10 Worst Parts Of Final Fantasy 16 (And How To Fix Them)

10 Biggest Flaws In Final Fantasy 16 (And How To Fix Them)

To say Final Fantasy 16 is a departure from the series would be an understatement. FFXVI completely changes the game, genre and expectations for a franchise that’s always had its roots held firmly in RPG territory. However, this game has been undeniably divisive, and while there’s plenty to like and have fun with, there’s also plenty of gripes too.

With that in mind, we count down (in no particular order) the absolute worst parts of Final Fantasy 16 and give our thoughts on how these could have been improved. Of course, do let us know in the comments below whether you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

Terrible Level Design

Final Fantasy XVI takes the worst aspects of Final Fantasy 13 and extrapolates that across the entire length of the game. While that makes writing up walkthroughs and collecting everything in the story an absolute breeze, it’s also not particularly exciting to explore.

Progressing down a linear corridor with no deviating areas, interesting chests or anything all that exciting going on, save for waves of enemies, makes progressing from A to B more of a chore than it should be.

Sure, the graphics are great and some of the larger areas are nicely rendered, but most of the maps here are lazily constructed.

Ways To Fix: We’ve seen that linear games like Resident Evil and The Last Of Us have managed to get round this by adding in secrets, interesting locales and deviating paths that, while all leading back to one bottlenecked path to progress, give an incentive to explore.

FFXVI is crying out for every level to be polished with extra areas, perhaps some indoor areas to explore, useful chests and some rare items and gear too that’s not just lying by the side of the road.

No Customization Over Levelling Up

Final Fantasy XVI very clearly wants to be an action game, and that much is especially true with levelling up. Instead of being able to choose where experience points are placed, such as increasing HP, strength, defence or magic, everything is just automatically assigned for you, taking away any sort of thought or intrigue over customizing your build.

The only thought here will come from placing certain items in your accessory slots (more on this shortly) but it’s disappointing not to see at least some form of control over how Clive levels up.

Ways To Fix: The system could have been rejigged to assign a pool of  experience points, where you can choose to level up different parts of Clive’s stats, especially as there’s actually a screen in the menu called Attributes that doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose. Even something as simple as Dark Soul’s system would have sufficed, levelling up single points to different attributes, to give a bit extra to the experience.

Mindless Side Quests

While one could argue that some of the side quests are actually quite enjoyable in FFXVI, serving as a nice diversion from the main plot, the actual tasks you undertake here are borderline monotonous.

Most of the side quests, and even the story subquests for that matter, see you either taking out a small group of enemies or talking to a bunch of people and going on fetch quests. There is some nice dialogue for some of these, that touch on world issues and the themes inherent in the game, but very few are actually memorable.

Ways To Fix: This game could have taken inspiration from titles like The Witcher 3 or Octopath Traveler and actually made their side quests interesting. Given that some of these include doing tasks for the same people, like Charon or Harpocrates, it would have been nice to see specific missions that see you explore their hometown, learn about their backstories in more detail, and do more interesting tasks.

No Elemental Damage or Status Effects

For a game that relies so heavily on Eikons and elementals as part of the worldbuilding, it’s outright sacrilege that FFXVI has no elemental damage. Fire bombs can be defeated with fire. Ultima’s various forms make no difference to how you approach or build Clive’s character, and you can spam the same high-damage moves constantly.

Given the action emphasis and fast-flowing combat, it’s even more incredulous given there’s emphasis on the stagger bar and certain moves do drop that down quicker.

There’s also no status damage here either, which immediately negates any sort of tactical nuance (beyond timing dodges) with battle. While some soldiers you face will cast Cure or Bravery, there’s no poison, blindness or any other debilitating effects that could prove a problem.

Ways To Fix: Include elemental damage! Maybe fire will not do as much damage against fire enemies than ice will. Maybe wind power is stronger against fast opponents but not so much against the bulkier bosses. All of this could have added another layer of depth to the combat.

Furthermore, it could then play into the idea or building up different “builds” for Clive, which could be switched between in the heat of battle.

A Very Start/Stop Prologue

Every Final Fantasy game has a myriad of cutscenes and tutorials at the start, but Final Fantasy XVI does seem particularly egregious in this respect. The only real movement in the first 3 chapters of the game comes from pushing the analog stick forward, or engaging in Eikon combat that’s over almost as quickly as it begins.

There’s also a lot of cutscenes here, not to mention jumping back in time to a brand new timeline too. All of this, plus the lack of exploration or interesting items, makes this a tough sell early on, given the game doesn’t open up until around 10 hours or so.

Ways To Fix: This will tie into the next point, but allow for more interesting areas to explore, along with more interesting level design. There could also have been a better use of cutscenes and gameplay during this opening portion, with more than just moving in a straight line to trigger the next part of the game.

Exploration Is Pointless

Any RPG fan will recall finding a secret area or stumbling upon a particularly challenging area that completely catches you off-guard. Curiosity is a big part of these games and whether it be Elden Ring, Zelda or even something as simple as Uncharted 4’s larger playgrounds, exploring every nook and cranny is a big part of the joy with gaming. Final Fantasy is no exception.

Well, that is until Final Fantasy XVI. Exploration here rewards you with some very generous items like… 2 Gil or common crafting ingredients you can get more of from defeating enemies. Even some of the bigger areas, that promise to scratch that itch, have nothing noteworthy to look at, nor do they have much in the way of intrigue.

Ways To Improve: Add in some secret areas, improve the map design for larger, open areas and perhaps some optional dungeons too to keep people invested and wanting to explore more.

Missing Eikons

Eikons, this game’s version of Summons, are a definite highlight. Playing as these behemoths during boss fights is insanely good fun and as a result, makes for some of the best fighting in Final Fantasy history. However, the repertoire is surprisingly light when it comes to Eikon variety.

Of the 9 available Eikons in the game, there are definitely some missing faces that fans of the franchise will be disappointed to see omitted. The following could have been added to the game but unfortunately aren’t here: Knights of Round, Carbuncle, Alexander, Cactuar and the Tonberry. There’s also Leviathan too, and while it is mentioned as one of the “missing Eikons”, it’s still a bit disappointing that we couldn’t unlock water abilities. Also, I don’t know about you guys, but it would have been awesome to play with Cactuar and use 10,000 needles or end up with some killer water damage abilities with Leviathan.

Ways To Fix: Add in more Eikons, either as optional add-ons to unlock by completing optional dungeons in the game or completing certain requirements (like collecting a whole bunch of hidden collectibles along the way)

Only One Playable Character

Only playing as Clive, despite being joined by AI companions, is one part of FFXVI that feels like the biggest deviation from the game’s history.

Even Final Fantasy 7: Remake, which predominantly focuses on Cloud’s journey, had the good sense to allow you to switch between characters in battle. Not being able to do that here does help to hone Clive’s skills, but it also takes away any sort of control over getting your AI team working the way you want them too.

Ways To Fix: Allow a separate trigger button (perhaps even R2) to change between different companions and approach battle a little differently. Using this, alongside Eikon abilities, or even something as simple as potion sharing or casting cure, could have been a game changer and allowed for a bit of extra strategy that’s otherwise missing here.

Pointless Item system

With the exception of Potions and Elixirs, there’a absolutely no reason for items to be in the game. Ethers are pointless, there’s no permanent state-enhancing items to boost strength, HP or other attributes, while items like Tents and Cottages are a thing of the past.

There’s no cooking, photos or other systems seen in FFXV either, while the entire system just feels tacked on, especially when you start diving into the equipment and gear (more on that shortly)

Ways To Fix: Either remove the items completely, or allow for more variety with the items collected. How about manuals to let you learn new Eikon abilities? Or maybe a regen item to slowly improve health over time? What about bringing back those status effects like poison which gave just been removed? It seems like FFXVI was in two minds and half-baked the idea, and it shows.

Tacked On Gear And Crafting System

Speaking of half-baked ideas. The crafting and gear systems in this game are…atrocious. This is essentially a “numbers go up” system, with little nuance or reason to really think about what gear you use.

Given how strong combat is in this game, none of the weapons feel different to use. All blades are identical and it’s only their strength stats that are different. There’s no nuance to how heavy or light a blade is. There’s no spears, axes, two-handed swords or anything else that could have changed up how to approach combat.

Likewise, armour has no weight to it, and the crafting system, with the gear you unlock through the game, relies almost solely on strength stats.

Ways To Fix: In order to improve it, the whole item and gear system would need to be revamped. Perhaps add a weight to each item, add in different food items like something akin to Skyrim, and even add in different weapons. These new swords could affect other stats like defence, HP, luck or even stagger ability. Perhaps one weapon has better attack potential but terrible stagger potential? What about a low damage, high-stagger potential blade? Even these tiny changes would add in more nuance.

Not Going All-in With Action

We could be here all day talking about what is and isn’t an RPG and get into fierce debates about whether FFXVI actually is one or not, but to be honest (unpopular opinion incoming!) Final Fantasy XVI would have benefited tremendously by just ditching every RPG system and side quest, producing a linear adventure and working to optimize combat and the aforementioned weapon and item systems.

Instead of adding in pointless fetch quests and story subquests that feel like busywork, Final Fantasy could have been so much stronger with a more defined vision and a little more action to its story.

Ways To Fix: Either you go all-in and become a Devil May Cry-esque action title, or you lean into new RPG kings like Octopath Traveler or Yakuza. Not doing either puts FFXVI in a weird grey area where it’s a decent but unremarkable action game but a pretty terrible RPG.

This game has a great story and fantastic visuals, it’s just a pity that its direction and vision feels lost somewhere along the way.

So there we have it, our 10 biggest gripes with Final Fantasy 16 and how we’d go about fixing them. The game is undoubtedly gorgeous and the story blends in elements of Attack on Titan and Game of Thrones to make for a unique experience, but it’s certainly not without its issues.

How about you guys? Do you agree with our picks? Think there’s something we’re missing? Let us know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “10 Worst Parts Of Final Fantasy 16 (And How To Fix Them)”

  1. Hey Xeno you are absolutely right I do apologize. That’s definitely a typo on my part and I should have elaborated on that bit more as I do know Leviathan is mentioned, especially in those cutscenes with Joshua looking at the mural and realizing his own destiny. That’s my fault for not elaborating on the playable aspect, as I feel like playing with water abilities (aka with Leviathan, unlocking their abilities) would have been a great addition. As you said though, it could well come in a DLC pack which is a great shout. I’ve gone in and modified that part of the article, really appreciate you taking the time to read it and for your feedback too!

    -Greg W

  2. Agree with everything, but you did make two oversighs in the “Missing Eikons” gripe that makes it seem like the author hasn’t actually completed the game. Lore spoilers for anyone reading this.

    First, you said there are 10 Eikons. Unless you found a secret one I’ve somehow missed, there are 9. Ifrit, Phoenix, Garuda, Ramuh, Titan, Bahamut, Shiva, Odin, AND LEVIATHAN. Caps for emphasis, because that’s the second – you listed Leviathan among the Eikons they could have included but didn’t.

    To be fair, though, Leviathan is only mentioned, and not actually seen in the game at any point (maybe in DLC). It’s the “lost” 8th Eikon. There were originally 8 Mother Crystals, one to each Eikon (except Ifrit). Only 5 are in the game proper. Shiva’s crystal, in northwest Storm, was lost to the blight. As was Ramuh’s crystal, in central Ash. The 8th crystal, Leviathan’s crystal, stood where there is now a great big hole in the world, courtesy of Ultima who destroyed it when the fallen attacked it (the sins of Dzemekys). Leviathan ostensibly has not been seen since, though it’s unclear why not, as the destruction of the mother crystals does not remove their Eikons from the world. Again, I suspect this will be the subject of future DLC, but that’s just a guess.

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