Yup. This video game.
Illustration: Square-Enix (Wikipedia)

We’re six months down the line, how fares Square-Enix’s foray into the arena brawler genre?

Playerbase

The game had a lot of arguments going against it - 3v3 means you need 6 people to start a match, or Bots have to creep in somewhere. That and delay-based netcode for a 6 player match made for a very unenjoyable experience if, say, someone was playing on Wi-fi which drops packets like no tomorrow.

pretty much
Illustration: i did it, to my own regret

While the connectivity issues were never fixed, they eventually released a ranked matchmaking improvement patch that sought to bring players closer together to try and have full matches as well as matches that would drop less connections. This seems to have functioned properly, but unfortunately dedicated servers as a solution has been written off the tables. Perhaps for a NT 2.

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Earlier on, it was feasible to have Ranked matches that were 1 player and 5 bots. This seems to have been fixed with the latest Ranked Matchmaking improvements patch making the experience much better at this point in time.

The playerbase is somewhat alive, but a lot of the higher ranks hide on Discord and play in lobbies.

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eSportssssssssss

Always with a hiss because I can’t stand ‘em. Dissidia as an eSport isn’t dead, but you can’t really claim it’s popping either. It has a hard time in offline tournament settings as every set-up requires 6 consoles and 6 monitors, which most offline events not catering specifically to them would not have. Still, there has been efforts by Level Up series in their Wednesday Night Fights in partnership with Square-Enix for the Dissidia NT Master series, who’s last tournament was on June 13th. You can catch that here. No news have surfaced as to whether or not this will continue, which I guess will depend on how Square-Enix intends to support that scene going forward.

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The ESL has been doing a lot of weekly online tournaments both in the US and Europe, and rumblings on the subreddit and twitter are always there. If there’s competition, it means people want to play the game so that’s always a plus.

Balance

Where the game has a problem is here, as is often the case in these types of games. The balance in and of itself is fine if it isn’t too stringent as the 3v3 format allows for teammates to cover for weaknesses and a lot more strategies to help with underpowered characters. There also seems to be good diversity on builds, and since you can have triple clones if you really want to, that’s always a good thing.

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Poor dude.
Screenshot: Dissidia NT

Where the game has problems is with its underperforming characters. When releasing NT, they overnerfed certain characters (namely, Golbez) to try and prevent certain strategies - In arcade, it was a common sight that they would target the Golbez player to remove his Shadow Dragon, then leave him alive as killing him would grant it back. Now, this has been removed and it is on a shared timer with his EX Skill, which resets if he loses the dragon. Meaning, it is entirely possible to lose your EX Skill if you take damage at the start of the round. In addition to Binding Cold (his actual EX Skill) being blockable, and it’s a recipe for disaster. They are currently doing reworks to certain characters that were introduced when the Arcade just started such as Warrior of Light (who received his about a month ago, I believe) and Terra, who’s had her rework announced and revealed, but it has not yet made its way into the players’ hands.

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The real problem is with summons. In Dissidia NT, you have a choice between six summons determined by a vote in the team. The problem is that Shiva covers so many bases in terms of being a good Active summon and having one of the best passives in the game that you’ll often see Shiva and nothing else. Other summons have what it takes but just need extra things to make them good, and then you have Alexander. His active summon tracks but is easily avoided, his Defense bonus is negligible and there’s just better choices for everyone.

Price of Entry

I don’t think I could have found a weirder face, but whatever.
Screenshot: Dissidia NT

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The game has been on sale for quite some time, often with Amazon deals that knock off the Steelbook edition’s price by 10 bucks, and it seems to have received a permanent price drop as well. This was likely done to bolster more people to pick up the game. Here’s the deal though - They keep releasing more content (Stages are free, but characters are paid) and they seem to have removed the Season Pass from circulation (Note: this is only in certain countries, and there are workarounds if you use the Playstation Store from your browser).

You see that bad boy up there? Gotta pay if you wanna play. Which kind of sucks because he’s genuinely fun and arguably one of the best Assassins in the game.

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If you’re a player, are you still enjoying the title? I personally am, but I’m interested in hearing your opinion.