Digital Foundry's Best Games of 2023: The Oliver Mackenzie Collection

It's been a tumultuous year for games development - and yet the quality of releases has been absolutely phenomenal. In this video, Oliver Mackenzie shares his thoughts in 2023 and offers up his top five titles for your viewing pleasure.

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Final Fantasy 16: The Rising Tide DLC Is Designed to Be More Challenging

PS: "The Rising Tide, the second and final expansion for Final Fantasy 16, is set to feature some of the game's most challenging combat scenarios. That's according to DLC director (and a lead combat designer for the base game) Takeo Kujiraoka, who, in an upcoming interview with Push Square, told us that the addition of DLC has allowed the development team to push the title's combat system."

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CrimsonWing691d 2h ago

I’ll be real, I don’t generally go into a FF game looking for difficulty. I just hope the trophies aren’t a nightmare to get. I need a break after doing the brutal/legendary challenges and hard mode in Rebirth. A lot of that was rage inducing.

MrNinosan1d 2h ago

I still need the last Brutal and Legendary in Rebirth before I can pop my Platinum.
Took a break to play through DD2 and RotR, but when I got back to Rebirth, I couldn't even get to the last encounters in said challenges.

Back to the drawing table.

But I'm with you, I don't need the brutal difficulty.
I just want a great game, which I think both XVI and Rebirth is.

VersusDMC1d 1h ago

I doubt it will be brutal difficulty like those challenges. Good luck with Rulers of the outer worlds and Bonds of friendship.

I just think they are making it harder because everyone seems to brease through XVI. I will be playing in Final Fantasy mode(Hard) so I welcome the challenge.

MrNinosan1d ago

I should be able to get through Rulers of the Outer Worlds, just need to be quicker to swap to the character being targeted by Sephiroth.
I finally got the parry timing done, just that he kills off 2 of my characters too quickly 🤣

Haven't actually done to many tries with Bond of Friendship, but enough to know I needed a break after 240 hours with the game.

VersusDMC23h ago


Are you checking out youtube easy guides? Yuffie, Barret, Aerith ATB ward exploit got me through Rulers and Cloud genji glove magic set up for Bonds. Those are really the only really hard ones.

3d brawler, piano and pull ups are my nightmare to get to the platinum...

Barlos1d 2h ago

Will it also be more RPG, and less hack and slash?

Good game, really enjoyed the story but I'm not interested in more of it. I want SE to go back to traditional RPG style.

Michiel19891d 1h ago

FF isn't that series anymore. If you're looking for good old turnbased goodness, you have to start pivoting toward things like Octopath by them. Even DQ12 might not be as traditional if the rumours are true.

CS722h ago

FF isn’t turned based but one game shouldn’t mean that it isn’t an RPG.

Michiel198913h ago

I was talking mainly about it being a TRADITIONAL jrpg, which I don't see any FF being anymore.

LightofDarkness21h ago

It’s apparent from comments after XVI and Remake that they’re heading in more the Remake direction for future titles. Which is 100% an RPG.

raWfodog12h ago

I’ll still be waiting for the complete edition to drop. Maybe I’ll get to play it later on this year.


Final Fantasy 16 Successfully Expanded the Series to New, Younger Players, Says Square Enix

Final Fantasy is a long running series at this point — it's easily one of the most storied franchises in gaming. But when you're up to the sixteenth mainline entry, you must start wondering whether fresh installments still have the power to pull new players in. Indeed, audience growth will be an important metric for the suits upstairs at Square Enix.

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H91d 21h ago

Pull new fans and push old fans

shinoff21831d 20h ago

Pretty much. It was barely an rpg. Sorry if I like a little rpg in my final fantasy games.

-Foxtrot1d 20h ago

I really hope this doesn’t mean they are going to continue to streamline the games even more going forward

It didn’t even have element weakness and the like during battles. A game with element based Eikons you use in combat and they didn’t include any elemental strategic tactics

Tacoboto1d 16h ago

I expected fire to burn grassy enemies. That didn't happen.

I also expected to see a "we have to go there!" moment in a cutscene, and have to travel there myself. FFXVI instead loaded the map to one selectable map marker and the next cutscene loaded to us there.

Disappointing as an RPG. Disappointing as even being "open area". I'll maintain that this game would've been best served as a more linear DMC-style experience than what we got, because the core of the combat and story were so great.

shinoff21831d 7h ago (Edited 1d 7h ago )


I can't imagine they'd try and go back to a turn based game to see if younger fans would like it. They've really never even tried though. Hell my 13 year old loves turn based jrpgs

andy851d 7h ago

I'll always play them because I've played every one, but if 17 goes in the same direction I'm not excited any more. It just wasn't a Final Fantasy game, just a decent action RPG. Thankfully Rebirth had everything that was missing in it.

Cacabunga1d 3h ago

I think they should remake FF9 as action RPG or some similar fighting system as FFXV. It might be something!

MrBaskerville1d ago

Yeah, not sure why they even bothered to have money and purchasable equipment you barely have any choices and it never amounts to more than super basic stat increases.

All the abilities and moves that are added also felt a bit inconsequential, gameplay never really changes in any meaningful way. It's fun, but the first 2 hours don't feel much different than 30 hours in.

I like it, but could have been so much more. Feels very shallow in the gameplay department.

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VonAlbrecht1d 11h ago (Edited 1d 11h ago )

I'm an old fan who's played literally every FF game (excluding 2) and I *loved* FF16.

I genuinely struggle to understand the mindset of people are who get weird and territorial over JRPG franchises. I think as a whole we should be encouraging developers to try new things. We're the old guard - what we want to see in a game is going to become increasingly irrelevant with time so we gotta change the way we think about this stuff.

Vits1d 10h ago (Edited 1d 10h ago )

Classic franchises thrive on their familiarity. While they can introduce new ideas, it's crucial that these innovations stay true to the essence of the franchise. Otherwise, it might be more appropriate to develop a new franchise or spinoff.

And that's where FFXVI sort of drops the ball for many. It doesn't offer much to old Final Fantasy fans. Honestly, I loved the game, but I feel it might have worked better as a spinoff, a new franchise, or even a reimagination of another classic series like Musashi or Dewprism.

Elda1d 7h ago (Edited 1d 7h ago )

I agree. FF games have always been about evolving when it comes to the gameplay mechanics. Big budget FF games like FFXVI with realistic graphics just won't sit too well with turnbase gameplay. The ones complaining are the old fans that are stuck in a rut or still stuck in the 90s style of gameplay.

shinoff21831d 7h ago (Edited 1d 7h ago )

It didn't feel rpgish at all. It's not a territorial issue with everyone.


As much as I like turn based and would prefer that. If that's my only issue with ff16 then why am I loving rebirth, and remake. Truth is to me 16 just blew. Dark, dull, missing so much actual ff stuff, elemental damage non existence. It lacked to much of anything rpg like.

I get innovation but ff16 really didn't innovate anything. They just gave us a mainline title of a straight action game with lite rpg builds.

MrNinosan1d 5h ago

I'm in the same boat.
Played every single Final Fantasy game, also the spinoffs and XI and XIV.

Few of them have dissapointed (some spinoffs did), but even if XVI is different, it still hit me very hard with the amazing story and excellent voice cast.

Sure, I'd like some more customization in loadouts etc, but the game was still amazing.

Probably top 5 of my FF-games, behind Rebirth, FFVII, Remake and X.

H91d 2h ago

I have played every one as well excluding 5 and 11, want to play 5 tho, but when XVI released I gave up, I think your mindset is completely off I don't think we should accept every change that developers make because time have passed, like GRRM says "there's a hidden contract between me and the creator", that hidden contract is that when I play a FF game I expect FF, it doesn't matter to me if they see my old ways as irrelevant or not, it's not what I signed up for, make a new series if you want to shed your old clothes, so let's be honest the only reason why it didn't shed the FF cloth is to make us old fans play, so no I am not going to get denied what I want and see be baited to pay up

thorstein1d 1h ago

16 is what brought me back to the series. I've played FF since the first released and stopped at 10. Things were stagnant.

And 16 feels fresh and new. Not to mention the voice acting and story are all really great.

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Asterphoenix1d 8h ago

Sounds exactly what Tales did with Arise. I enjoyed FF16 more than FF13 and FF15 personally. I just hope the next mainline entry Yoshida makes is more party RPG based.

H91d 2h ago

Actually I think Arise is more Tales than XVI is FF, it's not just about combat, XVI is not even a RPG to begin with, the foreign things to the franchise are too many it's exactly easier to count the similarities because they are fewer, Arise was Tales but not very Tales