This is a special version made for the media experience, the content may vary from the final version.
We had the chance to play an exclusive demo of Final Fantasy XVI, and it’s definitely fantastic. Although the test was a bit short, it gave us an idea of what this installment will offer and the reasons why it will be one of the biggest releases of 2023. Here are our impressions.
Final Fantasy XVI is the revolution that the franchise needed
Many times, Square Enix has said that one of its biggest challenges in recent years is to develop titles as long-lived as the Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest franchises for the new generations, because young people seem to find the classic style boring. the RPGs. For the same reason, Hiroshi Takai and Naoki Yoshida turned to Ryota Suzuki for the part of the action.
Suzuki worked as the combat manager on titles like Devil May Cry 5, Dragon’s Dogma and Marvel vs Capcom 2, and was the perfect piece to deliver dynamic, fierce, explosive and highly addictive battles. In Final Fantasy XVI there are 2 main types of fights: in which we control Clive and in which we are an Eikon, and both fields are equally fascinating.
Clive’s part has a lot of depth, because there is a very extensive skill tree that allows us to improve skills and movements. In addition, our protagonist can control some of the Eikons’ techniques, and we can vary and use the one we like the most and the style that best suits our way of playing. This allows us to make an amazing variety of combos and chains.
We only got to try out one of the Eikons’ battles, but it was enough to show how well done they are. Our main fear was that they would feel slow and the monsters heavy, but it was the opposite: they are fast, adrenaline pumping and a visual delight. Despite the fact that Clive’s combat seems a bit more worked and complex, the Eikons’ one promises to be incredible and surprising.
Skill trees include Clive’s and Eikons’ moves
Final Fantasy XVI is one of the first truly next gen games.
The Xbox Series X | S and the PlayStation 5 came out a little over 2 years ago, and although they have given us amazing titles, many came out for the last generation, and almost none have harnessed the full power of their respective houses.
Final Fantasy XVI is a game that allows us to clearly see the power of the PlayStation 5, since everything looks beautiful and impressive, especially the cinematics. The best thing is that the transition between the videos and the combat and the rest of the gameplay is almost imperceptible, which keeps the rhythm of the game fluid.
Another detail is that the settings look incredible, each element has very clean textures and the lighting is superb. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to play in open or very diverse environments, but the castles and fortresses we explored looked wonderful. The characters have excellent animations and facial movements that at times made us think we were watching a movie.
Finally, the technical performance of the game is outstanding, and even the development team told us that it will improve with the final release, so the combat will always have a great rhythm and maintain 60 fps, which will make it even more attractive. The fights don’t have a lot of opponents on screen, but the Eikons are huge, so you can see that it was a difficult task.
Every move looks amazing
Final Fantasy XVI knew how to take its inspirations to innovate
Playing through it, we realized that Final Fantasy XVI drew inspiration from other hack n’ slash and action titles, and it’s clear that Suzuki took what he learned in Devil May Cry and brought it to the table. Still, there are details that make it a unique delivery, and the partial result is a brilliant balance between inspiration and innovation.
Most notable is the assistance system. In many recent games, we are given the opportunity to choose the difficulty, which is commonly “easy, normal, hard and very hard”, and this has been repeated so much that it seems like a regular standard. However, Naoki Yoshida and the other developers came up with a cool alternative.
Instead of proposing this or an assist system, in Final Fantasy XVI there are tools and items that we can acquire to make some tasks easier or lessen the level of challenge, but without treating us like fools or making us look weak. For example, there is a ring that allows our canine companion to activate automatically, or another that allows us to make combos more easily and without activating so many commands.
The best one, and where Final Fantasy XVI could have the biggest impact on other installments, is one that activates just when an opponent is about to hit, and what it does is slow down time so that we press R1 and avoid the impact. This moment is brief, so it doesn’t kill the flow of the combat, and even makes it a bit more dynamic, because they are quick time events but they take between 3 and 5 seconds.
We played with these options on and off, and while it does reduce the difficulty of combat, it also adds to the fun. Even though sometimes we don’t need it, we just wanted to. These types of variants are exceptional, because they modify the combat a bit but not the enemies or us. That is, it does not reduce the health of the opponents or their strength or increase our life.
Best of all, the game notifies us that they exist, tells us what each accessory does, and it’s our decision to use them. If you decide to activate them, rest assured that instead of holding hands and doing a whole walk in the park , it will help you but without underestimating you, which is how difficulty modes should work.
a necessary change
Final Fantasy XVI is the perfect entry for first-time fans
As usual, this title will tell a story independent from that of the other installments, and will even introduce us to a completely new world. That, along with combat that’s been severely tweaked to be more appealing to new audiences, makes Final Fantasy XVI enjoyable for anyone, no matter if they’re a fan of the franchise.
Naoki Yoshida himself told us that it can be intimidating for some people to see a game with 16 in its name, because it will make them wonder if they need to play the other 15 to understand or even enjoy it, but that’s not the case. If you are a fan of action, adventure, fighting and hack n’ slash games, Final Fantasy XVI will almost certainly be to your liking, so we recommend you check it out.
In case you are a lifelong fan and have doubts about whether you will like this installment due to its changes, do not worry, because it will still have many classic features of the saga. There will be various RPG elements to enrich and extend the experience, but we didn’t get to see them. It will also have a strong focus on story and characters, similar to the medieval and fantasy style of the early games.
In fact, it will have up to 11 cinematic hours, in the words of Yoshida himself, which will mean that combat is not the only pillar of the game, but also recharges a lot in its history. Each of the main characters has a heavy, context-filled backstory for us to sympathize with and understand their motivations and backstories, and if there’s one thing about Final Fantasy, it’s its impeccable storytelling.
These aids are even fun to use
The version we played was with Latin dubbing, which is very nice. We only listen to Clive, Cidolfus and Benedikta, but José Ángel Torres and especially Carlos Segundo and Betzabé Jara do a tremendous job.
On the composition side, Masayoshi Soken really shined with his work; it’s just amazing. At times we had to stop to appreciate the beautiful music he created for this very special game, and although the franchise has always stood out for its soundtrack, this time they stood out.
The demo we played was made specifically for the presentation we went to, so the end result will be different, but that little taste left us wanting to play a lot more and get fully into the world and characters of Final Fantasy XVI. This franchise is a very special one, and while it’s had some ups and downs recently, its future looks bright.
In the presentation of the game, Naoki Yoshida told us that the 4 main pillars of this Final Fantasy are: narrative, characters, quality graphics and battles, and it seems that each one is perfectly covered.
Thanks to a very passionate team full of fresh ideas and the desire to put the saga on top; Final Fantasy XVI promises to amuse and fall in love with longtime fans and those who are just going to stick with the franchise. It should definitely be on your radar for the most exciting and relevant releases of 2023.
Finally, we have to clarify that this is a special version made for the media experience, the content may vary from the final version.
FINAL FANTASY XVI © 2023 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.
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