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Played in 2023
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Video version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNiPjlrB83g
Final Fantasy 16 is too easy, lacks almost everything you’d expect from an RPG, has mostly excruciatingly boring side quests, the locations lack personality, and it’s generally unfun to traverse any of the areas. Despite all of that, I had a fantastic time playing through this game. Not only that, but I went out of my way to play it twice and get the Platinum trophy – something I haven’t felt compelled to do for any other game in over a year. Why?
The combat is fun. I absolutely loved a few of the characters. Most importantly – this game is a sight to behold. The spectacle is unreal.
Once you have a few of the Eikons at your disposal, you can get in to what feels like a rhythmic flow state with the battle system. It STRONGLY reminds me of how I played the two recent God of War games. Chaining abilities together while peppering in some regular attacks as you wait for the cooldowns to end feels great. I’d say I enjoyed God of War combat a similar amount, but for a different reason. As Kratos, it’s like you’re playing as a Strength build – absolutely decimating things with raw power. In this, it’s more about your speed and finesse – dashing around, making precise dodges while taking every opportunity to get some damage in. Not only that but you’re constantly summoning magical beasts to do your bidding. Dad Kratos and Clive feel like they’re born from the same battle system, but they’re two completely different classes. The Barbarian and the Magical Soldier Boy, if you will.
It is certainly too easy – I only died once in my first playthrough, and it was because I failed to enter Joshua’s forcefield when Bahamut was about to unleash the full force of 10,000 moons upon us. Apparently “get behind me” actually meant “mount me”. Anyways, this is usually a major deal breaker for me. Calling difficulty a preference is probably an understatement. In most cases, a game being easy or simple is an outright dealbreaker for me. I’m a From Software fanboy. When games don’t push back (or when they hold your hand) it frustrates me. It’s hard to pinpoint, but the pace of the fights + the spectacle + the timely management of your dodges and abilities made it fun despite it being easy. My second playthrough on Final Fantasy mode did make it a bit more difficult – I died a few times – but it didn’t change much. Honestly, playing through it on hard made me realize that a game like this might have been hindered by being more difficult. I think it would ruin the pace of the fights. I was constantly in awe (especially in the Eikon fights) and I would have just been annoyed if I had to replay cinematic moments because they were more bullet spongey. It’s strange, but I think the easy nature actually benefits the spectacle of it all and let’s that aspect shine more brightly. And BOY, does it shine. The Eikon fights are some of the highest highs I’ve experienced in a video game. They just ooze style, are super satisfying, and have what is likely the best animation I’ve ever seen. It’s like Michael Bay decided to make the coolest anime of all time. It’s the Godzilla game I never truly knew I wanted.
Clive, Cid and Dion are some of the best written/acted characters in any video game. Honestly, I think Clive is possibly THE most likeable protagonist I’ve witnessed to date. This may be the only game where my favourite character is the main one. It’s almost always the supporting cast that wins me over. I’m looking at you, Sully. I might like Cid more (that voice though), but I’m trying to make a point here – so I’m going with Clive. My point is that the MC is usually boring – this game is refreshing in that regard.
The game is too long, as most games are these days. It could have been 30-50% shorter and it would be better for it. 90% of the side quests were uninteresting, and that bled over in to some of the main quests, too, for some reason. The amount of times I had to walk back and forth in the hub area made me want to get someone to treat me like Clive treated Hugo. (whisper: the whole de-handing thing)
When I really think about it, playing this game and ignoring most side quests would actually make it a better game. It would make it more difficult, as you’d be a lower level – plus you would skip most of the monotonous parts. It’s a shame I always feel compelled to do everything in a game like this.
The implementation of RPG mechanics here is a shame. There’s little to no customization in terms of your equipment. You basically always have access to the best thing you could need at any given point. To bring up the recent God of War games again – they had more RPG elements than this! That’s nuts. I want to customize Clive more. I want to have an actual “party” of characters. I want to choose who is in that party, and then I want to customize THEM as well. None of that is here. I understand why due to the focus on the narrative and the way it progresses. It would be a much different game with a party system, but that doesn’t shy me away from wanting that change. That’s a pillar of Final Fantasy.
With that in mind, I’ll make my final point. This doesn’t feel like a Final Fantasy game. However, this isn’t a detractor to me. I’m more of a modern FF enjoyer myself, so I don’t have a lot of skin in the game. I think all of the aspects that do feel like FF such as the eikons and the focus on crystals greatly enhance the experience, but it feels weird to consider this the new template for a core game. It’s really not an RPG. It’s an action game.
Overall, in what is probably the best year of all time for video games, this sits near the top despite all of its flaws. The highs in this game are so incredibly high that I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by its sheer cinematic glory. In an age where “cinematic storytelling” can frequently feel uninvolved and passive, this remained highly engaging when it really mattered.
I don't get it. This is the second time I have given this game a chance. I tried the PS3 version of the PS2 original about a decade ago, and I figured that maybe this newer version would remedy the problems I had. I feel like I'm being gaslit in to believing it's a good video game. This has got to be the biggest discrepancy in terms of critical acclaim vs. how I feel. I legitimately think it's a bad one. Without exaggeration, I'm giving it a 1/5. The only redeeming qualities are the lovely music and the sense of atmosphere/scale it provides. Outside of that, there's nothing to enjoy here.
The only feeling I felt while playing was frustration. And no, I don't think it's due to it being 'difficult'. It's just annoying. I got through the first 3 colossi without much issue. I just have no desire to continue on.
Agro is one of the worst controlling horses in all of video games. Imagine the absolute horror of using this thing after experiencing the perfection of the double-jumping horse that can turn on a dime in Elden Ring.
Jumping feels bad. Climbing feels bad. Orienting the camera is a pain. It constantly wants to shift the camera to behind you to give you a cinematic view. I want to put the camera facing behind me as I run away from the giant beast, game! Why can't I do that without it fighting with me to re-center?
This game is nothing but a lump of frustration covered in a thin layer of intriguing aspects like the world/ambience.
Yes, I know it's "intended" for things to be frustrating but that doesn't excuse it. That's a bad decision. Nothing should feel intentionally bad - this is a video game. If something is going to feel "intentionally difficult to perform" it should still be fun to try to figure out and overcome. There's no fun to be had here. That would be like someone sitting beside me as I play a Zelda game and punching me in the face every time I try to use a weapon against the boss. "It's immersive, bro!"
Like I said, this second attempt at playing this has solidified my opinion even further. This has got to be the single most overrated game of all time. It's not like other games such as Pikmin, Animal Crossing, or Microsoft Flight Simulator where I can look at it and go "you know what? That's a great game - it's just not for me." No, this is not a great game. I refuse to accept that people genuinely feel that way about this. It's bad.
Sorry for such a negative rant, but I don't know how else to put it. LOL
I just had my first experience with any Punch-Out game. It's 2023. Strange how I've never touched this series. It's really just Dark Souls boss fights boiled down to their simplest form, eh?
I enjoyed my time with it. I got stuck on a couple fights for 10+ tries but eventually kept pulling through. It's all about learning patterns and punishing very specific things in very specific ways. That's cool and all, but I definitely require more depth out of my games to truly enjoy them. I made it to Mr. Sandman within a few hours of playing. Tried that fight a couple times and failed, and haven't felt any urge to go back and continue. I think I'm gonna leave it there for now. It's certainly a bit repetitive due to lack of available inputs. Perhaps I'll revisit it (or another entry in the series) in the future.
The music is fantastic. The sense of scale and danger is actually pretty cool considering the very limited art style due to it being an NES game.
I also have to say, this game does hold up. I always claim that most old games do not hold up, but this one does due to how basic it is. It's all about reaction time - plus, you only have a couple of options at your disposal. It still feels good to play, 3 decades later. I know this is due to it being 2D in design - those tend to hold up a lot better than older 3D titles. Still, gotta give props where they're due.
I can totally see why people would have gotten obsessive over this - it's "git gud" in its purest form.