Each foremost numbered Remaining Fantasy sport tells a brand new story in a contemporary universe, giving every upcoming entry a robust mystique. That sense is especially sturdy with Remaining Fantasy XVI, which has been teased with spectacular, overwhelming trailers since 2020.
The PS5 unique lands on June 22, and developer Sq. Enix lifted the curtain at a New York Metropolis preview occasion with a playable demo construct of the sport earlier this month. Performing as producer is Naoki Yoshida (AKA Yoshi-P), the charismatic determine credited with reviving massively multiplayer on-line RPG Final Fantasy XIV. He and his workforce gave us a primer on the story and world earlier than letting us check out the sport for the primary time.
World at warfare
This RPG takes place in Valisthea, a world divided into six nations that rely upon big magic crystals — one among Remaining Fantasy’s recurring components — for power. As the sport kicks off, this power is badly depleted and battle is brewing between Valisthea’s nations.
It is extra of a chilly warfare because of the existence of Dominants — people with the ability to summon huge magical creatures often known as Eikons. Just like the dragons in Games of Thrones, the Eikons are mainly this world’s weapons of mass destruction. Besides all of the nations have them, they usually act as a deterrent to open warfare.
You play as Clive Rosfield, whose youthful brother Joshua has management of the highly effective Phoenix summon. After tragedy strikes, Clive is certain to a different fiery Eikon, Ifrit, and goes on a quest for vengeance. This causes Eikons to battle one another for the primary time, throwing off Valisthea’s delicate political stability and creating numerous collateral injury.
Clive’s journey will take him by Valisthea’s seven nations — that are divided into segmented open areas fairly than one huge open world — with a shifting occasion of AI-controlled allies as backup (there wasn’t a lot exploration within the preview part although). You may additionally have the ability to dive into the historical past of Valisthea as a lot as you would like, Localization Director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox instructed CNET.
“We’ve got a personality that gathers lore; he’ll inform you about what is going on on within the sport — characters, locations, historical past, issues like that,” mentioned Koji Fox, whose earlier Remaining Fantasy tasks embody IX and XIV. “It would not have an effect on the story, it would not have an effect on gameplay, however for these gamers that need to go deep and discover out what occurred 200 years in the past, why these international locations hate one another, you’ll be able to go and try this.”
Dominating the Dominants
The playable part of our demo noticed Clive and his ally Cidolfus Telamon (this sport’s Cid, a recurring identify within the collection) making their means up a darkish tower on the hunt for Benedikta Harman, a spy for a rival nation. Cid is the Dominant of lightning-summoning Ramuh, whereas Benedikta is linked to terrifying wind elemental Garuda.
Cid has superbly styled hair and his voice will probably sound acquainted — he is voiced by Ralph Ineson, who appeared in Sport of Thrones, Chernobyl and Willow and infuses his character with superior gravitas. The fiery Benedikta is well essentially the most putting character design within the preview, and she’s a baddy as a result of drops the f-bomb.
These Dominants humanize the political battle, and their differing statuses inside their very own kingdoms trace on the various cultures and attitudes throughout this world. This part happens just a few hours into the sport, although there’s additionally a tutorial the place you play as a younger, fresh-faced Clive to be taught the fundamentals of fight.
The dingy tower wasn’t precisely a visible showcase for the primary PS5 Remaining Fantasy, which is able to allow you to select between performance and fidelity modes within the completed sport. Nevertheless, this location did provide loads of alternatives to discover the sport’s real-time fight system as goons leapt out at each flip. In contrast to Final Fantasy VII Remake, you do not management your whole occasion instantly — solely Clive and his devoted canine companion Torgal (whom you’ll be able to pet).
Tailoring your battles
Primary fight matches neatly within the action-RPG mould, with Clive in a position to make use of a combination of melee assaults, magic, dodging and blocking. Remaining Fantasy XVI’s battles transfer far more shortly than these outdated video games although, and fight director Ryota Suzuki drew on his expertise creating lightning-fast motion sport Devil May Cry 5 for this collection evolution.
“An important factor for Remaining Fantasy XVI was to make a system that’s accessible to numerous various kinds of taking part in types; extra technical, trendy and for gamers that aren’t too into motion,” Suzuki mentioned by way of translator. “So we did not need it to be overwhelming.”
Including to Remaining Fantasy XVI’s accessibility are the “Well timed” equipment, which you’ll equip to simplify sure facets of fight. These can allow you to pull off Clive’s most spectacular combos by tapping the identical button (as an alternative of studying particular inputs), enable for simpler dodging and make doggo pal Torgal battle robotically.
You may tailor this factor based mostly on which of them you equip, supplying you with an opportunity to get comfy with completely different elements of the fight system at your individual tempo. The assault one had the obvious impression, since unequipping it diminished Clive’s assaults from visually beautiful Satan Might Cry-style aerial ballets to primary thrusts and chops — you may should be taught a bunch of combos to attain his most trendy strikes usually.
Your magical fight skills are outlined by the Eikon you have got outfitted, with Phoenix’s fireplace, Titan’s earth and Garuda’s wind have been obtainable within the demo, nevertheless it looks like Clive absorbs or copies these from different Dominants as he encounters them (it is probably Garuda’s powers have been unlocked early for the demo model). Incomes expertise enables you to unlock or enhance Clive’s elemental abilities.
It’s also possible to swap between Eikons in battle, primarily permitting Clive to alter character courses on the fly. It is an evolution of the beloved job system that debuted in 1992’s Final Fantasy V, wherein you assigned roles to characters they usually be taught these job-specific skills by leveling up.
“It was my want to take that job system and someway substitute jobs with Eikons, and recreate that system in a full motion setting,” sport director Hiroshi Takai, who labored on the fifth entry within the collection, mentioned by a translator.
“Making it one thing that is very customizable and particular person to every participant … the Clive they’ve on the finish and the palette they use in that remaining battle is completely different for each single particular person.”
Flipping between these elemental powers turned more and more pure because the demo progressed, with the combination of those and the satisfying dodge system making the boss battle in opposition to Benedikta and her Eikon a pleasure to play. The sleek transitions between gameplay and cutscenes peppered the expertise with that traditional Remaining Fantasy melodrama with out pulling management away for too lengthy.
Battle of the titans
The ultimate part of the demo came about just a few hours additional into the sport, with Ifrit going up in opposition to Benedikta’s Garuda in an epic Godzilla vs Kong-style confrontation. It is the form of sequence that might have been a cutscene in older Remaining Fantasy video games, however XVI makes it fully playable and very enjoyable.
This battle felt fully completely different to regular fight, conveying an superior sense of primordial energy because the Eikons lay waste to an remoted a part of Valisthea. Ifrit employs a combination of beefy melee strikes and fiery blasts in opposition to Garuda’s fast slashes and wind-based assaults. Projectiles additionally neutralize one another, which is a very cool contact.
The builders famous that the gameplay of those Eikon clashes will fluctuate, hinting that you will have to battle every one in another way relying on their elemental prowess, distinctive attributes and Clive’s relationship with the character who’s controlling them.
Even with the shift towards action-oriented battles, Remaining Fantasy XVI seems to be set to be an emotional curler coaster within the collection’ grand custom. Talking by a translator, producer Naoki Yoshida desires gamers to really feel thrilled and hopeful by the point they’re finished with the sport.
“When these finish credit roll and the gamers expertise the entire story, I need them to really feel that they will transfer towards tomorrow, it doesn’t matter what occurred in the present day,” he mentioned.