As one of the world’s longest-running and biggest gaming franchises, the newest mainline instalment in the Final Fantasy franchise is an eagerly anticipated game. Development by Square Enix’s Creative Unit III, who have previously worked on the MMO Final Fantasy XIV with its cult following, Final Fantasy XVI goes in a bold new direction for the franchise with a grim medieval setting and a more action-focused combat system.
The Koalaty Critics agree that the bold choices have paid off with a game with an enthralling narrative that is sure to be a great entry point for newcomers. With incredible worldbuilding and a fantastic cast of characters, one addition that the critics appreciated was Active Time Lore which provides the player with information on their current location and the character around them, updated with new story elements throughout the game. The critics were divided on which mode to play in with some finding the motion blur in the Visual mode poor, while others believe that the visual mode has been superiorly optimised. Many noted that the game has an incredibly low number of bugs or issues, an incredible achievement for a AAA released this year it seems.
Final Fantasy XVI is available now on PlayStation 5
Here’s what Australian critics are saying about the game.
KOALATY CRITICS – AUSTRALIAN CRITICS
Ani-Game – 9.5/10 (Joel Gralton)
I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, especially those that are Final Fantasy purists that prefer the more tactical, turn based approach to combat, but I loved the change. It’s fast paced, fluid and super customisable allowing Clive to get right up into the action, utilising his melee weapon, Eikon magic abilities and dodging enemy attacks in real time to gain the upper hand and take down the many many enemies and bosses he’ll face along the game’s journey.
Checkpoint Gaming – 9/10 (Charlie Kelly)
What I found most intriguing is that hour five of the game feels incredibly different from hours ten, fifteen, and so on. What one may first consider a story of revenge soon becomes a story of atonement and then… an enriching character piece. This doesn’t make Final Fantasy XVI a confusing story. Instead, the twists complement the complexity and brevity of each beat, accompanied by a few time skips in there to further emphasise Clive’s epic story.
GamesHub – 4/5 (Edmond Tran)
In opting for an action-packed rollercoaster ride, Final Fantasy 16 brings with it a fair share of slow climbs for every exciting dive, and is ultimately a single-track experience. It doesn’t feel like a role-playing experience – you cannot have ‘your’ version of Clive’s story, because there is virtually no room for deviation. This means Final Fantasy 16 feels refined and largely free of fluff, but it also feels like a paint-by-numbers affair.
Maxi-Geek – 10/10 (Aaron Ducret)
It is the cast of characters that truly make the world of Final Fantasy XVI come to life. The huge focus on humanity and making the character’s feel more true to life, results in a world filled with far more intricate and deeper characters than previous entries.
MKAU Gaming – 10/10 (Adam Brasher)
This is a darker-toned Final Fantasy and though the world is still beautiful and colorful, there is always that feeling of something bad can happen at any moment. A lot of the scenes are pretty dark, and one that comes is the end of the Phoenix VS Ifrit fight – it was brutal. You will see more scenes that show the dark side of society.
Player2 – A- (Paul James)
Final Fantasy XVI is a stunning game to behold, from the love and care that has been put into the designs of each character, to the efforts of the environmental art team and the impressively diverse regions of Valisthea. Wartorn regions look as such, desert areas look suitably inhospitable, while other, more fantastical portions of the world feel as such. The world, the environments, the townships and cities, and even those who inhabit the world play an enormous part in complementing what the cutscenes and moments of dialogue are expressing to the player.
PowerUp Gaming – 9/10 (Adam Mathew)
Weird admission: by the halfway point of the game, I was fighting heavily by feel and sound, instead of sight. Finding myself so blindly in tune with Clive’s abilities, and my enemy’s capabilities, felt… great. Mind you, if you crave a visual onslaught that rivals dropping acid and going to Sydney’s Vivid festival, go try a Final Fantasy XVI boss battle. Square Enix goes full “last ten minutes of a Power Rangers episode” here.
Press Start – 9/10 (Harry Kalogirou)
There’s an undeniable confidence in the story told here, the world it’s built within, and in the dramatic shift to action-focused combat. A game this big can never be without issues, but Final Fantasy XVI delivers exactly what long time fans have been wanting from this legendary franchise for the last few years.
WellPlayed – 7/10 (Nathan Hennessy)
If you’ve always wanted to see what Final Fantasy is all about but found the anime influences grating or the turn-based combat too slow, this is the entry made for you. However, whether this mass appeal will appease rusted-on FF fans remains to be seen, and all things considered, it’s likely this game was perhaps not made to contend with their established favourites.