This article is a response to the overall response I’ve seen to final fantasy 16’s approach to combat. I’ll be addressing the rings that assist you, as well as the decision vs action and story mode. I’ll also express my opinion of difficulty in action games and when they do become inaccessible.
Five Rings that make you worse.
Everyone gets five rings in their inventory when you start ff16. The ring of timely focus, timely strikes, timely evasion, timely assistance, and timely healing.
- The Ring of Timely Focus, it gives a quick time event when your attacked. Ensuring a perfect dodge.
- The Ring of Timely Strikes, It makes combos easier to do, this one especially will make you worse if your attempting to style.
- The Ring of Timely evasion, auto dodge.
- The Ring of Timely Healing, uses healing potions automatically.
- The Ring of Timely Assistance, auto torgal. Basically anywhere a perfect sic can happen torgal will automatically do a perfect sic.’
So these rings while an obviously an addition to aid those who aren’t as inclined towards action games. Casual gamers, etc. however I argue that if these rings didn’t exist the game would be better for it. My main examples are going to be how Devil May Cry 3 and Dark Souls handle difficulty.
Firstly the more direct comparison, DMC 3. In dmc 3 you are forced to learn how the enemies interact with Dante’s move set in order to even stay alive. Learning how to juggle in the air even if its just prop into aerial rave is vital. The reason players learned how to use these tools they had to experiment with what they had at their disposal. That isn’t to say Dante’s move set isn’t expansive, it is to say you always have the right tool to situation.
If you have to suspend a enemy in the air their isn’t an option to just knock it up and have your guns auto shoot. Where that is an option in FF16. Having to put the tools together to figure out combat scenarios becomes a puzzle in itself. Encouraging the player to experiment with the combat system is never a bad idea, especially in spectacle fighters. Having the player learn through experimenting with things like how to stop enemy momentum, short stop stingers, do over unders, etc. is how you get longevity and replay value out of this genre. So why limit it with these rings?
My second example Dark Souls. The souls series handles difficultly in a much different way mechanically simpler than DMC; it distills the action game or spectacle fighter genre into its most raw form. While DMC may challenge the player mechanically, Souls is a matter of endurance and will. While yes their still is a skill floor to mastering the combat of Dark Souls, comparatively it doesn’t hold a candle to the depth of DMC. However thats another article.
In this case Dark souls testing players endurance is equated in FF16, the concept is largely the same. Because players don’t have any other option but to press on and keep slamming your head into a boss for lord knows how long in Dark Souls. It forces the player to get good. Having no options is a good thing for Dark Souls. As well as DMC. Spoiling players for choice is often a good thing, the skill system in FF16 is a great example of giving players meaningful choices that impact their gameplay in a positive manner.
Spoiled for Choice.
Being able to tailor your toolkit to your play style is an example a good use for choice. However giving the player the choice to remove gameplay mechanics all together. I don’t agree with and makes people think your game is just mindless mashing. when in reality FF16 is probably the most deep combat system ever made since DMC 3. (More on that in the FF16 review article.)
This brings me to the problem of story focused vs action focused while FF16’s story isn’t anything to scoff at. With its winding twists and turns that are indicative of the Final Fantasy Franchise it’s up to the individual to pick. Personally my first play though was on action focused and even then It wasn’t a huge challenge. Story focused making this easier is a bad design decision. While it does sell more copies, copies sold vs average enjoyment has its merits. Replay value comes from the combat system, from the training mode, arcade mode, etc; these systems push the player to avoid the meat of the game. Once the veil of the story is gone, what will be left for those players?
Does everyone need to live, breathe, and eat game mechanics? No. It’s not for everyone and its not meant to be. That’s okay, if you want to play for the story great, just get good enough to do it. You can finish DMC 3 without needing to learn how to short stop stingers or jump cancel. Just as you can finish Dark Souls without ever healing. Challenge yourself. Don’t just put these rings on a watch cutscenes, engage with the game portion of this video game.
My challenge to everyone reading this, isn’t to go into the training room for eight hours a day and practice. No my challenge is do not touch the movement stick your next combat encounter in FF16. Clive has the toolset to move freely without ever touching the stick.
Farewell and for the love of everything holy and not. Just get good.
For more combos watch here:https://www.youtube.com/@Waffle_Mama_Combos.