Not to be outdone Tears of the Kingdom in the blockbuster video game hype generation category in the summer, Final Fantasy XVI got its own state of affairs, with over 20 minutes of gameplay.
Final Fantasy XVI is a beautiful game both within the cutscenes and gameplay. The fight looked slick and exciting. Clive flipped, dipped and parried with a satisfying flourish, perfectly in line with the developers’ stated goal to make Final Fantasy XVI feel like a “fast rollercoaster”. The presentation went into detail on some of the smaller activities Clive can get into if he’s not saving the world or doing whatever Clive is doing, because we’re not quite sure what his motivation is just yet. Knowing the typical cadence of Final fantasy stories, it starts small like ‘go to the village’ and finally ends with ‘kill god’. There are hunts for him to complete and what seems like a wealth of side quests. We haven’t seen any minigames yet, but we’re hoping for some version of Final fantasy‘s biggest card game, Triple Triad, will appear in one form or another.
A major focus of the presentation was on the Eikon battles. As you progress through the game, Clive will encounter Eikons (which are similar to the summon from previous games) that he can battle to gain their powers. Every fight is different, and some, like the one against Garuda, are brutal 1v1 beatdowns. But other battles, like the one between Pheonix and Bahamut, are more reminiscent of the dogfights in Panzer Dragoon.
The gameplay showcase pretty much matches what I played in my hands-on experience earlier this year. I like that we got a chance to see more of Valisthea since my demo was mostly set in a dark castle at night. Wonder and exploration of a beautiful landscape was one of the defining elements of Final Fantasy XVand it’s good to see that while the game is tonally different (high fantasy vs. techno fantasy), the team at Square Enix sticks to what works.
As in previous Final fantasy games, Clive is occasionally joined by other group members. You won’t be able to control your human companions, the game’s AI takes care of that. But your trusty dog Torgal is all yours to command, able to fight enemies and heal you.
However, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see the people of Valisthea better. Game director Naoki Yoshida has said some disappointing things about diversity and this game, pointing out that when players get a chance to “see for themselves,” those concerns could be somewhat allayed. Looks like we still have to wait.
But more than seeing gameplay or chocobos or even moogles (which I loved to see in the presentation), I was most hyped to hear Masayoshi Soken’s soundtrack, and I wasn’t disappointed. We heard a range of music from soft acoustic guitar tracks to hype-as-hell orchestral themes punctuated by a chorus screaming unintelligible words that reminded me of one of the best pieces of Final fantasy existing music,Liberi Fatali.” All in all it was a nice presentation and I can’t wait for the full game. Between this and Zeldamy summer is stacked.
Final Fantasy XVI will launch on June 22 on PlayStation 5.