At its core, Final Fantasy XVI is a love story. Not in the sense of romantic love, but rather the love between friends, and the love between brothers. During my time with Square Enix’s latest epic in the Final Fantasy saga, I found myself on an emotional roller coaster that I just couldn’t put down. 

This game serves as a departure from previous Final Fantasy titles. There is no turn-based combat, no pausing the action, just hacking and slashing your way through enemies as you summon the magic of the Eikons. Over the course of your journey, you will best your foes and gain their abilities. By the end of your campaign, you are almost godlike. Final Fantasy XVI introduces a seamless blend of action and strategy, providing an engaging combat system that caters to both newcomers and long-time fans. Battles are fast-paced and exhilarating, with the ability to switch between Eikons on the fly, each possessing unique abilities and play styles.

Visually, this game is stunning. I made a comment a few weeks ago that it might not be the best looking game on PlayStation 5, that honor goes to Demon Souls, but I think it is the most impressive looking. I’m not sure if that statement makes any sense if you haven’t played it, but the character models, the locations, the particle effects, the lighting, all of it is breathtaking. The amount of content they cram on the screen in any one moment is an impressive feat. 

The audio design also stands out. From the character dialogue from the game’s actors, to the clashing of swords, to the unleashing of spells. Every voice actor in this game did an incredible job of bringing their characters to life, and aside from a few odd side characters you meet along the way, everyone does a fantastic job. The game’s soundtrack, composed by Final Fantasy XIV legend Masayoshi Soken, strikes a perfect balance between orchestral grandeur and emotional depth. The haunting melodies and epic compositions complement the story’s highs and lows, enhancing the overall experience.

In conclusion, Final Fantasy XVI marks a new chapter for the franchise, delivering a captivating storyline, refined gameplay, and breathtaking visuals. The world-building and character development are second to none, making players genuinely care about the fate of Clive, Joshua, Jill,  and his companions. 

The beginning of a new era of Final Fantasy

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