Final Fantasy 16 has a lot to offer. In addition to a return to a more traditional fantasy world – eschewing the previous game’s apocalyptic boy band aesthetic – the game appears to have a more serious tone, a world filled with political intrigue, and a core cast of characters with grizzly backstories, powerful motivations, and suitably unlikely characters. names. By remembering what made the series great, Square Enix’s next blockbuster RPG was able to right the series’ recent mistakes.
But despite some of the ways the game returns to its retro Final Fantasy roots, there’s one place where the game innovates: combat. It was confirmed early in the game’s life that Final Fantasy 16 will not feature turn-based combat – something that was a staple of the games until Final Fantasy 12. Instead, the action will be more focused on real-time, player-focused sequences similar to something a player might find in, say, Devil may cry 5.
And it’s not just me pulling a name out of an air juggling combination to make a point. Final Fantasy 16 has harnessed the talents of DMC5’s combat director, Ryota Suzuki, to direct the action in this game. After fiddling with the combat in Final Fantasy 15 a bit, and realizing that some mongrel hybrid of real-time and turn-based isn’t really what a new numbered title in the series needs, Final Fantasy 16 has gone all out to pull the devilish trigger and immerse yourself in the excitement. And I couldn’t be happier about that.
From what we’ve seen of the game so far, Suzuki’s remarkable talents have been put to good use. The video below shows footage of Devil May Cry 5 held against footage of FF16 protagonist Clive in action (taken from the game’s first reveal trailer). You can even see Clive “juggling” some of the enemies in the footage – one of the most important combat techniques in the Devil May Cry games. The YouTuber, P44/GPRS, has managed to highlight which moves could be “inspired” by Devil May Cry 5, specifically some sort of main character Nero’s move set, and shows what entries they’re likely to have in FF16.
It’s an educational watch and really shows how action-oriented FF16 will be. And that’s before we get to those over-the-top, massive summon battles we’ve been seeing special trailers about (I think they’ll feel more like Bayonetta’s big setpieces than anything in particular DMC, but we’ll see).
So why am I bringing all this up again? Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition (read: the best version of the game with a fully playable MYSTERY PERSON) is now available on PS+ at no extra cost to anyone with a Premium or Extra subscription. This is the PS5-optimized version of the original release and represents the pinnacle of stylish action in the series to date, at least from a technical point of view. It’s all realized with the RE Engine’s seemingly limitless potential. If you want a tasty demo of what combat in FF16 will feel like, or something to show off your PS5’s chops (the game has next-gen features like ray tracing tech and improved 3D audio), you could do worse then check this essential action game out. You can read our review of Devil May Cry 5 here.
Given that Final Fantasy 16 is being brought to you by the same in-house studio at Square Enix that is responsible for the earth-shatteringly popular Final Fantasy 14 MMORPG (with producer Naoki Yoshida and director Hiroshi Takai spearheading the title’s development), it is the general consensus on Final Fantasy 16 is that it will be a good one. The team involved in Final Fantasy 15 split to some degree: some continued to work on Forspoken – and we’ll see how that pans out next week – while others were locked into the Final Fantasy 7 Remake mines. And you can see FF15’s fingerprints in there somewhere.
FF16, however, is a totally different beast. It’s likely to be as different as Final Fantasy 9 felt, nestled between FF8 and FF10 – which is exactly what we need. The game looks set to be a throwback to a completely different era of Final Fantasy: an imaginative romp, brimming with threat and packed with action. If the game sticks, it could be the best single-player Final Fantasy game in years.