‘Ultimate Fantasy XVI’ hands-on gameplay preview: Flip-based now not

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Ultimate Fantasy XVI is able to drag the well-known RPG sequence from Sq. Enix into the longer term. Or, at the very least, a future the place everybody agrees that Satan Could Cry is superior.

After enjoying a pair hours of the most recent entry within the 35-year-old franchise and speaking to a few of its creators, I got here away equal components fascinated and impressed. Sq. and the builders at Inventive Enterprise Unit III have made a lightning-quick, overstimulating motion recreation that’s making an attempt to please each followers of the style and individuals who want a extra conventional and tactical Ultimate Fantasy expertise.


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It’s a hefty order to convey these two typically disparate audiences collectively, but when the small slice of Ultimate Fantasy XVI I performed is any indication, there is perhaps actual meat on this bone.

The Ultimate Fantasy XVI demo expertise

Despite the fact that its preliminary trailer debuted two and a half years in the past, you’d be forgiven for not fairly understanding what sort of recreation Ultimate Fantasy XVI really is. In any case, this can be a sequence that consistently reinvents itself; XIII was virtually completely linear, XIV is an enormous on-line recreation, and XV was an open-world journey.

The tiny bit that I performed may also help shed some mild on that exact concern. Whereas the builders assured me that there might be loads of time for exploring giant expanses within the new fantasy realm of Valisthea, Ultimate Fantasy XVI is just not an open-world recreation like its predecessor. The sequences I noticed have been fairly linear, with a tiny little bit of latitude to discover facet rooms for objects.

Here is a rundown of how the essential fight in FFXVI works.

Combo-ing by means of a citadel

Final Fantasy XVI combat screenshot

Dodge and counter.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

The demo began with our protagonist Clive Rosfield, his trusty hound Torgal, and a lightning magic-infused homie named Cidolfus (who goes by Cid due to course he does) hanging out in a citadel dungeon. Their goal: Discover a prisoner, get to the highest of the citadel tower, and get the heck out of there alive.

Proper off the bat, the most important change from earlier Ultimate Fantasy video games is that you just solely straight management Clive. You’ll be able to concern some easy assault and heal instructions to Torgal utilizing the PS5’s directional buttons, however Cid and every other social gathering members you meet all through Clive’s journey will act on their very own throughout fights.

The excellent news is that controlling Clive is an entire lot of enjoyable. He can mash out primary melee combos, sprint, soar, and use a seemingly big number of magic talents he’ll unlock all through the sport. These talents are tied to Eikons, mystical demigods that seem within the story (which I gained’t speak about right here as a result of the demo didn’t give me a lot to speak about). Clive can equip as much as three Eikons at a time, and every Eikon comes with a number of flashy talents, two of which Clive can map to face buttons for simple entry in fights.

Final Fantasy XVI equipment menu

You may spend plenty of time equipping new gear and talents right here.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

Whereas the fundamentals of fight are easy sufficient to understand for anybody who’s performed an motion recreation like Satan Could Cry, the exact tuning of FFXVI’s fight is what made it work within the demo I performed. Home windows for canceling into and out of assaults are pretty beneficiant, whereas timing a dodge simply proper provides you a quick Bayonetta-like second to counterattack. Touchdown massive hits feels highly effective, and the Eikon strikes add visually resplendent animations to the combination. 

For sure, unleashing an enormous combo that features livid claw swipes, flaming chicken wings, and a weighty stone fist slam on the bottom feels fairly superior.

And for individuals who aren’t used to this sort of recreation, there are non-compulsory equipment to equip that may make the sport simpler. Certainly one of them considerably lengthens the period of time you must dodge assaults, whereas one other will mechanically bang out sick combos with only one repeated button press.

Bossing round

Final Fantasy XVI boss fight QTE screenshot

Oh yeah, there are quick-time occasions, too.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

Towards common enemies, these mechanics come collectively as they do in every other motion recreation. I used to be capable of simply spam my finest talents till every room within the citadel was clear, swiftly dodging and teleporting (a nifty Eikonic energy) across the gloomy, darkish gray environs. In boss fights, nevertheless, you must use your mind a bit extra.

As a lot as you’ll be able to, anyway. Bosses in FFXVI are aggressive, leaving little room for tactical planning with out pausing the sport. Your objective in opposition to bosses (and a few stronger regular enemies) is to deplete their stagger meter by well dodging, attacking, and parrying at any time when you’ll be able to, which requires you to diligently examine assault patterns. As soon as it’s all the best way down, the boss will sit nonetheless for a number of seconds, permitting you to wail on them.

FFXVI skill tree screenshot

Get able to dump factors into new abilities.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

The bosses I fought, which included two winged sentries in a citadel chapel and a significant story character on high of the tower, had a ton of well being to work by means of. Staggering is essential not solely to cease the aggression, however to offer you an opportunity to truly inflict actual injury. You’ll must handle your skill cooldowns so every thing is prepared for this stagger window, providing you with most injury output.

That is clearly a distinct sort of pressure from what you’d get out of a traditional, turn-based Ultimate Fantasy recreation. It’s much less about fastidiously planning out a tactical combat and extra about studying and reacting to issues that occur in a short time. Determining which of your many Eikonic talents do essentially the most injury to any given boss might be key, however largely it’s nearly staying alive and choosing your spots to do injury.

How Ultimate Fantasy XVI is making an attempt to make you like motion video games

FFXVI Ring of Timely Assistance screenshot

The “Ring of Well timed Help” will assist out individuals who have hassle dodging.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

Reality be informed, I don’t know but whether or not or not individuals who want the extra deliberate fight in older Ultimate Fantasy video games will decide up what XVI is placing down. Nevertheless, after talking to a number of high creatives on the sport, together with producer Naoki Yoshida (it’s possible you’ll know him as Yoshi-P), essential director Hiroshi Takai, and fight director Ryota Suzuki, I can at the very least see their intent: To get individuals on the motion recreation bandwagon.

In contrast to a lot of the different individuals engaged on FFXVI, Suzuki isn’t a Sq. Enix veteran. He solely simply joined the corporate after 20 years at Capcom, engaged on video games like Dragon’s Dogma and (you guessed it) Satan Could Cry 5. Suzuki informed me he needed to take a distinct method to designing fight for a giant RPG like Ultimate Fantasy.

“In [DMC5], you need to have battles which might be fashionable. That’s a very powerful factor,” Suzuki stated. “A very powerful factor for Ultimate Fantasy XVI is that it is advisable make a system that’s accessible to a number of several types of enjoying kinds…that need to be extra technical, fashionable, and for gamers that, once more, should not too into motion.”

The flexibility to unlock and equip an enormous quantity of various talents is, in that sense, for the followers who care deeply about character improvement and customization. The builders on the occasion in contrast equipping completely different Eikons to altering a personality’s class in an older FF title. 

“We can’t alienate [longtime fans]. You want one thing that’s going to maintain them engaged as properly,” Takai stated. 

FFXVI Ring of Timely Strikes

And the “Ring of Well timed Strikes” is for individuals who have hassle with combos.
Credit score: Sq. Enix

Alongside related traces, these equipment that make the sport simpler are supposed to be like coaching wheels for motion recreation newcomers. Equip the dodge timing one and you continue to should press the button; you simply have extra time to do it. In different phrases, even essentially the most action-averse gamers must really play the sport. There are just a few nifty in-roads to make that simpler for them.

Yoshida, who acted as producer on this recreation whereas additionally carrying the burden of being in control of Ultimate Fantasy XIV, expressed curiosity in attracting new followers who’ve by no means performed a Ultimate Fantasy earlier than, too. Like each Ultimate Fantasy, this one stands alone narratively, so that you don’t must play the others to get into it. 

Nevertheless, Yoshida understands that it’ll take nice phrase of mouth to promote this recreation to skeptics, and it’ll take loads of traditional Ultimate Fantasy vibes to promote this recreation to the day-one crowd.

“We don’t essentially want all people to play the sport on day one. We would like these individuals [who do] to get so excited that buzz goes out and it will get individuals excited for this recreation,” Yoshida stated. “We’ve to have sufficient Ultimate Fantasy really feel within the recreation to verify these gamers [who play at launch] should not solely excited as a result of it’s an ideal recreation, however excited as a result of it nonetheless looks like Ultimate Fantasy.”

And for motion recreation veterans, the varieties of people that have a eager eye for infinite combo alternatives, I’ll simply depart you with one thing Suzuki (who I’ll remind you labored on a number of the finest motion video games in latest reminiscence) stated.

“I feel what I’ve created in Ultimate Fantasy XVI is the best motion recreation that I’ve ever made,” Suzuki stated.

Large phrases, certainly.

Ultimate Fantasy XVI launches on PlayStation 5 on June 23.

It is a particular model made for media to expertise, and contents could differ from the ultimate model.

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