Even though there have been many mainline entries as well as a bunch of spinoffs, there really isn’t another Final Fantasy game quite like Final Fantasy XVI (16). This latest addition to the well known Final Fantasy series is different from the RPG foundation that it was built on, and more of an evolution of the character action genre. This game pairs together quick reflexes with character-building RPG mechanics, however in this game they focus a lot more on the reflexes part than before.
|ESRB Rating||M for Mature|
- Excellent presentation and visuals
- Captivating story and voice acting
- Awesome action-focused combat
- Great replay value and optional content
- Story scenes can be long
- Frame rate is inconsistent
- Basic RPG elements
- Customizable button layouts is lacking
Final Fantasy XVI, basically picks up where Final Fantasy 14 left off as it continues to move down the path of high fantasy, taking quite a bit of inspiration from the famous series Game of Thrones. Its 50+ hour story spans over decades’ worth of history within the realm of Valisthea, which is a world filled with both beauty as well as death. At the centre of this story, you’ll find your character, Clive Rosfield, who is the eldest prince of the kingdom of Rosaria and is the protector of Joshua, who is his brother, the Dominant Phoenix.
Clive And The Other Characters
Clive is an excellent and well-rounded protagonist, who has been brought to life by actor Ben Starr. During your journey through the Final Fantasy XVI story, you’ll witness Clive undergo a lot of change and development, however he manages to stay very likeable and relatable through everything.
Moving on from Clive, the other characters in this game are also really great. Jill, who is a childhood friend of Clive’s, is played by Susannah Fielding and is an amazing companion who both understands and empathises with Clive on a deeper emotional level than most others. As you work your way through the game, you’ll really come to enjoy the tender scenes between Clive and Jill as their relationship grows.
Cid is another character in this game who has become a fan favourite. He’s got a young vibe to him even though he has been voiced by Ralph Ineson, who has also starred in Diablo IV. Cid is a character who you’ll tell straight away is a natural born leader, full of charisma and has a cause that is really easy to support, making you excited to follow along his journey.
The Catching Story
The story in Final Fantasy XVI is amazing and the best thing about this specific story is that they’ve managed to add the perfect amount of lore to the game so that there’s enough that keeps you interested but not too much so that you don’t drown in information. The Final Fantasy XVI world is one that is made up of five kingdoms that each have their own form of government, rulers, religions and ideals. This all sounds like it would be extremely overwhelming to take in but thanks to its ingenious quality-of-life feature, Active Time Lore, it isn’t.
What this does is basically allow you to hold down the DualSense touchpad at any point during a cutscene or conversation to bring up a bunch of contextual entries that are relevant to everything that’s going on in the scene. This means that anytime during these scenes, when a character mentions a term, character or location that you may need a reminder about, all you have to do is bring up the Active Time Lore and a brief entry will appear to get you back up to speed. These won’t have any sort of spoiler as they’ll change with the events of the story and update with the new information about the state of the world as well as Clive’s knowledge about it as it happens in real time.
Eikons and Dominants
One of the most interesting elements that we see within Final Fantasy XVI’s story is the existence of Eikons and Dominants. Eikons are extremely powerful beings that you may recognise from previous games if you’ve been a Final Fantasy fan. A Dominant on the other hand is a special human that is able to tap into their power, to the point where they get fully transformed. If you’re familiar with Final Fantasy lore then you’ll know that these Dominants were often used as a nuclear deterrent, meaning they’d be used as a last resort.
Looking back on the latest few additions to the Final Fantasy series we see them move further and further away from its original turn-based RPG roots, and now with the addition of Final Fantasy XVI it seems like everything has led to this final product. The combat in Final Fantasy XVI is nothing but action, full stop. The combat is fast, flexible, very reflex-driven and is packed with loads of opportunities to attack your enemies with some stylish air combos, jump cancels as well as a huge arsenal of extremely powerful spells and abilities.
Although this is a really cool combat style, Final Fantasy have had to make a few sacrifices to get to this point. In Final Fantasy XVI, you’ll only be able to have control of one character at a time and the levels are a lot more linear than what you may have experienced in the past. So, if you are a purist at heart, then you may not appreciate all of the drastic changes.
However, even though all of the action in the game may seem very chaotic at times, it is actually quite simple and even elegant when you start to break it down. The protagonist, Clive, is able to execute a four hit melee combo by simply smashing the square button. Furthermore, you’re also able to use the Triangle button to shoot magic at enemies and hit them from a distance, and he can also use an ability unique to whatever Eikon power that he has equipped at that time. Lastly, Clive is also able to access up to three other abilities from this Eikon as well.
If you’ve experienced other Final Fantasy games then you may already be aware that for the larger enemies and bosses you’ll see that they have a stagger metre that you’ll be able to fill by successfully landing attacks. After you’ve managed to fill this metre up, the enemy will be put in a staggered state, which will then give you an opportunity to build up a multiplier and deal quite a large amount of damage for a limited amount of time. If you want to become a skillful fighter in Final Fantasy XVI, then it’ll largely depend on your ability to quickly stagger enemies and then also maximise the amount of damage that you’re able to do whilst these enemies are in their staggered state by firstly using your skills optimally but also switching between your Eikons.
What More Is There To Do
Once you’ve worked through the main storyline and the sidequests that are available to you, you’ll further find that there is also a bounty board, which you can use to find exceptionally challenging monsters for rewards that are even greater than you’d usually receive. A lot of these monsters on this bounty board are simply just stronger versions of enemies that you have already encountered, however some others are boss encounters and can result in the most challenging fights available.
So, even when you’ve worked through the main story, there is still loads of extra content to keep you entertained, and also make you as ready as possible for New Game+. This New Game+ world will essentially increase both the challenge and level cap that you had when you played the game previously and even give you new gear upgrades. This isn’t where the new additions stop though, you’ll also have an arcade mode, in which you’ll be able to replay previous levels to try and set high scores to upload to online leaderboards. So, with all of this, you can easily see that there is a lot of stuff to do once the credits have rolled.
The soundtrack is easily yet another highlight in the Final Fantasy XVI game as it manages to work perfectly together and compliment every big scene, regardless if it’s a tender moment that you’re experiencing between Clive and Jill or an epic battle between Eikons. There are some other Final Fantasy games that really have some spectacular soundtracks in them, and Final Fantasy XVI is definitely amongst the best ones.
This Final Fantasy game is overall just a stunning game. Even though it may not be able to hold onto a consistent 60 FPS constantly, it is still one of the most gorgeous games that you’ll be able to get your hands on in 2023. This is the sixteenth game within the Final Fantasy RPG franchise, and it is safe to say that they are still going strong!