Overlong title aside, Dissidia: Opera Omnia is probably the fairest and least gated free to play RPG on the mobile market with one of the highest levels of production quality. Square Enix have has a hit and miss love affair with the mobile space and freemium titles in general for some time now, and whilst titles such as ‘Final Fantasy: Record Keepers’ and ‘Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius’ have been out longer, there’s little doubt that this is the most polished offering they’ve produced.
Now you’re probably thinking that this review is a little late to the table, with the game having been released some time ago, but it’s vitally important to remember that MBU has always aimed to review games in their most complete state, and with Dissidia having now passed its central narrative’s final chapter (but not the end of support and content), it seems to be the best time to put our seal of approval on it. Yes, this was a game designed to advertise the FF themed brawler of the same name, but it’s in no way a lacking title and it totally deserves the attention of long-time series fans, providing outstanding fan service.
Graphically the game uses a single art style that it applies to all characters across the series history, creating 3D models and environments as well as applying this to 2D illustrations. This is a massive vote in the games favour as it lends a sense of unity to the games eclectic cast and makes it feel like a single director is employing a vision rather than just a grab-bag of assets. Menus are clean, clear and well made for touch-screen application and the fights have an epic scope that show off a lot of the series’ regular monsters and more famous bosses in a similarly done style. Whilst some of the characters do look a little squat, usually those from more realistically proportioned games originally, those that started life as sprites or early 3D really benefit from the new look.
Audio is well presented, with remixes of classic tunes used to genuinely excellent effect. Many of the pieces sound fantastic, and whilst an orchestra has clearly not been employed (it’s synth all the way) the arrangements are vivid and engaging. Sound effects are a good mixture of classic FF sounds and reactions from voice actors (whilst not being fully voiced) that gives everything a polished feel. It would have been nice to see a few original arrangements, but with the nature of the title being a remix of classic themes the selection of tracks makes sense and is well employed.
As with most mobile titles for long-running series, the game finds an excuse to merge together a cast of faces from across the length of the series history. Impressively, this also includes such fringe titles as ‘The Crystal Bearers’, ‘Final Fantasy Tactics’ and ‘Type-0’ among others, adding faces some may not immediately recognise. The story sees groups of heroes and villains pulled into a new land by two warring gods, there to do battle to save it. Guided by a Moogle, the player controls the rag-tag group of heroes and the narrative finds fun ways to bounce the characters off of one-another. It helps that they have all been pulled from different periods in their own adventures (with some characters from the same game having future knowledge others do not, for example Kain and Cecil from FFIV come from a point where Cecil is still a dark knight and Kain hasn’t betrayed him yet whilst his best friend has the hindsight and regret of knowing the whole story) and it never gets old seeing the series staple womanizers hit on new faces. Zidane asking Tifa if she likes plays is a high-point of this, characterising the fun that can be had with the premise. Writing is of a high standard and it never gets dull as the main bulk of the story (told in visual-novel style interludes) manages to have a good dramatic pace, padded by optional content to flesh out character interactions.
Gameplay is split between three basic modes. Exploration of a large hex-based map that unlocks with each battle fought and reveals chests and new passages (alleviating the grind that games focused on combat can bring). Story is told in vignettes with a visual-novel flair to the presentation that range from comically amusing to deadly serious and usually last about a minute at a time, able to be re-watched by entering the same hex on an endless loop, leaving combat to do most of the heavy lifting. Combat is turn based and breaks attacks into two forms; those that target Bravery and those that target HP. Bravery dictates the strength of your attack and the shield you may have against incoming blows whilst HP fits a more traditional pattern for RPG fans. Balancing the two or depleting an enemy’s Bravery entirely is key, and the latter leads to a break effect that can open up otherwise massively powerful foes. Your party is a choice of any 3 characters that you’ve collected and these are dished out through special events and in-game chapters, never from blind pulls, making the game feel very generous in its style. They level traditionally through play to 50 (or higher) and can be skill levelled to 50 as well, through the use of coloured shards you can earn through missions every day. The only gattcha moments the game presents are in item draws, with many weapons and armour available of 1 to 3 star quality and these able to be levelled through fusion, but a focus on prioritising a character’s specific weapons and armour from their game to them for added bonuses. Cloud is always Cloud, but he’s not as powerful wielding a Gunblade as he is his Buster Sword. The game also allows for Summons that can be levelled in their own way through item gathering and quest management, and this combines into a powerful package for micro-managing the party you choose. Battles mix things up too, with some characters immune to certain kinds of damage or quicker to destroy with characters suited to their type. Gunners and archers are perfect for flying foes but suck at armoured machines for example. It all mixes together into an attractive package that feels generously boosted with regular events and optional content, whilst telling a self-contained story that nods to other games in the series.
Overall, Opera Omnia is a fine game that shows a level of quality Square Enix can bring to the table when they homage and pay tribute to their history rather than scavenge and spoil it (Record Keepers has potential plot spoilers for all the games it covers for example, ruining games you’re yet to play and jumbling up art styles between them). We strongly recommend that you download this title and give it some attention today.