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REVIEW: Final Fantasy XVI — Eikon May Care


Published by: Square Enix
Developed by: Square Enix Creative Business Unit III
Platform(s): PlayStation 5
Genre(s): Action RPG
Mode(s): Single-player
Game Type: ,
95/ 100

User Rating
1 total rating



Lots of epic battles, most especially the main story boss fights. An entertaining and lengthy campaign. Ingenious in-game Glossary. Very action-focused.


standard enemy encounters are pointless. Inconsistent frame-rate even on performance mode.

Posted July 16, 2023 by

35 Years later, and the fantasy still isn’t final. Though the franchise has continued to evolve in the last three decades, Final Fantasy XVI is by far the most pivoted game in the series and yet simultaneously more grounded with the franchise’s high fantasy roots than ever before. With a strong focus on epic battles and a a grand fantasy lore, Final Fantasy XVI is set to deliver a memorable cinematic experience for both newcomers and fans alike. 

(This review is spoiler-free, read-on worry free!)

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Final Fantasy 16 has a grand 40+ hours campaign filled with lengthy cutscenes that would otherwise be hard to tolerate if not for an actually engaging story and highly likeable cast of characters (We’re all looking at you, Cid). This massive campaign follows Clive’s journey of personal justice and redemption amidst ever escalating conflicts between several warring nations in a dying world all while unknown forces with far sinister agendas pull at the strings.

Now while most games with a massive world drown fans in exposition and lore, Final Fantasy 16 introduces a few functionalities that makes keeping track of all world and story events easy to absorb and enjoyable to follow. Most notable of this is the Active Time Lore – pausing the game at any time lets you access a mini glossary containing any information that is immediately relevant to you at that particular point in time. You do not have to dig through an in-game glossary or read through mountains of text. These bite-sized index helps feed you just the immediate information you need, though you are free to look into all the lore in a more traditional sense at the game’s main hub areas.

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I might not have found any particularly tear-jerking moments like you would in narrative-focused titles, it was still a very entertaining campaign, mostly due to all the epic – and I mean epic – main story beats revolving around Eikons – FF16’s version of the franchise’s Summons or Espers as they’re usually called – which takes center stage in both the story and cinematics.

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Final Fantasy is primarily an RPG, and though most of the recent iterations have incorporated elements of real-time action in its formula, none of them has ever really focused on it primarily until 16. Though there’s a certain level of RPG metagame here, Final Fantasy 16 is predominantly an action hack-n-slash not unlike the Devil May Cry and Platinum Games titles. Given the hardcore nature of the latter two franchises, I should like to emphasize that 16 gives players access to certain accessories that trivializes some of the more technical aspects of combat. Sixteen’s gameplay may be a lot more noob friendly than DMC, combat certainly can deliver the same level of cinematic action and challenge if the player so wishes. There is even an Arcade mode that lets you replay chapters of the game and be graded in your performance ala DMC’s Style system. Well-timed dodges are cool as hell and parrying works by attacking an enemy just before being hit with their own attacks ala Revengeance.

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Combat is definitely Final Fantasy XVI’s strongest aspect, despite also being its newest one. I for one am excited to see more of this direction from the series. That said, the game’s more RPG elements points towards something more akin to The Witcher, making exploration and sidequest a lot more varied and deliberate than your typical fetch quests, though that isn’t to say 16 doesn’t have its own share of pointless fetch quests.

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Visuals & Performance

One of the first things to notice about Final Fantasy XVI is its triumphant return to its high-fantasy roots. The setting leans more on the generic medieval motif in the best way possible while retaining the artistic style the series is known for. That said, there’s nothing generic when Eikons enter the scene. These godlike figures tower over men and have epic clashes with each other in real time. These sequences are cinematic and epic as hell and is something you’ll be wanting to see more and more of throughout the course of the campaign. Not far behind is the game’s many vibrant and spectacular environments, particularly the more open ones. The number of activities you can find in a map may not be as much as you’d find in a Ubisoft game (that’s a good thing) but you’d still want to explore ever inch of it due to its lush designs.

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Final Fantasy XVI I would describe as the most epic title in the franchise to-date, shifting focus into flashy action whilst doubling down on the high-fantasy setting the series is fondly known for. It is incredibly difficult not to recommend this value-packed AAA title as a must play for 2023. Whether you love the franchise or not, forget what you know and give this adventure a go, you’re unlikely to be disappointed. 

(This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher)

Dian Raval

Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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