Can I play Final Fantasy 16 without playing the others?

Earlier this month, Square Enix created quite a buzz by releasing a demo that featured the opening two hours of Final Fantasy XVI.

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Can I play Final Fantasy 16 without playing the others?

The feedback from players has been overwhelmingly positive. The game starts with a bang, showcasing a dazzling clash between two powerful superbeings called Eikons, known as Summons in previous Final Fantasy titles. It also introduces the main character, Clive, and takes players on a pivotal journey through his childhood, which includes a tragic event involving his brother Joshua.

However, beneath these impressive spectacles lies one of the central flaws of Final Fantasy XVI. From a combat and gameplay perspective, the first 15-20 hours can feel somewhat slow. While Clive eventually gains a wide range of abilities, most of them are learned through story events that take place in the latter half of the game. As a result, players may find themselves repetitively pressing the square button to perform generic combos during the early stages.

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Furthermore, the level and world design contribute to the issue. Final Fantasy XVI is a linear game, and while not every game needs an open-world setting, the feeling of restriction is prominent. This is particularly noticeable in the initial sections of the game, where levels are thinly disguised as corridors. Players guide Clive through battle areas, defeating low-level foes, and then navigate through narrow halls or jungle paths to reach the next battle area where a boss-like enemy awaits. This repetitive pattern can become tiresome.

However, it's important to note that this doesn't make the game bad by any means. Final Fantasy XVI relies heavily on the strength of its story to engage players during these initial hours. To their credit, Square Enix largely succeeds in creating a captivating universe, though it leans heavily towards high fantasy with a touch of anime melodrama.

The game boasts an abundance of puzzle pieces, complemented by the inclusion of "Active Time Lore" (ATL). By holding down the center button, players can access journal entries relevant to on-screen events. For instance, if Clive is conversing with his brother Joshua in their family castle, ATL will provide reports on Clive, Joshua, and their home nation of Rosaria. This feature essentially functions as a digital encyclopedia at the player's fingertips,

Square Enix hasn't embarked on a Final Fantasy adventure as ambitious as Final Fantasy XVI since the release of Final Fantasy X back in 2001. This PlayStation 5 exclusive game delivers a grand and focused story that unfolds over 50 hours, offering a reimagination of the RPG roots of the Final Fantasy franchise. However, despite its exhilarating nature, Final Fantasy XVI may not captivate players in the same way as its predecessors.

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