Here is our Final Fantasy 16 review. As a long-time fan of the legendary Final Fantasy series, I have to admit that I had a lot of expectations going into Final Fantasy 16. Even more so when the team behind it and the marketing brand it as the true stepping-off point of the series into a brighter new age. There was so much buzz around the game right from when it was announced up to when it was finally released. “It takes the Final Fantasy series back to its roots!” “The story resembles Game of Thrones!” “Final Fantasy never looked this good!” It truly felt as if everyone has great things to say about Final Fantasy, and that is very welcoming as a FF fan.
And while many games could have easily crumbled due to the pressure and weight of expectations, Final Fantasy 16 thrived on it. It remarkably lived up to all the good things people were saying ahead of its release. Arguably becoming the best Final Fantasy series entrant in recent memory. If this is the game that marks the beginning of the new age of Final Fantasy games, then consider me sold!
Final Fantasy 16 Review: An Epic Medieval Tale
Final Fantasy 16 presents a meticulously crafted narrative that delves into the complex politics, mysticism, and struggles between warring nations in the enchanting world of Valisthea. The story centers around a young protagonist named Clive Rosfield, whose life takes an unexpected turn when he becomes entwined in a conflict involving powerful entities known as Eikons.
The game’s setting is a seamless blend of medieval aesthetics and intricate steampunk elements. Each nation boasts its distinct culture and architecture. Valisthea’s vast and diverse landscapes are a visual treat. It has lush forests, sprawling plains, towering mountains, and bustling cityscapes. The attention to detail in world-building is extraordinary. It immerses players in a fully realized universe that feels alive and brimming with history.
Final Fantasy 16 Review: A Cast of Unforgettable Names
The cast of Final Fantasy 16 is one of its greatest strengths. It features a diverse ensemble of characters that are well-developed and leaves a lasting impact. Clive Rosfield, the main protagonist, is a relatable and multifaceted hero who undergoes significant growth throughout the game. The supporting characters are equally intriguing, with their unique personalities, motivations, and complex relationships adding depth to the overall narrative. Notably, Final Fantasy 16 excels at showcasing the human side of its characters, emphasizing their vulnerabilities and emotional struggles. This level of characterization enhances the player’s connection with the cast, making their triumphs and hardships all the more impactful.
Final Fantasy 16 Review: The Next-Gen Final Fantasy Game
Square Enix is kicking off the debut of the Final Fantasy series in the next-generation consoles with a bang. Not only does Final Fantasy 16 look incredibly visually, but it also has that particular polish that any excellent triple-A game has. Indeed, Square Enix took their time with this one, and it certainly paid off. Everything in the game feels satisfying. Browsing the menus, equipping new gear, and allotting new abilities feel incredibly satisfying. And don’t get me started with how wondrously beautiful the in-game world is! Valisthea is a sight to behold. It is filled with luscious greenlife, serene plains, intimidating cliffs, and so much more. You cannot help but pause for a minute and soak in everything it has to offer. In fact, the scenery is so great, you’d feel the urge to take screenshots from time to time across Valisthea to then share on social media.
Now, all that is great and dandy. However, what took our interest the most is the game’s quality of life feature, the Active Time Lore (ATL). In addition to streamlining the game’s story and character relationships, it also makes you more invested in everything the game has in store. It adds another layer of immersion that most triple-A games just choose to ignore. Better yet, you can access it with a simple touchpad hold. It will show a small constellation of entries on the game’s central events, locations, and characters. Whenever you seem lost or what to learn more about a certain character or event, the Active Time Lore is your best friend! And believe me, Final Fantasy 16 is filled with so many intricate stories and interesting twists. You should really close pay attention to them to fully experience the game.
Final Fantasy 16 Review: Transitioning To Full-On Action RPG
A huge chunk of Final Fantasy fans quickly went out the door as soon as they heard that the series moving forward will focus on being an Action RPG. Believe me when I say this. I love turn-based JRPGs more than the next guy, especially traditional Final Fantasy. However, the fast-paced action combat Final Fantasy 16 employed here just feels right in. I never thought there would be a time when I would say that Final Fantasy games are better as Action RPGs. But alas, here we are. Final Fantasy 16’s full transition to the genre might just be its greatest strength. Perhaps propelling it among the absolute best in the storied series.
Fans of Action RPG games such as Devil May Cry (DMC) will immediately feel familiar with Final Fantasy 16’s combat systems. While there is still the factor of strategy and exploiting the weaknesses of enemies that was prevalent in previous Final Fantasy games, this game’s combat undoubtedly relies more on the player’s reaction time and hand and eye coordination. Although not as deep as DMC’s combat, Clive’s attacks are just as flashy, impactful, and consistently fun. Interestingly, this also makes it so that genre newbies can get the hang of the game’s combat just as well.
Occasionally, you’d also have the chance to take part in Eikon Battles. This gives you control over a titanic beast fighting yet another titanic beast! These battles are much slower than normal combat, resembling wrestling matches or Kaiju rampages. The ground below you will shake, the skies above will split, and everything in your wake will be crushed. The sheer epicness of these Eikon Battles makes it a worthwhile feature in the game. You certainly have to experience it for yourself to truly find out what makes it awe-inspiring.
My Personal Opinion
When the trailer for Final Fantasy 16 went live back in September 2020, all I can think of was I have to get my hand on that game ASAP! And that feeling of intense excitement and eagerness honestly never faded away. Here we are now, with the game right at my fingertips, and it feels like a dream. More so when I actually play it. Final Fantasy 16 is one of those rare games that tug at your heartstrings. There is just something so special about this game. No words can ever fully describe how happy I am to finally get to play it. Perhaps it’s the Final Fantasy diehard within me.
However, taking all the emotional investment I have towards the series as a whole and looking at the game independent of its legacy, I can still genuinely say that Final Fantasy 16 is among the best games I have ever played. It will certainly be a tall task to find another game that has the same polish, depth, and exquisiteness as this one. Playing as Clive and running around Valisthea uncovering the game’s compelling story feels like a pipedream because of how insanely satisfying it is. That is my opinion, and I bet many around the world feel exactly the same.
Final Fantasy 16 Review: Verdict
Final Fantasy 16 rekindles the magic of the beloved franchise, delivering a captivating and enthralling adventure. The series’ transition to full-on Action RPG is perfectly executed. Everything clicks and genuinely feels like they belong. Yes, Final Fantasy 16 may feel drastically different from its predecessors. However, it does not stray too far away from them to not be recognizable. Although the approach is different, Final Fantasy 16 is still a Final Fantasy game at the end of the day.
Whether you’re a longtime fan of the series or a newcomer to the world of Final Fantasy, this game is a must-play. And if you are remotely interested in picking this one up, just do yourself a favor and grab yourself a copy. You certainly wouldn’t regret it. Square Enix undoubtedly found their ticket to the new age of Final Fantasy with this one. It is certainly hard not to get excited about what the future holds for the series after Final Fantasy 16.