Final Fantasy XVI is Awesome, Actually

A forgotten game of the year contender?

Alex Rowe
7 min readOct 3


The Final Fantasy XVI PS5 loading splash screen.
Official PS5 logo splash screen, captured by the author.

In this, the year of the RPG, I think that Final Fantasy XVI deserves more recognition. It started strong right out of the gate, with an explosive 3 million copy first week and tons of hype all around the internet in the gaming community. But it dropped off just as quickly as the beleaguered Diablo IV…even though I think it’s a much better game than Activision’s weird bland stupid grind fest.

Square Enix, the developer and publisher of the game, weirdly hastened its hype demise by throwing it under the bus during an August earnings call — blaming their recent financial shortcomings on the game’s “underperformance.” This despite the fact that Final Fantasy XVI reviewed and sold well for a PS5-only release. Square has a curious history of throwing out a ton of shovelware and making strange investments, then blaming the failure of these initiatives on a game that supposedly undersells. See also: their handling of the entire Tomb Raider 2013 reboot trilogy.

Regardless of its sales success, this game is a wonderful, weird, and triumphant technical achievement, and a must-play for anyone with a PS5 looking for a truly unique action RPG experience. Its combination of Final Fantasy characters, magic, and systems with hard-edged R-rated Game of Thrones trappings shouldn’t really work at all — but the whole thing coalesces into an endlessly fascinating and cool saga.

I hope that it gets the audience and recognition it deserves over time, and I’m sure that it’ll help when it inevitably comes to other platforms like the PC, but the game’s design is so clearly built around the PS5 that I think Sony’s console is probably the best place to play it.

A castle stairway lit by torch in Final Fantasy XVI.
LIghting and detail are gorgeous both inside and outside. PS5 screenshot captured by the author.

Breathtaking Pacing

Final Fantasy XVI is paced better than most other video games, particularly those of a larger size and budget. Unlike the endless nightmarish open world blah that has taken over the gaming world, FFXVI is a focused and interesting time throughout. Every single scene and sequence in the game has something notable that actually happens in it…



Alex Rowe

Commentary on Games, Music, Tech, Movies | Support Me: | Threads: