Final Fantasy XVI Review: Top points, positive notes, best game of 2023?
Certain names within this medium intimidate anyone. Undoubtedly, Final Fantasy belongs to that elite of historical series that whenever they release a new season of their main line, they make the entire media turn to see them, especially if you take into account that Square Enix usually experiments and tries new ways with these titles. This of course, with all the risk that it implies. For proof of all of the above, we have what happened with Final Fantasy XV? in 2016, a fantastic game that finally led the series to a full action system, but precisely because it was testing new technologies and ideas, it ended up delivering an incomplete product.
Now with a new team that for many have become one of the pillars of the company thanks to its work with Final Fantasy XIV, comes the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XVI, which, true to how the series has always worked, embarks on an adventure with concepts never seen before and at the same time, takes up many of the traditions that had been left aside, of course, in a super AAA production that seeks to compete for face to face with the most sophisticated titles on the market.
Planning a new Final Fantasy must be truly complicated because, as we already told you, the saga usually takes very different directions with each of its numerical seasons; that is, there is no mould or formula to follow. It will be very difficult to return to a turn-based combat system, but the reality is that anything can happen because it was also thought that leaving aside the theme of fantasy and science fiction would not be possible.
Final Fantasy XVI surprises again by taking a strong turn to return to the oldest foundations of the series based on very classic forms of Western medieval fantasy, this with clear touches inspired by modern stories such as Game of Thrones, capping it all off with a super sophisticated combat system that once again changes our definitions of an action RPG. The new work of the Creative Business Unit III headed by Naoki Yoshida, will not go unnoticed thanks to all of the above and truly high production values that ratify Japanese video game development as part of the spearhead in terms of innovation.
THE BEST STORY IN THE SERIES
The stories and of course, how they are told, have become an essential and often focal part of modern high-production video games. We could say that in reality, the first genre that delved into much more complex narratives with three-dimensional characters was that of RPGs. Practically since this type of design was born within the medium, special emphasis was placed on captivating us with stories that on more than one occasion have remained engraved in our memories forever. Final Fantasy has been one of the main contributors to all this, providing techniques, concepts and all kinds of ideas so that video games are much more than just games, to the point that to date, it is difficult to say which title in the saga has the best history.
First of all, do we have to have played any other Final Fantasy to get into this new one? No, the answer is a resounding no. As the series has almost always worked, here we are before a completely independent story that although it takes some elements and references from its predecessors, has nothing to do with them, so in effect, this could be your first Final Fantasy without no kind of problem.
In Final Final Fantasy XVI we take control of Clive Rosfield, eldest son of the Grand Duchy of Rosaria, one of the six main nations that inhabit the world of Valisthea, which, in turn, is separated by two main continents. These are extremely difficult times for the region, as a curse known as the Blight is consuming large parts of the land, leaving them completely barren and lifeless. This matter makes the leaders of each one of the territories very nervous, causing the tensions between them to become increasingly intense and with strong risks of an armed conflict. Furthermore, we have a complex society where people who can control magic without the need for crystals are treated as slaves and as some kind of subhuman. In contrast, are the Dominants, beings capable of summoning the Eikons which are creatures of great power that of course, Final Fantasy.
Clive’s story begins when he is barely 15 years old. His family has no choice but to respond to the aggressions of the Holy Empire of Sanbreque, and just as he is about to embark on the military campaign together with his father and brother, they suffer from a serious betrayal that destroys his family and causes a couple of enormous tragedies, causing the protagonist to fall into enemy hands and go from basically being a respected prince, to a slave, precisely because he has magical powers.
Sounds like too classic a story to you? You’d be surprised if not. Something that Final Final Fantasy XVI has in almost each of its sections, is that on the one hand, it is usually very avant-garde and on the other, extremely traditional. Yes, the premise of his story of the hero’s path may be familiar, but believe me when we tell you that the way it unfolds is not at all. Something extremely interesting is that we are facing a story that goes from major events involving entire nations to highly personal issues with brutally well-constructed characters that are constantly changing. Above all Clive, he is a very complex, interesting protagonist who is evolving with each event that comes his way. In the same way, those around him always tend to contribute something of relevance and we manage to form a fairly intense bond with all of them.
The story of Final Final Fantasy XVI is one of betrayal, redemption, friendship, revenge, and stark contrasts. His inspiration is set in how Game of Thrones often works, because, in addition to all this family business, we have that at any time and without prior notice, an important character can lose his life, leaving you in complete shock. In turn, how the story unfolds on a macro scale makes you stay on the edge of your seat all the time, because, at practically all times, something important is happening. To mention that indeed, this is one of the Final Fantasy more focused on the narrative and history part, being heavily loaded with spectacular cinematics with very violent and dark tones, in addition to the fact that the vast majority of conversations have voice acting, which we can tell you, is extremely well done.
It’s hard to say, but we think that after the little less than 40 hours, it took me to complete the game’s main quest. We can recommend to you that Final Fantasy 16 tells the strongest, most intense, and most important story in the entire history of the saga. How he develops his world and complex lore is only surpassed by how his characters are constantly evolving, making you feel interested in them and what is happening to them at all times. For all of the above, we also think that without a doubt, this is the best story that is going to be told in a video game, at least in 2023.