Final Fantasy XVI's Accessibility Rings: A Step Forward, But Not Enough

  • 27-06-2023 |
  • Oscar Jennings

Accompanying Final Fantasy XVI's action-focused combat scheme is a set of tools designed to make the combat experience more accessible. These tools, known as accessibility rings, are already in the player's inventory at the start of the game and provide assistance in various aspects of combat. Although these rings are a welcome addition, they are far from a comprehensive solution to the game's accessibility issues.

The five accessibility rings in Final Fantasy XVI each serve a unique purpose. The Ring of Timely Strikes simplifies attack combos, while the Ring of Timely Assistance automates commands for the player's pet companion. The Ring of Timely Focus slows down time during attacks, making it easier to dodge, and the Ring of Timely Evasion automatically dodges the player. Lastly, the Ring of Timely Healing uses health potions automatically when the player's health is low.

These rings are undoubtedly helpful for some players, making fast-paced combat more manageable. However, there is a significant drawback to their use: equipping these rings takes up valuable accessory slots that could be used to boost the player's power. This trade-off essentially punishes players for needing or wanting assistance, contradicting the idea of accessibility as an accommodation.

Furthermore, the game's approach to accessibility is limited to these rings and one option to increase the subtitle text size. The game's menus and UI suffer from tiny, hard-to-read fonts, and there are no options to adjust them. This lack of comprehensive accessibility features leaves room for improvement.

While Final Fantasy XVI's accessibility rings are a step in the right direction, they are not an adequate solution to the game's accessibility challenges. Players who need assistance should not be penalized with trade-offs, and a truly accommodating system would allow for these rings to be activated without taking up valuable accessory slots. Additionally, more attention should be paid to the game's non-combat accessibility features, such as readable fonts and customizable UI elements. By addressing these issues, Final Fantasy XVI could become a more inclusive and enjoyable experience for all players.