Final Fantasy 16 Could’ve Reached True Perfection With A Handful Of QOL Updates

Instead of the needless hate that the title is currently receiving, its better to highlight genuine issues.

Story Highlights

  • Final Fantasy 16 suffered a bias due to omitting turn-based combat, but the game truly excelled in the new approach and changed the minds of many.
  • Although an excellent game, Final Fantasy 16 could benefit from some QOL improvements like mini-map, sprint button, mobility outside combat, etc.
  • The game introduced an excellent setting which should be improved and expanded upon by future updates and ideas.

Final Fantasy 16 is the latest entry to Square Enix’s globally popular Final Fantasy series and brings a twist. After pioneering many turn-based concepts later adopted by JRPGs, the series finally turned full-on cinematic action-fest with the most recent title. This shift remained controversial for quite some time among long-term series fans, but the game splendidly turned around all the frowns with its magnificent display.

YouTube video

Now that the game is finally here, I sincerely believe this shift was done with perfection, and the game truly feels like a Final Fantasy title through and through. Despite the game’s remarkable achievement, it is still suffering criticism for not continuing the turn-based approach, which I believe is all ill-found. The game could indeed have been perfection with a few Quality-of-Life improvements, but it’s an epic adventure nonetheless.

Final Fantasy 16 Proved The Opposition Wrong

The original Final Fantasy series is highly beloved among turn-based JRPG fans, and the games alongside Dragon Quest, left a significant mark on the genre. However, to accommodate a modern audience, the series slowly started shifting towards a more action-oriented approach starting from Final Fantasy 7. Final Fantasy 15 tried many new things but the open-world formula was fairly flawed.

Final Fantasy 15's vast open world felt quite empty
Final Fantasy 15’s vast open world felt quite empty

Similarly, the Final Fantasy 7 remake was also a mix of the series’ iconic ATB system and action mechanics. It was Final Fantasy 16 where they finally made a choice and went all in on the action approach. This decision was met with some criticism, as fans of the series believed the game will turn out to be just another action game and lose its novelty bestowed by the unique turn-based battle systems.

Looking back, I was among the people skeptical of this radical change. That soon changed as the game displayed its epic gameplay and I was sold on it right there. Now upon release, the game has successfully fulfilled all the promises and delivered a perfect action game with highly satisfying combat and an unmatched visual presentation. It quickly became my favorite game of the year so far, and the reception is proof of its quality.

Final Fantasy 16 brings a fascinating setting, an impactful story tackling mature themes perfectly, and a beloved cast of characters including an excellent protagonist that makes the story much more fun to go through. The game follows Clive, as his life quickly takes a turn with various tragedies and he realizes the poor state the world is in. He vows to make things better in a truly memorable story of guilt and redemption.

It also handles combat with absolute mastery. Slick, fast-paced moves including precise dodges and parries. In addition, you have the unique Eikon abilities; the skills of this game. You can slot 3 Eikons at a time. Eikonic abilities are both visually appealing and fun to execute, and the ability to master and fit them in any combination opens up a lot of possibilities for mixing various Eikons.

Eikonic abilities make the combat much more enjoyable
Eikonic abilities make the combat much more enjoyable

Final Fantasy 16 has a beautiful world design and a lot of incentives to explore. With a combat this satisfying you are just compelled to not miss any roaming enemies and enjoy the thrill of the overwhelming abilities and try various combos. You have a lot of interesting secrets to discover and chests to loot. In addition, a great challenge in the form of punishing boss encounters called notorious marks await to test the limit of your skills.

The game’s true highlight is the phenomenal boss battles, and I just can’t stress this point enough. Final Fantasy 16’s cinematic and visual appeal peaks in these encounters. Goosebumps-inducing moments throughout the fight, engaging QTEs, enormous cinematic appeal, over-the-top special effects that fit perfectly, and a piece of splendid music to keep you hyped. The major boss battles are perfection itself.

Final Fantasy 16's Eikon battles are pure adrenaline-fueled monster brawls
Final Fantasy 16’s Eikon battles are pure adrenaline-fueled monster brawls

All in all, Final Fantasy 16 is the complete package, encompassing everything to create a worthy successor to the legendary series. The game could teach a lot of things to other titles attempting the same change, as we’ve seen in games like Dragon Age: Dreadwolf creating a complete copy and losing novelty instead of taking a more creative approach toward the action shift.

The Game Could Use Some QOL Improvements

Final Fantasy 16 promised an epic action game, yet one that feels like a true Final Fantasy adventure, and they successfully delivered upon that promise. However, fans still hold doubts and wished the game would have been turn-based instead. As much as I would appreciate a modern turn-based Final Fantasy game, it is no reason to discard the exceptional achievement of this game.

I do not agree with the baseless criticism the game has received for taking a new approach, since it did an excellent job with that. I’ve come to love Final Fantasy 16 and firmly believe it is something every fan should experience. Still, after all the time I’ve spent in the game, I felt it needed some Quality-of-Life improvements that could make the game a masterpiece.

The first thing to discuss is the lack of a permanent mini-map. With the game’s intense focus on exploration and side quests that take you all around the world, you’ll need to visit the map frequently. A button to display the overall map is not a problem, but the local map of the region also needs to be accessed with a button press. While roaming around, you need to check the pathway, and pressing a button every time could feel tedious.

Something I noticed about seeing from the screenshots from the website is that there is no mini map present but only quest icons. What are your thoughts on this?
by u/DarthAceZ198 in FFXVI

As you’re making your way around the region, small openings to the next part of the land are hard to accurately pinpoint. To do so, you have to open up the area map multiple times if needed since there is no mini-map you can look at to determine the exact point of entry. This is why I think the game needed a permanent mini-map. The UI has enough space to accommodate it and it would make the exploration more engaging.

Speaking of exploration, another important mechanic whose absence was truly felt was the dedicated sprint button. Final Fantasy 16 has excellent area design, but the slow mobility puts you off, especially in towns and cities. You don’t have auto sprint here like the over-world, and even the auto sprint takes some time to activate. So, if you stumble or stop to grab something, you’ll need a considerable headstart to regain speed.

Auto sprinting… Why?
by u/VicBaus in FFXVI

For a game of this scale and a strong focus on going around the map multiple times, a dedicated sprint button seems a necessity. Moreover, mobility is also hampered by the dodge. In combat, the dodge is fluid and can be executed in quick succession. So, you’d think you can dodge continuously to compensate for no sprint. But as soon as you exit combat, the dodge becomes considerably slow and has a high recovery time.

A similar case is with Eikon Pheonix’s innate ability. It is essentially a teleportation of sorts to instantly close in on foes and works exceptionally well in combat, but can’t be used for standard traversal as it loses consecutive execution and gains long recovery animation. With no sprint button, these fast movement abilities could have compensated but it seems they’re designed solely for combat.

Additionally, an important problem to discuss is certain tedious side quests that take you across the map just to gather a few items. Don’t get me wrong the game has considerable side quests that are very well done and add a lot to the development and story of the supporting characters. However, with the sheer bulk of sidequests, some feel like a chore and reward very little. These can pose a problem for completionists.

Final Fantasy 16 is truly one of the best games of this year and even a GOTY contender. Though it seems the initial bias also resulted in negative opinions the game doesn’t deserve. Solid and logical criticism is surely appreciated and helps the game grow, but forming a perception and not giving the product a try and judging it fairly seems like a cruel thing to do.

Final Fantasy 16 Should Be Explored Further

The developers did an exceptional job with Final Fantasy 16, and there is still a lot more to do. Not saying anything in spoiler territory; the game has created an excellent setting with a lot of interesting lore yet to be explored. Even the ending has left considerable possibilities to be answered, and it would be a good move to carry on the story and explore it further, giving the background and characters more depth.

Although there are no current plans, the game could surely benefit from future DLCs. In addition to fixing some mechanics and bringing QOL improvements, an expansion can bring new, meaningful side stories to explore the different characters and a main plot that brings more of the events that happened before the game. In addition, the story can provide closure while telling the fate of the characters we’ve grown to admire.

Serious discussion: What possible DLC could be released in the future?
by u/Chocobo23456 in FFXVI

Another viable approach would be to keep the setting for future games and explore it in more detail, albeit a different side of the story. On the other hand, it can also be used as a reference to gauge people’s interest in the story theme, characters, and mechanics. The knowledge can be used to construct an even superior future title, learning from all the strengths and weaknesses of its predecessor.

Speaking of mechanics, the elephant in the room is the future direction the series should take. Final Fantasy has always been turn-based in some way, and it is the first time the series has completely broken away from the concept. This was also the cause of the initial perceptions and led a lot of fans to believe it would cease to be a Final Fantasy title. However, the game ended up silencing the opposition.

I believe they can’t go wrong with either of the approaches. Final Fantasy 16 has masterfully depicted the developers can more than just handle action combat while keeping the series true to the name. I hope PC players get to experience it soon with the upcoming PC release. On the other hand, a modern turn-based Final Fantasy game is sure to be a sight to behold – since the genre is still widely appreciated despite mistakenly being called old-fashioned.

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Amama Farrukh is a News Reporter on eXputer who’s been passionate about playing and writing about games since an early age. As a die-hard God of War fan, she’s really into gory hack-and-slash titles that get her adrenaline pumping. She’s got a bachelor's in Business Administration and several years of experience reporting on the gaming industry. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration || Previously worked as a Freelancer || Published 100+ News Stories

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