate what the game has to offer!
I still don't think this is a great game. It has a lot of small issues and design choices that hold it back from being everything it could be and much of these are so fundamental that no patch will fix it.
I'm not sure what rating I am going to give it, but rest assured it will be a fair bit higher than the 1.5 stars it was going to get from my pre-patch, pre-summon experience. What I would definitely say is that this is the first time something as simple as a patch could end up increasing the rating by up to 2 stars!