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Final Fantasy XVI

Final Fantasy XVI


Release Date

ESRB Rating




Bob Hoose

Game Review

Final Fantasy XVI is the newest entry in the very long-running Final Fantasy franchise that started all the way back in 1987. This one is a huge, movie-like title with a deep story, intricately developed characters, and lots of full-action combat.

If you’ve never played a Final Fantasy game before, however, you need not worry about being lost. This entry paints its epic story in detail.

It takes place in the world of Valisthea, a realm comprised of two large, island-like continents that are home to a great deal of geopolitical infighting between nations. This is a land of swords and magic. And those magic abilities are powered by five massive Mother Crystals scattered around the islands.

However, a few special individuals don’t require the crystals. They can channel magic power all on their own and summon forth god-like Eikons that blaze, stomp, crush and crumble the battlefield like children bashing small toys in a sandbox.

Gamers play as Clive Rosfield, a depressed mercenary/outlaw who was once a royal from one of the constantly battling kingdoms. We work our way through four periods of his life as he gather’s allies, discovers his own magic-channeling abilities and strives to avenge his young brother’s murder. It’s all part of a Game of Thrones-like sprawling tale filled with huge moments of cinematic bombast and spectacle.

There are quests to pursue and many, very long-winded character interactions to work through here. But Final Fantasy XVI revels in its full-action RPG battles.

The game offers basic combos to master along with precision dodging and parrying moves. But those basics are blended with a wide range of special abilities that are tied to cooldown periods, and those must be more strategically managed in the heat of battle with bosses.

This game is released exclusively for the PS5, PlayStation’s next-gen powerhouse console, and this single-player adventure does not require an online connection to play.


On the plus side of the ledger, Final Fantasy XVI delivers a very cinematic and sweeping visual presentation. It has the feel of a realistic 3-D anime movie that stretches for 50 hours or more. Its voice-over performances are emotional and immersive. The game is also grounded in a compelling power-struggle story. And the combat system is deep without being grueling.


However, all of Final Fantasy XVI’s realism and visual clarity also heighten this game’s M-rated messiness.

I mentioned the Game of Thrones-like tone in the story mix, and indeed, this is a gushingly bloody and profanity-laced entertainment.

F- and s-words are sprinkled throughout the game, joined by words such as “b–tard,” “h—,” “d–n,” “arse” and other crudities.

And along with all the massive death-dealing, fire-bombing and scenery crushing unleashed by the powerful Eikons, we see hand-to-hand battles that massacre villagers; slash throats; rip off limbs; and splash blood liberally with swords and maces. In one attack, for instance, a boy is left covered in his father’s splattered gore as the man is killed in front of him. An interrogation session features a woman being stabbed and tortured with a twisting sword blade. Etc.

There’s also quite a bit of smoking in the mix. And scenes in a brothel feature the sounds of couples moaning. A woman straddles and kisses a man in another scene. Both are apparently naked: we see their bare backs and a glimpse of breast and backside.

The story also features, of course, a broad magical underpinning.  And characters with great magical abilities discuss their god-like powers and dispassionately strive to obliterate any who oppose them.


Final Fantasy XVI is a game of great bombast and visually stunning spectacle. But it’s a bloody and profane spectacle as well.

Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.