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Final Fantasy XVI (PS5) review: Epic tale

Final Fantasy XVI (PS5) review: Epic tale

Final Fantasy XVI

The best thing about the Final Fantasy series is that every game is always different. The worst thing about Final Fantasy XVI is that it still plays like a JRPG, which limits it to a mostly on-rails experience compared to modern open-world RPGs. But in this case, it works really well. That's because the new revamped action combat makes up for it with plenty of frantic button mashing and well-timed counters.

Quick notes

  • Epic tale that's mostly linear, with some exploration to boot
  • Bounty hunting with the new Devil May Cry-ish combat system is fun
  • English voice acting is really good
  • The most mature Final Fantasy yet, with sex and nudity in cut scenes

FFXVI (FF16) takes you to a world filled with magic, fantastical monsters, and politics that feels reminiscent of Game of Thrones. The monsters are familiar if you've played any Final Fantasy game, from your Adamantoise, Malboros, to Chocobos. And filling up that awesome factor is that your typical FF summons now return as Eikons. Unlike other games in the series where these powerful beings take too long to show up, you get to see them right from the get go. And even better, you can fight as Eikons, like giant Kaijus slugging it out.

Final Fantasy XVI
(Screenshot: Square Enix)

You play as Clive Rosfield, loyal older brother to the heir of Rossaria, who happens to be the host of the Phoenix Eikon. As like a typical FF series, tragedy strikes, and Clive now has to get revenge and hunt for MacGuffins. Expect a crazy tale that feels very much like a 35-hour long Games of Throne episode (with dragons to boot!). Of course, one can't leave out crystals, which are the mainstays and the source of magic in the series. The western setting also plays out well with the voice acting, which is best experienced in English. I usually play FF games in Japanese (even for FFXV, which has a modern setting). However, the lip syncs don't match for Japanese, as this game was dubbed in English first.

Final Fantasy XVI
(Screenshot: Square Enix)

To be clear, the English dub is impressively good. Ralph Ineson's deep, rumbling voice is just pure magic every time his character Cid is on screen, and the English accents help sell the Western setting. The biggest change though, is the combat system. At first, I wasn't a fan, there was just too much button mashing, but three hours in, something clicked, and I started enjoying the Devil May Cry style of chaining combos and using my abilities. That said, I found Eikon combat tedious, as most of it is mostly quick time event buttons, bar one or two exceptions. If you want, you can also equip accessories to make it easier and with less mashing.

Gameplay-wise, Final Fantasy XVI mostly plays out in chapters with Clive running from point A to B and a big boss fight at the end. At first, it's fun, but as you progress through the 35-hour narrative, it starts feeling repetitive. You'll want to do all the side-quests as well, because they add so much context to the world. Cutscenes are long, which is a good thing. That's because the character design and costumes are so good you just want to see them in action. FFXVI offers a great epic experience with a fantastic story that's worth your time. Get it from Shopee, Lazada, or Amazon.

See Also
WD Black SN770

Note: Review copy provided by Sony.

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An epic story overall, but how it plays out can feel repetitive

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