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  • Writer's pictureJames Crow

Be Your Own Judge of Fun: Experience Final Fantasy XVI

Join James as he discusses why Final Fantasy 16 might just be the best Final Fantasy of all time!

Developer: Square Enix

Publisher: Square Enix

Platforms: PlayStation 5

Genre: RPG

When it comes to games that immerse you to the point you become completely captivated and lost in their world, none do it better than a role-playing game (RPG). Arguably the biggest titan of the RPG genre, Final Fantasy, has been delivering amazing titles since 1987 that remain true to its core of grand adventure, captivating characters, and fantastic combat. Every mainline title of the series will keep you hooked for hours as you explore each corner of its world, taking on some of the most formidable antagonists in gaming. With its expansive world, captivating storylines, and engaging gameplay, the Final Fantasy series has always provided a truly unforgettable gaming experience keeping players coming back for more.

The latest entry Final Fantasy XVI is a powerful return to form in this legendary series. It takes the player back to the series' roots while introducing new and exciting features. Its storyline, world, and polished gameplay are everything that fans could ever ask for with an entry into the series. Despite this, many players have expressed disappointment with the game due to it not following some of the traditional aspects of the series. The new entry has found a way to move forward into modern times letting go of turn-based mechanics and ultimately this is its biggest source of criticism.

With the game having been just recently released, I will do my best to limit spoilers as I tackle this criticism.

The biggest complaint and criticism I have witnessed regarding Final Fantasy XVI is that it is basically “Devil May Cry Fantasy” and is just an action game. The naysayers feel that with this being such a deviation from traditional turn-based combat, or even what we got with Final Fantasy XV, it cannot be considered an entry in the franchise. I wholeheartedly understand the parallels being drawn as Ryota Suzuki, the combat director of Devil May Cry, was brought on to do combat for FF16. Outside of Suzuki working on both titles, that is where the parallel ends as the combat in this game stands on its own.

What combat in FF16 actually looks like is an exhilarating dance of action elements, such as parrying, dodging, combos, and staggering your enemies. It is a perfect example of modern game elements done right, allowing for a near-limitless range of player agency with control over magics used, combos used, and abilities used. Your combat experience is enhanced even further with cinematic attacks, dodges, and parries to create a unique and captivating experience unlike anything else in the Final Fantasy franchise.

As fun as the combat system in the game is, where it shines the most is with its captivating and compelling story. From the action of the epic opening as Clive Rosfield, you are thrust into a world rife with political drama, war, chaos, and more as nations vie for power harnessing the destructive capabilities of their Eikons through a dominant. This story is a true return to medieval form that so many of us fans truly appreciate, and it is completely unlike any Final Fantasy before it.

With that being said, I cannot understand the negativity that some are giving saying that it is essentially a knock-off of Game of Thrones. The developers decided to take a mature approach to the story and honestly, this story is a slam dunk for me. There is nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from an established franchise like GoT, if anything it only enhanced this first-ever mature and dark setting they were striving to give us.

This new version of Final Fantasy delivers stunning story beat after story beat, with classic callbacks to earlier games in the series and modern upgrades for a truly unique gaming experience. Moogles, Chocobos, and Gil are all still an integral part of the game, allowing you to customize and upgrade your character to become the hero you want to be. A large world and bustling hub town provide you with plenty of opportunities to explore and discover new content, allowing for a truly individualized experience.

I could continue to heap praises on this amazing game, but I want to leave you with this.

Since the beginning, this franchise has constantly evolved. Final Fantasy 1 took inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons to deliver a smash hit on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The subsequent titles - Final Fantasy 2, 3, and 4 - all drastically changed the formula, introducing innovative mechanics and storylines that pushed the franchise into new directions. Every iteration of the series served to further refine the foundation set by the first installment, making each entry all the more ambitious and iconic.

The storied franchise of Final Fantasy has continued to evolve and enhance its formula with every entry, offering fans of the series a wholly unique experience with each title. The games have featured engaging and captivating storylines, intense and rewarding combat and gameplay, stunning CG scenes, and a sense of adventure that has kept players hooked for decades. Every new installment of the franchise has held true to what makes a Final Fantasy game special, and that is its ability to captivate and immerse players in its world, allowing them to live out their own adventures.

In my opinion, this could truly be the best Final Fantasy of all time, so don’t miss out just because some people think this isn’t a true Final Fantasy game. Embrace this amazing title in all its glory as you immerse yourself in the world of Valisthea!


About the Author:

James is an avid enthusiast of all things gaming, especially RPGs. He is an aerial photographer and digital marketer by day and a die-hard gamer by night. His ideal weekend is spent relaxing playing an RPG and recording the next episode of the Games with Jon & James podcast.

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