Final Fantasy XVI – Review
Follow Genre: Action, RPG
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PS5
Tested on: PS5

Final Fantasy XVI – Review

Site Score
Good: Cinematic experience, Overall satisfying gameplay loop
Bad: Feels a bit shallow at times
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)

If you own a PlayStation 5, you might have been waiting for the release of Final Fantasy XVI, the next epic tale in the series. The game is currently a timed exclusive for PS5, which will certainly be disappointing for Xbox Series X/S and PC gamers all around the globe. Nonetheless, we were still eagerly awaiting the release of this new Final Fantasy title, and we couldn’t wait to see what story would unfold before our very eyes, as well as what Easter Eggs we could perhaps spot. While many familiar critters passed the revue in this title, Final Fantasy XVI tries to handle things differently, which works for the most part. Even though the game could have still been quite a bit better, we still enjoyed our adventure in the world of Valisthea.


Final Fantasy XVI takes us to the world of Valisthea with its many kingdoms and warring factions. The main character of this original Final Fantasy tale is Clive Rosfield, the king of Rosaria’s firstborn son. Clive would have become the heir to the throne if it were not for his younger brother, Joshua, who was ‘blessed’ with becoming the Dominant. In this world, some people are chosen to become a so-called Dominant, who can harness the powers of the Eikons, which are extremely powerful magical creatures. Clive can, however, still use magical powers without the use of magical crystals, thus making him a lot more powerful than other entities in the world. While Clive is being shunned by his mother, he still enjoys his life, and he is making sure that his brother is protected at all times. Sadly, things take a turn for the worst when soldiers of the Holy Empire of Sanbreque invade Rosaria’s castle, kill the king and Joshua, and leave Clive to become one of the Branded. The Branded are disposable wielders of magic that are used in hopeless battles, and these soldiers are deemed expendable. Clive is subjected to going from one battle to another while he tries to plot his revenge.

Overall, the story isn’t going to win any awards. The writing is sometimes all over the place, and the characters themselves are sometimes a bit too rough around the edges to become truly likable. The story isn’t bad as a whole, but we have seen a lot more interesting tales being told in some of the previous games. The issue with the story is that it feels like the broody protagonist formula is a bit overdone. Don’t get us wrong, it works for the story that unfolds in Final Fantasy XVI, but it just feels as if the characters are bound to fairly generic stereotypes that are often a bit predictable.


Even though Final Fantasy XVI does have its rough edges here and there, the game still looks rather amazing. Most of the game’s graphical prowess does not come from its simple town setups but rather its distant sceneries and the extremely impressive-looking Eikon battles. These battles are both impressive and beautiful. During these gameplay segments, you’ll take control of massive behemoths who then duke it out with each other. The Eikon designs, the special effects, and just the different scenery are awe-inspiring. Of course, the main character designs are also impressively made, and we also quite enjoyed the special effects during regular battles. As a whole, Final Fantasy XVI is a very cinematic experience, and it does work well for a game such as this.


The game’s sound design is great. The cinematic soundtrack goes hand in hand with the massive Eikon battles and the story is also elevated by the quality of the music. The voice acting is also great, even if you’re not a fan of some of the more hammy acting performances. The sound effects provide proper feedback for the onscreen action, and we also loved hearing some iconic tunes in the background as well. As a whole, the game nails its overall soundscape.


Final Fantasy XVI is an action-focused RPG where you’ll explore the world of Valisthea, battle monsters and soldiers to your heart’s content, and ultimately also engage in massive Eikon battles. Overall, the game is extremely straightforward. Even though it does take you a while to master certain combos and toggling between your skills will also take a while, things never get overly complicated. This is also true for the gear system and your skills menu. While some more information on certain aspects would have been welcome, everything is easy to figure out. If you would rather focus on the story, you can opt to play on the lowest difficulty, and then the game will basically perform more intricate combat combos automatically. Even though this mode does make the game perhaps a bit too easy, it’s great for players who just want to relax without having to worry a lot about pulling off the right moves.

Truth be told, even though this review was a while in the making, there is very little that actually can be said about Final Fantasy XVI that truly stands out when it comes to its general gameplay mechanics. Of course, the game has an overall satisfying combat loop, the bigger focus on action than most of the previous entries in the franchise is refreshing, and the Eikon battles are rather impressive. The latter we probably had the most fun with, as these battles were often fairly epic affairs. During these segments, you’ll be fighting as an Eikon yourself, and this does feel rather impressive. In all honesty, many of these fights aren’t that hard to win, but they do show an impressive aspect of an otherwise fairly generic action-packed experience. Don’t get us wrong, as mentioned before, we quite enjoyed the combat in Final Fantasy XVI, but there is again not that much to it in terms of variation. This is further simplified by a very simple gear system, which does feel welcoming for more inexperienced players. There isn’t that much micromanaging going on either, as party members fight for themselves, and you’ll simply have to worry about yourself and sometimes give commands to Torgal, your canine-ish companion.

The thing that stands out most about the game’s combat is that you can harness the powers of the Eikons themselves. During your playthrough, you can swap between the abilities of several Eikons, and this will allow you to chain more interesting combos, as well as tackle certain battles in a way that suits your playstyle. This is quite fun, but some of the mechanics here feel a bit clunky. Oddly enough, we found the system of swapping between skills on the fly better executed in Forspoken, which sadly suffered from other elements that dragged the experience down. Even so, battles in Final Fantasy XVI become increasingly satisfying when you finally start nailing certain combos, as you’ll notice that you can dispose of enemies in a more effective way. Battles can take a bit longer in this installment, as you’ll often battle fewer opponents in a single battle, and these enemies usually have more HP. The game does allow for some customizability, as you can choose what Eikon’s skill set suits you the best.

Outside of the main storyline, you’ll also have an impressive amount of side content to discover, but some of the side missions can be a bit of a hit-or-miss affair. This is mainly due to the fact that the game has a lot of fetch quests, and some of these feel a bit out of place or just bland and uninspired. Luckily there are also quite a few side quests that are interesting and that reward you with worthwhile upgrades.


Final Fantasy XVI is a cinematic masterpiece in many regards, but in terms of actual gameplay, the game does fail to impress at times. Don’t get us wrong, the overall gameplay loop is enjoyable, and the combat is satisfying, but nothing truly groundbreaking is being offered here. As a whole, even if the story tends to go off the rails at times, we very much enjoyed playing through this (shorter) Final Fantasy adventure. If you have a PlayStation 5 at home, and you’re a fan of the franchise, we see no reason for you to pass up on this title.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Final Fantasy XVI - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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