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Final Fantasy 16 Review – A Bold Departure with Unforgettable Moments
Silver Pokdeward

Final Fantasy 16 Review – A Bold Departure with Unforgettable Moments

by July 17, 2023

RM299 (Standard Edition)
RM379 (Digital Deluxe Edition)


+ Deeply immersive and emotionally engaging narrative
+ Breathtaking visuals
+ Detailed world-building experience
+ Enthralling cast of characters, especially protagonist Clive
+ Good use of language to emphasize emotional impact
+ Nostalgic callbacks to the franchise that isn't overly done
+ Engaging combat system with an emphasis on cinematic design


- Background NPC lines get repetitive with
- Occasional lip sync issue (English)
- Narrative pacing can get a bit disruptive
- Combat can get repetitive and rather drawn out, especially with boss battles
- Cinematic action element in combat feels somewhat excessive
- Plenty of areas and quests are lacking in depth
- Could be better with accessibility options, especially for motion sickness

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Bottom Line

Final Fantasy 16 is a triumph that breaks new ground for the series, delivering a captivating experience that stands out from its predecessors.

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What is Final Fantasy 16 About?

Final Fantasy 16 Review -

Final Fantasy 16 Review – Clive Rosfield

Before we move into the Final Fantasy 16 review, you need to know what the game is about. Final Fantasy 16, developed by Square Enix’s Creative Business Unit 3, takes a brave leap into new territory, redefining the RPG genre. Set in a grounded pseudo-medieval world, the game follows the gripping story of young nobleman Clive Rosfield, weaving together intrigue, political drama, and powerful character development.

The game embraces a fast-paced, real-time battle system. Together with a captivating narrative and meticulously crafted world, Final Fantasy 16 stands out as one of the best RPGs in recent years, while being significantly different than before.

The Good

Final Fantasy 16 Review -

Final Fantasy 16 Review – Mysterious hooded figure

Final Fantasy 16 excels in delivering a deeply immersive and emotionally engaging narrative. The game’s story is filled with intrigue, personality, and compelling character drama. Square Enix has masterfully crafted an experience where every system, from exploration to character customization, is calibrated towards supporting and enhancing the game’s grand tale. It also offers a detailed world-building experience that revolves around nations clashing over territory and resources, a recurring theme in the series.

Clive Rosfield, the central character of Final Fantasy 16, is a standout protagonist who undergoes significant growth and development throughout the game. The voice acting by Ben Starr is exceptional, bringing Clive’s emotional journey to life. From his struggles with obligations and expectations to his eventual acceptance of his connection to others, Clive’s story explores themes of masculinity, emotional intelligence, and vulnerability. Starr’s performance captures the tension, stress, and growth of Clive’s character, making him a relatable and memorable presence.

Final Fantasy 16 Review -

Final Fantasy 16 Review – Joshua and Jill

Final Fantasy 16 features a cast of supporting characters that add depth and charm to the game. Their interactions with Clive and each other create a strong sense of camaraderie and make Clive’s base of operations feel like a home. Whether it’s the witty banter of Gav or the gruff but well-meaning grumbling of Otto, the found family dynamic brings warmth and authenticity to the game. It exudes a sense of care in its themes and the way characters treat one another.

The game emphasizes the importance of kindness and respect, echoing the values seen in Final Fantasy VII. The inclusion of swearing and violence feels genuine and earned, contributing to the overall emotional impact of the story. It’s refreshing to see a game that tackles mature themes while still maintaining a sense of compassion. Additionally, the portrayal of Cid in this game is hailed as one of the best since Final Fantasy VII, if not the best iteration of the character ever.

Final Fantasy 16 Review -

Final Fantasy 16 Review – Shiva

The exploration of the crystals and their magic raises thought-provoking questions about ecological sustainability and free will, which have been central to the franchise since its inception. The intricate world-building helps players immerse themselves in a richly crafted universe, fostering a sense of urgency and a desire to save the world. It also manages to pay homage to their series history in various parts of the game.

The world of Valesthia in Final Fantasy 16 is meticulously crafted and immersive. The game portrays a pseudo-medieval setting, riven with political intrigue and power struggles among emperors, kings, and vicerenes. As the layers of the story are peeled back, the narrative gains momentum, creating a sense of anticipation and driving players to uncover the next twist. The attention to detail in world-building, combined with the captivating storytelling, results in an unforgettable and captivating experience.

Final Fantasy 16 Review -

Final Fantasy 16 Review – Cinematic elements in combat

Final Fantasy 16 presents an engaging combat system that represents the culmination of the series’ experimentation with free-roaming hack and slash battles. Players have access to a diverse range of attack options, including ranged magic attacks, sword strikes, and powerful special attacks utilizing the Eikon’s power. The combat design, influenced by Ryota Suzuki’s work on games like Devil May Cry 5, ensures smooth gameplay and allows for satisfying strings of combos.

The fluidity and depth of the combat mechanics make battles both thrilling and enjoyable. With skillful customization options and the ability to equip Eikons (resident demi-gods), players can tailor their combat approach to suit their play style. The well-polished and cinematic design of the battles keeps players hooked and eager for more.

Looking for the best way to experience audio in Final Fantasy 16 on the PS5? Check out our review by clicking right here.

The Bad

Final Fantasy 16 Review -

Final Fantasy 16 Review

Despite the overall excellence of the game, Final Fantasy 16 encounters minor technical issues that can momentarily disrupt the immersion. One such issue is the repetition of lines by background NPCs, which can become repetitive and grating. Additionally, there are occasional instances of lip-syncing problems when using English dialogue. While these issues do not significantly impact the overall experience, they are noticeable and can momentarily detract from the immersion. A future update could address this issue.

The extensive lore and the game’s attempt to provide context through frequent cutscenes can lead to uneven pacing. Players may find themselves transitioning between gameplay and prolonged cutscenes where characters pore over a map, which can create a disconnect and hinder the overall sense of urgency. While the cutscenes offer valuable information about the game’s world and characters, the lengthy exposition might leave players eager to resume gameplay.

Final Fantasy 16 Review -

Final Fantasy 16 Review – Combat

While I did enjoy the engaging combat system, Final Fantasy 16 may suffer from repetitive combat mechanics. Unless players enjoy experimenting with different attacks and achieving flawless combos, the novelty of the combat system can wear off over time. Boss battles, in particular, tend to have excessively long health bars, making the execution of similar attacks and patterns feel repetitive. For players seeking more varied encounters, the combat may become monotonous and less exciting as the game progresses.

Final Fantasy 16 Review -

Final Fantasy 16 Review – Eikon battle

Furthermore, battles in Final Fantasy 16 can occasionally feel overly bombastic, featuring excessive action, gigantic enemies, and multiple phases. While some players may appreciate the spectacle, the stark contrast between the game’s naturalistic approach to world and characters and the grandiose battles can be jarring for others. There might be a sentiment that toning down the action would have better served the overall experience, maintaining a more consistent aesthetic and thematic cohesion.

The game’s level design is not considered a strong point, often featuring linear tunnels disguised as impressive castles or large open areas lacking interactive elements. Towns mainly serve as quest hubs, lacking depth and immersive qualities. The outside world lacks organic secrets or incentives for exploration, making it feel somewhat lifeless. Side quests, too, often lack engaging narratives, resulting in tedious tasks and minor rewards that may not feel satisfying to players seeking meaningful exploration and compelling side stories.

Lastly, players who experience motion sickness may find Final Fantasy 16 lacking in certain options to alleviate their discomfort. The game does not offer features such as a field of vision slider or a screen shaking toggle, which can be problematic for individuals prone to motion sickness. Square Enix could have implemented accessibility options to cater to a wider range of players and mitigate potential discomfort.

Final Fantasy 16 Verdict

Final Fantasy 16 Review -

Final Fantasy 16 Review

Final Fantasy 16 is a triumph that breaks new ground for the series, delivering a captivating experience that stands out from its predecessors. With a compelling story, memorable characters, and a meticulously crafted world, the game excels in its narrative-driven approach.

Although it encounters minor technical issues, Final Fantasy 16 remains an exceptional RPG that leaves a lasting impact. Embracing accessibility features and offering a customizable experience, it opens its world to a wider range of players. Despite its imperfections, Final Fantasy 16 stands tall as a testament to the series’ ability to evolve and captivate players overall.

At the end of our Final Fantasy 16 review, I award this game with our Silver Pokdeward.


Big thanks to PlayStation Asia for sending us this game for the purpose of this review.

About The Author
Aiman Maulana
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one. YouTuber, video editor, tech head, and a wizard of gaming. What's up? :)