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Final Fantasy 16: Every Gameplay Change, Explained – TheFantasyTimes

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By Nikita Gambhir

Final Fantasy 16: Every Gameplay Change, Explained



Fans of the legendary Final Fantasy franchise have every reason to be excited about the latest entry, Final Fantasy 16, as it introduces new gameplay mechanics and tone, setting a new precedent for the series. While some fans may be sentimental towards the traditional combat style or open-world setting, these changes breathe new life into the franchise. Here, we explore every gameplay change in Final Fantasy 16.

8. No Mana Points
Mana Points, also known as Magic Points, Aether Points, or MP, have been a staple gauge in the Final Fantasy franchise, allowing players to cast spells in battle within a certain limit. Final Fantasy 16, however, requires no mana to cast spells in battle, allowing players to spam Clive’s fire spell in the same way they would a regular attack. However, these fire attacks deal low damage, so the battle’s intensity is not compromised. Clive’s Eikon abilities do have a cool-down period, so there’s still a fair fight. This decision likely plays into the title’s focus on real-time, action-based combat, moving away from the traditional turn-based combat.

7. Reinforced Armor
While changing armor in Final Fantasy games is commonplace, Final Fantasy 16 allows players to prolong the performance of an armor piece by reinforcing it, unlocking early on in the game’s main story. If you manage to get Clive’s dodging skills down, fortified armor is just an added bonus in battle. It can be equipped through the Gear and Eikons tab, but sadly, swapping armor will not change the protagonist’s appearance, as these perks are stat and bonus-based instead of cosmetic.

6. AI Party Members
Final Fantasy 16 boasts a changing AI party where you’re not in control of their attacks. Clive is the main protagonist, and he does not have a set group of characters to tour the expanse with. Instead, AI companions will periodically appear in different locations and missions to assist Clive in battle–and then they’ll disappear from your party. The only constant exception to this is the company of Torgal, who will journey with you all the time after meeting Cid.

5. Non-Linear Storytelling
A new form of storytelling in the franchise, a non-linear approach has been taken in Final Fantasy 16 to cover the broader narrative in Clive’s life. Within the demo alone, we saw two separate timelines while we were being introduced to Clive. A total of three timelines are explored within Final Fantasy 16, and these flashbacks interject during pivotal plot points in the game.

4. Eikon Battles And Abilities
A pivotal change in Final Fantasy 16 is the introduction of Eikon abilities and the chance to play as the summons in epic Kaiju battles. Clive can also wield the abilities of every Eikon in the game. This is a necessary change because Eikons are so much more prominent in this title, and summoning them in battle would not make sense in the larger narrative.

3. Regional Exploration
Final Fantasy 16 restricts players to explore six unique nations. The world of Valisthea is broken into two continents, Storm and Ash, and the six nations that dwell within these borders are open for exploration. Once players arrive at any one of these six regions, they are able to explore the surrounding areas and fast-travel back.

2. A Thousand Tomes
Final Fantasy 16 introduces you to six nations, each with their own society, important figures, and impacting history. Since the lore in Square Enix’s current title is so dense, a lore system was implemented to allow players to read up on everything and everyone. In addition to the Active Time Lore, players also have access to The Thousand Tomes in the possession of Harpocrates in The Hideaway.

1. Final Fantasy Mode
Final Fantasy 16 also boasts the New Game Plus feature, which offers a Final Fantasy Mode, increasing the level of difficulty tenfold. Some Final Fantasy Mode additions include a change of enemies, more challenging combat encounters, enemies spawning at different times in the game, and a level cap increase to 100.

In conclusion, Final Fantasy 16 brings exciting changes to the franchise, offering players new mechanics and a unique tone. While some fans may not appreciate the changes, they breathe new life into the series, setting a new precedent for the future.

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Fans of the acclaimed and long-running Final Fantasy franchise should be excited going into Square Enix’s latest entry, Final Fantasy 16, because this title demonstrates a new dawn when it comes to gameplay mechanics and tone, thus setting a precedent for the series going forward.


RELATED: How Long Does It Take To Beat Final Fantasy 16?

However, it’s no secret that some fans are sentimental towards the more traditional combat style or the open-world setting, and are therefore giving this title the stink eye, but these changes have a chance to breathe new life into the franchise. Here’s every gameplay change in Final Fantasy 16 explained.

~ Spoilers Ahead For Final Fantasy 16 ~





8 No Mana Points

Final Fantasy 16 Clive Combo

Mana Points (also referred to as Magic Points, Aether Points, or MP) have been a staple gauge in the Final Fantasy franchise for years, allowing players to cast spells in battle within a certain limit. In Final Fantasy 16, players were quick to notice that casting spells in battle required no mana, allowing you to effectively spam Clive’s fire spell in the same way you would a regular attack. However, these fire attacks deal low damage and are therefore not detrimental to the battle’s intensity.

However, not all magic properties are limitless, as Clive’s Eikon abilities do have a cool-down period so there’s still a fair fight. The decision to allow frequent magic bursts likely plays into the title’s focus on real-time, action-based combat, moving further away from the franchise’s traditional turn-based combat.

7 Reinforced Armor

Final Fantasy 16 prologue clive and gang

Changing armor in Final Fantasy games is commonplace, but you can actually prolong the performance of an armor piece in Final Fantasy 16–if you’re lucky enough to stumble upon some flashy garments in the wild. After bagging new gear in your inventory, you’ll be able to forge or reinforce your armor or weapons in The Hideaway–which will unlock early on in the game’s main story. If you manage to get Clive’s dodging skills down to a tee, then fortified armor is just an added bonus in battle, and these finds can be equipped through the Gear and Eikons tab.

RELATED: Final Fantasy 16: Why Is Clive Wyvern?

Sadly, swapping Clive’s armor will not change the protagonist’s appearance (even though he gets a dashing change of armor halfway through) because these perks are stat and bonus-based instead of cosmetic. However, the appearance of your weapon will change. Square Enix is not expected to implement a Glamour vanity system for this function like in the MMORPG, Final Fantasy 14.

6 AI Party Members

Morbol Final Fantasy 16 Bad Spit

Another staple in the overarching franchise is the presence of party members during battles, whether you’re teaming up with Tifa and Barret in Final Fantasy 7 or Ignis, Prompto, and Gladiolus in the predecessor. However, Final Fantasy 16 boasts a changing AI party where you’re not in control of their attacks. Clive is the main protagonist of the title, and he does not have the same group of characters to tour the expanse with like Cloud or Noctis.

Instead, Final Fantasy 16 offers AI companions that will periodically appear in different locations and missions to assist Clive in battle–and then they’ll disappear from your party. The only constant exception to this is the company of Torgal, who will journey with you all the time after meeting Cid.

5 Non-Linear Storytelling

final fantasy 16 release time

Players are subject to a new form of storytelling in the franchise, where a non-linear approach has been taken in order to cover the broader narrative in Clive’s life. Within the demo alone, we saw two separate timelines while we were being introduced to Clive, firstly appearing as a grown man with his military comrades in the present day and then appearing 13 years prior.

RELATED: Final Fantasy 16: How To Use Photo Mode

A total of three timelines are explored within Final Fantasy 16: Clive at fifteen years old in Year of the Realm 860, then at 28 years old in 873, and finally we see the protagonist in his thirties, and these flashbacks interject during pivotal plot points in the game.

4 Eikon Battles And Abilities

Final Fantas 16 Ifrit Clive-1

A pivotal change in Final Fantasy 16, and one that the title is built upon, is the introduction of Eikon abilities and the chance to play as the summons in epic Kaiju battles. Previously, you were only able to summon each Eikon in battle for them to deal a devastating blow against enemies independently.

Additionally, Clive can also wield the abilities of every Eikon in the game, from Ifrit, being his dominant, to Shiva and Odin. This is a necessary change because Eikons are so much more prominent in this title and summoning them in battle would not make sense in the larger narrative.

3 Regional Exploration

Protagonist Clive looks up at a crystal within the land of Valisthea in Final Fantasy 16

Unlike Final Fantasy 15, where players were free to explore the entire expanse of Eos by way of Chocobos or the Regalia, Final Fantasy 16 restricts players to explore six, unique nations instead. The world of Valisthea is broken into two continents, Storm and Ash, and the six nations that dwell within these borders are open for exploration. Producer Naoki Yoshida previously explained why an open world would not work in this setting, since most of the action and politics take place within the aforementioned six nations, everything in between would be filler.

Once players arrive at any one of these six regions, however, they are able to explore the surrounding areas and fast-travel back. Following a similar map to Final Fantasy 12, which had more of a Monster Hunter breakdown, Final Fantasy 16 is a lot more contained and story-driven–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

2 A Thousand Tomes

A Thousand Tomes screen with individual lore stills in Final Fantasy 16

The Final Fantasy franchise is rich with lore spanning decades of titles and spin-offs. Final Fantasy 16 is no expectation, introducing you to six nations each with their own society, important figures, and impacting history.

Since the lore in Square Enix’s current title is so dense, a lore system was implemented to allow you to read up on everything and everyone. In addition to the Active Time Lore, you also have access to The Thousand Tomes in the possession of Harpocrates in The Hideaway.

1 Final Fantasy Mode

Final Fantasy 16 Action Scene

Continuing the perk of its predecessor, Final Fantasy 16 also boasts the New Game Plus feature, which will unlock after you’ve completed your first playthrough. In addition to being able to pick the Action Focussed or Story Focussed mode, the New Game Plus also offers a Final Fantasy Mode, which will increase the level of difficulty produced in the game tenfold.

Some Final Fantasy Mode additions include a change of enemies, more challenging combat encounters, enemies spawning at different times in the game, and a level cap increase to 100.

NEXT: Final Fantasy 16: Best Early Game Abilities, Ranked

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