Is Final Fantasy XVI an ARPG? Explained

Is Final Fantasy fully turning away from its turn-based roots?

by J.R. Waugh
Is Final Fantasy XVI an ARPG
Image: Square Enix / PlayStation

Final Fantasy XVI is the latest in a long line of fantasy RPGs that’s spanned almost 4 decades at this point. This game promises to be the first new game in the franchise for the current console generation, as a PlayStation 5 exclusive. The game looks gorgeous, as is typical for the franchise, with a massive world to explore and dangerous foes to conquer. But one question players have is whether this one truly transitions from its more traditionally JRPG roots to more of an ARPG for Final Fantasy XVI.

Is Final Fantasy XVI an ARPG? Action RPG Mechanics

Final Fantasy XVI marks the franchise’s first true ARPG, blending its lush open world with action in its combat mechanics, strongly resembling Devil May Cry. This comes as no surprise, with Devil May Cry 5’s Ryota Suzuki serving as Combat Director for FFXVI.

  • Final-Fantasy-XVI-ARPG-Combat
  • Final-Fantasy-XVI-ARPG-Eikon-Battle
  • Final-Fantasy-XVI-ARPG-Ifrit

The combat is fast-paced, layered, and beautiful to look at, but can go by quickly so keep your eyes on the prize in every encounter. It has sophisticated controls, mechanics using the Ring of Timely Focus and Ring of Timely Strength, and a variety of options for you to carry out your battles as you see fit. You will be able to customize your character’s abilities, upgrade gear, and equip yourself for battle with mechanics highly reminiscent of those found in FFXIV.

Related: Everything We Know about Final Fantasy XVI: Release Date, Characters, Bosses, and More

With the way RPGs have been going, critical acclaim and buzz favoring ARPG releases like Dark Souls and Elden Ring, it’s no surprise that even storied franchises like Final Fantasy would want to follow suit with XVI onward, albeit with their own technical twists.

The action features more involved battles between your player characters and your enemies, as well as familiar Eikons like Ifrit, Ramuh, and more in crazy clashes with intense QTEs included. It’s visually full of the cinematic appeal of a classic turn-based Final Fantasy, with the high-octane action of action classics like DMC and Bayonetta. You’ll even feel the influence of overlooked RPG gems like Panzer Dragoon Saga in its aerial combat. Whatever your tastes, this is shaping up to be something insane for FF fans.

- This article was updated on April 13th, 2023

About The Author

J.R. is a content creator with AOTF and has been covering gaming and entertainment in the industry since 2022. Along with a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati, he has studied at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part of his M.A. at the University of Waterloo. You'll find J.R. particularly at home writing about the hottest manga and anime. He is highly passionate about horror, strategy, and RPGs, and anything about Star Trek or LOTR. When not ranting about fan theories or writing guides, J.R. also manages his local movie theater.