Final Fantasy XVI: Review
This game was reviewed on Playstation 5.
Reviewed by: Amanda Martin
To tide us all over waiting for the second part of a certain remake, Square Enix have blessed us with this amazing new title. Following the story of Clive Rosfield, we're introduced to a whole new world, filled with new and old creatures alike, the most notable being the Eikons, or summons as most may know them. And these Eikons are a cause of turmoil in this world, as they possess people known as Dominants. These Dominants are treated differently across the land, with some kingdoms treating them as royalty and others using them as tools of war, and all of which are used to protect the Mothercrystals dotted across the world. And let me tell you, fighting an Eikon in hand-to-hand combat is as awe-inspiring as it is terrifying. From the absolutely massive Titan, to the very imposing Ifrit, there is truly an Eikon for everyone.
The Mothercrystals are also very prominent in this world, as huge chunks of crystal, easily visible for miles around. Smaller crystals are mined from them, and then used to perform acts of magic, in much the same way materia is used in other titles. This makes these crystals a very valuable commodity. However, there are people able to use magic without the use of crystals known as Bearers, and these people are also in high demand, often becoming Branded and sold and bought as slaves. When the Bearers are forced to use their ability, though, there are unfortunately painful consequences. Both the crystals and the Bearers must draw their power, or aether, from somewhere though, in a situation that feels very similar to Shinra draining the planet of the life stream.
The gameplay itself is simply fabulous, and the ability to fast travel between Obelisks in different areas makes traversal so easy. Jumping between running across the land and diving into combat feels seamless. The different areas you can visit are delivered in such amazing detail, from fallen ruins to forests to swamps. These areas are filled with loot, shown as small, shiny pillars of light, that you simply need to walk close to in order to pick up, although do be on the lookout for chests you can open. I do feel like it would benefit from having a small minimap in the HUD, purely to make it easier to see the areas which are not accessible.
Aside from the main story campaign, there are other quests you can entertain yourself with. There are side quests dotted around the world that you can undertake, and one very good thing about them is that they are not all available from the start of your adventure. They seem to be spaced out between main missions, only becoming active at certain points in the story. This gives a feeling of natural progression, and helps the player not to feel overwhelmed by content. You are even introduced to a sort of bounty hunter set of missions, where you are tasked with finding and eliminating more ferocious versions of the creatures that walk the land.
Combat also plays an important part in your exploration, and it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. This game uses the real-time combat system rather than turn-based combat, which can make a player feel more connected to the battle. Simple strikes are assigned to one button, and magic assigned to another. You have the ability to dodge, and precision dodges are rewarded with a momentary slowing down of time. You can also parry attacks, and make use of well-known items like Potions. You also have a Limit Break, which builds up during combat and, when full, can be used to unleash a world of fiery strikes on your enemies. There is also an ability tree you can make use of, from unlocking new skills and powering up old ones. Whilst you often have a cast of characters at your side, you are only in control of Clive. The only exception to this would be Torgal, your canine companion, although you only issue basic commands such as attack. Torgal can also use a form of Cure, however, and can use it to give Clive a small replenishment to his health when his potions run out.
Who can play a Square Enix game, especially a Final Fantasy game, without being blown away by the musical score. This is no exception to the rule, with new tracks helping accentuate environments and encounters, and tracks that have a very familiar jingle. Is that the Victory Fanfare I hear? What about the similarity to a certain main theme? These all bring back a sense of nostalgia whilst exploring and experiencing a brand new environment.
The character and creature designs are also very impressive. The people of this world are presented as that, simply people. From villagers and farmers, to knights and royal figures, they're all clearly distinguishable in their design, and not presented as anything more or anything less. The details of Clive's weapons are also fabulous, and you can clearly see what sword is strapped to his back. Despite having new enemies to face, I personally can't stop grinning when I come face-to-face with the classics, such as the flying eyeball Ahriman or the notorious Malboro. There may have also been some squealing when the chocobos made their appearance.
This is an absolutely amazing game, and a must play for fans of the series, and also for those who've never played a Final Fantasy game in their life. A solid 10/10.
Reviewed by: Amanda Martin