Kicking off The Gaming Vault’s month of dedicated Dissidia content, we start right at the beginning, with a detailed look at Dissidia’s gameplay mechanics and its battle system. We explain many of the game’s exhaustive features, as well as providing some advanced tactics for more skilled gamers to muse over.
Gameplay features outside of the main battle system will be detailed in later guides.
 BATTLE MECHANICS – THE BASICS
Like most fighting games, the general objective of each battle is to reduce an opponent’s HP to zero. In the case of Dissidia: Final Fantasy though, this is done a little differently.
We’ll start things off with a simple demonstration of the controls, and go from there.
[1.1] Brave Attacks & HP Attacks
Every character in Dissidia has two basic forms of attack… HP Attacks and Brave Attacks.
HP Attacks are single-hit moves which do direct damage to an opponents health bar. You win the fight through reducing the enemies HP to zeros, but this proves difficult without the use of Brave Attacks
Brave Attacks are combo-able attacks that steal Brave Points (or BP) from an opponents Brave bar. The more Brave Points you you have, and the greater the difference in BP between yourself and your opponent, the more damage you can do with your HP Attacks, and the more HP you will remove from your opponents HP bar.
HP is represented by the small numbers, whilst BP is represented by the large numbers.
Traditionally, you can equip a character with three Brave Attacks and three HP Attacks. Passive abilities such as “Ground Guard” and “Air Guard” can also be equipped, allowing you to bolster your defences against different forms of attacks.
– Brave Points controls the tide of battle, and are the lifeblood of victory in Dissidia. Unless you focus on keeping your brave points maximised, you will be easily beaten, especially against another player. The tricky part is that HP Attacks reduce your Brave Points, which means that you will want to keep a careful focus on building up your BP before attacking an opponent’s HP.
– Attacks fall under the categories of physical attacks and spell attacks; the former is focused on close range attacks, and the latter on hitting your opponent from range. They both fall under HP and Brave categories.
– Some characters specialise in close range combat, and some are focused on ranged battle, whilst others fall somewhere in the middle with both. Take each characters’ strengths and weaknesses into consideration when gearing them out, and especially during the fight.
Abilities are divided into two categories; Action (Active), Support (Passive), and Extra Abilities (Misc.)
Action abilities such Aerial Guard and Ground Guard allow you to guard well against oncoming blows from the ground or air. You can also learn abilities that provide you with extra jumps, more speed, the ability to parry moves, or even dash multiple times in mid-air.
Support abilities are passive abilities whose effects are applied just be equipping them. Lock-On, for instance, allows you to lock onto your enemy and keep the camera focused on them, while EX Lock-On which allows you to lock onto the location of EX-Core when one appears on the battlefield.
Extra abilities are bonus abilities that tend to expand what your moves can do. As an example EX Critical Up, increase the chance that your attacks will do critical damage while you are in in EX Mode, while Turn EXP into HP, does just that; instead of gaining experiences during battle, you will restore HP.
Better abilities = more versatility.
[1.3] Stats in Dissidia
Just like the traditional RPGs of yore, your characters will have stats that can be increased in numerous ways – through leveling up, equipping items, and other means.
Statistics in Dissidia included Attack, Defence, Speed, and Luck, as well as Ability Points (AP).
Ability Points are especially important because they allow you to unlock new moves for your characters. They’re the bread and butter of building your character into the precise character you want them to be.
Attack and Defence are self-explanatory stats; they increase your attack and… well… defence!
Speed determines your character’s movement speed on the ground or in the air, and is often the hardest stats to increase.
Luck is a rather basic stat, but useful; it determines how close Ex-Cores (see above) appear to your character, and as a result, the frequency you get to use them.
 BATTLE MECHANiCS – ADVANCED
[2.1] EX-Mode and EX-Burst
Certain items, known as EX-Cores, will randomly appear on the battlefield. These help to fill up your EX-Meter. There are two types of EX-Cores. One-winged, and Two-winged. A One-winged Ex-Cores only fills about half of your character’s Ex-Meter, whilst a two-winged one will fill it completely.
When full, a character shifts into EX-Mode which provides completely different benefits depending on which character you’re playing as. Some characters even go through drastic visual changes.
In this mode, you will be able to activate an EX-Burst, a super-charged attack that does large amounts of HP to your opponents, requiring different button inputs depending on the character you’re playing as.
We’ll elaborate on each character’s Ex-Mode abilities and Ex-Burst attack in their dedicated profiles, which will we present over the coming weeks.
[2.3] Use of Terrain
Terrain will play a big part when planning your strategy. You’ll interact with the environment via running along walls, grinding on railings, and destroying surrounding objects.
– Generally, the character will be proficient in either Ground attacks (that take place while on the ground) or Aerial attacks (that take place while in the air.) Depending on the character, focusing on one of these styles will yield you better results.
– Most ranged physical attacks (obviously) can’t go through walls. Plan out your placement carefully on the battlefield before trying to bridge the distance between yourself and your opponent.
Now, you’re tooled out with all the knowledge you need to play Dissidia well… although we sadly cant provide you with that “skill” thing. You’ll have to find that one on your own!
Tomorrow: We take a look at the Warrior of Light, the archetypal hero of Final Fantasy I who helped launch the now legendary franchise.