how do i play ‘Final Fantasy’ was better known for its turn-based combat, but this version is more of a hack-and-slash, action-based experience. Starting with a simple balance of moderately customizable melee and magical attacks, Clive unlocks increasingly powerful combat techniques as the game progresses. Like most RPGs, FINAL FANTASY XVI also includes ability and item management, but it’s very shallow here. Despite having tons of gil, I keep picking up crafting materials with little purpose or visiting vendors with weapons inferior to my own. Even the abilities I can upgrade seem to follow a pretty predictable trajectory. If there’s a common complaint about FF XVI, it’s that it’s an RPG that lacks RPG elements. Yes, you can choose 2 of the 3 powers for each Eikon branch you unlock, but that’s pretty shallow customization. This is a game so deeply rooted in mythology that I wish I had more control over my role in the game.
But every time Final Fantasy XVI frustrates me on the one hand, there’s something about it that impresses me on the other. Yes, the environments can look a little bland and barren, but then come incredibly well-crafted and memorable boss fights. Yes, the storytelling feels repetitive, but then comes a haunting musical sequence by composer Masayoshi Soken. As is usual with this series, the music here is great. Sure, the side quests can be tedious, but it’s really impressive to see the combat system expanded further and the action enhanced in new ways.
I plan to play about half of this blockbuster game (60 hours), so it still lets my imagination run wild the way Final Fantasy: Spirits Within gave Roger so many years ago. I don’t think my opinion has changed much, but I feel like I’ve spent enough time sharing it and that the basic strengths and weaknesses of the game are pretty well established at this point, I’m curious to see where this journey will end. There’s a reason the series is loved by literally generations at the moment and he already has 3 million people playing this title. Roger understood the potential when his team of creatives took the magical world as seriously as the “FF” people take for most properties. In the same review, he wrote, “When I review a film like this, I am torn between its crafty elements and its story.” Video games and movies are definitely different things, but I still feel exactly the same about the Final Fantasy experience after all these years.
The publisher has provided a review copy of this title.