Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia is great JRPG fan service [Game of the Week]

Dissidia Opera Omnia combat

I’ve always wanted a turn-based RPG that lets you create and customize a party made up of characters from all of the Final Fantasy games.

With Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia on Android and iOS, I’ve finally gotten my wish.

In the free-to-play mobile game, the world has been torn apart in a battle between two deities, the benevolent Materia and the hate-filled Spiritus. To help turn the tide of the war, each god calls forth champions from other worlds — champions you may recognize as fan-favourite heroes and villains from various Final Fantasy games.

It’s a hackneyed set-up, to be sure, particularly given that it’s basically the same plot as the first two Dissidia games on the PSP, only with Materia and Spiritus replacing Cosmos and Chaos, respectively. Narratively, though, it does tie in to the recently released Dissidia Final Fantasy NT on the PlayStation 4, adding some incentive to play both. (Stay tuned for my review of the console game next week.)

Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia characters

That said, this is all just an (admittedly solid) excuse to bring together well-known characters from the Final Fantasy series, like the Warrior of Light (the original Final Fantasy), Cecil Harvey (Final Fantasy IV), Terra Branford (Final Fantasy VI), Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII), Zidane Tribal (Final Fantasy IX) and Tidus (Final Fantasy X). 

Opera Omnia also features many Final Fantasy characters not seen in previous Dissidia games, like Rydia from Final Fantasy IV, Shadow from Final Fantasy VI, Zack from Final Fantasy VII, Vivi from Final Fantasy IX and Auron from Final Fantasy X. For me, one of the biggest draws of the game is anticipating when and how each of the series’ characters will pop up next.

As is the case with many of the games these characters are from, Opera Omnia focuses on turn-based combat, this time using a party of three Final Fantasy characters of your choice. However, in ditching the traditional HP/MP system, Opera Omnia uses the Dissidia games’ hallmark Bravery mechanic instead.

Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia Zidane combat

Characters have two different kinds of attacks — Bravery and HP. The party and enemies all have a Bravery count, which can be reduced by performing Bravery attacks. The higher your Bravery is, the more damage you can deal with an HP attack. The catch, though, is that performing an HP attack will drop your bravery count to zero.

This can be dangerous, as dropping a Bravery pool below zero will “Break” a combatant, greatly increasing the attacker’s Bravery count while leaving his foe in a stunned state. Both players and enemies can take advantage of this system, so it’s important to keep track of whose turn is next and plan your moves accordingly.

Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia Cloud Cross-Slash

To encourage a team dynamic, having multiple characters attack the same enemy can trigger a Knock Back, allowing the party to take turns stylishly pummelling an airborne foe to deal extra damage. Throughout all of this, characters can also use special moves pulled right out of their games, such as Cloud’s Cross-Slash Limit Break, Tifa’s Beat Rush Bravery attack or Zidane’s Stellar Circle 5 Trance ability.

To further add to the great fan service, Opera Omnia will occasionally use some of the fantastic music of various mainline Final Fantasy games during key moments of the game. Hearing Final Fantasy VII‘s stellar battle theme play during Cloud’s introductory fight had me grinning and humming along right away.

Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia Warrior of Light

It’s also worth noting that so far, Opera Omnia has also been rather lax in its push for microtransactions. The game doles out new equipment, abilities and gear-enhancing items rather consistently, especially through daily login bonuses and mission completion (such as getting a character to level 10) and timed events. As a result, I haven’t ever felt required to use real money to buy in-game currency, with in-app purchases instead serving as a nice optional method of gaining resources more quickly.

While Opera Omnia‘s story may be trite and filled with clichéd dialogue, I still find myself eager to keep on playing to see which new characters I’ll meet next, as well as to further build my party with new equipment and abilities. For a massive Final Fantasy fan like me, Opera Omnia is a well-made love letter to series — one that I plan to take with me on the go for quite a long time.

Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia is now available on Android and iOS.