I've always been a person who likes to grind in single player games (but never gets it done ^^;). When I first heard of FF:Dissidia, I thought it would just be another crap game that's trying out a new mechanic that wouldn't be enjoyable. Games from series tend to be like that if that branch off from a genre that they originate from.
So I decided to just give it a shot, since putting all the FF series together in one game has been a childhood wet dream of mine. KH didn't really do it for me (only FFVII and up) but it's still a good game that made me a little happy, but a little sad since I can't use any of the FF characters.
So enter FF:Dissidia into my PSP. I wasn't expecting much, but I was quickly hooked once I figured out how the battle system works and slowly the ability to customize each and every character. Of course, I mentioned I liked to grind and so yeah, there are actually levels and AP in this game. For those unfamiliar with what AP is, it's basically points used to master a skill equipped by your character.
The game mechanics are relatively simple once you start noticing the numbers popping up on the battlefield. Each character have two main stats on the field, mainly Brave and HP. Brave Points are those big numbers on top of your HP bar at the bottom of the screen. Exactly HP numbers are located in a small font at the bottom of the HP bar.
Just like there are two main stats, each and every character in the game have two main attacks, namely HP attack and Brave attack, with HP attack being the square button and Brave attack being the circle button. Like what it means, Brave attack attacks the opponent's Brave and HP attack attacks the opponent's HP. However, Brave attacks also increases your own brave points, so to simplify everything, Brave attacks essentially absorbs opponent's Brave points and place it into your own Brave points.
Finally, to make sense out of both attacks, your HP attack damage is exactly the same as your brave points. After you execute and hit (keyword is HIT), your brave points will drop to 0 and slowly regen to your base Brave Points.
"Breaking" is a mechanic whereby if you are being hit and your brave points goes below 0, you will enter a "Break" status. Before that happens, your opponent will be rewarded with brave points equal to the number right at the bottom center of the screen between both your hp bars. How this number is generated is still beyond me (the japanese might know already tho -.-). In a "Break" status, you will slowly begin to regen to your base Brave before everything if normal again. In this mode, if you hit with your HP attack, you will completely restore you from the Break status, but you will do 0 damage.
Here's a brief image overview using my inferior photoshop skills:
There are more mechanics in the game but these are the basics that will get everyone started with the game.
Now we come to characters. Every FF from FF1 to FF10 have their main character and villain in the game based on jap translation and what I already know:
FF1 - Warrior of Light
FF2 - Firion
FF3 - Onion Knight
FF4 - Cecil
FF5 - Bartz
FF6 - Terra/Tina
FF7 - Cloud
FF8 - Squall
FF9 - Zidane
FFX - Tidus
FF1 - Garland
FF2 - The Emperor
FF3 - Cloud of Darkness
FF4 - Golbrez
FF5 - Exdeath
FF6 - Kefka
FF7 - Sephiroth
FF8 - Ultimecia
FF9 - Kuja
FFX - Jecht
Also to note, there is a 'hero' from FFXI named Shantoto (a Tarutaru race character) and a villain from FFXII named Gabranth.
This game also features online play (duh). Although you can handicap your level to match your opponent, the skills you unlocked for that character will still be available.
FF:Dissidia is also aware of the time and date set in your PSP. There are events generated onto some dates where you will get special bonus (like EXP modifier) for the entire day. This is perhaps to encourage people to play the game at certain dates.
I find it nice to listen to battle themes I remember from all the FFs, espacially the FFIII boss fight and FFV Gilgamesh battle theme. Most of the themes are recreated for the game, and some are reused from previous concerts (FFVII's One Wing Angel theme was reused from the FF Orchestra that happened a couple of years back)
From a spectator point of view, the fights looks like the scenes from recent FF games and movies (Crisis Core and Advent Children); alot of flying, hits and stuff like that.
Overally I think it's a surprisingly great game. Too bad it's in japanese. Alot of things I don't know or couldn't be bothered to translate, but if you are a hardcore FF fan, this game is highly recommended =)