I've been a Final Fantasy fan since I was first given a PSOne, Frogger, Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy IX one year for my birthday. Since that time, I have played all the main non-MMO Final Fantasy games. When this game came out, I had just completed the last one I needed to in the list. I have to say, even if this is mainly a fan game. It is still a fairly competent fighting game as well.
To say this is strictly a fighting game is a little limiting. This game is more about how to use various effects to your benefit. Sometimes spamming HP attacks just isn't enough. The player will have to plan which attack to use when. The player have to know the ranges and the patterns of each attack. In this state, the game is a fighting game. But then they throw things like stats and equipment. It reaches the level of an almost Final Fantasy level RPG element.
The combat is fluid and often times it is very easy to setup an unbeatable combo. Other times, the player will be utterly destroyed by the computer players. The camera also is terrible at times, getting stuck in corners and not showing an ultimate attack coming at you from above. Still, it is incredibly fun to play and each battle is different.
The story in this game has no bearing on the series as a whole but is kind of a prequel and sequel to the first Dissidia game. It tries to pull of a complete storyline but kind of just falls flat. The new additional characters are kind of nice but they should have tried a little harder to select better characters. Tifa was a good selection as we hadn't had a character like her before. Vaan was not and was often the best training dummy I had.
If you are a Final Fantasy fan, I would suggest getting this game even today. It is fun to settle stupid fights like who is better Zidane or Cloud or even listening to Kefka spam the same attack at you a million times. I will never grow tired of hearing TO THE VOID! from Exdeath and Cloud of Darkness is still annoying no matter how good I get at the game. I eagerly await the next game in the series as I have seen news about an arcade sequel to this. I loved this series as a fan of Final Fantasy and of fighting games.