#Ultimate Fantasy XVI tackles darker themes and quicker motion

Ultimate Fantasy XVI tackles darker themes and quicker motion

Swords, eikons, and motion, oh my

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Every of the mainline, numbered Ultimate Fantasy entries takes a departure from its predecessors. The collection maintains its thematic through-lines in its summons, its monsters, and in names like Cid; however every launch, particularly from the PlayStation 2 onwards, reinvents itself too. Ultimate Fantasy XVI is definitely no completely different.

We bought an opportunity to go hands-on with a construct of Ultimate Fantasy XVI, showcasing simply how the subsequent entry within the collection will deal with and particularly highlighting fight. And actually, its fight is the factor to speak about, because it’s already been proven to be a little bit of a departure from the ATB programs of yore.

Clive Might Cry

Fight director Ryota Suzuki is a reputation you would possibly acknowledge if you happen to’re a fan of his earlier work with Capcom, the place he labored on video games equivalent to Satan Might Cry 5, Dragon’s Dogma, and Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. I definitely felt the affect, after choosing up a DualSense and beginning to work my means via the demo. Clive may not have the blink-strike mobility of Noctis, however our new Ultimate Fantasy protagonist definitely doesn’t lumber round, both.

For primary strikes, Clive can strike along with his sword utilizing Sq., shoot magic of his chosen ingredient with Triangle, and dodge round with R1. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than I began to get the rhythm; Clive will get follow-up alternatives on an ideal dodge, so timing the motion excellent and attacking instantly after was key.

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FINAL FANTASY XVI © 2023 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

A number of the enemies in FFXVI hit exhausting and dodging is usually a dangerous proposition. Parrying, which includes swinging instantly into the assault, extra so. Clive does get some assist from NPC occasion members, and one fixed companion in his canine, who can assault or assist Clive based mostly on issued instructions.

However the true fight focus is the Eikonic talents. It looks as if, because the story progresses, Clive will open up entry to completely different points attuned to the completely different Eikons of the world. We had entry to a bit greater than we’d have, usually, in our preview; whereas the preview pit me towards Benedikta, who embodies the wind eikon Garuda, I had entry to Garuda’s expertise, in addition to Phoenix and Titan’s talents. Swapping between them was so simple as hitting certainly one of my shoulder buttons.

Invoking these points, although, considerably shifts gameplay. As Phoenix, I used to be a little bit of an all-rounder. I may shut the space with my Circle Button, which invoked a splash assault. One talent gave me an area-of-effect injury possibility, whereas one other was a rising uppercut, every triggered by hitting a corresponding face button whereas holding a set off.

Swapping to Garuda, now every thing’s quick and livid. My talents are usable mid-air, and my Circle isn’t a splash anymore, however a seize that may seize foes and lengthen the staggered standing of enormous enemies. Shift into Titan mode, and now I’m slamming the bottom, throwing up a bulwark with my Circle, and winding up large strikes.

Screenshot through Sq. Enix
FINAL FANTASY XVI © 2023 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

Merely Eikonic

All of those parts mix to kind a fight system that drips with action-driven affect. Combos felt swift and pure as I’d dive into enemies because the Phoenix, whipping flames round me and uppercutting them earlier than swapping to Garuda, extending the combo additional, then touchdown as Titan and slamming them down.

It’s probably the most action-heavy I’ve seen a mainline Ultimate Fantasy get, however the excellent news is, it feels good. I loved my time exploring potential combo routes as Clive, determining how completely different points and particular strikes may work in concord. Completely different unlocks opened up new choices, as I discovered strikes that would counter projectiles, and even activate particular assault animations if I parried an oncoming assault with it. The depth of the skills, and the accompanying upgrades, might be simpler to dissect within the closing construct of Ultimate Fantasy XVI. However even with what I had obtainable within the demo, it felt actually good to grasp the strikes and roll out in depth combos on hapless grunts.

On the usual issue setting, it wasn’t lengthy till I felt supremely assured towards commonplace enemies. After all, my hubris arrived within the type of bosses. Whereas fights towards rank-and-file baddies felt as routine as they in all probability ought to, there have been a number of boss fights within the demo that supplied better problem.

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FINAL FANTASY XVI © 2023 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

In a single, I fought two winged sisters of Garuda, keeping off a simultaneous assault. Oddly sufficient, I noticed a quick flash of Ultimate Fantasy XIV right here. Whereas one sister led a melee offense on me, her sibling charged up vary assaults that marked hazard indicators on the ground, very similar to XIV’s encounters. In some way, the “dodge the puddle” suits rather well right here, as I bobbed and weaved via flooring markers whereas attempting to get my combos in. It definitely appealed to my interior Dragoon most important.

Combating Benedikta on the roof, although, was a spotlight of my preview. Right here, the fight velocity clicked for me. The Dominant would cost me in a flurry of blows, forcing me to rigorously time my presses, then know when to do my follow-up. Lengthy-distance exchanges of magical bullets rapidly segued right into a close-quarters dance backwards and forwards. After I missed one window, I used to be subjected to a cinematic strike on Clive that did some critical injury.

Screenshot through Sq. Enix
FINAL FANTASY XVI © 2023 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

This may be jarring to some. A quick, action-heavy tackle Ultimate Fantasy had some combined leads to XV, despite the fact that it landed a bit higher in Ultimate Fantasy VII Remake. Ultimate Fantasy XVI is definitely probably the most action-heavy we’ve seen the Sq. Enix collection lean, even eschewing any semblance of a command menu. Nevertheless it actually does work for me. It appears like they’ve bought the appropriate concepts in place, and it helps that it doesn’t really feel just like the crew is dipping a toe within the water. In a post-demo interview with the builders behind the sport, they famous that that is an motion sport, they usually’ve tried to realize each a excessive ceiling and an approachable flooring for all talent ranges.

For these apprehensive about how approachable it should really feel, particularly in case your reactions aren’t as much as snuff, there are some useful choices being put in place. Clive will have the ability to equip some equipment that provide completely different ranges of help with the motion. One provides you a window and a immediate for dodging assaults, whereas one other allows you to auto-combo via mashing, an possibility some combating video games have included up to now. Heck, one even mechanically points instructions on your canine companion. I examined these out, they usually do really feel like useful strategies of constructing the extra harmful and hectic sections of fight really feel comfortably manageable.

Recreation of Eikons

As for the world of Valisthea, the setting of Ultimate Fantasy XVI, it’s positively going for a darker and extra politically motivated story. As we’ve seen in demos, Clive is spurred onto a quest of vengeance, touring throughout the realm for solutions. Completely different nations vie for energy and affect, utilizing their Dominants and their skill to embody Eikons (the summons of Ultimate Fantasy) as weapons.

I solely bought a small slice of the story, because the preview targeted primarily on the fight and gameplay. After I did get some plot, although, I can’t say I wasn’t intrigued. I haven’t seen any hints of deeper interrogations into warfare and politics, as you would possibly see from a Techniques sport, however the political tensions have been palpable. I’m curious to see how that develops.

After all, Eikons are an enormous draw, (for story causes I received’t delve into right here), and my preview concluded with me piloting certainly one of Ultimate Fantasy’s most recognizable summons, Ifrit. Taking part in Ifrit towards the winged Garuda felt a bit difficult at first; the place Clive was agile and swift, Ifrit felt like attempting to drive a flaming semi-truck into the attention of a hurricane. Was it as cool because it sounds? Completely. However piledriving Garuda into the bottom did entail numerous tentative approaching whereas mashing the assault button. I feel that may actually solely shine in particular, tailor-made sections, which fortunately appears to be the strategy for Eikon fights.

Screenshot through Sq. Enix
FINAL FANTASY XVI © 2023 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

Presentation-wise, Ultimate Fantasy XVI regarded wonderful in its showpiece moments. Cutscenes and large battles have been graphically unimaginable. When Benedikta brings the roof down, actually, it seems to be unbelievable. Particular person characters have some nice particulars, and all the story encounters landed sturdy for me.

A number of the extra dungeon-exploring moments of the demo gave me pause, although. The drab, grey halls blended collectively, and a few heavy motion-smoothing results didn’t assist. We have been informed a Efficiency Mode is at present within the works, and I’m looking forward to that. I’m curious to see what Ultimate Fantasy XVI seems to be like in additional open-air sections, away from the night-time fortress raid and cramped quarters we noticed.

A brand new fantasy

Ultimate Fantasy, as a franchise, modifications with each entry, and Ultimate Fantasy XVI isn’t any completely different. It’d squash some hopes, if there are followers who nonetheless wish to see the collection return to a extra classical, PlayStation-era format for fight. It may additionally draw gamers in who could not need turn-based battles, however are intrigued by the high-budget fantasy and highly effective summons on show.

My most important takeaway from taking part in Ultimate Fantasy XVI is that Sq. Enix isn’t making a half-hearted effort at an action-RPG. From the crew that’s been assembled to the way in which fight feels quick and interesting, XVI definitely appears like a contemporary and completely different take from what’s come earlier than it. The final word query is whether or not it may possibly make the motion nonetheless really feel that good throughout an enormous RPG journey, and if followers each new and outdated latch onto this. We’ll discover out, June 22, when Ultimate Fantasy XVI makes its grand debut on PS5.

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Journey for this media preview was supplied by the writer.


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