Final Fantasy 16 Inherited The Worst Parts Of FF14

Final Fantasy XVI has too much of Final Fantasy XIV’s DNA in its design.

Image Via Square Enix

Final Fantasy 16 has had great sales for a PS5 exclusive, and the critical reception to the game has been positive. There are plenty of issues with the game that fans and critics have taken umbrage with, some of which are tied to the fact that it shares design elements with FF14, despite being a wholly single-player experience. 

Although its rocky start led to an eventual total overhaul, FF14 has become the most profitable entry in the Final Fantasy series. At the same time, the Endwalker expansion is the highest-rated part of the series on Metacritic. As such, fans were delighted when it was announced that Creative Business Unit III, the studio within Square Enix that works on FF14, was developing FF16. The issue with this decision is that gameplay and design elements from FF14 slipped into FF16, making for an overall worse experience.

Related: Is Final Fantasy 16 coming to PC? Answered

Final Fantasy 16’s Side Quests Are Unrewarding & Exist To Fill Time

image via Square Enix

Playing FF14 from the beginning is a huge investment of time, as the journey from A Realm Reborn to the conclusion of Endwalker is filled to the brim with time-wasting. The MSQs that progress the plot are usually excellent. Still, there is a lot of pointless running around in between, where the worst tropes of MMOs come out, as the Warrior of Light has to go around collecting animal furs or delivering bottles of wine, usually for asinine reasons. And this is just the stuff in the main quests, as tons of side quests offer a similar level of tedium. 

This kind of design is more forgivable in an MMO, as there is a need to space out the big exciting moments with smaller deeds. The idea is that you’re in a massive video game world, and the developers want you to see as much of their work as possible. On a more cynical note, there’s also a desire to keep people playing as long as possible, as games like FF14 make their money from subscription fees, and not everyone has the time to blitz through the new content as soon as it drops. 

Then we come to FF16, which has some fantastic story beats and boss battles, but it also has MMO-style side quests. In short, the side quests in FF16 are pointless filler that does nothing but stretch out an already egregiously long game. At best, the side quests will offer tidbits of lore or character development for side characters. Yet, they’re wrapped around tedious running back and forth between locations and occasionally fighting easy mobs of monsters. 

It also doesn’t help that the rewards for the side quests are meager and not worth your time. The exception to these are the Hunts, which at least provide some tough battles and decent rewards, but they’re also tied to backtracking through areas, wasting just as much time as the regular side quests.

Final Fantasy 16’s Gear Is Just Pretty Numbers

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It’s safe to say that FF14 isn’t a loot-focused game, as most of the equipment the player finds or buys is just about increasing numbers and looking cool. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing from a design standpoint, as weapons that drastically alter skills or playstyles would present a nightmare from a balancing perspective. But this comes at the cost of taking away that feeling of finding a really powerful weapon or piece of gear that changes how you play and just makes your character feel stronger. 

Unfortunately, this design decision has made its way into FF16, as the swords Clive uses are just numbers that go up while looking cool. Meanwhile, the accessories add meager upgrades to damage or shorten the cooldowns for existing abilities. This is because FF16 is similar to FF14 in that it’s all about the rotations of the Eikon powers, similar to the job abilities used by the Warrior of Light. 

Ultimately, the weapons and armor feel tacked on, which is also true of the crafting system. In the end, you’re left with boring side quests that slowly provide materials for marginal upgrades of gear that barely feel like they affect the gameplay experience. FF16 might have benefited from giving the player more weapon options that they could switch to while also adding status effects (another omission)  to certain types, giving you a reason to experiment and build weapons rather than relying on the same Eikon powers that work the exact same way in every single battle. 

Final Fantasy 16’s Dungeons Are Linear To The Point Of Boredom

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FF14 has many linear dungeons, and fans are thankful for that. This is due to the nature of Duty Roulette, where experienced players can help newbies complete the MSQs as they go through the story in exchange for bonus experience and loot. As such, these more experienced players often know the optimal route for completing a dungeon, which is why so many of them are basic and have puzzles that one player can do. If they were more complicated and had puzzles on the same level as something like the Temple of the Ancients from FF7, players would get frustrated with each other while coordinating everyone. 

For some reason, this design philosophy was also used with FF16, with most of its dungeons being little more than a path with minor offshoots ending in a treasure chest or item on the ground. The dungeons are essentially strings of battles, with the most basic of puzzles, such as finding a key and returning to a locked door. 

The linear dungeons in FF14 make sense, but FF16 could have had so much more. There is room for the occasional battle gauntlet in an RPG, where the dungeon is all about combat and getting to end, but FF16 has that and nothing more. Puzzles would have been a great way to break up the action and stop the fights from becoming repetitive, and they could have been used to open up new things for the Eikon powers to do. In the end, the dungeons are just chains of fights.  

Related: Who Voices Cid in Final Fantasy 16?

FF16 did inherit some positive things from FF14, as it has an excellent story, some fantastic characters with amazing voice actors, and epic boss fights that rival the best produced by the earlier games in the series. It’s a shame that it has too much of the MMO’s design baked into it, as it drags down parts of the game and leaves them less than they could have been.