The story begins with Zidane and Bartz deciding to have a race to see who can find their Crystal first, and the two head to the Land of Discord. Though Bartz approaches the contest with enthusiasm, Zidane has doubts about their progress but keeps them to himself. When the two find a Crystal, Bartz runs for it, and vanishes. Kefka, still angered that he lost all chances at getting Terra back on the side of the Warriors of Chaos, appears and Zidane attacks him, demanding to know what has happened to Bartz. He prevails and Kefka tells him Bartz has been teleported to enemy territory, and he will never find him. Behind the scenes, the Crystal was a trap laid by Kuja, who had intended for Zidane to be caught instead of Bartz. Zidane blames himself for Bartz's abduction, but vows to find him and turns direction to the south to find a teleport stone to the Land of Discord.
Zidane heads through a gateway, and in Ultimecia's Castle spies Squall preparing to battle Ultimecia and Garland. Zidane tackles Garland aside and berates Squall for showing off, offering to fight Garland while Squall faces Ultimecia. The two win, and Squall claims his Crystal as Garland departs and Ultimecia fades. Zidane tells him Bartz was captured, and the two set off to find him, following a golden light from the chocobo feather good luck charm Bartz gave Squall to find the teleport stone. At the gateway guarding the stone, the two run into Bartz, who has managed to escape Chaos's forces and shows them a Crystal he stole while wandering their territory, declaring himself the winner of their contest. Zidane reaches for the Crystal to examine it, and a bright light envelops him. As the light fades Zidane opens his eyes to find himself at the Chaos Shrine, Kuja appearing before him: the Crystal Bartz found was another trap that spirited Zidane to him. Kuja tells Zidane he wants to test him as one who shares his fate, and see if Zidane's spirit breaks as he realizes he is powerless to protect his friends. Kuja vanishes to leave Zidane alone.
As Zidane explores the Land of Discord blaming himself for leaving his friends helpless, Cosmos appears to him and encourages him to keep fighting, telling him to believe in his friends. Zidane agrees, rationalizing they won't be defeated as easily as Kuja thinks, and runs off to fight his way back to them. Entering a gateway that blocks the path to the other teleport stone, Zidane runs across Kuja again, who asks if loneliness has become intolerable for him. Zidane tells him he believes in them, and asks if Kuja feels the same about his own friends. Angered at being associated with "those animals," Kuja attacks Zidane. Zidane emerges victorious and claims his Crystal, but asks Kuja why he doesn't trust others. Kuja says he feels this way because Zidane only clings to his friends to cover his own helplessness, and refuses to listen to his words as he fades. Zidane's Crystal glows and floats away, and as Zidane runs after it he is teleported back to Bartz and Squall, thinking he can face down any hardship to get back to the place he belongs.
A Straight Chain at C3 can chain the four enemies, the +1 KP emblem doubling the winnings to 32 KP. Enemies in Zidane's tale use accessories that greatly boost their damage output when their Bravery is at its base value or higher.
Assist Character - Bartz
Bartz: Don't go stealing a treasure that I find because you're faster than me!
A Multichain at C1, C3 or D4 will chain four enemies in various ways, but this is not the way to earn the most KP. The +1 KP emblem at E4 allows the player to chain the three battle pieces there without needing to use up a chain skill, earning 18 KP. The player can then move to A2 and chain the two remaining enemies without a chain skill for an additional 4 KP. This earns a total of 22 KP, as opposed to 17 KP for chaining the four enemies with the Multichain.
A Jump Chain at D4 will chain four of the enemies present, missing the Hard Battle Piece at E1. If the player still wishes to chain four enemies but lacks a Jump Chain, they can defeat either the Strange Battle Piece at C4 or the Normal Battle Piece at D3, then move onto the Booster x5 emblem at C3 and use a Cross Chain to chain the remaining four enemies. A Multichain at E4 can also chain four enemies, in this case missing the Hard Battle Piece at B3.
A small glitch occurs during the introductory cutscene: After Zidane challenges Bartz to a race, "Terra's Theme" from Final Fantasy VI plays, while in the original Dissidia, "Mambo de Chocobo" from Final Fantasy V played instead. The reason for this glitch may be due to "Mambo de Chocobo" being used during Dissidia'sData install while Dissidia 012 uses "Terra's Theme" during the Data install - presumably when the tracks were changed a programming oversight lead to "Mambo de Chocobo" being replaced with "Terra's Theme" in both circumstances.
Zidane's position on the world map will change with every Gateway cleared, meaning in no case can you clear Gateways, then backtrack for map chests.