This is exactly the game you don’t want to follow up after playing something like Dragon Ball FighterZ. After my demo at Bandai Namco’s booth, I trotted to the Square Enix section next door hoping to find the Secret of Mana remake. Sadly, it was not that, but Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is something I’ve been meaning to try out. Might as well since I now have the chance.

I gotta say, moving from one of the most intuitive and lovely fighting games in a decade into this hodgepodge of slapped together gimmicks is naturally going to leave anyone scratching their heads a bit, especially for fighting game dummies like myself.

I will say that Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is lovely. Team Ninja, the developers behind the game, has created some fine character models that bring fan-favorite characters to life like never before, but behind all that beauty, this game is an ugly beast. During my fifteen minutes with it, I was unclear of any objectives that I was supposed to be aiming for. I never figured out how properly operate different attacks, and the game’s useless and ridiculous UI covers a third of the screen.

And yet… my team won three times after the match randomly ended no indication as to why, and I even scored the MVP rank once by just mashing a charge attack. Maybe I was playing against people who were equally confused.

From what it seems, combat grants you a strong attack and a normal attack, and your job is to go after whoever pops up in your targeting system. Combos, special moves, blocking, nothing you use in normal fighting games can be put to proper use here. Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is about timing, using a light attack or charging a huge blast at just the right moment to get a single hit in.

Aggressive fighters, like myself, will want to charge in and slash away, but you might need to back off and slow your style to a halt if you want to contribute to a win.

That’s the best way I can describe it.

It seems like a broken mess, something you can’t learn over the course of 15 minutes. It’s a shame too because I like the PSP games, and I appreciate how they try to do something different with an arena fighter. Grinding along the rails, flying through the air, balancing the ebb and flow of offense and defense. Those were sweet games.

However, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT feels like it had to make too many sacrifices from the PSP games to put it on modern consoles, and the whole it comes off as flat and basic. The levels are small, the clever obstacles have been stripped out, and overall, it feels like those strong points were sacrificed at the expense of making prettier character models and flashier spells.

My guess is that it could be a lot of fun if you jump in with a group of people who know what they’re doing. This series has a pretty strong following. and the arcade even has conventions so players can meet up in one place. There has to be something here you just can’t uncover within 15 minutes.

For that reason, it’s worth checking out and further exploring. There could be a gem of a fighting game here if you polish your skills enough. Just be prepared to do a lot of polishing and to find friends willing to sink that same dedication into it.