Final Fantasy 16: How Battle System Works

Final Fantasy 16 introduces dynamic action RPG elements, breaking away from the franchise's traditional turn-based combat.

Final Fantasy 16 is the latest adventure story in the long line of Final Fantasy games. Being a franchise that’s been around since the 1980s, each installment comes with a unique flavor, and FF16 is no different. It’s developed by Square Enix, and it’s the first mainline title in the series that’s really doubling down on being a full-on action RPG, essentially revamping the battle system that most players of the franchise know.

Key Takeaways
  • Final Fantasy 16 is the first true-action RPG in the Final Fantasy series, breaking away from traditional turn-based combat.
  • The FF16 gameplay is in real-time, with a third-person perspective.
  • The protagonist, Clive, is the only playable character.
  • His companions, controlled by AI, support Clive in battles.
  • The battle system revolves around using and upgrading skills tied to different Eikons & their Dominants in Final Fantasy 16.
  • Players can switch between Eikons during battles, with each Eikon offering different abilities and powers.
  • Eikons include Phoenix, Garuda, Shiva, Titan, and Odin.
  • Each Eikon has its unique abilities and strengths.
  • An Eikon can be summoned once a gauge is filled, dealing additional damage to enemies. Some battles also feature highly cinematic Eikon-on-Eikon combat.
  • There is a possible form-change transformation into Eikons, similar to the Devil Trigger system from the Devil May Cry series.
  • Consumable items, such as tonics and potions, are bound to the D-Pad for easy access during combat.
  • Clive has passive perks, which are indicated by icons on top of his health bar, providing various in-battle advantages.

How Combat Works In Final Fantasy 16?

Hack and Slash Battle System [All Images Credits: IGN]
Final Fantasy games have always had RPG elements, no doubt, but this time around, Square Enix decided to go all in with the action aspect. In the past, we’ve had turn-based systems, Active Time Battle systems, and even a mix of action and RPG in games like Final Fantasy XV. But with 16, they’ve decided to fully commit to the action RPG genre. You’re not just selecting moves from a menu anymore. Now, you’re in direct control of the action at all times.

Think of games like Devil May Cry 5 or Bayonetta 3, where the combat is high-speed and fluid. That’s the sort of thrill you’re getting with the battle system in Final Fantasy 16. One moment, you’re slashing away at a monster, the next, you’re dodging an attack, then countering with a spell. It’s a constant rush of adrenaline!

Does Final Fantasy 16 Feature Turn-Based Combat?

Various Elemental damages in the Battle system of FF16

There is no turn-based combat or battle system in Final Fantasy 16. This might come as a surprise for long-time Final Fantasy fans, as the series is known for its strategic, turn-based combat. But in Final Fantasy 16, that’s all changed. This time around, you’re in full control of your character, moving around the battlefield, launching attacks, blocking, and using abilities in real time. It’s less about taking turns and more about positioning, timing, and quick decision-making.

This shift in combat style is part of what makes Final Fantasy 16 a true action RPG. For some, this will be an exciting change. For others, it might take some getting used to. Either way, it’s a bold new direction for the series, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out!

Real-Time Action Gameplay In 3rd-Person Perspective

In Final Fantasy 16, the gameplay happens in real-time, meaning everything is fast and happens as you see it. There’s no pausing to pick your next move. You’re in the driver’s seat the entire time. FF16 is in the third-person perspective too, which means you’re looking at your character from behind. This lets you see more of the world around you, which is really handy when you’re in the middle of a battle.

ATB System Replaced By Action Elements

Clive’s Attributes

For a lot of older Final Fantasy games, they used something called the Active Time Battle or ATB system. You’d wait for a bar to fill up, and when it was full, you could make your move. But in Final Fantasy 16, they’ve moved away from this system. Instead, everything is action-based. You’re swinging your weapon, dodging, and casting spells all in real time. You don’t have to wait your turn anymore. This makes the battles feel a lot more exciting and hands-on.

But don’t worry, even though it’s all action now, there are still a lot of strategies involved. You’ll need to think about when to attack, when to defend, and how to use your skills most effectively. It’s a new spin on the classic Final Fantasy battle system, and it makes for a fresh and fun experience.

Clive Is The Only Main Controllable Character

In Final Fantasy 16, you play as Clive. He’s the main guy, and he’s the only one you directly control. That means you’re responsible for all of Clive’s movements, his attacks, and his abilities. You decide what Clive does and when he does it.

AI-Controlled Companions

While you’re busy controlling Clive, you’re not alone. You’ve got some AI-controlled companions that fight along with you. AI means Artificial Intelligence [just so you don’t know what AI is in 2023]. Anyways, so these companions aren’t controlled by real people. Instead, the game decides what they do. These pals are there to help you out in battle, backing you up and supporting Clive.

Torgal, The Dog Companion

Torgal the dog companion

One of these companions is a dog named Torgal. Even though you can’t control Torgal as you do with Clive, you can still give him a few orders during fights. Maybe you need Torgal to do a special attack or to help out in some other way. You can’t tell him everything to do, but those few commands can really come in handy. It’s all part of the strategy of battles in Final Fantasy 16.

Clive & Eikon Skills

In FF16, Clive can learn different skills. Each skill is connected to an Eikon, which is like a kind of magical spirit. As Clive gets better and levels up, these skills can also get better. This means Clive’s abilities can grow stronger as you play FF16 more.

How Upgrading Skills Impacts Combat

You make Clive’s skills better by using something called ability points. How do you get these points? By taking down enemies. Each time you beat an enemy, you get more points. You can use these points to make Clive’s skills stronger.

The cool thing about these Eikons is that you can switch between them even when you’re in the middle of a fight. This means you can change Clive’s skills around depending on what you need at that moment. Maybe one Eikon’s skill is better for a certain enemy, so you switch to that Eikon. It’s another layer of strategy that makes the battles in Final Fantasy 16 really interesting.

Eikon Types In Final Fantasy 16

Eikon Powers in FF16

Remember, each Eikon has its own strengths and weaknesses. Being able to switch between them can give Clive an edge in every fight in the battle system of Final Fantasy 16.

1. Phoenix

Phoenix is a classic Eikon from past games, known for its connection to fire and life. In combat, Phoenix can give Clive fire-based attacks. It might also have healing powers, like in past games, but we’ll have to see.

2. Garuda

Garuda is a bird-like Eikon, usually associated with wind powers. When Clive is connected with Garuda, he might gain wind-based attacks, and maybe even some speed boosts.

3. Shiva

Shiva is an Eikon that’s all about ice and cold. In a fight, Shiva can give Clive ice-based attacks. This can be very handy against enemies who don’t like the cold.

4. Titan

Titan is a big, strong Eikon often linked with earth and rocks. With Titan, Clive can use powerful earth-based attacks that could do a lot of damage.

5. Odin

Odin is a well-known Eikon from previous games. He’s often seen with a horse and a sword. When Clive is connected to Odin, he might get really strong sword attacks. It could even be something flashy like Odin’s famous Zantetsuken move from past games.

How Eikon Summons Revamp Battle System In Final Fantasy 16?

Eikons in FF16

Clive has a special gauge that builds up during a fight. When this gauge gets full, Clive can summon Eikons. When they’re summoned, these Eikons can do a lot of extra damage to enemies. This can really help turn the tide of a tough battle.

Eikon Transformations

Eikon Boss Fights – A new battle System in FF16

Now, here’s a cool part. Clive might be able to change his form into the Eikons he’s connected to, kind of like the Devil Trigger in Devil May Cry. This could make Clive even stronger in a fight, and also give him new abilities.

Eikon-On-Eikon Battles

Sometimes, Clive will have to fight other Eikons. These fights look like they are going to be very exciting and have a lot of action. The battles might be mostly set pieces, meaning they’re more like a movie than a regular fight. You might not have as much control, but they’re sure to be a sight to see. These new features could make the battles in Final Fantasy 16 more intense and dynamic than ever before.

How FF16 Combat Gets Better With Items & Perks 

In Final Fantasy 16, you can use different items like tonics and potions to help Clive in battle. The way you use these items is pretty simple. They’re tied to the D-Pad on your controller. When you press a direction on the D-Pad, you’ll use the item that’s linked to that direction. This makes it quick and easy to use items in the middle of a fight.

On top of Clive’s health bar, you might notice a few small icons. These represent the passive perks that Clive has. These perks are always helping Clive, without you needing to do anything. They can give Clive various bonuses, like making him stronger or tougher or letting him move faster.

Using items and perks wisely can give you an edge in battles, helping you beat tough enemies and make it through FF16. This brings me to the end of Final Fantasy 16 Battle System guide where I have explained every single feature or mechanic that transforms the overall combat aspect of FF16.

Before you leave the page, you must visit Final Fantasy 16 All Editions guide & decide which version is the best purchase for you. Also, take a quick look at Final Fantasy 16 Voice Actors and learn about the amazing cast that is behind FF16. 

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Irfan Ansari

Irfan Ansari is a Senior Editor and Guides Writer on eXputer. He has seven years of Video Game Journalism experience and a tremendous love for gaming. Over his editorial career, he has gained experience at multiple sites. Along with his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering Irfan has also earned a degree in Writing and Editing from the University of Michigan. Experience: 7+ Years || Education: Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering || Worked for TheGamer and VeryAli Gaming || Published 1000+ Guides

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