Final Fantasy XVI: a glimpse of the future, without forgetting the past

We replayed the highly anticipated JRPG and learned more about its story and RPG mechanics

This was a version specifically created for demonstration purposes to the press, and its contents may vary from the final version of the game.

A few months ago, we had the opportunity to play an exclusive Final Fantasy XVI demo focused on combat, and this time we traveled to Los Angeles to learn more about its story, the characters that complement it, and more.

On that occasion, several people were left with questions such as: Where are the RPG mechanics? Is it similar to other Final Fantasy games? Is it like any other hack n' slash? Among others. Today, we will answer them, as we played many hours of this title that promises to be one of the highlights of 2023.

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In the previous article, we mentioned that Final Fantasy XVI will be a kind of new beginning for the franchise because, although it shares some details with its predecessors, the gameplay is completely reformed. The combat is much more lively, frenzied, and full of adrenaline, whether we use protagonist Clive in his normal form or in Eikon battles against Eikons.

This decision was made to make the franchise more attractive to Western audiences and people who have never played a Final Fantasy game. For many, it's an interesting and appealing twist, but we noticed that lifelong fans were disappointed to see that there was almost no mention of classic RPG elements.

On this occasion, we visited new locations on the map where there are merchants and traders from whom we can buy items to create potions, cook, and improve our armor and tools. Although we could only see a little about this customization, it promises to be quite extensive.

Another classic detail present is XP and levels. After each battle, no matter how insignificant, we are given experience points, and thus Clive increases his statistics. Customized weapons are very helpful, but the increase in strength is much more noticeable with our improved attributes. It's a very natural and satisfying growth curve that makes every encounter relevant.

Just Like the Old Times
Just Like the Old Times


What also resembles this installment with the first titles of the franchise is the tone of its story. Futuristic and dystopian themes were set aside to return to a medieval era, where the continent is divided into kingdoms and royal families. The development team was inspired by Game of Thrones to create very interesting significant conflicts.

We won't say much about the story to avoid spoilers, but some moments we saw seemed surprising and left us wanting more. This is a great success for the team because it allows us to have modern and different gameplay from its predecessors, but a more traditional tone and essence to have the best of both worlds.

What we can mention is that the game is divided into three different eras: Clive's adolescence, his youth, and his adulthood. In this demonstration, we played a bit of each age, which helped us get to know our protagonist better and empathize with him. Unfortunately, he is the only playable character, but this helps us feel closer to his past.


Returning to the locations, we were able to see more areas of the map beyond castles and dungeons. We played in some outdoor areas, such as fields and forests. We enjoyed these sections because they seem like they're from a different game; the contrast with what we saw before is very noticeable, mainly because the colors are more vibrant and varied.

The field is a semi-open area that, although it has its limits in the form of invisible barriers or lakes (because we cannot swim), is quite extensive. In it, we find chests, useful items for customization, and, above all, monsters. This section is similar to the exploration of Dragon Quest XI but bigger.

The variety of enemies is wide, considering the size of the place, and the best part is that, just as we can defeat some quickly, others require a lot of work. This makes battles that seem "routine" result in harder, and therefore more enjoyable, confrontations.

One detail we liked is that all beasts have a level similar to ours. In games like Xenoblade Chronicles, for example, it's annoying to be walking and suddenly encounter a monster that surpasses us by a lot and eliminates us with one hit. In Final Fantasy XVI, all enemies around us are on par with us, so it's very viable to defeat them.

Another point to highlight is that there is not only a variety of enemies in the same area but in all the others. For example, in urban areas and castles, knights with armor and swords abound, but in forests, there are wolves; in the fields, wasps; on the coasts, giant lobsters; in the swamp, goblins, and so on in each region. This makes entering a new kingdom very interesting and exciting.

Put on your most comfortable boots, there is a lot of walking to do.
Put on your most comfortable boots, there is a lot of walking to do.


Since the first preview, we were impressed with the Eikon battles because, in addition to being colossal and brutal, they look beautiful. As these fights are so explosive and fierce, there are many elements on the screen, and we are still surprised by the technical work involved. The frames are stable at all times, and the impacts between monsters look incredible. The heat of each flame and the strength of each blow are palpable.

A lot of the effort of the developers and art team was to make the transitions between cinematics and gameplay as natural as possible, and in that aspect, they did a great job. If it weren't for our life bar suddenly appearing on the screen, we wouldn't know when we have control again because graphically, it's the same all the time.

We believe that we still have a lot to see of the world and each location in Final Fantasy XVI because it promises at least 40 hours of gameplay, but what we have played, which has mostly been combat, we can say that the work is impeccable. Every animation, movement, ability, and transition is as smooth as silk, which helps make the experience totally immersive.

Get ready for deep and brutal combat
Get ready for deep and brutal combat

This installment promises to present several surprising and magnificent points, and with this latest preview, we are confident that lifelong fans and newcomers will be very satisfied. There is the medieval and classic part of the story, along with the customization and strategy of our weapons, but also fresh and fun combat that makes it an almost mandatory purchase.

Final Fantasy XVI could have aimed to be a completely open and limitless world, but it preferred to focus on a slightly more closed experience, which still lets go of our hand at times so that there are surprise and impressive elements in every place and mechanic we discover. Sometimes it directs us to focus our gaze on specific points, but it also lets us take a look around.

We recommend that you see the first preview we did on the game, where we talked much more about the combat, which is one of the main focuses of the installment. It's worth noting that it goes far beyond any hack n' slash or button smasher. The game is designed to be an extremely entertaining and intense experience.

We are confident that Final Fantasy XVI will be one of the adventures we will remember most from 2023 because the team behind it learned correctly what it needed to reform but without losing what enamored many fans several years ago. Deep and addictive combat, a fascinating story, areas worth exploring, and impressive graphic work adorn this heavyweight machinery.

Video relacionado: Final Fantasy XVI - Trailer

This was a version specifically created for demonstration purposes to the press, and its contents may vary from the final version of the game.


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