Final Fantasy XVI review for PS5

Platform: PS5
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: Single
Online: No

Disclaimer: I am going to keep this review relatively surface level and avoid specifics on a LOT of what makes Final Fantasy XVI so special, because I believe that everything this game has to offer should be experienced by you, the player. I can’t speak on a lot of the story beats without massively spoiling things, or even speak to some of the mechanics without unintentionally ruining some of the best moments in the game.

Final Fantasy XVI, the latest installment in the beloved Final Fantasy series, has arrived and sufficiently blown the community away. Setting a new standard for storytelling, gameplay, and visuals, Final Fantasy XVI is a truly unforgettable experience.

One of the standout aspects of Final Fantasy XVI is its engaging and emotionally charged storyline. With a rich tapestry of complex characters and intricate relationships, the game weaves an epic narrative that keeps players hooked from start to finish. The game’s protagonist, a young warrior named Clive Rosfield, embarks on a journey filled with tragedy, revenge, and redemption. Each character is meticulously crafted, with compelling backstories and distinct personalities. The game’s exploration of themes such as sacrifice, love, and loyalty adds depth and emotional resonance to the overall narrative, leaving players deeply invested in the fate of the world and its inhabitants.

I found myself constantly drawn in by the supporting characters, both for their connection to Clive and for their own experiences outside of the narrative. Going on a hunt for some fabric so that a pair of orphaned children could get new clothes does very little to push the main story forward, but it really changes up how you look at the work that Clive is doing.

Final Fantasy XVI introduces a fresh take on the series’ iconic Active Time Battle (ATB) system, infusing it with a more fast-paced, action-oriented feel. Players can seamlessly switch between Eikons in real-time, each with their own unique abilities and playstyles, adding an extra layer of tactical decision-making. The combat feels fluid and responsive, satisfyingly balancing real-time action and proper planning. The inclusion of massive, Eikon battles, adds an additional layer of excitement and spectacle, making each encounter a visually stunning and adrenaline-pumping experience.

The world of Final Fantasy XVI is a breathtakingly beautiful realm brought to life with meticulous attention to detail. From sprawling cities to lush forests and towering mountains, each location is exquisitely designed, immersing players in a living, breathing world. The graphics are a technical marvel, with stunning visual effects, realistic character models, and jaw-dropping environments that showcase the power of the PS5. While playing in performance mode got me CLOSE to 60fps most of the time, it isn’t quite as stable an experience as I would like.

Final Fantasy is known for its exceptional music and sound design, and it delivers once again with a stunning musical score that perfectly complements the game’s emotional beats and epic moments. The music effortlessly captures the essence of each scene, enhancing the atmosphere and immersing players in the game’s world. From hauntingly beautiful melodies to pulse-pounding battle themes, the soundtrack of Final Fantasy XVI is a testament to the power that the right music can have on a game.

I absolutely adore this game, and have not been able to put it down since starting it. Not only do I love the game itself, but it has brought me back into the fold on all things Final Fantasy. I have been away from Final Fantasy XIV for about 2 years, but I booted that back up and reconnected with my FC mates like nothing happened. That return was prompted entirely by Final Fantasy XVI and how incredible my experience with that was.

Final Fantasy XVI is a true masterpiece that demonstrates the incredible evolution of the Final Fantasy series. With its engaging storyline, memorable characters, refined gameplay mechanics, stunning graphics, and captivating music, it offers a gaming experience that will linger in the hearts of players long after the credits roll. Square Enix has once again proven its ability to deliver a breathtaking and unforgettable adventure that pushes the boundaries of what an RPG can achieve. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the series or a newcomer, Final Fantasy XVI is an absolute must-play that showcases the brilliance of the franchise and sets a new standard for the genre.

Note: Square Enix provided us with a PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: A+