Final Fantasy XVI was the sole focus of the April 2023 PlayStation State of Play. And that meant that Square Enix showed off around 25 minutes of gameplay that touched on a whole host of gameplay systems.
Producer Naoki Yoshida said that this entry doesn’t require any experience with the series and ran through a lot of the game’s mechanics, even noting that it is the first true action RPG in the mainline entries. This is evident in how the combat plays out since it is all in real-time and looks more akin to a Devil May Cry game than a traditional Final Fantasy title. This makes sense since its combat designer, Ryota Suzuki, was a designer on Devil May Cry 5.
Battles are fast and full of juggles and different effects, which players can learn and upgrade through various skill trees. Accessories can also augment combat, and the game is using those to give newer players a way to succeed. As was previously revealed, there are certain items that automate dodging or make it easier, and its story difficulty equips players with those from the jump.
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Various characters can even join Clive on his adventures and fight alongside him in battles and strike up conversations when not in the thick of it. Players can’t direct them around, aside from Torgal, the large dog, who can be given simple orders during fights. It’s also possible to practice in a separate part of the game and set parameters like enemy behaviors in order to hone combos. There’s also an arcade mode where players can compare scores to one another, but that mode wasn’t detailed much.
Eikon fights, however, are a little different because they are giant flashy beast encounters that see the player transform into an Eikon, as well. They also take place in real-time and all bring something different to the table. One may be a side-scrolling shooter, while another might be an all-out wrestling match, and this variety is shown extensively in the State of Play.
Although those elements demonstrate its combat mechanics quite well, it’s also still an RPG. The map lets players travel around and more places unlock as players progress. There’s also Cid’s little hideaway that is full of characters that can upgrade Clive’s gear, give him side missions, or teach him about the world.
Yoshida said there was still more to reveal before the game’s June 22 launch. He stated that Square Enix would talk more about its side content and the endgame in “the near future.”
Final Fantasy XVI also went up for pre-order just after the show. Those who pre-order will get a Gil Boost Accessory (the Cait Sith Charm) and the Braveheart, which is a bonus weapon. The regular edition will be $69.99, while the deluxe edition is going to be $99.99. The more expensive version comes with Final Fantasy XVIa cloth version of the game’s map, and special steelbook case.