Final Fantasy 16 Screenshot 1

Final Fantasy 16: A Spectacularly Soulless Experience – PS5 Review

There is a song from Final Fantasy 15 titled Apocalypsis Aquarius. It’s a swelling orchestral masterpiece that instantly elicits a passionate, almost religious-like fervour from its audience, an impossibly grandiose work of art that effortlessly weaves thunderous vocals with stirring, heart-pounding percussion and strings. 

Apocalypsis Aquarius perfectly encapsulates the chaotic nature of Final Fantasy 15, the much-maligned yet genuinely moving and ambitious experience that sought to revolutionise a franchise that believed itself to be fading into obscurity. Its quieter moments that await the majestic rise of the chorus into a roaring crescendo reflect the beautifully crafted bonds between its core cast of characters. Its relentlessly bombastic and explosive chorus perfectly captures the epic scale of its boss fights that occasionally steal the show. 

However, Apocalypsis Aquarius lacks a middle ground, an in-between motif, to unite these two states. It fluctuates dramatically between bombastic and sombre, rarely giving itself or the audience a moment to breathe. Much like Final Fantasy 15’s narrative that lacks the substance needed to make it a truly remarkable experience, Apoclaypsis Aquarius’s impactful and emotionally resonant melody lacks a crux with which to seamlessly tie its two defining themes.

Unsurprisingly, Final Fantasy 16, the latest entry in the long-running JRPG franchise, suffers from this same fate. Much like Apocalypsis Aquarius, Final Fantasy 16’s highs are intoxicatingly electrifying. It’s filled with gorgeous sprawling landscapes, moments of sensational thrills, and emotional narrative beats that quickly blossom into crowd-pleasing, tear-jerking sequences. However, all of this is lacking a unifying feature that satisfyingly ties it all together.

If viewed individually, it’s easy to see why Final Fantasy 16 received such high scores. But, when put into context with the rest of the package, they do little to elevate a dissonant, underwhelming, and ultimately disappointing video game.  

“Final Fantasy 16’s extremely infrequent highs are glorious.”

Final Fantasy 16’s narrative is both its greatest strength and most damning feature, a cacophony of emotionally charged epics, meandering sequences of forgettable characters, enchantingly enticing mystery, and charmless companions pieced together like patchwork by a poorly paced and patience-testing framework. That’s not to say that Final Fantasy 16 flitters equally between the dull and the exciting. Rather, its extremely infrequent highs are glorious, diluted by the endlessly meaningless and mind-numbingly one-note drivel that purports itself to be philosophical and political waxings.

Final Fantasy 16 is set in the world of Valisthea, a place beset with a deadly blight that is set to wipe out the natural resources and populace of its six warring nations. Valisthea is riddled with injustice, corruption, and greed, seemingly hellbent on destroying itself with endless wars and prejudice. In a rather interesting twist, those born with magic are enslaved, quickly becoming commodities that are relied on for menial tasks and treated as filth. Even the Dominants, those who are capable of transforming into Eikons — enormous deadly god-like beings from across the Final Fantasy universe — are regarded with disgust and relied on solely as a weapon of mass destruction. 

As a set-up, Final Fantasy 16’s heavily politicised world is intriguing and has the potential to perfectly weave a dramatic tale of injustice, war, and personal strife. Unfortunately, it fails in doing so, owing to the fact that its knee-deep explorations of its political, sociological, and economic themes are extraordinarily shallow, amounting to little more than lectures on the horrors of racism in a way that barely impacts the protagonist.

While Final Fantasy 16 is determined to let you know that the people of Valisthea aren’t fond of Clive, the game’s protagonist who is branded as a “Bearer” or magic user, very rarely does he suffer any meaningful consequences due to his overwhelming strength, abilities, and the fact that the majority of people he meets instantly fall in love with him despite their initial misguided notions or beliefs.

Final Fantasy 16 Demo Screenshot
In-game Screenshot

“Exploring Clive’s misgivings about himself and his actions was the most fulfilment I got from Final Fantasy 16’s narrative.”

This shallow approach to its themes and motifs is carried across all aspects of its storytelling, not least its various factions and interconnected characters who are rarely fleshed out and congeal together like a discordant mess. It’s impossible, without the aid of Final Fantasy 16’s numerous narrative guides, to figure out who is vaguely important, what their ultimate goal is, or how they relate to our protagonist. These various factions and their figureheads are so poorly developed that when the game eventually descends into an agonisingly tedious exploration of the political landscape of Valisthea, it becomes an arduous task to muster up the motivation to care. 

Frankly, this is alleviated somewhat by Final Fantasy 16’s central narrative that clumsily inserts itself into this half-baked world. It is, at least initially, about Clive’s failings, his inner turmoil, and the journey of redemption and self-reflection that comes with that. This segment early on in Final Fantasy 16’s 40-hour runtime is genuinely fascinating, and exploring Clive’s misgivings about himself and his actions was the most fulfilment I got from Final Fantasy 16’s narrative. Unfortunately, this is pretty quickly wrapped up in favour of pursuing a recurring mystery, promptly shoved aside and resolved in an entirely unsatisfactory way. 

Its resolution comes in the form of an epic boss fight and lengthy flashy cutscene that are resolute on shutting the door on the game’s only enticing narrative thread. The emotional payoff this sequence of events attempts to elicit from the player is not earned, nor is Clive’s later development, as it feels like barely enough time has been given to exploring Clive’s traumatic experience of overcoming his grief. 

Final Fantasy 16 Intro Cinematic

“Perhaps what is hurting the narrative more than its failed attempts at emotional manipulation is its lack of compelling characters.”

This narrative failing doesn’t just apply to this singular instance with Clive. Rather, it is a failing that dramatically impacts the entire narrative, as story beats are frequently resolved or elevated by seemingly engrossing sequences that deliver absolutely no payoff or in any way feel deserved. On multiple occasions, Final Fantasy 16 will pull out its emotional trump card in the hopes of getting you to stop looking at your phone without putting in any of the work required to make it resonate in a meaningful way with its audience.

Perhaps what is hurting the narrative more than its failed attempts at emotional manipulation is its lack of compelling characters. Final Fantasy 16 does not have a traditional party made up of a diverse cast of characters. Instead, it relies solely on its dour, plodding protagonist whose vulnerability, his only redeeming quality, is removed almost instantaneously. There are side characters who join Clive on his adventures, but they lack any real personality, all relentlessly devolving into meandering philosophical waxings as they stand around a poorly lit table with stern looks plastered across their copy-pasted faces. 

Gone are the quieter moments of reflection amongst a group of people that genuinely care for one another present in almost every other Final Fantasy game. You will rarely find instances of Clive and his companions pausing to bond with one another, smiles spread wide across their faces. Instead, practically every conversation between Clive and the rare companion that floats in and out of his life as quickly as you can recall their indistinct name is bogged down in the political and sociological themes that the game is evidently incredibly proud of. 

It is this attempt to ground the iconically silly moments frequently found in Final Fantasy games that ultimately ruins the overall narrative experience. Rather than allowing the game’s jovial moments to elevate the importance of its serious or emotional sequences, it resorts to making everything as serious and earnest as possible. There is no brevity, no moments of calm before the storm. Final Fantasy 16’s narrative is all storm, all of the time, and that, across 40 arduous hours, is incredibly tiresome.

Final Fantasy 16 two characters and Level Cap

“Final Fantasy 16’s cutscenes are as shallow as they are beautiful.”

Fortunately, this narrative is presented through the game’s impeccably beautiful visuals. It is evident that the visual prowess of Final Fantasy 16 is its crowning achievement, an unceasingly staggering testament to the genius visual worldbuilding the series is famous for. These visuals elevate an otherwise inconsequential narrative through expertly animated cutscenes the likes of which the gaming industry has never seen. These cutscenes are a genuine highlight, with lengthy deviations into bombastic action, and intense emotional scenes that distract from the tepid storytelling. 

Watching towering Eikons thrash at one another as the world around them is torn asunder by cataclysmic attacks, each frame deftly sweeping across the action to capture every jaw-dropping moment of its majesty, simply never gets old, even as the game’s runtime nears its conclusion. Additionally, the heartfelt performances in both English and Japanese inject a much-needed sense of reality into every scene, giving the heart-pounding action an emotional weight and gravitas that ensures it never feels stale. 

That is not to say that these cutscenes make up for the shortcomings of the overall narrative. They are merely a bandaid, plastered over the gaping chasms caused by the bumbling story that offers players a visually appealing attempt at piecing together the disconnected narrative threads. Final Fantasy 16’s cutscenes are as shallow as they are beautiful, fascinating spectacles that wash over the player much like a cold sweat. While the analogous polished turd doesn’t quite do Final Fantasy 16’s cutscenes justice, it does somewhat describe the ambitious and admirable attempts at keeping me entertained while the game’s convoluted narrative went through one ear and out the other. 

Similarly, the densely packed linear environments and sprawling open-world zones are blessed with the game’s phenomenal art direction and overall visual fidelity. The first time you arrive in the Three Reeds zone, it’s hard not to be taken aback by the verdant valleys, shimmering sapphire waters, and dilapidated buildings long reclaimed by the long tendrils of mother nature. It is a marvel that, much like the lively towns full of animated NPCs milling about the ornately designed stalls and gorgeously detailed medieval buildings, perfectly masks the lack of depth, meaning, or fun to be found in any of the game’s varied environments. 

Final Fantasy 16 Screenshot of the game with a huge rock

“The lack of verticality in the environments removes any sense of adventure.”

Exploration in Final Fantasy 16 is an entirely redundant task. Your efforts to find a modicum of entertainment, excitement, or intrigue out of exploring Final Fantasy 16’s several open-world zones or linear sections will always go entirely unrewarded. Stunning vistas and interesting objects littering these areas are merely window-dressing, with absolutely nothing in any of the explorable areas being interactable. You may see a towering ruin in the distance dwarfing the rustling trees and roaming beasts and wonder what secrets await you there. However, when you eventually arrive at its base, you’ll realise there’s nothing there save for those rustling trees and more enemies to fight. 

Final Fantasy 16 has no interest in meaningfully rewarding players for their curiosity, instead absent-mindedly filling its environments with glowing materials you always seem to have in abundance, yet another pack of enemies to slay, and mindlessly mediocre fetch quests given by forgettable NPCs. Critically, exploration is made significantly worse by the lack of a traditional party. Rarely will your companions speak to you, should you have any accompanying you in the first place, leaving you to roam the wilds in utter silence outside of the occasional grunt during combat. Furthermore, the lack of verticality in the environments removes any sense of adventure, as all notable landmarks or collectibles are within your eyesight at all times, with no secrets or special locations hidden behind interesting and varied topography. 

Disappointingly, the more curated linear segments also fail to instil the creative expression and genuine joy that exploration can offer. Dungeons, which are ostensibly what each of Final Fantasy 16’s linear areas are, lack any sense of versatility or variety. Each one is a series of copy-and-pasted combat arenas connected by winding corridors filled with nothing to do save for the occasional “Hold R2” to open a door mini-game or a tight passageway that needs to be squeezed through. While each dungeon tends to be mercifully short, it’s hard to ignore the tedium that sets in after heading into yet another of the strenuously soulless combat encounters against an assortment of random enemies. 

Final Fantasy 16 Riding Screenshot

“Eikon abilities are the showstopper, dealing huge amounts of damage while looking jaw-droppingly stunning in the process.”

Of course, none of this would be inherently terrible if Final Fantasy 16’s combat was remotely enjoyable. Exploration would be an engrossing experience if hunting down enemies brought the visceral pleasure it should. Similarly, running through these combat gauntlets in sun-soaked environments densely packed with striking emerald foliage, hacking and slashing your way through scores of enemies as vibrantly explosive particle effects burst from the tip of your blade, would be engrossing if combat had the impact that it should. 

Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, given the tone of the rest of this review, Final Fantasy 16’s combat is entirely style over substance, an ostentatious fireworks display that requires little more than mashing a singular button and burning through your core abilities. Combat can be broken down into two components: your regular attacks and Eikon abilities. These regular attacks are two-pronged as you can hit enemies with your sword by pressing Square, and fire magical blasts with Triangle, although why you’d ever bother with that is beyond me as the damage is so minuscule, the time spent pressing the button is wasted. 

Conversely, Eikon abilities are the showstopper, dealing huge amounts of damage while looking jaw-droppingly stunning in the process. You can only have six of them equipped at any given time, giving the illusion that a difficult choice must be made as to which of the many at your disposal you bring into battle. However, ultimately, it doesn’t matter, as each ability snugly fits into one of three categories, AOE, single-target, or counterattacks, resulting in a series of abilities that look vastly different from one another, but function more or less the same. Additionally, due to each ability being on a cooldown, rather than requiring mana or other resource to use, you’re encouraged to use them as soon as they become available as opposed to tactically deploying them at an effective time. 

Final Fantasy 16 Screenshot 2

“When you’re not spamming your Eikon abilities, you’ll be smashing your default sword attack.”

This issue is exacerbated by the fact that enemies aren’t divided into elemental types, despite each set of Eikon abilities being distinct in their elemental attributes. For example, the Ifrit or Phoenix fire-based Eikon abilities will deal just as much damage to Fire Bomb enemies as Garuda’s wind-based attacks. As a result, there is really no need to conserve these abilities, thus completely removing the fundamental need for strategizing and careful planning that this once turn-based franchise had become synonymous with and dramatically simplifying combat as a whole. 

This broken Eikon system is built on the back of the deeply unsatisfying regular attacks that require you to mash Square whenever near an enemy and close the gap by pressing Circle if they get too far. When you’re not spamming your Eikon abilities to chip away at spongey enemies that take upwards of five minutes to defeat, you’ll be smashing your default sword attack, which while upgradable in minor and oftentimes insignificant ways, never requires any skill, precision, or talent to use. It results in a combat system that feels neither fulfilling nor rewarding, a temporarily exciting and aesthetically pleasing spectacle that quickly loses its lustre once its shallow outer layer cracks to reveal a pathetically simplistic inside. 

Unfortunately, the boss fights and highly anticipated Kaiju-esque Eikon fights fare no better. Boss fights are identical to one another save for slightly different attacks that are nevertheless so blatantly telegraphed that dodging them is drearily unstimulating. They’re overly long, requiring you to exhaust your Eikon abilities numerous times and never offering unique ways to take them down.

Similarly, Eikon fights are painfully easy yet oftentimes drag unnecessarily. Rather than have the player access their Eikon abilities, these cinematic fights offer players a basic set of controls that essentially boil down to punch, jump and dodge. Eventually, both boss fights and Eikon fights will devolve into a hollow, soulless QTE segment in which you mash Square repeatedly without feeling any sense of involvement, watching as the remarkably breathtaking yet ultimately pointless action unfolds without any of your input. 

Final Fantasy 16 Screenshot 1

“Final Fantasy 16 feels like a time capsule of bad game design.”

All of this begs the question: what’s the point? Throughout my entire playthrough, I frequently felt like giving up, forcing myself through yet another mindless combat gauntlet only to be greeted with a sliver of narrative that I had no personal investment or attachment to. It is not as if Final Fantasy 16 has no redeeming qualities, after all, the stunning visuals and moments of genuine intrigue in its otherwise earnest narrative are genuinely fantastic. Rather, Final Fantasy 16 feels like a time capsule of bad game design, poor plotting, and a narrative tone that deserves to remain in the mid-2010s when Game of Thrones, this game’s most obvious influence, was at the height of its popularity.

Final Fantasy 16 feels like an outdated experience, an old-school Xbox JRPG that needlessly attempts to appeal to Western sensibilities instead of embracing its phenomenally unique roots and, as a result, offers nothing of any real value. The qualities that made the Final Fantasy series so remarkable in the first place, such as interesting characters, strategic turn-based combat, beautifully detailed worlds full of things to see and do, and narratives with emotional stakes and a timeless sense of innocent humour, are entirely absent in Final Fantasy 16. It is a shame, as there is evidently potential here, but I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this spectacularly soulless experience. 

Final Fantasy 16 Screenshot 1
Final Fantasy 16 Review
Final Fantasy 16 is a tremendously disappointing JRPG with a clunky, shallow narrative, unengaging characters, lifeless environments and overly simplified combat. It's few redeeming qualities, namely its visuals and occasional intriguing story moment, are overshadowed by its plethora of flaws. Final Fantasy 16 is a hard game to recommend, even to diehard fans of the franchise.
Stunning visuals
Incredibly cinematic cutscenes
Some interesting narrative moments
Shallow, unengaging narrative
Poor pacing
Lifeless environments
Awful exploration
Charmless characters
Boring combat
  1. This review reminds me of High School essays wherein students need to achieve a certain amount of words to pass, regardless of actual substance. Sentences stretched ever so far, providing an overlong amount of nothing. Statements that contradict each other just to add more words and to seem deep. Redundancy used in desperation.

    You shall not have your moment Milo, and just like your High School essay, you might have achieved the required word count but you have failed the test.

    A D for you.

    1. While I agree with everything you said here, I don’t feel it as detrimental to the experience as you did. I found a lot of enjoyment in it, though it wasn’t perfect. I do feel like a lot of the story’s potential was squandered by leading to the same ending that all other JRPGs seem mindlessly bound to go to – an ending that really had nothing to do with the Bearer narrative that the game kept pushing (after the revenge narrative disappeared in smoke). Still, there is a lot of heart in this game and you can tell they tried really hard particularly in the Eikon scenes and some of the callbacks like the Behemoth fights – and I did find myself chucking a couple of tears at the ending – so I wouldn’t go so far as to call it soulless. But at the beginning of the game I was saying “This could be another Final Fantasy classic on the likes of 6,7,9 and 10” and at the end of the game I was saying “Sigh, this was another average JRPG, minus the JRPG mechanics I like, and plus literally the best visual design I’ve seen in a game in my lifetime.” The reason Final Fantasy is getting less popular is not because of ATB, Squaresoft. It’s because the stories, character, exploration, and fun are getting eclipsed by graphics and appeals to the wider audience. But if I want to press square to hit something with my sword, I can do that in any game. Make Final Fantasy different.

      1. I was literally on my way to my local store to buy this game. I’ll be buying something else for the time being, thank you!

        1. Yea…that’s a smart move. I picked up the game, and it is is no where near worth the 70 dollars they are asking of it. I am extremely surprised at all the hype this game is getting. It’s a good but not great action game with a ton of cutscenes, the rpg mechanics are barely there.

        2. The game is actually fantastic if you’re easily bored by political intrigue, mysteries that don’t just reveal themselves to you 5 seconds later then yeah you’ll be dissapointed, the game is a slow burn that has seriously bombastic highs that give way to an engaging gameplay loop that rewards you for experimentation

          1. The only real problem with the title is the role-playing variety, which is really poor; it’s an action game, it’s true, but it’s poorly developed, from weapons, accessories, enemies (endgame) etc etc. Forse sure on this point a final fantasy 12 would win, a game released 17 years ago.

    2. Spoken like someone who didnt get into the second half of the game said “good enough” and started to write about how boring something they didn’t understand was. You never learned the nuances of combat clearly since you claim you just wailed on the square button, enemies do have elemental weaknesses you even get a popup with extra stars when you exploit that weakness, for instance aquatic creatures are weak to fire, adamantoise takes extra damage from phoenix and ifrit skills, that’s just one example, you drone on and on about lifeless characters but you likely just mashed x through dialogue, treating it as another encounter to get through, I can almost guarantee you never got to sambreque’s crystal to where a massive change happens in the narrative and so many things change. I’m not in the habit of critiquing critiques, but this was just bad take after bad take of you telling everyone you didn’t care enough to be engaged with the game you bought, treating it as a mash square and x button simulator, you’re the kind of “journalist” who put all the accessibility items on then complained the game was too easy

      1. Thank you! I am so glad you called this out. I was thinking the same thing as I read this review. It’s a dying land, political intrigue, and mature hard to discuss themes of course the world will feel lifeless to an extent, that’s the point. I was reading this review and knew this was just a payday write up by someone who probably calls every season of Fortnite “game changing”.

      2. Fanboy, he said he played the whole game. I played the game, it sux. You have to be autistic to need to “experiment.” The game is the easiest FF game ever made. You just spam your god abilities. There is no strategy, there is no variety. It is insanely boring. It is unbelievable how many of you psychos will read honest reviews and go nuts and try to cancel them. And there’s a serious problem with that. Because then 80% of the reviewers start getting in the business of selling you reviews you want to hear, then when I go looking for unbiased review and read the garbage drivel that the reviewers are putting out, I don’t get an unbaised review, so I buy a garbage game, and am pissed off. You were clearly going to like the game no matter how bad it was, no matter how easy it was. Whatever stupid criteria you are using to rate it in your autistm-riddled head, it’s not what objective reviewers should be rating it on. This is BY FAR, the most accurate and honest review I have read to date and I played through the entire game. You’re a scumbag to attack this guy for writing an honest review. He’s not here to be a fanboy, he’s here to provide information. This game is complete garbage.

        1. Easiest FF game ever? Bro stop lying. You have to go out of your way to make VIII challenging (refine the cottages that Cid gives you after Dollet into Curaga,junction to HP and bam you are virtually unbeatable until disc 3) or XV let’s be real hardly anyone knew what the game over screen looked like until we accidentally crashed the Regelia Type D. Final Fantasy is largely an easy series.

          1. final fantasy 16 is the easiest i did it without bying any wepons, armor, rings and just ran through it and beat it in 24 hours at lv 40 and vby god there are too many stupid cutscenes

      3. He obviously did not put on the rings they give you in the beginning of the game, though I weirdly see that attack constantly made against people who think this game is easy. But it begs the question–why does this Final Fantasy give you an automatic way to make things even easier? No other game does that? Could it be because the game is inherently easy and made for dim-wits? Uh, yeah, obviously. The checkpoints in the game are 1/3 or 2/3 through a boss bottle for god sake, where all your items are refilled. What little items you have…there are like what 6 different items in the entire game? One magic spell with like 6 different colors. The game is the worst. FF7 was ridiculously easy, but not this easy and it still kept the FF elements. This is a really bad hack and slash for children under 10 or mental defectives.

      4. This is more your personal opinion than a review. This game is amazing and has top the charts in various areas and websites.

    3. 100% agree with you. The game is a modern work of art people trying to hate on this game are in denial.

  2. You’ve got to be kidding, the XV comparisons, the character hate…this is grounded in a beef of perceived ‘lack of diversity’ , I can smell it.

  3. You are clearly not a long time fan if the series with your closing statement. Sure it has its ups and downs – but this is the brst thing final fantasy has done on a single player experience since around 10-12. Good thing your “4” review just seems to be from someone not a customer to final fantasy games and the opposite of mainstream

    1. You don’t see the soul, that does not make it soulless

      XVI is one of the best things to come from square enix in a while

  4. Perhaps you should have selected someone less miserable to review this game within your organization.

  5. I wish more reviews were like this one, but reviewers seem to be too terrified of making publishers mad, and always tip-toe around glaring issues that are common in games like this.

    1. Extremely well written, and objective review of the game. My friends and I have been discussing our experience with the title, and many of the points here really drove home our experience.

  6. Great review because it’s clearly well-thought out, and as subjective as ANY review on the market. People disagreeing with it here because they disagree does not cancel an opinion. I neither agree nor disagree, although I did quit the demo within 30 minutes due to boredom of the story and characters. I like the review because there is detail in the opinion, validating it. The previous comments above are ironic in the fact that their reviews would similarly bring equal comments: I disagree.

  7. “Waah!! Game has Story! Waahh! Not Enough Action! Waahh! Gimme my Story-less high action CoD! Waahh! Waahh Wahh!” Is what this review sounds like.

  8. This reviewer clearly doesn’t know how to play action games or understand how story telling works.

  9. You’re really bad at this game and it shows. There is a very good amount of depth to the combat, it’s clear you just didn’t bother to try and opted to spam to win. Try that in the arcade mode, on a harder difficulty or without those baby mode accessories and you’ll have a much more interesting experience. But hey, at least you’re quirky for giving a great game a 4

  10. People will be swarming in here to say things like “what a trash review lol.”

    You do make some great points. Everything I have seen of this game makes me uninterested in buying it. I’ve watched the demo 3-4 times and the first 10 hours. Outside of the flashy combat, it seems pretty dull and soulless. There are many fetch quests, peak of Eikon fights are followed by basic QTEs… And a waypoint system in a linear environment is hilarious. So much bad game design here it’s staggering. I was excited for this game too.

  11. Im living in a world where an unfinished game has a higher score than a game that is actually finished and also good. You are literally giving a score that you gave to that unfinished buggy lotr gollum game.

  12. This is the only review I’ve seen so far that I actually agree with. I played the demo and was like, “why did everyone live this? It’s boring, shallow, and predictable.” So I bought it, going I would find why everyone loves it. So far it’s become even more boring, shallow, and predictable.

  13. Wahaha what a one sided review. If u have written objectively, it would have been viewed in much better light.

    Play something else and stop reviewing the genre of games you don’t like and wasting everyone’s time reading it.

    Have you even played this genre of games for a very long time? I have played RPGS and JRPGS for the last 32 years of my life. It looks like you are click baiting people for the views and ads.

    And…. “it is this attempt to manipulate people’s emotions and not allowing the story to progress with its jovial and bonding moments”… really? Did u skip conversations/cut scenes/narratives and rush straight into battles? Anyone who read a good story knows what a story is like.

    And… it sounded like u have lived through war time to have such vivid imagination of being able to enjoy jovial/bonding moments amidst war. Look at the people of Ukraine now. The story progression reflects some reality mate.

    And… exploring is a redundant task. You don’t like to travel and explore cities in real life? Why so rush to finish the game and rush a review in like 5 days after the official launch of the game?

    I can go on and ask questions U see the problem with such sloppy writing? It makes people suspect your intentions.

  14. And here are the edgelord clickbait articles trying to get views. Articles like this are why ad blockers exist.

  15. Go back to Fortnite… your review is redundant to an explicit extent.

    The bias here is crazy. I want to know what has made you so specifically one-sided. It’s like you dug up any little problem you could find and exacerbated it.

    I’m biased but will express that this release clearly surpasses anything since Playstation 2.

  16. “Engaging gameplay loop.”

    Not so sure about that one, buddy. There was nothing interesting or fun about it, it felt so repetitious. Not any more repetitious than your typical AAA game these days but enough to not be “engaging”. It was run of the mill in that regard.

    This game could have been amazing if the story and characters were more interesting, the world had a ton of land to explore with cool and exciting secrets, and combat that wasn’t so terribly brain dead that it makes turn-based combat seem complicated.

    The game is pretty and that’s all it really has going on. It was mostly the same for XV, but at least I cared about those characters a little. Hell, FFXIII was better in that regard and it had a LOT going against it.

    The political intrigue has been done far better in other games. Mystery? Really? There’s nothing to crazy in that regard either.

    I get the game is aimed at getting that delicious Gen Z money, but a shallow game that’s best feature is “It’s pretty”, is a bit of a punch in the gut to their player base. But hey, SE got their money so it obviously worked.

    FFXVI is just mediocre and people want to feel vindicated for their way overpriced purchase. I’m happy I didn’t have to pay for my copy, otherwise I would have returned it.

    AL this said, I don’t think it’s even close to a 4, but a 6 feels about right. The game functions, but it’s an awful FF game… not that this is a surprise given SE’s trackrecord the last decade, but it was so hyped up that it makes it far worse. Everyone said “Yoshi P will ensure this game is fantastic.”

    He sure didn’t.

  17. Longtime FF fan, so much so that I’ve still got active subs to XI and XIV.

    Agreed with your review. I think you’re a bit silly for being so reductive on the combat; as you can see, people have jumped on that. But even at its most advanced, it’s boring as hell and fights are way too long. And nowhere near as advanced as any other FF, mainly due to single character control.

    Character and gear progression is pathetic.

    It’s sad that so many other reviewers who are FF vets (and cheerleaders from CBUIII’s FFXIV camp) are praising this as if they’ve never played an FF game before. Are they scared of being blacklisted and their invitations drying up?

    1. Most FF games don’t have deep combat. If you want to compare the combat of XVI to turn based FF…let’s compare those same games to Grandia,Shin Megami Tensei,Shadow Hearts,Baten Kaitos,Resonace of Fate,Wild Arms 4&5,Radiant Historia,SaGa,Arc Rise Fantasia,Golden Sun etc
      Y’all don’t want to start me on that one.

  18. I am just speechless of how everybody has either talk shit or talk good shit. The thing I hate the most is the bullshit of reviews and how you all attack ppl… do you even think for one second how those ppl sometimes feel by those attacks …. thats what is more relevant than if a game is good or not if you dont like it refund it or never buy it …

  19. A harsh review, but pretty fair. Final Fantasy used to stand for innovation; even when it stumbled, it was because it was trying to do something zany and original. I think it’s necessary to judge a new mainline FF against that philosophy so that people know what they’re getting (or in this case, not getting) before they drop seventy bucks. FF16 is a high production value Game of Thrones pastiche with an anime ending and a Devil May Cry combat system with the difficulty stripped away for the sake of casual gamers. And that is IT. It is NOTHING more than the sum of those parts. And it’s a damn shame. Long suffering Ivalice fans really wanted to see that aesthetic brought into the modern era. But this ain’t Ivalice and it’s certainly not Matsuno.

    1. Just want to give kudos to your summary: “a game of thrones pastiche wth an an anime ending and DMC combat.”

      That’s what it is people. It TRIED to be an engaging story but failed.

  20. This game actually has a lot of soul, and the characters are compelling. It’s true that some sidequests are a simple fetch or delivery quest, but it’s revealed at the end why we went out of our way to do so. “Payback”, a sidequest you can take towards the later half of the game is one such quest, but it reveals how a character lost their son, and how one of the most beloved characters helped him through his loss.
    Sure, it had me delivering items to 3 different people but the ending was very rewarding as I got more insight into the characters I’m constantly interacting with.
    The story is excellent, and I’m looking forward to playing the harder difficulty once I beat the game.
    It’s a shame this reviewer gave such a harsh score for a game that does not deserve it.

  21. I love the game. Compared to ff15 and 13 this is perfect. The story is great if you pay attention and it has lots of lore to get into. The combat is lots of fun. Sure it isn’t difficult like souls like difficulty but ff has never had difficult combat other than usually optional bosses. When a reviewer says stuff like you can just mash this button to win it really takes all credibility away from them. It’s not true and even if it was true, why would you want to do that. It just wastes a good battle system. If you are in that kind of hurry, don’t bother playing the game. The only part of the review I find i agree with him on is the exploration part. It has that witcher 3 vibe in that it looks great and awesome at times but there really isn’t too many dungeons or secret places to really explore. The few they do tend to look a lot alike with kind of bland halls at least so far. I give him that but that’s about it. My general complaint of reviewers though is how they like to crap all over final fantasy but games like the last two mainline Zelda games get no negative reviews and there just seems to be a bias. Those survival mechanics, weapon degradation, weapon crafting stuff is horrible but no one calls them out on it. When I see more fair reviews then I’ll take some stock in them.

  22. The only thing I agree with is the exploration not being very rewarding. And the lack of casual dialogue with party member will free roaming. Everything else sounds like your reaching for a reason to hate the game. It definitely does not deserve a 4/10

  23. The only complaints I could accept are maybe the rpg elements of the game. I wish it was more complex, personally. However, this review has “something offended me about the game so no matter what happens, I’m giving it a bad review” written all over it.

    Lack of compelling characters? Cid isn’t compelling? Uncle Byron isn’t? The characters and narrative are the best part of this game and a close tie are the boss fights.

  24. Agree with most of the review. Although during the QTE boss fights you get to press not just square…but also R1, lol.

    I envy people thjat find the story compelling and character development sympathetic. It’s just too much pain for me, laboring through meaningless “fetch this for me” quests (damn you, Mid) , just to watch the whole thing morph from Game of Throne wannabe into anime-esque “kill the boss and save all”.

    I’ll give YoshiP two points, one for the flashy Eikon battles, another one for actually delivering a complete package. He’s proven to be an excellent project leader. Just not much of a creator.

  25. As much as it pains me to admit it, I agree with most of the points made in this review. After waiting for the games’ release for a long time, I was so hyped and wanted to love it so bad. But after finishing my play-through and taking a good long look at it, I just can’t.

    My main problem with FFXVI is that it overwhelmingly feels like it wants to be an MMORPG instead of a single player game.
    And this is not just because it’s art style and 3d models make it look like it’s part of FF14 (which is no surprise if you take a look at who made the game).
    The sheer amount of side characters and their storylines, the high number of mind numbing fetch quests, the constant back and forth between fantastic, dramatic high points and drawn out periods of basically nothing happening aside from repetitive tasks – all this feels so much like an MMORPG, it’s ridiculous.

    And since the game is completely lacking a fixed set of party members / “friends” for Clive to talk to or emote at, it actually really feels like an MMO campaign’s main story. You basically run through it completely alone, since the random characters you can temporarily travel with are mostly lacking any situational awareness and don’t really emulate any profound thoughts on the events around them.
    Why on Earth SE chose to basically eradicate one of the points the series was most famous for – well fleshed out party members – I will never understand. It would have enriched the game so much, especially in a world chock full of different factions and conflict.

    So, if you for example don’t really like Clive (for whatever reason) you are literally screwed, because he’s the only character you will really get to know in the game. And after his personal mix of guilt, anxiety, grief and even more guilt is dealt with (in a spectacular fashion I have to admit), that’s basically it. There is no more character development, what you see is what you get.

    And then there is the combat system.
    In this comment section alone people are at each other throats about the complexity (or lack thereof) and difficulty (or lack thereof) of the combat compared to other games of the series… and to me it wasn’t about that at all.
    There is indeed depth to the combat system and it CAN be difficult at times. The real problem is that there isn’t actually a reason to look into the nuances of a combat system if you can just spam your Eikon abilities and brute force your way to victory.

    All that said – I don’t hate the game. On the contrary, it did a lot of things right. But in the end it felt more like a FF14 expansion campaign than it’s own game to me.

  26. Very articulate and non bias. I can tell you’re an old school fan. This FF missed what made FF beautiful. Your sentiment is refreshing. Your view is what fans need to see. There are those who do like the game, but the commenters who accuse you of not being an old school fan, sound like they haven’t played classic games and were perhaps bandwagon FF7 fans or joined late. The spirit is gone. Dragon Quest stuck to its guns and still to this day sales well. Ff16 selling fast on PS5 isn’t saying much. Thank you for an unbias view. FF is going the route of Madden IMO. Selling whatever they can because fans will by it

  27. Just like Breath of the Wild and Tears being consistently average with little making them truly special. I enjoyed the game and felt it was a 7 or 8, but trying to go back and play New Game + or watching other playthroughs, the charm has warn off and it falls to a hard 7, maybe even teetering towards 6. An RPG where the RPG elements are lacking or irrelevant didn’t really hit me until the luster wore off and I saw it for what it is: A fun, but forgettable experience that makes me wonder what could have been. Like FFXI and FFXII before it, you can see how their MMO (FFXIV) influenced the gameplay and decision making in design, for better or worse. It’s worth the first ride, but don’t bother getting back in line.

  28. Refreshing to finally see a critic telling it like it is. The gaming world has been treating this slog like the emperor’s new clothes.

  29. 5
    Passive Fantasy

    First off, great job reviewing without using spoilers.

    Secondly, I’m about 1/4 through the game and so far agree heavily with your review. FFXVI makes the same mistakes a lot of AAA modern games do. There is a shocking lack of meaningful decisions. Meaningful decisions are not limited to choosing story beats in the Witcher, or strategy in XCOM. Dark Souls combat has you constantly choose when to attack or roll. The stamina mechanic stops you from spamming. FFXVI combat on the other hand can be completed by spamming melee and magic attacks with a dodge here and there. If you manage to die, you will be brought back to life with full health and potions, while your enemy is still suffering from the same damage you inflicted last time you were alive.

    The story has some super interesting concepts, dealing with guilt, responsibility, characters relationships with their powers etc, but the big story moments are often handled clumsily. Huge moments can be robbed of power by a confusing delivery or something that seems very obvious to the player being treated as an important reveal.

    Also, walking up to a heavy door and the game asking you to hold r2, as if thats immersing me in the world? Stupid stuff.

    Like too many modern AAA games, FFXVI is far too passive. Developers need to ask themseleves ‘why is the player holding the controller’. `To press r2 on a heavy door is not good enough. To choose the only available weapon as an upgrade that gives you 10% more damage is not a good enough choice. To spam attacks and not worry about failure is not good enough. If you care more about impressive visuals and story than involving the player in a meaningful way, just make a movie.

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Final Score