We’re alphabetically counting down our top ten favorite games of 2016, and the baton has been passed to me! Since we’re still at the letter “F,” it should be no surprise what I picked!
Square Enix sort of cursed itself with the gargantuan task of making Final Fantasy XV. After the saga of Final Fantasy XIII wrapped itself up and many fans felt disenfranchised by their favorite series, Square Enix promised to get itself back on track with a game that appealed to everyone. For this to happen, it would have to be a video game that spoke to over three decades of history and seven console generations of gaming sensibilities to account for everyone that it had to please.
This includes those who have been around since the 8-bit and 16-bit console generations, back when Final Fantasy told dramatic stories with sprites that could fill 16×16 pixel boxes, and gamers who grew up only recently with massive open worlds, waypoints, and side-quests tucked in between all the story. Seems impossible, right?
Please, this is Final Fantasy!
Despite doubts, complications, and a decade of broken promises, Final Fantasy XV not only met those expectations, it exceeded them. Nobody knew we’d get four likable personalities out of these dorky host boys. Nobody knew that breaking into a more action-oriented approach was going to feel so silky-smooth amazing. Nobody knew that adhering to so many generations of games could allow a game to have so much heart and not feel as focus-tested as a Marvel movie.
Nobody knew cruising around a monster-infested world in a slick black car with your best friends while listening to classic JRPG tunes could be so satisfying
And yet, here we are in 2016, and Final Fantasy XV is one of the best games of the year. It’s not perfect, it feels rushed and incomplete in places, and its spotty story jumps through shallow sections of the kiddy pool, but for all that it set out to do and for all that it achieved, it really is a miracle that the larger picture is as complete as it is.
A stunning game from a classic franchise, now born again.