It has been a good week for betas, with the Dragon Ball FighterZ beta finished, I was able to focus some of my attention of the Dissidia Final Fantasy NT beta. Originally released as an arcade game in Japan, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is making its way to Western shores in the form of a Playstation 4 exclusive. I was pretty disappointed during its initial announcement when I found out it would be an arcade Japan exclusive, so when it was announced as a PS4 release I was very excited.

The problem with writing this preview is that Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is a hard game to describe without playing it for yourself. This beta has been pretty lengthy, running for a handful of days, giving plenty of players the opportunity to check it out. Most of my time was sunk into the online matches after I completed the training.

Each match is conducted with teams of three. Unlike other fighters/brawlers though, all three characters are on the field at the same time, and each is controlled by a player (or AI in offline modes). Dissidia Final Fantasy NT isn’t for the faint of heart. There is a lot going on in each match, and there are more intricacies to learn that I’m sure weren’t on display in this demo.

Players have two things to keep an eye on, bravery and HP. As players attack and deal damage, their bravery goes up, and as players take damage their bravery is reduced. Once a player runs out of bravery, enemies can begin taking down their HP. Since bravery can be brought back up, running out and having some HP depleted doesn’t mean the end, and the fight can still continue. Some fights end up being a game of cat and mouse while trying to recover bravery with attacks while trying to avoid enemy onslaughts.

As a big fan of Final Fantasy XV, I probably ended up playing as Noctis a little more than I should have. I’ll branch out more once the full game launches, but I saw a lot of uniqueness from different players I was fighting side by side with. Some characters were more nimble and could avoid my attacks and create large distances between me and them in order to recover, while others were able to withstand my attacks more easily.

Before each fight, move sets can be changed as well. When I played as Noctis I favored a longer range Poisinga attack since a lot of his moveset was close range. Another ability I could have swapped out for Poisonga was an ability that allowed players within range to recover some bravery. Since it was a beta, these abilities were limited, but I have a feeling there will be more in the full game.

The biggest difficulty I see with Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is the learning curve. This isn’t another fighting game, this is a fighting game that will take a lot of time to learn and master. I don’t mean to imply that fighting games like Injustice and Street Fighter don’t take a lot of time to master, but this simply is a different beast. The 3D fighting plane bring on an element that we don’t see in a lot of arcade fighters which might explain the initial Japan only arcade release.

Because each character’s fighting style is so unique it’s not going to be something players will be able to learn in a few weeks. Each character feels so innately different that while similar, each character almost feels like a new game. Using each one for a few days will be the only way to learn which one I would be the best with and enjoy using the most (despite my affinity for post Final Fantasy 8 characters).

The best thing about Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is that it brings something new to the table. I’d be much less interested if it was in the same vein as Injustice and Mortal Kombat (let’s be real, I’d still buy it), but the 3D plane and hack and slash aspects bring something fresh and innovative to the fighting genre that hasn’t been seen before. I’m pretty stoked for the January 30th launch date, and am looking forward to diving into the full game more when it launches exclusively for Playstation 4.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT will be available January 30th for Playstation 4.