Final Fantasy XVI Review

Unleash the Storm: Final Fantasy 16 Shatters Turn-Based RPG Conventions with Lightning-Fueled Action and Epic Adventure.

Mason Moeller

6/26/20232 min read

Final Fantasy 16, the latest installment in the iconic franchise, marks a bold evolution by embracing the character action genre while maintaining the core elements that make the series beloved. Developed by a talented team consisting of designers from Final Fantasy 14 and Devil May Cry, this new entry delivers a mature tone and captivating gameplay. While not without its flaws, Final Fantasy 16 offers a mesmerizing 50+ hour story, outstanding world-building, and an incredible soundtrack, making it a worthy addition to the Final Fantasy legacy.

Valisthea, the realm in which Final Fantasy 16 unfolds, emerges as one of the most fascinating and politically complex worlds in the series. The land is divided into kingdoms, each ruled by a distinct faction with its own architecture, faiths, and belief systems. The narrative delves into the intricate power dynamics, highlighting the servitude and enslavement of the Dominants, vessels for all-powerful deities. The inclusion of the iconic summons as formidable and mutually assured destructive forces adds depth to the lore. While the absence of traditional party dynamics is notable, the engrossing story compensates for this shift, immersing players in a journey filled with epic moments and jaw-dropping spectacle.

Final Fantasy 16 shines in its combat system, which seamlessly blends RPG mechanics with character action gameplay. The fast-paced and reflex-driven combat mechanics provide an adrenaline-pumping experience, allowing players to execute stylish combos and unleash powerful spells. The icon fights in Final Fantasy 16 are an absolute marvel, pushing the boundaries of what players can expect from grand-scale battles. These visually stunning spectacles are the epitome of epic encounters, leaving players in awe of the sheer scale and breathtaking visuals on display. As players face off against these all-powerful deities, the game unleashes its full creative potential, treating us to jaw-dropping moments of sheer spectacle. However, it should be noted that when the game veers away from these action-packed sequences, the pacing can sometimes drag, and the moment-to-moment gameplay may not always match the excitement of the combat system.

One aspect where Final Fantasy 16 falters is the diminished focus on party dynamics, a longstanding hallmark of the franchise. The absence of controlling other party members during combat, as well as the reduced narrative presence of party members, may disappoint fans accustomed to the strong bonds formed between characters in previous entries. While Clive, the protagonist, carries the weight of the story, it is regrettable that the potential for deeper exploration of companions' stories and interactions is limited. The side quests, while providing some depth to the overall experience, can feel repetitive and less engaging as the game progresses.

Visually, Final Fantasy 16 is a feast for the eyes. The meticulously designed world of Valisthea showcases stunning environments, each kingdom boasting its unique architecture and visual identity. From sprawling landscapes to intricately detailed towns, the art direction captures the essence of a dark and gritty medieval fantasy adventure. The game is also cutscene heavy, which some may enjoy more than others. While there are many of them, whether it's an intense action sequence or a poignant character interaction, the cutscenes in Final Fantasy 16 excel at drawing players deeper into the game's narrative. Complementing the visuals is a truly outstanding soundtrack that seamlessly blends with every scene, heightening the emotional impact of pivotal moments and contributing to the overall immersion.

Final Fantasy 16 successfully evolves the franchise by embracing the character action genre while maintaining the core elements that define the series. With a captivating story, rich world-building, and an incredible soundtrack, the game delivers an engaging and immersive experience. Though it falls short in some aspects that made Final Fantasy the franchise it is today, the thrilling combat and jaw-dropping spectacle make up for these shortcomings. Final Fantasy 16 is a testament to the legacy of the franchise and a must-play for both longtime fans and newcomers alike.