FF16 review: A standout among the series’ best

FF16 review: A standout among the series' best

Final Fantasy 16: A Rebellious Return to Magic and Mayhem

Step aside, medieval fantasy! Final Fantasy 16 is here to recapture the magic of the series’ earlier history and take us on an epic adventure. With each new installment, Final Fantasy has always been a playground for fresh ideas and unique characters. And this time, it’s breaking all the rules!

In the past, each Final Fantasy game has been under the pressure to replicate what fans love about the series. But Final Fantasy 16 is different. It’s rebellious and seeks to reinvent itself by introducing sweeping changes to tradition.

Fast Facts

Release date Platform Developer Publisher
June 22, 2023 PS5 In-house Square Enix

Final Fantasy 16 takes us back to a concentrated medieval fantasy world, reminiscent of the series’ origins. But don’t think for a second that the action is old-fashioned! This game introduces hack-and-slash combat inspired by Devil May Cry, challenging the notion that turn-based battles are intrinsic to the series.

In Final Fantasy 16, you play as Clive Rosfield, a noble who isn’t the chosen one but rather the older brother of the chosen one. It’s a refreshing twist on the typical hero narrative. Each kingdom in the game is built around a grand crystal, protected by a summon called Eikons, controlled by their dominants. Clive’s mission is to protect his brother and the kingdom, shouldering the responsibility of saving the day.

As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock new powers and abilities from other Eikons. Imagine using the Phoenix’s fiery blessings to launch your enemies into the air, only to swap to Garuda’s power and pull them back to earth! It’s an early favorite move that adds flair to the fast-paced combat.

Speaking of spectacle, Final Fantasy 16 delivers on that front. One of the game’s highlights is the epic battles between Eikons, where you can take direct control and unleash their power. It’s a slow burn, but the dramatic story buildup makes each battle all the more memorable.

Final Fantasy 16’s combat is approachable and accessible. The game provides a range of accessories that cater to different playstyles. Whether you want guaranteed dodges or convenient combos, there’s something for every player. However, the visual effects of some moves and set-piece abilities can be overwhelming, obscuring the screen at times. It’s a small price to pay for the breathtaking spectacle.

A Tale of Rebellious Magic and Medieval Intrigue

Final Fantasy 16 not only breaks new ground with its combat but also captivates with its story and setting. The game takes us back to a medieval world, reminiscent of earlier entries in the series. But don’t be fooled, Valisthea is far from a typical fantasy realm.

Beyond the crystals and castles, Final Fantasy 16 explores themes of environmentalism and class struggle. It’s a world on the brink of collapse, where the rich maintain their power while the common folk suffer. The parallels to our own world make Valisthea relatable and thought-provoking.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Our protagonist, Clive, is a brooding and badass hero with a quest for redemption and a desire to free the oppressed. His journey is filled with engaging dialogue, often toeing the line between cheesy and endearing in the best possible way. And if you ever find yourself lost in the lore, fear not! Final Fantasy 16 provides handy resources to help you navigate the story’s complexity.

The game’s structure is reminiscent of Final Fantasy 15, with a focused start and a larger second act. Final Fantasy 16 introduces a semi-open world that allows you to wander, aid the locals through sidequests, and strengthen your skills. As you progress, the game opens up even more, providing more challenges and opportunities for exploration.

The Spectacle and Polish of Final Fantasy 16

Final Fantasy 16 is a visual masterpiece, delivering breathtaking spectacle at every turn. The developers have taken the time to ensure smooth performance, allowing for epic battles and cinematic cutscenes that immerse you in the world. This attention to detail sets Final Fantasy 16 apart from its predecessors.

The game’s visuals and combat come together seamlessly, extending the spectacle from cutscenes to gameplay. It’s an action-focused experience that maintains Final Fantasy’s essence while appealing to newcomers. And despite the changes, Final Fantasy 16 is still unmistakably Final Fantasy.

Final Fantasy 16 is a gamble, one that seeks to reinvent the series and tell a unique story. It may not please everyone, especially those longing for classic RPG elements. But Final Fantasy has always been willing to take risks and reimagine itself, and history has shown that it often pays off.


Final Fantasy 16
Review by [Your Name]
Reviewed on: PS5, with code provided by the publisher