Final Fantasy XVI: A Nostalgic Journey with Modern Twists – Game Review

Author: Greg Lozano

From now on, I’ll be categorizing my reviews as follows:
Not Recommended
Recommended If*
Highly Recommended
Must Play

*This indicates that a game might cater more to a specific group of gamers rather than a broad audience.

Final Fantasy XVI Review: (Recommended if)

Final Fantasy games are renowned for their spectacular cinematics, showcasing the prowess of their animation teams. Since its inception, the series wasn’t particularly known for engaging combat. Director Sakaguchi admitted this in the early days, focusing on storytelling over complex gameplay. Fast forward to 2023, the series, under new leadership, has evolved while staying true to its roots. Although combat has shifted from turn-based to real-time, it remains simpler compared to other 3rd person RPGs. This simplicity, surprisingly, brought me closer to the game’s roots, making me appreciate it in a way I didn’t with other titles.

The main storyline is straightforward but it’s the way it’s executed that makes it captivating. The typical Japanese RPG narrative of heroes versus gods is present, but it’s the depth of the narrative and character development that sets it apart. Clive, the protagonist, is a genuinely good person, and his interactions during side quests add layers to his character. These side quests, while mechanically basic, are narratively rich, encouraging engagement.

In an era where RPG mechanics are ubiquitous, Final Fantasy XVI’s approach to action feels almost retro. It doesn’t deliver the high-octane thrill of games like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta, but it melds action with RPG elements in a satisfying way. The combat is visually appealing, especially with the special attacks that make you feel powerful by the endgame.

The game steers away from the grind typical of many RPGs. Its linear structure, as opposed to an open world, makes the gameplay focused and avoids the feeling of being lost. While the beautifully designed environments aren’t fully explorable, this streamlined approach is preferable to tedious puzzles. The world doesn’t feel as immersive as the characters, but the environmental changes as the story progresses are a nice touch.


Final Fantasy XVI isn’t for everyone. If you seek thrilling combat or deeply moving stories, there are other games that excel in these areas. Even within the Final Fantasy series, there are superior entries. However, I found joy in playing XVI. It’s a game that’s enjoyable to unwind with after a long day, progressing through the story, experimenting with abilities, and experiencing its subtle nostalgic elements.

Recommended if you enjoy:

  • Engaging character development
  • Flashy visuals
  • Strong voice acting
  • Simple yet enjoyable combat

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