I finally finished Final Fantasy XVI and unfortunately, this is one of the worst Final Fantasies I have ever played. I had an initial excitement for this game. I wanted to believe that the team of Yoshi-P and Creative Business Unit III could do no wrong--and what they had in hand was a Phoenix. Something to bring Final Fantasy to the next generation. But what they gave is a Final Fantasy that needs a Phoenix Down--something that needs to bring it back to life. Something to get the fans--MYSELF back to its good grace. And I'm not even sure if they can do that. Final Fantasy XVI disappointed me to no end.
Where it Falls
The game is supposedly about Clive. You control Clive. You are the savior of Valisthea. No party members to switch to or control. It felt like a lonely experience, one that felt like it was stripped of one of Final Fantasy's defining identities.
Speaking of characters... a lot of the casts all have something going for them, but the way the writing takes them seems to really clash and their potential was stripped at a certain point. Some got lost in the fog and others were sidelined for convenience. Clive, the main character, felt odd and always lacking something. Strange and baffling decisions were made regarding his character development.
The mood was odd and at times forced for the sake of being a dark Western fantasy. The game really wanted to be hardcore, mature, and full of vulgar words but it was often times ... awkward. I never thought that trying to be like Game of Thrones would be an issue but it's an issue with this game.
Time Skips. Lazy storytelling. As if they weren't able or willing to give some details in between.
The game is just...lacking vibrancy. Don't get me wrong, the spectacles are great when it's great but just how many times can a Kaiju-based summon battle take me back to the reality that this is not a good game? One time.
Compared to the One that came Before
I'm not saying FFXV is a great game. It's got some major issues. To be clear, in many ways, FFXVI is a better game but I will say one thing: I was far more invested with Noctis and the crew than I ever was with Clive and his band of NPCs. Also, Final Fantasy 16 had no excuse for coming out so short-handed. They had no known game development issues, no crunch time, and were backed by perhaps the most qualified team to run a Final Fantasy but they came out with something mediocre. So vanilla and lacking that it's even close to forgettable. The only thing that is keeping it from being lost is its disappointing mediocracy.
But at least we had a damsel-in-distress scene. Actually, we had two! Ain't that sad? The main heroine's appeal is to be a Damsel. But she's Shiva! She should have more than enough pull other than her moments in bondage and the need to be rescued, right? No.
All in all...
I wanted to be proud of the team that made this game. They did amazing things and continue to make good with Final Fantasy XIV. But I don't know what happened with Final Fantasy XVI. It's a baffling case considering what it could have been. I don't know what they can do to bring this game back from the dead with the planned DLC. I understand they wanted to make a Final Fantasy on their own accord and on their own terms and I'm glad they were proud and that some fans were happy. Good. I'm not.
I'll probably write one more post about FFXVI and it's going to be character-focused. Surprised, right? Well, I at least wanted to talk about Jill Warrick. In the meantime, check out this video. This one said it better than me:
Until Next Time!