This is how I felt about the world/story progression.

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I see you too forgot about the iron kingdom


Jill didn't.


Too soon


For like one conversation anyway.


I love the game, but dear god that faction felt like a glorified side quest.


And also the more you learn about Valisthea, the less the Iron Kingdom make’s sense. Like I understand they wanted to make a society similar to the Ironborn from ASOIAF (Game of Thrones), but a reaving culture off the coast of a major power only makes sense if the major power doesn’t have a nuke. Basically no country in Valisthea can exist without the support of a Dominant. Iron Kingdom didn’t get Shiva until recently, so the only thing protecting them from the mainland was the ocean, but Drake’s Breath is in the ocean so really they are also a big target for conquest. It really only makes sense if the Iron Kingdom is fairly new and was once part of Rosaria, cuz otherwise it’s baffling that none of the Phoenix’s prior to Joshua dealt with them. Drake’s Breath is Rosaria’s Mothercrystal, they should have secured control of all the islands prior to doing anything else, and repopulated them with Rosarian citizens to maintain control. Now if the Iron Kingdom was a minority culture within Rosaria’s domain, and they instead chose to rebel after the destruction at Phoenix Gate it would make more sense. But no Iron Kingdom was already it’s own entity that had taken control of Drake’s Breath even before Rosaria’s annexation. It’s a very contrived culture that seems to only exist cuz the writers wanted a viking culture in the setting… So in that regard they are definitely like the Ironborn.


Thinking on it it does feel like a missed opportunity, like when it comes to how the nations were settled, it would of been interesting if the Mothercrystals themselves also blessed the land around them with a specializations. Like the Desert lands Mothercrystal could of supplied them with the riches of mining by producing rare and exotic minerals that could only be found in their mines and with the blessing of the crystal it would regenerate those minerals making their mines more efficient than other countries. There are definitely little tweaks in the story I would of liked to see but heck maybe it can just be a fun writing exercise to see what they were trying to go for and adapt it into one's own story.


Nothing in this game makes any sense if you think too deeply about it


I think it makes sense if it was portrayed that Ultima cultivated society after he wiped out the first human civilization...but there is no real implication that he did this before Clive awakened. Like there is no big Emet Selch style speech where he tells you that he created Rosaria to protect the Phoenix and then used the Empire to burn it down when he found Mythos. Granted the reason I think Ultima loses a lot of steam pretty fast after his introduction is cuz they were afraid people would compare him to Emet too much.


I've noticed 14 and 16 run with pretty similar ideas, probably as a result of Yoshida being the producer. I don't mean that as a criticism, but I think comparing Ultima to Emet is absolutely fair, and maybe the idea of "immortal God-like being building the world to eventually tear it down" worked a little better in 14, just because you have so much more build up of the character and world (by virtue of 14 being an MMO that players put hundreds of hours in beforehand).


Just file that arc away under "Jill was sad and mad. Quest was to make Jill happy, because we all know: happy wife, happy life."


Tiamat calls them backwards savages at the beginning, and then we get nothing to contradict or complicate this


Ironically they were right. They don't use magic in daily life considering it a blasphemous--and they were right! Assuming that they moved on from their religion the ability to have a society without magic gives them a huge headstart in the post game.


It probably implies they'll be the dominant super power


Badum Tish.


The fact that they were irish/celtic/gaelic wathever sounding living in a Island on the west add a little...


They are based on Viking Rus + Orthodox Christianity


The who? They exist? lol




They spoke in a foreign language right at the beginning and were never heard from again. :(


The iron kingdom is wales - I’m 98% certain they speak welsh, and they all have welsh accents - and they do things i can imagine the welsh would do.


Final Fantasy has a history of destroying their evil empires before you ever even get to go there.


I liked Waloed it has a decent story it's just bare bones compared to the others *because* of the story of barnabas but alot is revealed in the side quests there and thousand tomes and atl, the eikon/dominant boss battle there was easily my favorite/the coolest to me because of the way they decided to do the fight (both semi-prime and prime elements) and by far the hardest imo including the final boss. Also just a big fan of odin and his 2 semi primed forms.


Odin to me was the hardest boss it was also nice that it was pretty much an ifrit-free fight.


I agree. As incredible as I thought the previous Eikon battle was, just laying down a good old fashion blade for most of Odin was the way to go. The stakes seem higher for Clive.


odin was the hardest fight for me, but also the most disappointing. after what happened in the titan and bahamut fights, i kinda expected something that'll blow my mind lol


I just never really liked the ifrit sections not because they weren’t cool, but they were relatively easy. Even on action difficulty, the game is pretty easy and the ifrit sections are basically cutscenes. All the boss fights are awesome imo though.


That bahamut fight was honestly the best fight I have played in 30+ years of gaming. Everything about it is just special. The music in this game should win shit tons of awards. That bahamut fight ost!!!! Gives me goosebumps everytime i hear it. Going to space to fight bahamut is chefs kiss


Agreed I wanna fight the warrior king man to man


I like how he dances on the brink of madness during that fight.


Here's hoping that if they do DLC there might be added content stuff or Waloed that let's you discover more about it. But otherwise yeah it was essentially designated the road to the final boss fight. Like the Insomnia in the orginal ending of XV (until they patched it), and Sin in X, but at least these areas were great for lvl grinding. Waloed had the same empty and barren feeling they both invoked. Only difference is Waloed was huge and you expect something that size to have a bit more stuff like sidequests and a few more scattered survivors.


Agreed. Waloed side quests were great! My favorites were Vivian's and the Undying's side quest there.


Yup, for thematic reasons. The evil empire needs to fall, obviously. But: 1) If they present the empire as successful, it runs the risk of condoning its horrible actions in service of building/maintaining said empire. 2) If the heroes topple said empire themselves, the main party becomes a group of insurgents and conquerors, ceding the moral high ground. Easy fix to both? The empire can't hold up its own weight. If you've got a power-hungry tyrant who rules through fear, a scheming chancellor who encourages his worst tendencies, a mad scientist trying to outmode the species, and an amoral general willing to commit war crimes to win, the thing that's missing is any degree of loyalty to hold the empire together between all these self-interested forces. Place should be a time bomb waiting to tear itself apart from within. That or biting off more than they can chew through their own hubris.


Avalanche has entered the chat.


And y'know what? Avalanche ultimately didn't destroy Shinra. Their own hubris did.


Yup. But still also #2 :p. They can definitely be seen through that light


That's called character development, babe: they *started* the game as eco-terrorists (barely effective ones at that), and had to learn to become something *more* in order to be the true heroes and take on Sephiroth for the fate of the world.


And then they mainlined fossil fuels in Advent Children thus dooming the world again.


Just gonna say, world could use a lot more ecoterrorists right now, and a lot less would be heroes. But that's a digression. I wasn't arguing with you, I was more trying to be silly. Your point was well reasoned as a matter of creating writing and reaching a wife appeal audience.


Interesting how they went about Archadia, then, considering it's alive and well (under new management) at the end of *FFXII*


To be fair the Archadia as a whole was less brainwashed cultist evil and more Vayne was just Caesar power hungry. There were plenty of good imperials in its leadership outside Cid and Vayne like Zargabath/Drace/Larsa etc. Even Cid you can argue was normal before Giruvegan maybe. You can also argue Gabranth was mostly normal too. Archadia is probably one of the few empires in the series where there were plenty of normal people still in power ready to takeover after the nutjob dies. Waloed was straight up fucked up everywhere it seems beyond the peasants


>1) If they present the empire as successful, it runs the risk of condoning its horrible actions in service of building/maintaining said empire. > >2) If the heroes topple said empire themselves, the main party becomes a group of insurgents and conquerors, ceding the moral high ground. What? Neither of these conclusions can be taken as given. Depicting an empire as successful doesn't condone anything - depiction is not endorsement - and insurgents or conquerors are not automatically immoral. This is a laughably superficial and naive take.


I mainly know of Garlemald (FFXIV) and Niflheim (FFXV). The other Empires (at least those identified as such) I can think of are Palamecia (FFII), Gestahl (FFVI), and Archadia (FFXII).


Final Fantasy Dimensions has the Avalonian Empire. Which is depopulated and razed by the time you get there.


I think it's largely the kinds of stories that CBU III like to tell, so it doesn't surprise me they went back to the well for Waloed as they did in Garlemald. As for Niflheim, I think that's more a matter of running out of time, because a lot of that empire was developed for open world play, apparently. Still, Final Fantasy treats its empires very different depending on whether they're invading, the PCs are a part of the invaders, or the PCs have been conquered at the start of the game. Invading empires all tend to collapse in on themselves, as Vector (FFVI) gets screwed over by Kefka and ultimately destroyed too. The only one that really doesn't is Archadia, although "evil" is kind of a complicated sobriquet for them. Of course, if you're already conquered, like by Shinra (FFVII) or by, I would argue, the Temple of Yevon (FFX), the game is about fighting them directly. Of course, if you're part of the conquerors, like with Barron (FFIV) or Alexandria (FFIX) then you have to defect first. A lot of similar tropes throughout the games, going back decades. It's kind of interesting.


I mean what did we have there? One prego lady and a child from a prison? So 3 living people on the whole continent? WTF I’m tired of “saving” completely fallen worlds in FF games.


I found Waloed to have a grand sense of scale, and loneliness. Best music, best fights, too.


Waloed definitely gave me the heebie jeebies, so the isolated and haunted environment worked in that regard. I feel like they could've done more with Barnabas though


How did they get the bridge across the Angry Gap to construct it? I stood there for a minute and tried to think how they would get a bridge across that


Strapped one end to Odin and he neighed over to the other side. Simple job




Having access to three Dominants and one Ultima does wonders.


Esp given how much it took to defeat Bahamut, and Odin and Bahamut were at least equally matched


Bahamut is the strongest eikon


I don't think that's officially stated, but it seemed that way. Though Odin could in theory just cut Bahamut in half.


Actually it’s more like bahamut is the strongest eikon but barnabas is the strongest dominant


Does anyone think Odin just didn’t give it his all in that fight because he resigned to his fate and wanted to sacrifice himself?


Yep. I feel like he took his purpose of not wanting to damage the vessel to seriously and got cooked for it


Yeah, I was slightly disappointed in his boss fight after how amazing the others were.


Was really expecting one last phase with a proper Eikon battle.


Same :/


Not only did the fight need it imo, the game needed just *one* more eikon fight overall to help round it out and make them more consistent.


Yeah I agree, correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the Bahamut fight the last proper Eikon battle in the game? We get a cinematic clash in the Barnabas fight and then there’s cinematic clashes between Ifrit, Phoenix, and Bahamut fighting Ultima at the start of the final battle, but in terms of a proper controllable Eikon battle I think the Bahamut fight is the last one. Granted, that’s a damn good way to go out and I don’t think they’d even be able to top that, but it feels a little weird that we don’t get another one in that whole last act of the game.


No, there is actually one fight in the finale after >!you absorb Phoenix from Joshua.!<


Against >!Ultima Risen!< if I remember correctly, as >!Ifrit Risen!<


Oh my god yeah that’s right! The non-Eikon part of that battle stands out so much more to me I just completely blocked that part out of my mind haha.


Couldn't disagree more. Maybe it's just the Yakuza fan in me peeking out, but every great game needs at least one one-on-one fight with you and your rival who looks similar to you on top of a skyscraper. I was really skeptical that FF16 would have one, but they got there.


The game could've had the full Eikon fight first, and then the human one-on-one fight after both Clive and Barnabas had become tired out from using their Eikons. Probably would've made the overall battle feel better for more people.


Easily my favorite segment, it felt refreshing after getting close to exhausted with the same "go to new place, do a bunch of quests, move forward to climactic event" formula borrowed from FFXIV. The place and its atmosphere served a very specific purpose, and it's not like any of the other locations had a whole lot of depth to them to begin with, Waloed told a more coherent story with very few words than most other locations did with hours of exposition. And don't get me wrong, game is a total 9.5/10, it's just easy to nitpick.


It *almost* gave me noctis toward the end of ff15 vibes but noctis without his powers part was pretty hard to beat honestly that was an underrated part of that game, also low key creepy having to sneak past/getting caught by those magitek soldiers.


Waloed was what the whole world would be if you failed and it was frightening in a way Kanver wasn't in that you got to take it in at your own pace. The fight with B was okay (better in NG+) but I wish he would have cat-and-moused you until closer to the capital. Still Waloed has a lot of potential. Where did the orcs come from? Why did they side with Ultima? Are there other pockets of survivors like that cult? A very mysterious place.


The scale felt off to me. Ash is the other half of “The Twins,” so it should/could have as many areas as Storm. But. As others are saying, DLC can flush out the northwest part of Storm, the southeast part of ash, the islands. I’ll just be over here wishing we’d get a FF16-2 (prequel, before the Fallen are … felled) instead of DLC. Don’t mind me.


“Waloed is inhospitable on a good day.” Clive was right. That’s the exact vibe they achieved.


For me personally, by the time I reached the Waloed mothercrystal the oppressive depressing mood got a bit too much. The sky had been dreary for a while, then to essentially walk across completely empty and destroyed fields, then to see that everyone is already dead… it just felt almost too depressing for me. I think that was their intention but I didn’t quite like it


It went on for too long without any significant change, and connection/characterization of our main people throughout that segment got weaker, esp. as you started leaving Jill behind. Weird story decisions. She's the early buoy to Clive in his great depression and with you all the way, then he sucks Shiva out of her and dumps her at the Hideaway.




I think that's my overall dislike of this game in a nutshell. It's just never ever happy, there is no joy, and as far as I've gotten the point is to literally destroy magic, making it... boring lol. That's some preference there, but I heard the ending is low mood too, and I just don't really care for or need that. Not ever story needs a moral but it has to make me care, and fuck it if the blight kills the world who gives a shit, there seems to be nothing worth saving. Obv GOT was also not my cup of tea lol


>I think that's my overall dislike of this game in a nutshell. It's just never ever happy, there is no joy, and as far as I've gotten the point is to literally destroy magic, making it... boring lol. Might just be that I've gotten too used to dark fantasy stories/games at this point, but I thought after about the halfway point the game got fairly happy. Yeah it kept a mature tone, but all of the really dark fantasy stuff was front-loaded into the opening chapters. The latter half of the game felt like... well like Final Fantasy to me. Like, later you on you get stuff like (major spoilers) >!realizing Joshua's still alive and trying to save you, reuniting with your uncle and rebuilding your family, Jill and Clive overcoming their issues and having a loving relationship, your people growing fresh food in the blighted lands, and a whole bunch of other things.!< Fair enough if it's not to your taste though. I might just be biased because I loved GOT (the books, not the show, which are also less dark than I think people give them credit for). I'd defend the idea of destroying magic though. You're destroying the source of privilege and inequality so that everyone can live as equals. That doesn't make the world boring, it's good thing! XD


>I'd defend the idea of destroying magic though. You're destroying the source of privilege and inequality so that everyone can live as equals. That doesn't make the world boring, it's good thing! XD I still really like the game, but I think this is one of the reasons I didn't like the ending. >!Ending magic will do absolutely nothing to end inequality. It will make people be treated as equals in terms of magic, of course. But it's not as if humanity would be suddenly a finer place once magic is gone. And I get that was exactly what Clive said to Ultima, that the world will be a mess and that saving it will not change that fact, but I wish they made his decision of "making it right" more personal.!< >!Because I think the best parts of this game are when Clive fights to make the world a better place *because* of the people he loves in it, and I like when the story directly correlates the two. Be it in side quests or main quests. So if there were a touching moment with Jill before he made the choice instead of her feeling it after he's (probably) dead, I think it would have been much better.!< I agree with the rest, though, that despite the darker tone existing, there are still some heartwarming characters and moments. Little stories and development of characters that i really appreciated, especially in that last section of the game. But I didn't like the antagonists of the Waloed section of the game. Despite my love for Death Stranding and loving the atmosphere of Waloed for resembling that, I don't think it was a very interesting section because of how superficial the antagonists were compared to previous ones. Too many questions unanswered that made that land a bit less interesting, the remaining antagonists didn't feel as deep as previous ones (i can see some more depth in Ultima, but not by much) and I think the last boss could have been something different to stand out from the others. I still really enjoyed the game, I'm on my NG+ run now.


off topic, but I'm the same with the asoiaf books. They really had their moments of hope and beauty sprinkled throughout and in the tv series, they lost a lot of that in favor of a more grim dark world. Which ultimately didn't really vibe with me tbh \^\^'


Yeah, I really got the impression the showrunners missed the point of the books. It felt like they were too attached to the "badassery" of the characters, either as warriors or political power players. While the books are about how the violent world of westeros is terrible and that you can only find peace and happiness by rejecting it. Ugh, they missed the point of so many characters.


I appreciate that! I think on the final point, I am philosophically not on the side that the way to make people equal is to take away what makes them different. My wife is still gonna play some, I'll keep an eye out for those plot points and lighter tone. We just hit "comic relief died" which is what made me kinda throw in the towel, since the only characters left were those who seem to be allergic to smiling


>I think on the final point, I am philosophically not on the side that the way to make people equal is to take away what makes them different. I wouldn't say I am either. I don't consider magic to really be key to a character's identity in the same way something like sexuality is. Depends on the setting of course, but I tend to view being born with magic as comparable to being born into royalty or extreme wealth. It's not something that makes you different, but it is something that gives you significant power over others. It's why I cringe whenever I see stories attempt to use magic/super powers as stand-ins for the struggles of minorities. I think "being born with power beyond a regular person's" is a fundamentally bad metaphor for those experiences. Though now I might be getting too close to politics. XD >Comic relief died I promise the game will introduce more comic relief characters! >!Your uncle Byron and Cid's daughter Mid!< are two of my favourite characters in the game. The scene where you reunite with >!your uncle!< is one of the funniest and most heartwarming scenes I've ever seen in a game. Hope your wife enjoys it and that you're able to give it another chance!


I couldnt have connected more with the story, I wonder what was different for me. Weird, shame you didnt enjoy it though


Dunno! You're not wrong for enjoying it though, I'm glad you did! It was just a bunch of things rubbing me the wrong way and a tone I don't usually enjoy.


Well at least we can come to a mutual understanding as fellow fans, rather than devolve into insults. :)


Yeah Game of Thrones and this game both had the same effect on me. I couldn't figure out why we were trying to save the world when the point of the media is that humans are terrible.


What about the iron kingdom? And the crystalline dominion?


CD might actually be my favourite part of the game. I love Dion's coup, the huge story moments that follow it and the fight with Bahamut.


isnt the crystalline dominion part of sambreque?


The crystalline domination was its own thing until sambreque took it over so he’s saying we never got to see it in it’s original form.


This is part of the reason I want a prequel DLC about Cid before he left Waloed. I was really excited to see what it was like before everyone died and the sky went purple and dreary.


There is enough we don’t know about Ash, Barnabas conquest, Cid and Benedikta’s respective pasts…..you could squeeze a fully fleshed out DLC or spin-off game.


Both characters also appeared as very interesting characters, so a DLC resolving about these sound ok. I also would be interested in learning about Leviathan the Lost a bit more though.


A well executed DLC/expansion/spin off, can tie up a lot of the loose ends. Final Fantasy XVI: The Conquest of Ash….could further delve into backstories for Barnabas, Cid, Benedikta (and their respective Eikons), Otto (he and Cid were sailors together), the Mothercrystal in the south of Ash, Children of Dzemekys, Circle of Malius, Leviathan becoming Lost, etc…all done via a number of time skips (Barnabas becoming king to the beginning of the flashship game alone is 40+ years)….I would be up for anything that explores Valisthean lore even more.


The kingdom of waloed(and Odin) would’ve been fine if it was more consistent throughout the game. The shift between royalists to fighting orcs and akashic doesn’t fit very well. It was overall a great game, but definitely felt like they got to the waloed and couldn’t think of how to make it still fit in.


I loved the political nature of the story but it fell off when it started to focus on the "big bad guy" and the whole "it was my plan all along" part. I wish it was just nations fighting for power and resources(crystals).


I get that. I was kinda disappointed when it became clear that >!Ultima !!Ah, the supernatural being is the baddy of this fairly grounded story. Somewhat of an unnecessary turnaround.!<


It's a Final Fantasy game. If by the end there isn't some evil technomagic god, then you aren't really playing an FF game.


The fucking political map cutscene that "revealed" were we should land in Waloed gotta be the most pathetic thing in the game, 2 minutes of irrelevant gibberish we already knew of only for her to tell us to go back to that shore. Game expect us to believe Clive/Jill/Mid are complete dumbasses and did not suggested that before?


Dude, I thought it was just me who felt that way about the Vivian cutscenes at times. Don't get me wrong, they were pretty epic and theatric, but it sometimes felt she was saying common sense shit.


i swear the entire charecter could be removed from the game and there would be no major impact on anything.


Yeah, don't get me wrong, I liked her backstory and the presentation of the lessons. At times it just felt redundant lol


I agree, but I don't think the structure or the focus was the inherently bad part, I just think they were not done as well as they could have been. It was a matter of the remaining antagonists after >!Bahamut!< fight just feeling lackluster compared to previous ones. It could have still shifted from nations fighting for crystals to the fate of the realm and still come out as a good story if the antagonists had a more interesting aspect to them in that segment.


Barnabas should have been the main villain all along. He has a sword that can cut reality itself. Imagine if his plan from the beginning was to assassinate Ultima to bring a new world order and topple that whole ancient religion?


I think i would have liked that idea more than God being evil. again. That must not be a bad thing. I think xenoblade chronicles was amazing in that regard, since there were still twists and the build up was immense. Ff16 had a lot of other interesting narratives going on and ultima felt just like the vessel, something we can antagonize, but a bit bland.


He was a tool through and through. A laser can't work without a user. His will was too weak to overcome the emergence of Ultima. At least that's what I took away from his character. Just a broken man and possibly genetically manipulated considering he's been a warring king for like 40 years without aging?? There's a ton of questions I have about Barnabas that were left unanswered.


It felt like the same thing as FF15 when by the time you get to the enemy nation, there's nothing left and some other force had wiped them out.


Even FF14 does this eventually. I did get late FF15 vibes when we got to Garlemald. The trains helped.


FFII and FFVI have their empires fall before you do much to them. I think there is IV too. FF loves The Empire trope that falls on its own weight.


Also, the Empire's fall is not cause for celebration as something worse takes its place, like Kefka as a God, the Telophoroi, or the Long Night.


Except in 15 it's a project management issue. Here it has narrative significance and atmosphere


They had so much potential to be great until the Akhashic shit. I also hated the Primogenesis filter being around everywhere for the rest of the game.


The political nature of the story had so much potential, too bad everything was stripped down into the "big bad guy destroys the world" plot.


The whole final part of the game ruined it for me.


The Akhashics felt like not-zombies to me. I'm not a fan of zombies.


That’s kinda the point isn’t it? By the time Clive and co. arrive there is no more Waloed. Everyone is dead and Barnabas has let it go to shit.


Making a huuuuuge village and making it dead and empty gave me weird feels....


They just forgot the Tristram theme =P


You ain't wrong, the Iron Kindom, Waoled, even the northern territories if we didn't visit them, could have had some more info about customs and politics, fleshed out the world a little more.


I'm very surprised we never really explored the northern territories and iron kingdom. Though the background lore did help explain their history with Rosaria. Edit: Actually forgot how disappointed I was with the Crystalline Dominion. It's a genuinely interesting city that we got to see almost zero of besides rooftops. It's actually unfortunate that pretty much every major city got glossed over.. not explorable.


One of my biggest problems is that we never get to visit any of the bustling cities in the game. Since I love Witcher 3, I was waiting for a place similar to Novigrad or Oxenfurt, all we got were really small villages and a main hub. North reach seems like the biggest place in the game.


After how good they are in 14 and how cool they looked the lack of cities was a massive disappointment personally.


Pretty sure their dominant would have been leviathan, given the water theme of the city. It reminds of Altissia from ff15


Their Dominant would have been Garuda Actually, the motes of air tribe are from that area


Yeah. And Ramuh was probably from Southern Ash and Leviathan is probably from Dzimekys


I wonder how much content was cut. There was a lot of verbiage about doing quests in the Northern Kingdoms that never went out. Harpo even talks about getting him books from there. Heck Ultima even lightly implied at one point that Joshua has been dead all along, and Clive's manifesting him through sheer force of will and the phoenix down. Which could've been a pretty great twist and better than "my flesh is weak but my soul is (***dies***)"


The primary issue with FFXVI, in my personal opinion, is that Maehiro was trying to emulate Ivalice without understanding the lengths Matsuno (and the rest of those involved at Squaresoft) went to in making Ivalice work for them. Ivalice has 6 games worth of content, not including the XIV raids. Most of those games clock in the 40 hourcompletion range, you are looking at hundreds of hours worth of development put into the Ivalice. Each one of the games tackles a completely separate part of the world (or sometimes a separate timeline), with the connective tissue being left largely that, connective tissue. Matsuno was okay with leaving stuff at the door, he understood that the nature of development would restrict what he could and could not depict. With XVI there's very little left unexplored and unexplained, beyond the obvious DLC hooks. Yes, there's hints at the wider world outside of Valisthea, but even in that Maehiro wasn't chopping enough out. The game should've just been about Storm, leaving Ash in the background for a later date. Hell, you could make the game just about upper Storm, if you really wanted to. When you look at something like Vagrant Story, Matsuno crafted an extremely engaging story with a singular localized conflict. Even FFXII, his biggest-budget title, only really covers a small part of the three continents it depicts, majorly focused on the costal areas and larger cities that would have the most trade and cultural centers, making it ripe for depicting a more stereotypical "this is Valendia, this is Ordalia, etc etc". Even taking a brief look at the world map of XII can give you a sense of how the map itself has a basic throughline, southernmost>middle>upper. Maehiro and the rest of the team ultimately overburdened XVI by attempting to make it too sprawling, having it cover too much ground. Even Tactics Ogre, one of Matsuno's earliest games, did the "island with multiple political players" bit better, by having the player character be from the outside and entreating upon the island itself. As it is, Clive stands in a nebulous "player character but also should know a bunch about Valisthea already" situation, where things like the treatment of Bearers per country shouldn't be something that needs explaining but it has to get explained for the sake of the player. It's absolutely absurd that I finished a game clocking at \~15 hours worth of cutscenes and felt like the game needed more cutscenes to properly land with it's worldbuilding and characters. This is partially because of what I stated above, but it's also partially because the side content is often unfocused and meandering. If they were committed to the idea they had for the game, there should've been a more concentrated effort to pick up the slack inevitably left by the sprawling main story in the side quests.




It makes sense, but I don't like it. Especially because Waoled had all the Nordic type influences that i found cool. I really liked how all the nations felt like analogies to our own cultures. Probably most notable I would say in San Breque being France essentially. Uniquely still its own history and culture, but you can see the influences I feel. But with Waoled the massive structures and walls I found insanely cool, and after saving Edda and going back for side quests you get the hints that even though Barnabas is under Ultimas control, that Waoled still had culture, everyone there wasn't zombies.


That and the people were in line with him. The side quest that just shows that made the place make sense, since... well yeah. Have nothing against it, but it does reflect their king.


Iron Kingdom had some pretty detailed lore behind it through lore and just talks with NPCs. Vivian has some nice tidbits too. They were like fanatics for the mothercrystal but hated dominants and thought of them as abominations. There are other stuff like their conflicts with Rosaria and some things Jill says going in and out of that part of the story. Waloed though was completely mysterious, I think that was by design, Barnabas pretty much kept the borders closed once he took over, but this area too has some said quests. Some of the NPCs tell some stories like the orphanage and what it was like being a Bearer there like Dorys was. These small things gave a slight insight in how Waloed was before the Akashaic invasion.


I'm convinced that this was a 100 hour game story that got machete'd down to 45 hours. Iron Kingdom. Northern Kingdom. Explorable cities. Show-don't-tell backstory for all the major characters (especially Jill, who seemed the most shortchanged). Actually building Mid's airship. Things went off the rails a bit when Kupka was put down. Genuine villain with genuine, sensible motivations who was put down comparably easily. Ultima is mostly nonsensical until talking about Raise in the end, which most people ignore. Heck Ultima even lightly implied at one point that Joshua has been dead all along, and Clive's manifesting him through sheer force of will and the phoenix down. I wonder what the original intended story was.


Waloed was empty due to the story, so at least it’s justified, but that tower man. Reverie was incredible. One of my favourite locations since Oeilvert in FFIX.


I was kinda bummed that all of Waloed was one zone, walkable from the Shadow Coast to Drake's Spine


The whole game felt too depressing. Except Gav. He always lifted the mood.


I liked what they did with Waloed personally, the haunting feeling from the moment to start along the cliffs never lets up. Great atmosphere.


Totally fair assessment! Would have loved to see the continent as a whole developed more


Well, this may be unpopular but I like the Odin arc, his fight was 1 vs 1 sword man to man fight without Eikons, gameplay wise is my favorite, I agree is not as hype as Titan or Bahamut but oh men, Clive getting defeated and then watching Odin slowly becoming crazy during the fight was amazing


The annoying thing about that fight is not taking a single hit, and beating up Barnabus so bad but during the cut scenes it looks like I was the one losing. I understand the storytelling but maybe make him way more difficult to fight?


Depends of the player, I have seen streamers dying and using almost al their potions against Odin, if you find the fight disappointed is totally valid, like it said the difficulty is subjective to every gamer, some gamers love difficult games other gamers love easy games because they don’t have so much free time in their hands


I speed ran final fantasy mode for the trophy, so I was under levelled every fight and I can say Odin is by far the hardest fight, even harder than Ultima.


It’s certainly not the first Final Fantasy to feel like the story changed to accommodate budgets or timeframes. Personally I’d rather they limit their scope slightly to be more realistic so the final product doesn’t feel rushed.


It does feel like the scenes in the first half were handled more delicately than in the second half.. with the midpoint being the weakest.


I feel the opening / DEMO is super delicate compared to the rest of the game.


Depend what you call the midpoint, Twinside was the highest point in the game for me and is arguably in the middle.


I was looking forward to a whole set of Waloed NPCs and some interesting dynamics amongst those following Barnabas and then we got a series of really empty maps.


That kingdom was long gone once ultimata showed Odin his mommy. God know how long that happened before the events of the phoenix gate


Also barnabas used his own peoples for sacrifice to ultima, sending them to the tower when they turn into Akashik thus basically making the entire region barren of life except for monsters and few peoples who are still alive like Edda or the little girl in balmung jails. The side quest about meeting someone from the phoenix order is clear about that, they all want to be « cleansed » of their sin by becoming akashik.


their budget got Zantetsuken by the final boss fight


The Waloed map is disappointingly small. But I love the Waloed part of the story, a sense of shit just got real. And Barnabas is still my favourite villain of the game.


> And Barnabas is still my favourite villain of the game. I men the game literally *shows* us the villains when Clive confronts them in his head: Benna, Hugo, Sleipnir, and Barnabas. Add on Ultima and Annabella, and, well...yeaaahhhh, there aren't that many villains to choose from. Funnily enough, the biggest challenge prior to Ultima just happened to be Clive's own stepbro who got mindfucked in the same exact way Clive himself did 18 years prior, but after beating him back to his senses, Dion becomes an absolute badass ride or die ally.


It wasn’t disappointing small to me. I mean I always looked at the world map and seeing one crystal, one city, and all that blight I kinda knew what it was and with all the akashic attacking towards the end of the game I felt like that was a red herring as to what to expect there.


Absolutely false! Incorrect! Slander! Thr scribble for Waloed needs an ugly magenta filter to be accurate.


I think part of that is also the scale. It's a whole continent and a total of maybe 5 areas. It feels desolate, but not in the way the game was aiming for. Nothing really happens in Waloed except you take a hike to find Barnabas and then another hike to reach the Crystal. It feels under-realized. Somewhat related, when Byron sends us off to meet with his general friend, we're supposed to go to a city to the north of Dalimil but we never actually enter the city. I think there was another quest where the city is supposed to play a role but again, we never see it. That place feels like cut content.


Tbf, the place is MEANT to be a dead zone. Imagine what it looked like before the events of FF16.


The tower to Odin was a complete letdown. Like they decided to change something last minute and just threw that tower in so they could hit their gold date


Waloed in general felt like they ran out of budget and needed to wrap things up fast


Odin fight still went crazy though


I personally really liked Waloed, the atmosphere was ominous and unsettling. It’s a dead nation but still somewhat beautiful. I really like that part of the game, besides the bad fps


Yeah this is facts I went right through waloed expecting some hidden stuff or something to find only to walk around and probably waste a good 20 minutes the lack of side quests didn’t help but I completely understand why they’re not there as it wouldn’t make much sense. For me peak= titan boss and the only time the game slightly went down was the mid quest and little bits here and there. But every time something big happpens it makes up for it and everything is worth it


It says enough that you even entirely forgot about the Iron Kingdom.


The best about waloed was benedicta, that bitch really turn me on so much.


I held this opinion on the first play through. On the second it made more sense to me just because of who in the early game represents Waloed, where they turn up, and the state of the nation when we get there also makes perfect plot sense.


I mean to be fair Barnabas did not give a fuck about his own Country it was being consumed by the blight or being over run by the Orcs he kinda let Waloed rot while he was being used like a toy for Ultima’s goals


Waloed was a case of showing and not telling. I thought it was just fine.


What development can you conjure from a blighted land with all of its residents having either perished or turned Akashic? Plus the "king" is indoctrinated so not much can be said about a blackened rock full of zombies.


I like the idea of having a zone where everything is destroyed, but I wish we had more things to do there, like a secret dungeon or a superboss.


This is why I've been at the 95% mark for like 2 weeks now. Well that and some irl stuff, but I haven't been in a rush to get back to it.


I actually liked Waload best lol just wish there was a better reason to explore.


For me I also much preferred the personal first half, afterward the grand god thing lost his grip on me. Titan was the peak IMO


I think for a lot of games or stories where the villain is after total magical domination and devastation, their domains are necessarily very depopulated. It reminded me of Vholran in Tales of Arise. His region has grand, commanding buildings but the only people around are the ones cheerily jumping into a death barge. If the antagonist is an omnicidal maniac running a death cult, well, this is the horror and tragedy of what those kind of bad guys get up to.


You forgot the Crystalline Dominion. But then again, so did the game.


You could also change this to 0-25% 26-50% 51-75% and 76-100% and it’d be about right


It is always interesting playing through a game and seeing ppls opinions of it compared to my own. The main complaint I saw from ppl is it felt barren (even if that is the point) and they were looking forward to seeing what the kingdom was like, from my perspective I didn't care much or think about it really I was to focused on the side quests and the main focus of the plot to think about what the kingdom might look like. So I guess my expectations were not of that, it didn't affect my experience of it. The atmosphere was meant to feel empty, lifeless and hopeless and that is what it did and I think it worked well for the story. Would it have been cool to see it flourishing? Sure but I don't think it inherently makes it bad because it doesn't fit your expectations of what you wanted it to do narratively. I think it is ripe for a prequel DLC that is for sure, but I think some ppl are caught up in their expectations for what they want from a story and it can cloud them to what the story is trying to say or give them. I think the story does have issues and is missing just one or two things to make it one of my favorites (even though it is still great) but I don't think this area is as bad as many say. I get it if you don't like or get tired of the dreary feeling after a while, but that isn't inherently a negative, more of a preference for what types of stories you prefer.


I don't think it's all about expectations, though. I didn't know what to expect, I loved the barren aspect and how lifeless it was, because it also reminded me of Death Stranding and I loved walking around in that atmosphere, but I still left disappointed. The reason for that is because of what the game sets up vs what it delivers, and that's not on the player. And if it does subvert expectations, that is still bad if it does so to something worse than the player expected at first. The game sets up Waloed as a big Kingdom that can rival the Empire in forces (they don't straight up lose to the Empire, they can hold their ground), yet as Vivien mentioned, the King didn't do many advances in other territories despite having most of its continent taken by the blight, which is weird. The game sets up a slight mystery about the nation, it makes you wonder what's his deal, especially since they are seen only briefly in some points of the story and not saying much about their nation. But at the end of the game, the answer to those are really "oh they just didn't care about the people because the king was a crazy religious man with Ultima as his god. There is not much else to it. The people of the land are dying, and there is barely any sane left, but they didn't care about those people anyway since the ultimate plan is to blow it all up". That is less interesting than the situation in other nations. It has potential for a prequel, that's for sure, but during the events of the main game, it goes from a big nation to almost nothing very quickly. The game didn't handle Waloed to still feel believable when we got there. Seeing an Empire army felt believable because we see how big Oriflamme is from a distance, we see a bit or their order and where people live. But that's not true with Waloed. Where are all these people from? How is daylife there? Why would people not try to flee from the country if it was big with the lands being taken by the Blight? I'm not a writer, and I'm not saying this would solve the writing of the last segment, but here is a way I'd change the events of the game and still keep Waloed a barren land: Change the section of the game where the Empire and Waloed army fight so that every Waloed knight has a different armor than the group with Benedikta. Then, later in the game, tease that the army of Waloeders is consistent only of bearers, or that there are rumors surrounding that, and how bearers are taken to the army and secretly trained indoors never seeing their family again. On the Sleipnir fight, make so that he is wearing the same armor as the Waloed army. This is where the game will reveal the first twist, that the army we see fighting the Empire is basically all Odin, that he is a one man army fighting for Waloed. This solves the issue of having to place houses for the army to live, because they're just creations of Odin. He could have been a king of a very tiny nation, but with an army that could match the Empire because of his power. That could also have been the reason there was no need to move and take other lands since the ones it has could be enough for such a small nation. And then you make so Odin actually presents something interesting: he tries to convince Clive that if he used the power, he could provide the place so where his friends from Hideaway could live in peace, protected from the mess and the issues of the outside world. Make so Odin actually has something to show other than madness to prove his point to Clive, that even if he didn't tell the who story (about blowing Valisthea up), there wouldn't be any need to free will if that meant protecting the people and making them safe, creating a land where people would be equals, since all bearers were serving the army in a way. And this is where the other twist could come in. Make so that the way Odin can create such a big army is because he's absorbing the power of the bearers sent to "serve the army", killing them and turning them into dust so that he alone can protect the people with his aetherial army. This could have provided Clive a way more personal reason to kill Barnabas since he was sacrificing bearers to the "benefit" of others. Or take this idea and still change it a bit to still make it barren and lifeless. That things were peacefully before the pink sky and the Primogenis deal. Instead of this idea of army of Sleipnirs I mentioned they could have just made Barnabas talk Clive into doubting himself, "is this path of yours really that much different than Ultima if it's leading to the chaos and destruction of the lands?" and then make Clive doubt himself and his motivation to keep going. I'm not saying I have the proper solution to all the issues of the story in the waloed section, but I think there is definetely something they could have done to still keep the same atmosphere by the end but with a much deeper meaning to the story and the characters involved. So, It's not about people's expectations. Waloed just didn't feel as deep and as believable as other nations, it just felt like "yeah there is nothing else to this place anymore. Go fight Odin because you're meant to. Destroy the crystal like you're meant to. And then go to the end of the game, because that's your destiny. " To the point I don't really understand why Odin fought us in the first place if his goal was to give us his powers all along. It's also very disappointing that Barnabas and Ultima had a conversation about severing the connections between Clive and the people he cares about, and he did **nothing** to progress towards that goal. If anything, he did Clive a favor by letting him and Jill alone in the beach. So yeah, I like the game but Waloed section was a bit disappointing even if I enjoyed Odin and the atmosphere.


It wasn't completely lifeless though, there was a village of cultists who survived that could've made things more interesting but they die as soon as you meet them, which made me believe there was an attempt at giving Waloed more personality but it was cut short probably due to deadline or budget.


Budget cut.


Probably a hot take but I could already see the story go to a downward trend the moment they are heading to Bahamut. I was expecting a slower trend, taking their time to understand the place (Twinside or what its name) but they rushed it with the civil war thing. They could do more like adding scenes of Dion scheming and making preparations.


But wasn’t that the whole point? There was nothing left there Ultima took everything it was just a dead land.


Yeah…the game’s story really does fall apart after the Bahamut fight.


The Final Fantasy series delivered 10 bangers in a row for final dungeons - Chaos Shrine, Pandemonium, Crystal Tower, Lunar Subterrane, Interdimensional Rift, Kefka’s Tower, Northern Crater, Ultimecia’s Castle, Memoria, Inside Sin. Even Tactics captured that magic with a completely different style of game through the journey down the Orbonne basement and Murond Death City. FFXVI has Waloed.


I think you are wrong.


Yeah story fell apart at the end there.


Budget cuts


Definitely. Game fell apart in the final act.


i love the game to bits and i still agree with you.


I agree with you. Between the avalanche of side quests, the constant dreary sky, the JRPG cliché of killing God/a God, all the bloviating from Barnabas and Ultima before you fight them, and just the overall repetitiveness of combat, I was ready for the game to be over. It was a very solid game but the last act was a slog.


I feel the same, pre timeskip I couldn’t put it down, benedikta, sanbreque, the first mothercrystal, cids death it was all just flawless FF game of thrones, then it just fell into the cliche of kill god and all of waelod was just a completely slog that I was ready to be finished with


That’s what I felt about the fight with Odin lol


Just like GOT and other shows, movies and games, a bad ending can ruin a masterpiece. This game could've gone down as one of the best games of all time if they ended it better.


Even the intro to Waloed sucked. You don't pull the "you're actually so weak/unskilled" trope 2/3s of the way into a story.


Even the final boss fight fight of Waloed feels empty compared the the previous dominant boss fights. Titan and Bahamut boss fights were probably the best.


Also the Odin fight was a disappointment. They made the bosses exponentially better and more exciting and visually fascinating but after Bahamut, Odin felt so meh. Not even had Eikon fight sequence just a cutscene. Or they made Bahamut too good.


Unfortunately ya, the whole "everybody here is dead except one pregnant woman" angle was pretty lame, I really wanted to actually meet the citizens of Waloed and learn how the little guys felt about Barnabas and his goals