Square Enix has shared our first look at the dungeons in Final Fantasy 16.
IGN has 18 minutes of gameplay footage straight from the dungeons, albeit clearly trimmed around and built from various clips. But it does give us a very good idea of what to expect.
The first thing to note is that these aren’t dungeons in the traditional sense. Clive and company are clearly entering caves that have had giant castles and other structures built around it. They way these buildings look, suggests that they were aboveground once, and some event had taken them underground.
In any case, you aren’t going to be running into bats or mice, or for that matter, people imprisoned. These aren’t dungeons in the lore of the game, but are functionally dungeons in the language of video games.
Next thing to observe is some Ironblood enemies certainly seem to have taken inspiration from From Software’s designs, but let’s not get things mixed up. Soulsborne and masocore games make you feel accomplished, particularly after you build up your skills to perfectly evade or parry enemies so that you can take out their life before they do the same to you. These games are often said to be not for everyone, and that’s because they can stop being enjoyable for some players while others get really into that difficulty curve that never dips.
Final Fantasy games, turn based and real time action alike, have always been about making you feel more powerful the longer you play. There is no sense of being humbled by a difficult experience that supposedly builds character. You have powerful abilities to match up to powerful enemies. It’s not that you don’t have to try as hard playing Final Fantasy, but it definitely gives players a power fantasy as a reward for skillful play. So, it’s a completely different experience.
The two locations shown in the footage seem to be a tower filled with Ironblood soldiers, and an area that leads to a Crystal Gate. As expected, the locations are visually impressive, but the fights that we are shown are not grandiose battles with large armies, to match the scale of these locations. Combat is tuned so that you face batches of seven to ten enemies at a time. As Square Enix had teased before, they are saving the larger scale battles for the Eikons.
Final Fantasy 16 is releasing exclusively on the PlayStation 5 on June 22, 2023. You can watch the dungeons gameplay footage above.