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Updated: Jan 4



Developed: SQUARE-ENIX

Published: SQUARE-ENIX

Genre: RPG

Release Date: June 22nd, 2023

Platforms: PS5

*Review copy provided to me by SQUARE-ENIX*

Final Fantasy 16 is the latest entry into this long running franchise and is developed by the team of savior Yoshi P and published by Square-Enix. With the mainline entries since X-2 being subpar or not up to the standards people expect of Final Fantasy, it became time again for Yoshi P to attempt righting the wrongs, just like he did with Final Fantasy 14. But, does he succeed in making Final Fantasy 16 a hit where the other mainline entries failed? or is this just another game in the long line of titles that needs one last Phoenix Down? Only one way to find out, so lets go!




For centuries, people have flocked to her Mothercrystals to partake of their blessing—the abundant aether that fuels the magicks they rely upon in their everyday lives. As the aether begins to fade and the lifeless deadlands spread ever further, so too does the struggle for possession of the final flickers of the Mothers' light grow ever more fierce. Yet amidst the gathering storm, there are those who believe that the legacy of the crystals has shaped mankind's destiny for long enough.




I have been given the privilege to review titles like Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Intergrade, Final Fantasy Stranger Of Paradise, Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster, Final Fantasy 7 Crisis Coe and many other titles, but this is the first time I've actually gotten the chance to review a mainline entry into the series. Sure I have one planned for some point in the near future hopefully with Final Fantasy 10 with all its weirdness of borderline racist Wakka and mister laughing gas man himself, Tidus, but Final Fantasy 16 here will be the first official mainline covered, for better or worse. So far 2023 has been an absolute juggernaut for either big releases or just anticipated titles in general for most gamers, well everyone but me considering we still don't have a proper sequel to ''DONT SH** YOUR PANTS'', but hopefully dreams will come true eventually. With big titles like Resident Evil 4 Remake, Jedi Survivor, Hogwarts Legacy, One Piece Odyssey, Tears Of The Kingdom, Street Fighter 6, etc, yeah ok ok, you get it, the year is absolutely stacked with peoples self proclaimed ''GAME OF THE YEAR''. Seriously, that phrase gets thrown around more than a 13 year old's retainer at a Justin Bieber concert. What? you're telling me that's never happened? well.. NEVER SAY NEVER. Ok sorry, that's my one and only Justin Bieber joke, Belieebe that. Ok Ok, seriously THAT was my last one. With other PS5 power houses on the way like Spider-Man 2, Square-Enix and Yoshi P attempt give both Final Fantasy fans and PS5 owners a reason to chalk up another W in the win column for the exclusive club, but not without ruffling a few feathers along the way with adopting a new gameplay mechanic, action oriented, more cutscenes and a darker narrative that we've never seen really in a Final Fantasy game, barring the MMO Final Fantasy 14, which can get super super dark. If you've watched my Endwalker review, then you'll know what I'm talking about. Villages slain and babies being kicked into a lake and me taking nearly 30 minutes to swim to find it. Sounds nuts? well that's because it was. But just go watch it yourself for further context. Trust me, its freaking hilarious, I mean... devastating.

Thrusting us into the new fantasy world of Valisthea, the journey takes you across two vast lands that break up in a way to what you would call a miniature continent if I had to describe it in any way, your goal when setting out into this bristling vibrant world are for you investigate and discover five giant Mother Crystals that are scattered throughout this broadened world, but all is not easy as just simply walking over, saying what's up and interacting with them, heck no, this aint no picnic, bi**. I apologize, I don't know why I just randomly thought of Malibu's Most Wanted, which has NOTHING to do with Final Fantasy nor gaming, head is weird today. But as I was saying, it will not be easy, as just like in real life where politics and country ego's get in the way of working together and peace, so too does it here with Nation States fighting for both all out supremacy or struggling for survival as they control and harbor these crystals for their own sakes, whether that's for good reasons or evil reasons. As lore states it, the crystal's are what give everything in these lands their power or making nations feel emboldened to pursue tactical advantages over a neighboring nation, alongside special cases of humans called Dominants. These Dominants harness the power of legends, some of who, if you've played any Final Fantasy game at all, you know very well, such as Ifrit, Garuda, Titan.. who isn't a thong wearing fatty this time around, and others like Shiva. The take on Eikons is similar to the way that it worked in Final Fantasy 14, with the human civilian being the host to godly power of the primals, that with any split decision or intense moment, could unleash a beast into the world, to leave the land in utter ruin. Man, I wish I was an Eikon host, DMV lines would be MUCH shorter that way. ''Um I'm sorry miss, your wait time is approximately 5 hours''. Oh Ok... I'll be back. ''COME TO ME, IFRIT!''. BOOOOOM, oh yeah, it would be totally over, first in line now, baby. While summons and primals have been major deals in the past for Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy 16's approach to me seems to put them back into the glorious spotlight they deserve and rather than being one off button clicks, they are now staggering behemoth like Kaiju that have immense power and borderline being their own nuclear threats as far as power scaling goes. VEGETA! WHAT DOES THE SCOUTER SAY ABOUT HIS POWER LEVEL. Its OVER NINE THOUS... KABOOOM, Sorry Vegeta, you'd have no time to respond. Looks like you're dead... wait? you dodged that? then who is that?. Ohhhh. Now it makes sense. Ok.




Primals aren't the only change to the series norm this go around either, especially when compared to past series protagonists. With Final Fantasy 10 you had a quirky and goofy Tidus alongside the dancing lunatic, Yuna, Final Fantasy 12 had annoying pretty boy Vaan and annoying Ashe, Final Fantasy 13 copy and paste gender swap of Cloud with Lightning, and Final Fantasy 15 had boyband adventures and bromance friendships. Here in Final Fantasy 16 however, Yoshi P decides to pull one of his old character treats from Final Fantasy 14, and put it into a single player experience for our new main character, Clive. If you have played Final Fantasy 14, then you will notice that Clive is EXTREMELY similar to the fan favorite known as Ardbert, both with their character arcs and their look, which admittedly took me out of it a bit, but still its not really a complaint as that's a very good similarity to have. Definitely better than someone saying ''Hey bro, you look like Seymour'' or even Quina from Final Fantasy 9. Be thankful, very VERY VERY thankful. When starting the game, you learn Clive is a less than spirited mercenary who is basically disowned by his own mother and no longer the heir to the throne of Rosaria, like he was destined to become, with our first glimpse into the mysteries of why this is, taking place in the opening moments of the game with an on rails Panzer Dragoon like epic fight between Ifrit and Phoenix as they do battle for ultimate fire supremacy. Which ends in an extremely emotional scene that makes you slam your controller to the ground, call Clives mom every degenerative word in the english language and threaten to sue Square-Enix for not giving you a heads up to tell your parents to sign your permission slip because you didn't know today was the day you'd be going on that Feels Trip. Who do they think they are, Netflix's Fastest Car?. The narrative tends to skip around quite a bit due to time jumps from his youth and then to the events of him now during adulthood so that you get a full circle type of setting for him that lets you immediately relate to him or feel for him because he's already been fleshed out in every way possible without having too much over exhausting lengths of exposition. Following alongside him through three distinct time periods, you meet a wide variety of cast members, love interests, enemies and assemble allies as you learn slowly how to utilize your power of the Eikons. Yeah I know what you're thinking ''Like OMG, that's basically every becoming of age hero story like EVERRRRR''. Well blondie, go scratch and sniff a sticker on the bottom of the pool again because, while yes on paper it seems like that, overall, with its grim and mature story with engaging boss battles, brutal fights, high octane action and emotional circumstances, it makes it feel more fleshed out and realized and instills a tad bit unique qualities into this mainline entry that weren't present in recent Final Fantasy games.

Aside from just strictly the main story campaign, the side quests in this game, while some being a must in order to learn a bit more about characters and their motives, can offer you a break up from all the serious moments and offer some sort of comic relief, silly moments or down to earth light hearted times that gives you a good balance in between the intensely serious nature of the main story. But story itself aside, this game is chalked up with HOURS and HOURS of voice acting and it honestly surprised me because usually Final Fantasy has tons of voice acting, but I feel never to this extreme.. and thus created the meme for the game where people were saying they can't wait to play Final Fantasy 16 and then they just put their controller down and eat popcorn, due to the absurd amount of cutscenes and dialogue. Sort of in the vein of the joke that Playstation focuses only making movies and walking simulations, that type of dig. But with those long hours of voice acting, don't let it fool you, because the performances are absolutely amazing with Clive's line deliveries in dramatic scenes during invasions, death, assaults, heated arguments - you believe it when Clive speaks, and you feel it. Whether he's crying over a devastating loss, having sexy time with a very ''cool'' lady and then getting bonked on the head by Doge, or something as small as interacting with his good ol pupper friend named Torgal - if Clive speaks it, we listen. Well unless Freddy Krueger steals your hearing aid and tortures you with it... but hey that's what you have subtitles for, ya goof. While voice acting, narrative and graphics can be the bright side of what this title has going for it, there is one aspect of it that breaks tradition and takes this game and franchise in a whole other direction that has long time fans extremely divided, what is that you ask? you want to know? Well I missed the part where that's my problem. I mean.. the games combat. Doing a total turn on its head moment and doing away with turned based, Final Fantasy 16 jumps into the fray of real time action battles that rely heavily on timers and cooldowns that resemble both fighting mechanics you'd find in an MMO and action combo varieties from titles like a Bayonetta or Devil May Cry, albeit, on a more user friendly basis than those titles, in which this combat goes from full fledged action combat to transitioning into high octane explosive confrontations as you take on the power of an Eikon.




Further diving into the combat and its similarities with other action based games on the market, you can melee with any upgradable weapon normally without powers, or switch and cycle through Eikon powers on the fly with powers gifted to you from Ifrit for fast paced fire attacks or shields and hard hitting attacks from Titan. Executing each combo never feels like something that is hard to learn or out of reach for a player of any skill level and mastering precision dodging and utilizing the games parry system, keeps the game both engaging on the intensity meter, but also becomes pivotal in your quest to survive. Should you not try to learn the system though, you will be plowing through health items left and right just to replenish that sweet sweet HP. Yes, even though you have an array of extra abilities at your disposal for each Eikon you unlock and upgrade via your skill tree for new attacks and combinations, parry will be your friend. Just remember kids ''Parry is a friend of mine, Parry is my homie, I have a friend in Parry, Parry is in a friend of mine. He taught me to do blocks, just how it needs to be, he taught me how to dodge counter when others slice me, I failed parry before, and I can tell you that, he taught me if you miss they'll kick your ass''. Huh?. I get the gripes of the combat, I really do, I love my traditional turned based combat just as much as everyone else, hell I grew up on these same titles, heck, I even would've taken another variation of Final Fantasy 7 Remake's combat system for this, but again, while the combat system in 16 isn't as complex and over thought like Resident Evil 4, I mean Devil May Cry, it does its job and provides a player with fast moving action that doesn't get overly hard to use or full on stagnant as a lot of other games on the market tend to do after 20 hours into it. Through the titles easy to pick up and play nature, which is due to this combat in itself, you do not have to squarely focus on the hours of grinding out a level or spending a billion hours grinding out upgrade points for your Eikon or character level for your skill tree, nope, instead you can take your crazy spongebob shaped butt self through a variety of maps that venture from linear areas that follow a set path with very minor deviations, to more open ended areas that feel largely interconnected that make it feel more like large hub zones that are stitched together, in which through these, you may grind, explore, find treasure, new weapons and armor or unlock a Chocobo that allows for faster travel and traversal. Choice is king and the game does not limit you to how you wish to play.

If you're going to go into this title to be surprised by anything, I say its going to end up being your hate for Clive's mom. I CANNOT stand this freaking **** **** **** and her *** *** **** when she *** *** ** as you rolls like a pig doing *** *** ** for Arsenio Hall. No joke. This woman is mad evil and extremely annoying, so much so that you wish for her demise at your own hands literally within the first 30 minutes of the game. I don't want to go into too many spoilers in this review, because the story of Garuda and Cid, Jill and Clive, Joshua and his ordeals, are moments that should be experienced yourself, but, Clive's mom, if you turned up the B meter to an 11, that's still too low. It is because of her that the narrative is one of the tone of grim, which only escalates that grim and intensity by the over the top action of the battle system that makes you feel like Clive, through his actions, is letting out all his hatred and emotion that he's holding within him. But the game isn't all Moogles and Kwehs though, because there are several issues I have with the game, even if they aren't that big. My first gripe is sometimes the cutscenes go on a little too long and it can feel like you're watching a movie... a very good movie at that, but it more so feels like the game is playing itself FOR you, in some self masturbatory game session where you can sit down your controller and literally leave the room for 20 minutes to take a monster dump, come back, and its still not over. The dialogue I feel could've gotten the same point across in some areas by cutting 3 to 4 minutes here and there. My second gripe has to do with balancing of the side quests and their rewards. Yes I know, not all side quests can give out amazing items, that makes perfect sense, but when you do a fetch quest that requires you to go look around for nearly 2 hours, only to get a throwaway item of no value, it makes you think ''why the heck did I just pull a WHERES WALDO and find an ugly man with a crappy looking hat?''. It feels pointless at times, even though the narrative based Side Quests are pretty damn awesome. Finally my las gripe is the games length, with the game tallying at around 50 hours or longer, just your vanilla run without side quests, it can feel like an over stay of its welcome. Not because its bad or gets boring, no way, merely because some of the games dialogue goes in a circle and suffers from the same points of interest that its inspirations fail victim to, like Game Of Thrones. Too much talking, too much explaining and people re-explaining what you just learned a few minutes prior. Again, none of what you learn and see is bad, but it leaves you saying, ok shut up already, I get it, let me get back to the game.





At the end of the day, Final Fantasy 16 ends up as one of the titles that can challenge Hogwarts Legacy and Tears Of The Kingdom as a potential Game Of The Year when all things are considered. Sure it has issues with its long winded pacing that sometimes become exposition pieces, longer than needed game length and some side quests feeling like a waste of time, but with its amazing voice cast, gigantic Kaiju primal battles, fast paced action combat, beautiful world to explore, narrative that makes you angry and emotional, and masterful soundtrack by Sokken, all of it adds up to the best mainline entry into the Final Fantasy franchise since Final Fantasy 10. Yosh P, you've done it again. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW