Although Final Fantasy 16 is pushing the series further into action than any entry before it, one aspect of its combat could end up being a costly mistake. Releasing at long last on June 22, the next Final Fantasy comes highly anticipated, with prerelease material pointing to a darker, more serious tone, and a focus on high-intensity action and impressive set pieces. Featuring protagonist Clive Rosfield as its sole playable character, Final Fantasy 16 marks a departure from series tradition in more ways than one.

Among 2023’s big-name releases, FF16‘s previews provide stunning new looks at the game. The acclaim of the game’s producer, Naoki Yoshida means expectations for the next Final Fantasy are at an all-time high, especially following the somewhat disappointing Final Fantasy 15. However, while some long-time fans of the series have expressed doubt about the game’s action-heavy combat, which closer resembles something like Devil May Cry than a typical RPG, Final Fantasy 16‘s combat could have a bigger hurdle to cross in its single playable character.

Related: Final Fantasy 16 Is Repeating FF15’s Mistakes

FF16’s Lack Of A Party Could Hurt Its Gameplay

Clive engages an enemy in combat in Final Fantasy 16, appearing to cast a lightning spell.

While Final Fantasy 16‘s action-heavy combat looks flashy and exciting, the lack of any actual party members could cut into the game’s depth. Aside from Final Fantasy 16‘s dog companion, Torgal, who can be given commands in combat like God of War‘s Atreus, the game’s various NPC party members seem to be both temporary and uncontrollable, joining Clive only for certain sections of the game. It’s a decision made, presumably, to account for Clive’s more expansive, action-game moveset – with Yoshida commenting in an interview with IGN that the intent is “to allow players to focus solely on controlling Clive.” However, the lack of a controllable party may mean fewer options for players.

FF16’s Combat Relies Solely On Its Main Protagonist

Final Fantasy 16 Clive Dodge Prompt

As the first mainline, non-MMO Final Fantasy with only one controllable character, the game’s combat hinges heavily on making Clive a satisfying character to play as – consolidating the options that a player would usually get from other party members into just the protagonist. And, to be fair, Final Fantasy 16‘s focus on Dominants and Eikons does seem to account for this, giving Clive different abilities associated with the various Eikons that can be swapped between mid-battle, similar to the style-switching of Devil May Cry‘s Dante. In moving away from a controllable party, however, Final Fantasy 16 potentially misses out on strategic depth.

While Clive does seem to have plenty of varied tools at his disposal, consolidating everything into a single playable character can make for a game that’s lacking in strategy compared to past entries. As a singular protagonist, Clive needs to be capable of defense, offense, and healing all at once, whereas past Final Fantasy games would instead split different roles between characters. However, as Final Fantasy 16 changes summons into set pieces and turns to action-heavy combat, the lack of a full party may be a necessary change to better fit the game’s fast-paced gameplay.

Clive being the only playable character could, ultimately, be the best and most fitting choice for the kind of game Final Fantasy 16 is aiming to be, but the absence of a dedicated party is still likely to be disappointing to some players. However, as the game is quickly approaching its release, the vast majority of its gameplay is now set in stone. For better or worse, Final Fantasy 16 will be the first in the series to commit to a single playable protagonist.

More: Final Fantasy 16 – Release Date, Eikons, Story, & Gameplay Details

Source: IGN, PlayStation/YouTube

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