Review: ‘Final Fantasy XVI’ Is Still Final Fantasy, With More Blood and Butts

Clive’s story is fashioned largely round a revenge mission that intersects with an ever-escalating battle fought between the ruling powers of a fantasy, faux-medieval Europe and North Africa. As Clive navigates this tumultuous setting, gamers will slash by means of innumerable waves of people and monsters each, enter cutscenes the place characters talk about their targets whereas splattered with blood, and untangle deeper conspiracies that, with larger or lesser levels of success, interrogate matters starting from slavery and determinism to local weather collapse and apocalyptic warfare.

They’ll additionally achieve this by means of a method of fight additional departed from the collection’ turn-based RPG roots than any entry so far. Though Final Fantasy has experimented with action-heavy battle design earlier than, XVI’s fights extra carefully resemble the button-annihilating thumb exercises of collection like Devil May Cry or God of War than another recreation from the collection. Clive’s swordplay and magic assaults, rising in complexity as he positive aspects new powers all through the sport, mix colourful anime kineticism with a weighty, impactful buying and selling of blows between protagonist and enemy. Though not fully dissimilar from the flashy menu-driven battles of different latest Final Fantasy video games, it’s nonetheless a major departure in type that lends an acceptable sense of immediacy to the fights.

Courtesy of Square Enix

Given this new strategy to fight and tone, audiences might marvel why XVI isn’t positioned as a spin-off or unique launch. The reply comes as soon as the novelty of its type and battles wears off and its plot progresses past what looks like a massively prolonged prologue. While XVI is overtly darker than many previous video games within the collection, that darkness reveals itself to be principally superficial. Beyond the blood and guts, cursing and politicking, the story it tells shouldn’t be far faraway from the broadly optimistic, apocalypse-preventing core that has united Final Fantasy throughout its a long time of unconnected tales.

It could also be extra prepared to point out a naked butt or a pile of maimed corpses than previous video games, however XVI shouldn’t be deeply involved with the deeper dramatics of the occasional intercourse and prevalent violence that runs all through its narrative. These topics are largely window dressing for a narrative which will discover plot gasoline within the atrocities of whole battle or systematic prejudice and the political implications of world leaders’ lusts and romances, however is finally centered on much less particular themes.

The commentary it gives on real-world points are indirect sufficient—and too diluted as metaphors by the inclusion of literal magic and godlike characters—to finish up as way more than worldbuilding pillars supporting its actual curiosity: providing (a reasonably refined) take a look at the mechanisms that allow and propagate authoritarianism and its intersection with spiritual religion. Like the perfect Final Fantasy entries, XVI is ready to elevate an excessively basic paean to the facility of group, friendship, and equality into one thing that turns fable into emotionally compelling drama.

It’s aided on this by the pure grandeur of its painterly environments, which, even when suffering from lifeless our bodies and slavering monsters, create an crucial to protect a fictional world that extends past exposition concerning the significance of doing so. The usually top quality of its dialog and its voice actors’ dedication to their performances—particularly the vitality and nuance lent to Clive by actor Ben Starr—add an identical degree of depth to the narrative {that a} easy description of its plot factors wouldn’t seize. Style and tone are a lot the crux of XVI that they kind its lasting impression.

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