Final Fantasy XVI On Its Own Terms

At first glance, Final Fantasy XVI struck me with its darker, more accipitral tone than anything that happened on the show. It is not only in the graphic representations of bloody actions or divine beings crushing each other, but also in the explicit narrative strands about persecution and slavery. It delves into the gone and destruction that results from all the political dramas and supernatural clashes. The brutality inflicted on her victims is laid bare almost at every turn, sometimes to the point of embellishment to hit the nerves she wants to hit. But there is a thematic coherence in all this that combines what happens to people at ground level with the fantastic elements that determine their fate. And in this harsh exterior, which shines with magic and ether, there is a gripping story about the characters who hold on to their humanity, the bonds that give them strength, and the efforts they will make to make the world a superior place the whole thing is told in a way that only Final Fantasy can.

Final Fantasy has always been about reinvention and FFXVI is perhaps the most drastic change in the series. The action system is much closer to a Devil May Cry than Final Fantasy XV or VII remake and is a shining example of what an action RPG can be. At first, Eikon’s actions seem to be just explosive stutters, but they turn into meaningful moments that are as narrative as impressive shows through and through. Through the impressive actions and emotional cutscenes, I kept asking myself incredulously: “Did this game just do that?””while I remembered the beautiful melodies of the soundtrack. However, these tips are also confronted with outdated design conventions that stand out like sore thumbs, which leads to noticeable breaks in the more than 50 hours I’ve spent playing the game. Nevertheless, I will always remember FFXVI for its powerful and breathtaking moments, because these are the reasons why IT is among the best in the legendary franchise.

FFXVI talks a lot about Clive’s growth and the people around him, but story’s initial focus on Valisthea’s nations and political structures set the stage for everything that follows. Valisthea is a world ravaged by environmental destruction, and the war is fueled by the thirst for resources, which in this matter are the crystals. Since they are a Magical collecting resource, those with the inherent ability to use magic are abused, subjugated and treated as property; Tools that must be used and sacrificed in the service of their supposed superiors. So liberation and Revolution are the overarching narrative lines, and FFXVI relies heavily on these themes and uses them as a solid foundation to build all the facets of the story and its characters.

FFXVI navigates these topics mainly with skillful hand. Her writing often shows an understanding of the complex dynamics that come with the territory, and she shines by empowering the characters and making them and their experiences stand as the center of sharp cutscenes and dialogues. As hideous as the darkest moments may be, they are also crucial to each character’s understanding of the hostile world in which he lives. It is encouraging to see that the game clearly says what needs to be said, even if this skillful hand sometimes becomes heavy, makes the pose a little too thick or neglects a little nuance that could have gone a long way in unpacking a topic or perspective correctly. On rare occasions, I’ve found some minor events in the story that have undermined the pretty clear messages the game is trying to send. But as a basic motivation for the casting and me as a player, the acting remains consistently convincing, and this leads to great narrative wins.

Clive and his brother Joshua are involved in all this because they belong to a royal family that inherits the power of Phoenix, one of the Eikons who disrupt the balance of power in Valisthea. The devastation strikes her family from the very starting, sets the story in motion and shows how dominant-the chosen few who can take advantage of eikons and turn into eikons- are weapons of mass destruction. It seems to be a blessing, but it’s really a curse, and the terrible force that they exert has clear consequences. This mixture of political drama, social injustice and Final Fantasy tropes gives the story space for the expected mythical blow of the series, but also makes it meaningful. The Eikons are a great reinterpretation of the final Fantasy incantation, and they are skillfully contextualized in the story-as crazy and exaggerated as Eikons may be, the FFXVI story is always on solid ground.

Themes of rebellion and demonstrations of divine power are enshrined in strong personal stories of revenge and redemption. The burden of sins, of the things they have done for which they are not fully responsible, weighs heavily on the shoulders of the main distribution. I’m pretty tired of the old trope that seeking revenge is an empty endeavor that makes you just as bad as your oppressors, so it’s invigorating to have a story that puts its foot on the ground and gives the characters the satisfaction of killing their masters to free themselves, presented without warning. Nevertheless, the atonement is another important lens through which you see how characters develop and go through the process of redefining right and wrong. Sometimes this means giving up your privileges, making immeasurable sacrifices or defying your supposed fate.