Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia Scratches an RPG Action Itch

While Dissidia Final Fantasy NT focuses solely on the fighting aspect of the franchise, the RPG aspects live on in Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia. A mobile RPG, Opera Omnia aims to blend Dissidia’s unique gameplay mechanics with a more traditional Final Fantasy battle system. With a full-fledged campaign, a roster of iconic heroes and a cutesy art style, can this mobile spin-off capture the essence of Dissidia Final Fantasy?

Much like previous Dissidia games, Opera Omnia deals with dueling deities that have warped time and space to create their own world where they pull in warriors from various realms to do battle. Of late though, torsions have been opening around the world, allowing deadly monsters to pour in. To push back the darkness streaming in, Materia tasks the Moogle, Mog, with rounding up warriors of light to push back the tide.

The campaign is lengthy, containing multiple chapters of varying length. While the plot and themes aren’t as deep as a traditional Final Fantasy game, what’s here is enough to provide an incentive to keep playing. The main purpose of the campaign is to collect various Final Fantasy heroes and there are a lot of them to find.

A total of 28 characters launch with the mobile game and the roster isn’t copied and pasted from NT. While there are cross-over characters like Cecil, Cloud and Zidane, seventeen of them are not from the PS4 title. It’s nice getting to play as characters like Yuffie, Vivi and Shadow, who have yet to appear in a mainline Dissidia title. It’s not a perfect roster with some mainline titles being underrepresented (II, X), or flat out not being represented at all (XI, XV). There’s also no way, at this time, to add villains to your roster of characters.

Square Enix has made the act of playing the game rather simple. Players will navigate a world map made up of different grid spaces. While the majority of these spaces are empty, the rest is occupied by different visuals. A text bubble initiates a cutscene, a text bubble next to a character head initiates a quest to unlock a new character, a silver knight head represents a battle that progresses the plot, a green knight head is an optional battle, and a gold knight head represents a boss fight. It’s easy to navigate and engage in battles.

Regarding combat, Opera Omnia blends Dissidia’s unique Bravery system with Final Fantasy X’s Conditional Time Battle (CTB) system. Much like the CTB, each character’s order in combat is dictated by their speed the player can issue commands and during a player controlled character’s turn. Opera Omnia’s CTB doesn’t have as much depth as Final Fantasy X’s as each character only has a limited set of attacks when compared to the mainline title.

Opera Omnia makes up this lack of depth with the Bravery system. Characters earn Bravery by attacking enemies and lose some when attacked. When using an HP attack, the amount of Bravery earned is expended to take a chunk of health away. Once that Bravery is used up, however, any character, whether it be one of your fighters or an enemy, are susceptible to a ‘Break.’ A Break occurs whenever a character or enemy is attacked and Bravery drops below zero. At this point, the character is at their weakest and unable to deal any HP damage. Figuring out when to use a Bravery or an HP attack is important and provides some depth to this mobile title.

While Opera Omnia succeeds when it comes to delivering a solid gameplay experience, it fails in providing a proper user experience. Like other gacha games, leveling up is fragmented into traditional levels and RNG collectible levels. Characters level up traditionally by winning battles, but they are also strengthened through crystal levels, which is done by infusing them with different colored crystals obtained randomly through playing the game. Considering there are 28 characters in the game and six different crystal colors that are shared between the characters, players are going to have a tough time ranking them all up. The crystal levels force players to pick and choose their favorite characters rather than trying out different ones, which is especially annoying when your favorite character might not join the party till later in the game. It’s just disappointing there isn’t a straightforward path to leveling up the characters.

As a free-to-play game, Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia does feature microtransactions and Loot Boxes. Called Draws, players trade Gems (premium currency) in exchange for a chance to earn new weapons and gear. No characters are locked behind a paywall. During our playtime, Gems dropped like candy. They’d be handed out for watching a cutscene, beating matches, completing challenges and logging in daily. It’s important to note, however, that Square Enix can change drop rates at any time. How fair Opera Omnia’s microtransactions are won’t be clear until well after launch.

Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia may not be like previous Dissidia games, but it works in its own way. More RPG than the mainline games, Opera Omnia scratches an itch that the fighting-focused games can’t. With a full campaign and quick-paced, yet fantastic gameplay, Opera Omnia can hook players with its large array of content. The fragmented leveling system feels unnecessary and it remains to be seen what microtransactions will look like once the game properly launches. For now, though, Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia is a mobile RPG well worth checking out.

Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia is scheduled to release on iOS and Android devices January 30, 2018.