Not for a sixteen year old
written by Reference Denian Franken op
Final Fantasy games have always been suitable for a relatively young audience, thanks in part to themes like teenage love and friendship. In Final Fantasy 16, the thorn is different: here we encounter lynchings, lecherous characters fighting each other, and Chocobos who fall victim to bloody attacks. The game looks for the darkest corner of the fantasy genre and it is not as good as we expected from the series.
The version of the game we played in this preview was compiled specifically for the media. Therefore, certain parts may differ from the final version of the game.
Final Fantasy 16 takes a drastic new direction, but we already know that. For the first time in the series, the game will have an adult age rating for players 18 and older. We can already notice this change in tone from the trailers, where we are, among others Seeing a minor child stained with blood. In addition, producer Naoki Yoshida recently made some great statements about the game. in Recent interview For example, he publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with the term jrpg. So the producer doesn’t hide the fact that he wants to get further from this game than where Final Fantasy is located, according to him. For example, he drew inspiration from Western fantasy media such as Game of Thrones and God of War.
The result is a very different kind of Final Fantasy than we’re used to, according to a four-hour hands-on session with the game. Of course, Final Fantasy games are always different from each other, but this time the difference is very clear. The storytelling elements and atmosphere are so dark and sultry that when you see a Moogle fly you can just wonder what this cute creature is doing in this game.
It soon becomes apparent that Yoshi-P has ordered his team to take a closer look at Game of Thrones. The setting of Final Fantasy 16 – a continent called Valisthea made up of six nations on the brink of war – breathes the dramatic politics of George R. R. Martin’s stories. His influence can be found in even the smallest details, from the distinctive one-liners (“I lion you”) to a character clearly derived from House Stark’s butler Hodor.
The strange, almost Witcher-like content in Final Fantasy 16 makes the game almost unrecognizable compared to previous parts in the series. Although we often dream of being far away from existence in the fantasy world of Final Fantasy, Valisthea makes us long for a sliver of light among a black curtain of death. After a barbarian snaps a Chocobo’s neck to send the innocent beast screeching to the ground, we know for sure: the roots of this world are deeply rotten.
Gore, insults, and intimate scenes make Final Fantasy 16 a shocking spectacle, but it also has us on the edge of our seats. So the game takes a long time to set up the story and the accompanying political intrigue. During the first few hours of the game, we get a comprehensive look at the childhood of main character Clive Rosefield through flashback. He is the eldest son of the Archduke of Rosaria, a nation west of Wallisthia. While many residents of Rosaria predicted that Clive would inherit the power of Ikon Fire (Phoenix) from his father, it turned out that it was his younger brother Joshua who had to take on this crucial task of the so-called Dominator. During the intro, we hit a few buttons, because it’s basically a series of cut scenes.
The bloody, titillating, and intimate scenes make Final Fantasy 16 a shocking spectacle
These videos are definitely not a punishment for watching. Not only does it flow seamlessly with the gameplay on offer, but given the capabilities of the PlayStation 5, it’s as exciting as a big budget action movie. For example, Final Fantasy 16 plays special Summons from the series (here called Eikons), which regularly challenge the screen as real gods fighting each other. In one scene, Clive and two companions attempt to traverse a mountainous landscape while Shiva’s and Titan’s ikons annihilate each other in the air. Shiva crystals slide across the screen turning the entire scene into an ice skating rink.
Sometimes it feels like a movie scene is playing out, but you really control the Eikon yourself. At some point, we end up in a scene where Phoenix is attacked by the fire of an enemy Ikon named Ifrit. While epic strings and sound effects can be heard, we control Phoenix as if it were one Panzer DragoonThe game while shooting fireballs at him and trying to avoid his heavy body attacks with quicktime events. The full scene is already a huge scene in and of itself, but the fact that you’re controlling the flying beast yourself makes the scene even more immersive.
Combat looks good in this game anyway; Also down to earth. In Forspoken, we already learned that Square Enix loves a solid piece of particle effects — in Final Fantasy 16, that shower of sparks wasn’t lost. As Clive, you fight with both the sword and the elements you learn from the various Eikons, such as fire attacks from Ifrit and air attacks from Garuda. By constantly switching between different magic combinations – which you gradually unlock using the skill tree – lots of different and amazing attacks are possible.
Final Fantasy 16’s completely revamped real-time combat system is the second reason why the game feels so different. Although it had been clear for some time that the old reliable turn-based system would not return, the developers did not opt for the semi-turn-based combat style in Final Fantasy 7 Remake. The combat in this game could be better compared to pure action games like Devil May Cry and Bayonetta. Square Enix even enlisted the help of DMC developer Ryoto Suzuki to design the combat mechanics. Since we also played with timed evasive moves that slowed the game down during our preview session, the Witch Time-esque game element shouldn’t be missing.
The combat in Final Fantasy 16 looks very complex due to all kinds of intense special effects, but in practice it is very disappointing. Battles quickly end in one-dimensional packages of button ramming. This is especially the case when using so-called timed attachments, so that you no longer have to focus on dodging attacks or inventing combos, for example. As a gamer, you can quickly get the idea that you are very good at the game, without much effort. This may also be part of what Yoshi-P is aiming for, as he previously stated it would become Much wider audience I want to wear.
Final Fantasy 16 is not an open world game. Across the large map of Valisthea you travel from one region to another. These areas are not connected, so you don’t have to quickly retreat into that sticky swamp where you defeated Marlboro before. Unless, of course, a side mission takes you back there. Just like in previous Final Fantasy games, there are characters in the world who will ask you for certain suggestions. Quests like these allow you to temporarily distance yourself from the main storyline and gain more knowledge about Valisthea.
You can find side quests at Cid’s Hideaway. This is where you come back often – that is, every time after completing the main mission. This center serves as a haven where you can buy weapons, upgrade, undergo training, and talk to all kinds of people, among other things. During our first acquaintance, it turned out that the Hideaway is not that big and mainly serves as a place to prepare yourself for the adventures ahead. At the same time, it is where you can fully customize Clive’s equipment to your liking. For example, we were given several options when blacksmithing to regenerate and craft stronger weapons and accessories.
Final Fantasy 16 appears to be a stepping stone to a new kind of Final Fantasy, where the medieval setting is much bolder and most of the JRPG clichés are removed. Thus, the story is more mature and complex than it was in the previous parts, which led to a lot of cutscenes in the first few hours of the game. However, it doesn’t bother you for a moment: the graphics are impressive and the story has a tension comparable to a great fantasy series. In addition, the new real-time battles against enemies – especially those with high health parameters – can be very intense, and also on your hands. So it’s really nice to be able to throw the console on your lap and enjoy the unparalleled spectacle between two Eikons.
Final Fantasy 16 will be released on June 22nd on PlayStation 5.
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