Final Fantasy 16 Continues a Misstep of the Franchise Since FF13 – TheFantasyTimes

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By Nikita Gambhir

Final Fantasy 16 Continues a Misstep of the Franchise Since FF13

Final Fantasy 13, released almost fifteen years ago, has had a significant impact on the franchise, particularly on the gameplay of subsequent titles such as Final Fantasy 16. Although the latter didn’t entirely transition into action combat as initially suggested in the 2006 trailer, it initiated the shift towards making games like Final Fantasy 16 more active and less turn-based.

This change has been controversial among fans, as it has resulted in the loss of an essential aspect of the series’ party dynamic by focusing solely on the protagonist as the only combatant that matters. The recently released Final Fantasy 16 has been highly acclaimed for its combat mechanics, but the series has lost an essential part of its party dynamic in making this transition.

Final Fantasy 13 was met with criticism upon its release, with its world being compared to long hallways, and the combat mechanics sometimes seen as tedious. However, the Paradigm Shift system kept players engaged as they worked to build up stagger meters and take advantage of damage opportunities. Although this system still has many fans, critics resisted the initial changes made to Final Fantasy.

The three-person squad in Final Fantasy 13 had a party leader, putting emphasis on the player’s control of that character, while the others functioned as AI companions. This concept has been carried over to subsequent titles such as Final Fantasy 16, where Clive is the only controllable character. This approach has its pros and cons, with the companions feeling less like party members and more like distractions for enemies, but the combat is consistent.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake offers a perfect balance between the party dynamic and action-based combat by requiring players to switch between allies continually. This approach should serve as a blueprint for the future of the series, as it keeps the party dynamic intact.

Although Final Fantasy 16’s combat mechanics are still excellent, the focus on a single protagonist means the game misses out on the key feature of the franchise. It is possible that future updates could address this issue, as was done with Final Fantasy 15, which allowed players to swap between party members. However, given the structure of Final Fantasy 16’s constantly changing party, this may not be likely.

In conclusion, Final Fantasy 13’s impact on the franchise is undeniable, as it has influenced subsequent titles’ gameplay. While the series has lost an essential part of its party dynamic, Final Fantasy 7 Remake offers a blueprint for maintaining that aspect of the franchise while delivering action-based combat. Although Final Fantasy 16’s combat mechanics are excellent, the series must consider the party dynamic in future titles.

After nearly fifteen years since launch, Final Fantasy 13 continues to have had a knock-on effect on the series, influencing the gameplay of many of the titles that followed including the recent Final Fantasy 16. While this game didn’t wind up fully making the transition into action combat that the 2006 trailer first implied, it marked the beginning of the drive toward the goal of making games like Final Fantasy 16 more active and less turn-based.


This has been a controversial decision among fans, although it has produced titles like the recently released Final Fantasy 16which has received high acclaim for its combat alone. However, in making this transition, the series has lost an important part of its party dynamic by focusing on only the singular protagonist of the story as being the only one that matters in combat.

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The Shadow of Final Fantasy 13’s Party Leader

Lightning in Final Fantasy 13

A fantastic game in its own right, Final Fantasy 13 wasn’t free of criticism when it launched, with the game’s world being compared to a series of long hallways and the combat sometimes being seen as tedious. For those that the combat clicked with, the Paradigm Shift system was an interesting way to keep the player active as they worked to build up stagger meters and capitalize on damage opportunities.

This system still has many fans holding Final Fantasy 13 as one of the best in the series, even through the many vocal critics who resisted the first signs of change for Final Fantasy. As unique as the combat was, the fact that the three-person squad had a party leader put a lot of emphasis on whom the player was controlling at any given time.

Combine this with an inability to change to another character in the middle of combat, and it felt less like controlling a party, and more like controlling a protagonist with two AI companions. This is a concept that has followed through the series since, with Final Fantasy 16‘s Clive being the only controllable character, and the only one with a health bar that actually matters before getting a game over.

The result of having a singular protagonist like Clive is a set of pros and cons, where companions feel less like actual party members and more like distractions for enemies, but the combat is at least consistent. While the combat itself is still great on its own, it means that Final Fantasy 16‘s use of the Phoenix is limited to its story and a few attack commands, rather than giving the player the opportunity to revive fallen teammates. What is strange about this singular character focus is that another recent title managed to keep the party dynamic alive, while also leaning heavily into more action-based combat.

Final Fantasy 7 Bucked the Single-Hero Trend

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Abzu

Moving forward, the Final Fantasy series has been a shining example of how to keep the party dynamic strong while also offering more action-based combat. This comes in the form of Final Fantasy 7 Remakewhich relies so heavily on players swapping back and forth between allies that it’s almost impossible to beat while only controlling one character. It’s a perfect marriage of classic Final Fantasy in modern gaming that should act as a blueprint for keeping the party dynamic alive in the future of the series.

While playing as Clive in Final Fantasy 16 as he hot-swaps between different Eikon stances with unique abilities to each is a treat for the new action combat, it does miss out on this key feature of the series. It is still possible that the game could receive updates similar to Final Fantasy 15which eventually added the ability to swap between party members, but this might not be likely given the structure of Final Fantasy 16‘s constantly changing party.

Final Fantasy 16 is available now for PS5.

MORE: How Final Fantasy 16 Elevates the Status of Ramuh

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