Last week, Sony devoted their entire State of Play to only one solitary game: Square Enix’s upcoming Final Fantasy XVI. I understand why they did this. After all, Final Fantasy XVI is supposed to be this huge PlayStation 5 exclusive. It’s also the latest entry into the Final Fantasy series, one of the most beloved franchises in games. Now, I loved Final Fantasy VII Remake but I felt Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition was just okay. However, I’m just not all too excited for Final Fantasy XVI. I wanted a reason to get hyped for it so I sat down to watch the entire Sony State of Play, hoping it would show me something that’ll get me giddy with excitement for it.
After watching the entire presentation, I couldn’t shake the feeling something was missing. Sure, everything looked pretty and all but why didn’t I feel the need to throw money at the screen so I can get an advanced copy of Final Fantasy XVI?
From the outset, I’m a little on the fence regarding the art style. This doesn’t mean Final Fantasy XVI’s graphics are ugly or anything like that. I dare say it looks gorgeous as the character models showed off a lot of detail. This goes double for the Eikons, Final Fantasy XVI’s version of summons. My issue isn’t with the graphics but rather how they boring they come across. They just look rather plain and have no distinctive features. When I look at Clive Rosfield or any of the human characters, they all lack any kind of flair and personality. Maybe it’s unfair but I can’t help but compare the character designs to another Square Enix: Final Fantasy VII Remake.
For example, let’s compare the main characters from each game. Final Fantasy XVI’s Clive Rosfield has no real distinctive features aside from that weird scar, tattoo or whatever that is on his face. As a knight, he wears a drab gray suit of armor with very little customed features or anything to make him really look like a main character. Juxtapose him with Cloud Strife, the main hero of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Cloud easily stands out among the other NPCs thanks to his striking blonde spikey hair, the huge sword on his back and that weird shoulder plate he wears on his left side only. Cloud definitely stands out more while Clive just mixes with the background.
Another issue I have with how Sony’s State of Play presented Final Fantasy XVI is the general lack of substance in the showcase. I agree with the choice to show off the game’s combat system and how awesome the Eikon’s look. The action does look like a whole lot of fun, with Clive zooming in and out at quick speed to take out multiple enemies. Watching him to really crazy spinning slashes or performing one giant slash with his sword to take out multiple enemies from far away was impressive.
What’s missing, however, is the actual context of what’s happening. The State of Play spent a lot of time showing off all those fancy flips and spectacular swipes with his sword but I have no idea what Clive is actually doing. I get most of the flashy moves are because of the Eikons he’s collected. That much was explained. What isn’t explained is how the combat system actually works. Are all the attack dependent what button combinations you press? Do they come out because you have specific abilities activated? I haven’t really been following Final Fantasy XVI’s development religiously so maybe all of this information has been revealed in other previews. As I’ve only seen the State of Play, I have no idea as they really didn’t explain how anything really works. It was more like, “Oooh, look at all the high octane action is!”
I guess the biggest reason as to why I didn’t fall in love with Final Fantasy XVI after viewing the State of Play was the premise of the story. Rather, it’s more of what I think Final Fantasy XVI’s story will be focused on: political intrigue. I just don’t like the idea of kingdoms attempting to usurp power over other kingdoms using political subterfuge and backroom dealings. I just can’t get behind a video game when you need some encyclopedic knowledge of the inner workings of different warring tribes and their political goals. That’s how it came across during the State of Play anyway. Maybe I’m wrong and Final Fantasy XVI will have a very straightforward story with clear cut good and bad guys. Even if that were to be the case, the State of Play didn’t make it seem like that would be the case.
It does seem unfair if I would write off Final Fantasy XVI just from the sole impression I got from the recent State of Play. That’s why I’m not going to be doing that. I’m going to try to do a little more research and delve through more videos which covered the game in a little more depth. What’s frustrating to me is I don’t think I should be doing all that because the State of Play that was devoted to covering Square Enix’s upcoming game should’ve been able to do all that. It should’ve done the job of getting fans who may have never seen all of the previous coverage a good background on what Final Fantasy XVI is going to be like. It should have given more detail to the background of the world and why we should care regarding what happens to Clive Rosfield and his friends. It should have given a better explanation on how the combat system works and why it’s going to be so fun controlling Clive in battle. I didn’t get any of that.
So, right now, I’m going to be tentatively looking at Final Fantasy XVI and just wait to see if people say it’s good or not. That’s just very disappointing, especially since I should be eagerly anticipating the game’s release. I hope the game is good because I would hate to see XVI be the final Final Fantasy.
What was your reaction after Sony’s State of Play featuring Final Fantasy XVI? Are you hyped up for Square Enix’s upcoming game? Let me know in the comments section below!