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Final Fantasy 16 gameplay presentation shows off gorgeous combat and silly NPC names

A bulky Final Fantasy 16 State of Play presentation just dropped, detailing tons of new gameplay features, story beats, and RPG elements.

Clocking in at an impressive 25 minutes, the latest presentation shows off a range of exciting features including fast-paced and visually pleasing real-time combat, the protagonist’s hideout, monster hunts, gorgeous cinematics, and no-holds-barred battles against all manner of foes.

Coming to PS5 on June 22, Final Fantasy 16 promises a new step for the series, moving towards an action-oriented cinematic experience designed to appeal to a wider audience. Judging from its latest trailer, we have a great deal to look forward to. The combat appears fast-paced and fluid, offering a frenetic back and forth reminiscent of Final Fantasy 7 Remake or even Devil May Cry 5

Though not a fully open-world game in the vein of Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the presentation shows off some exploration elements as well as a range of side-quests and even an arcade mode for folks who want to compare their combat chops to other players around the world. 

Presenter Michael-Christopher Koji Fox also took the time to detail Cid’s Hideout, a base of operations for protagonist Clive and home of his mentor, the gruff and Sean Bean-sounding Cidolfus. Here, players can upgrade their armor and weapons, get details on side-quests as well as consult NPCs for more information about the game’s world. 

 Of Loresmice and Loresmen  

When I learned that the Hideout’s resident source of exposition was known as “Loresman Harpocrates”, I had to pause the trailer. I am an inveterate Final Fantasy fan and am extremely excited for Final Fantasy 16. However, upon seeing this unfortunate man’s even more unfortunate moniker, I burst out laughing. My fit of giggles was not, however, rooted in cruelty or derision, but out of an unabashed fondness for exactly this sort of nomenclature chicanery – a self-effacing acknowledgement that the high-drama worlds of Final Fantasy can be a little silly sometimes, and that’s okay. 

When you love something, you begin to see its quirks as endearing reminders of your fond feelings. This is how Loresman Haropcrates made me feel. Final Fantasy 16, despite its efforts to cultivate a more mainstream appeal, remains true to the charming idiosyncrasies of the series.  

When you love something, you begin to see its quirks as endearing reminders of your fond feelings

These sorts of curious names come as a result of the game having been translated from the original Japanese, where the economy of language allowed by their character-based alphabet combines with the work of ambitious localization teams to create some joyously memorable names.

In the trailer alone, we are treated to Vivian Ninetales, a monster called a “Leg Eater” and, my personal favorite, “Republican War Panther”.

However, these sorts of names indicate to me that Final Fantasy 16 is on the right track. No matter its budget or the high expectations surrounding the game, it remains willing to celebrate its own charming quirks, much like developer Creative Business Unit 3 continues to achieve in Final Fantasy 14 Online. This seems like a very good sign for the finished product.

 Timely appeal 

Clive pets Torgal

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy 16’s State of Play presentation also details a welcome combat feature: the Timely accessories. When equipped, these trinkets fundamentally alter the nature of the game’s combat system, amounting to attaching some mechanical training wheels to help make the game more accessible for folks who are less familiar with real-time combat. 

These accessories come in lots of different varieties, allowing you to tailor the combat on a custom basis, personalizing your experience to fit your playstyle. If you find dodging frustrating, the game can do it for you. Alternatively, if you enjoy nailing those perfect evasions, but find those Perfect Dodge cues difficult to hit, there is another accessory that slows down time in response to incoming attacks. 

These new mechanics help make the game more accessible for folks who are less familiar with real-time combat

This goes beyond conventional difficulty selection, making for a more customizable gameplay experience. I will confess to being a little intimidated by Final Fantasy 16’s fast-paced action. However, knowing that I will have access to the Timely accessories reassures me that, even if I absolutely suck at the game, I will still have the means to enjoy it. What’s more, the accessories are completely optional, so folks who want the full experience can satisfy their cravings.

All in all, Final Fantasy 16’s State of Play showcase has me extremely excited for the final product. I can’t wait to discover Clive’s story, get stuck into some of the gorgeous combat, and hang out with my new best pal: Loresman Harpocrates.

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