‘Closing Fantasy XVI’ hands-on gameplay preview: Flip-based not

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Closing Fantasy XVI is able to drag the well-known RPG collection from Sq. Enix into the longer term. Or, at the least, a future the place everybody agrees that Satan Could Cry is superior.

After taking part in a pair hours of the most recent entry within the 35-year-old franchise and speaking to a few of its creators, I got here away equal elements fascinated and impressed. Sq. and the builders at Artistic Enterprise Unit III have made a lightning-quick, overstimulating motion recreation that’s attempting to please each followers of the style and individuals who favor a extra conventional and tactical Closing Fantasy expertise.


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It’s a hefty order to carry these two usually disparate audiences collectively, but when the small slice of Closing Fantasy XVI I performed is any indication, there is likely to be actual meat on this bone.

The Closing Fantasy XVI demo expertise

Though its preliminary trailer debuted two and a half years in the past, you’d be forgiven for not fairly figuring out what sort of recreation Closing Fantasy XVI truly is. In any case, it is a collection that continually reinvents itself; XIII was nearly fully linear, XIV is a large on-line recreation, and XV was an open-world journey.

The tiny bit that I performed may also help shed some gentle on that individual challenge. Whereas the builders assured me that there will likely be loads of time for exploring giant expanses within the new fantasy realm of Valisthea, Closing Fantasy XVI shouldn’t be an open-world recreation like its predecessor. The sequences I noticed had been fairly linear, with a tiny little bit of latitude to discover facet rooms for objects.

Right here’s a rundown of how the essential fight in FFXVI works.

Combo-ing via a fort

Dodge and counter.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

The demo began with our protagonist Clive Rosfield, his trusty hound Torgal, and a lightning magic-infused homie named Cidolfus (who goes by Cid due to course he does) hanging out in a fort dungeon. Their goal: Discover a prisoner, get to the highest of the fort tower, and get the heck out of there alive.

Proper off the bat, the largest change from earlier Closing Fantasy video games is that you simply solely immediately management Clive. You may challenge some easy assault and heal instructions to Torgal utilizing the PS5’s directional buttons, however Cid and every other social gathering members you meet all through Clive’s journey will act on their very own throughout fights.

The excellent news is that controlling Clive is an entire lot of enjoyable. He can mash out primary melee combos, sprint, soar, and use a seemingly large number of magic talents he’ll unlock all through the sport. These talents are tied to Eikons, mystical demigods that seem within the story (which I received’t talk about right here as a result of the demo didn’t give me a lot to debate). Clive can equip as much as three Eikons at a time, and every Eikon comes with a number of flashy talents, two of which Clive can map to face buttons for simple entry in fights.

Final Fantasy XVI equipment menu

You’ll spend plenty of time equipping new gear and skills right here.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

Whereas the fundamentals of fight are easy sufficient to know for anybody who’s performed an motion recreation like Satan Could Cry, the exact tuning of FFXVI’s fight is what made it work within the demo I performed. Home windows for canceling into and out of assaults are pretty beneficiant, whereas timing a dodge simply proper offers you a quick Bayonetta-like second to counterattack. Touchdown massive hits feels highly effective, and the Eikon strikes add visually resplendent animations to the combination. 

For sure, unleashing a large combo that features livid claw swipes, flaming chicken wings, and a weighty stone fist slam on the bottom feels fairly superior.

And for individuals who aren’t used to this sort of recreation, there are non-compulsory equipment to equip that may make the sport simpler. One among them considerably lengthens the period of time it’s important to dodge assaults, whereas one other will robotically bang out sick combos with only one repeated button press.

Bossing round

Final Fantasy XVI boss fight QTE screenshot

Oh yeah, there are quick-time occasions, too.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

Towards common enemies, these mechanics come collectively as they do in every other motion recreation. I used to be capable of simply spam my biggest talents till every room within the fort was clear, swiftly dodging and teleporting (a nifty Eikonic energy) across the gloomy, darkish gray environs. In boss fights, nonetheless, it’s important to use your mind a bit extra.

As a lot as you possibly can, anyway. Bosses in FFXVI are aggressive, leaving little room for tactical planning with out pausing the sport. Your aim in opposition to bosses (and a few stronger regular enemies) is to deplete their stagger meter by well dodging, attacking, and parrying each time you possibly can, which requires you to diligently research assault patterns. As soon as it’s all the best way down, the boss will sit nonetheless for a couple of seconds, permitting you to wail on them.

FFXVI skill tree screenshot

Get able to dump factors into new abilities.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

The bosses I fought, which included two winged sentries in a fort chapel and a significant story character on prime of the tower, had a ton of well being to work via. Staggering is vital not solely to cease the aggression, however to present you an opportunity to truly inflict actual harm. You’ll have to handle your capacity cooldowns so every part is prepared for this stagger window, supplying you with most harm output.

That is clearly a unique sort of rigidity from what you’d get out of a traditional, turn-based Closing Fantasy recreation. It’s much less about rigorously planning out a tactical struggle and extra about studying and reacting to issues that occur in a short time. Determining which of your many Eikonic talents do essentially the most harm to any given boss will likely be key, however largely it’s nearly staying alive and choosing your spots to do harm.

How Closing Fantasy XVI is attempting to make you like motion video games

FFXVI Ring of Timely Assistance screenshot

The “Ring of Well timed Help” will assist out individuals who have bother dodging.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

Reality be informed, I don’t know but whether or not or not individuals who favor the extra deliberate fight in older Closing Fantasy video games will choose up what XVI is placing down. Nonetheless, after talking to a number of prime creatives on the sport, together with producer Naoki Yoshida (you might know him as Yoshi-P), predominant director Hiroshi Takai, and fight director Ryota Suzuki, I can at the least see their intent: To get individuals on the motion recreation bandwagon.

In contrast to a lot of the different individuals engaged on FFXVI, Suzuki isn’t a Sq. Enix veteran. He solely simply joined the corporate after 20 years at Capcom, engaged on video games like Dragon’s Dogma and (you guessed it) Satan Could Cry 5. Suzuki informed me he needed to take a unique strategy to designing fight for a giant RPG like Closing Fantasy.

“In [DMC5], you wish to have battles which might be fashionable. That’s a very powerful factor,” Suzuki stated. “An important factor for Closing Fantasy XVI is that you might want to make a system that’s accessible to a lot of various kinds of taking part in types…that wish to be extra technical, fashionable, and for gamers that, once more, should not too into motion.”

The flexibility to unlock and equip an enormous quantity of various talents is, in that sense, for the followers who care deeply about character growth and customization. The builders on the occasion in contrast equipping totally different Eikons to altering a personality’s class in an older FF title. 

“We can not alienate [longtime fans]. You want one thing that’s going to maintain them engaged as properly,” Takai stated. 

FFXVI Ring of Timely Strikes

And the “Ring of Well timed Strikes” is for individuals who have bother with combos.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

Alongside related strains, these equipment that make the sport simpler are supposed to be like coaching wheels for motion recreation newcomers. Equip the dodge timing one and you continue to should press the button; you simply have extra time to do it. In different phrases, even essentially the most action-averse gamers must truly play the sport. There are just a few nifty in-roads to make that simpler for them.

Yoshida, who acted as producer on this recreation whereas additionally carrying the burden of being accountable for Closing Fantasy XIV, expressed curiosity in attracting new followers who’ve by no means performed a Closing Fantasy earlier than, too. Like each Closing Fantasy, this one stands alone narratively, so that you don’t have to play the others to get into it. 

Nonetheless, Yoshida understands that it’ll take nice phrase of mouth to promote this recreation to skeptics, and it’ll take loads of traditional Closing Fantasy vibes to promote this recreation to the day-one crowd.

“We don’t essentially want all people to play the sport on day one. We wish these individuals [who do] to get so excited that buzz goes out and it will get individuals excited for this recreation,” Yoshida stated. “We’ve to have sufficient Closing Fantasy really feel within the recreation to verify these gamers [who play at launch] should not solely excited as a result of it’s an amazing recreation, however excited as a result of it nonetheless appears like Closing Fantasy.”

And for motion recreation veterans, the sorts of people that have a eager eye for infinite combo alternatives, I’ll simply depart you with one thing Suzuki (who I’ll remind you labored on a number of the biggest motion video games in latest reminiscence) stated.

“I believe what I’ve created in Closing Fantasy XVI is the best motion recreation that I’ve ever made,” Suzuki stated.

Massive phrases, certainly.

Closing Fantasy XVI launches on PlayStation 5 on June 23.

It is a particular model made for media to expertise, and contents might differ from the ultimate model.

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