Why is Final Fantasy 16 being review bombed on Metacritic?

Irate criticisms and backlash aside, there's some legitimate concerns about Final Fantasy 16 and the direction it's taking the franchise.

On June 22, the gaming world eagerly watched as Square Enix finally pulled back the curtains on its latest installment in the iconic Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy 16.

To be honest, the people hating on Final Fantasy 16 must be like Anabella in real life.

The highly anticipated PlayStation 5 had a massive amount of marketing hype behind it and was beloved by critics and its fans, especially following its extensive demo. But, at the same time, FF16 ignited impassioned debates over the identity of Final Fantasy, particularly how it has evolved.

Now, this discussion has spilled over to Metacritic, where some are letting their two cents about FF16 known, much to the detriment of the game's User Score.

Final Fantasy 16 is a Final Fantasy game, even though it might have broken several of the series' long-standing traditions.

Breaking the mold, the developers diverged from the traditional turn-based mechanics, long regarded as a staple of JRPGs, opting for a more action-oriented combat system. This shift sparked controversy among ardent fans, some of whom had a bit of trouble adapting to the new gameplay experience. Nevertheless, critics recognized the audacity of this decision, with many lauding the daring new direction Square Enix has taken. Final Fantasy XVI, embracing an innovative yet contentious approach, presently holds a respectable 88 Metascore on Metacritic, underscoring the critical acclaim the game has managed to secure.

Yet, the consumer consensus tells a different tale. Presently, the game has a User Score of 7.4/10 on Metacritic, an apparent chasm between the opinions of critics and gamers. Some fans feel betrayed by this abrupt shift, asserting that the new installment plays more like an action game akin to Devil May Cry rather than a traditional Final Fantasy entry.

Although this shouldn't come as a huge surprise as its combat designer, who is a huge fan of Final Fantasy V, had a hand in designing the combat systems of Monster Hunter and Devil May Cry, among others. 

The definitive ending to FF16 suggests that we might not be getting any post-launch DLC for it at all.

Unfortunately, the divergence in combat style isn't the only bone of contention. The exclusive nature of FF16 on the PS5 is a pain point as well. Thus, a handful of aggrieved fans resorted to "Review Bombing" FF16, an act of inundating a rating site with zero scores in a bid to express dissatisfaction and distort the game's rating. Such drastic actions are regrettable, not least because they tend to obscure nuanced and legitimate criticism.

Debates also raged over what precisely constitutes a JRPG or RPG. The definitional boundaries have blurred in recent years as RPG elements have seeped into other genres.

Some argue that the 'RPG' label is dependent on factors like leveling mechanics, story-driven gameplay, or character development. In a world where Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty incorporate RPG elements, the designation has certainly become ambiguous. And yet, there are fans who argue that FF16 remains an RPG at its core. Despite the evident shift in combat mechanics, they highlight elements such as character-centric storytelling, experience and level progression, stats, and crafting as quintessential RPG features that persist in the latest title.

Additionally, the aesthetic departure from the modern or futuristic settings typical in recent Final Fantasy games is being questioned as well. But, if you think about it, FF16, set in a medieval world that resonates with George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, represents a return to the series' roots. This bold move demonstrates Square Enix's audacity to challenge preconceived notions of what a Final Fantasy game could be while also paying homage to the original titles.

For all the "hate" that FF16 is getting, it remains one of the most talked-about games at the moment, eclipsing even Diablo 4.

Despite the criticisms, it's important to remember that Final Fantasy, as a series, has frequently reinvented itself. Case in point, Final Fantasy VII shocked players with its revolutionary 3D graphics and refreshingly modern narrative, just as Final Fantasy XVI's dark, mature story, fast-paced combat, and next-gen graphics are causing ripples now.

This isn't the first nor last time Final Fantasy will walk the fine line between beloved and panned, especially with the sequel, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, being launched in two discs for some reason.

Ultimately, the controversy surrounding FF16 highlights the shifting landscape of RPGs and the ever-evolving expectations of its fans. If nothing else, we should applaud Square Enix for redefining and innovating their flagship franchise.

FF16 breaks new ground for the franchise, for better or for worse.

Only time will tell if this controversial departure will be seen as a bold reinvention or a misguided deviation.

For now, Final Fantasy XVI remains a fascinating focal point in the broader dialogue about the future of RPGs.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. This is revisionist history. Break the mold? You mean broke it from ff15 which was also an action combat orientated game? have people just forgotten about tabatas crappy entry? Its full action, its not turn based at all.

  2. FFXI was an MMORPG. FFXII had a gambit system to let you program the characters in combat. FFXIII played around with mixing action and turn based. FFXIV was another MMORPG. FFXV was an action RPG. FFVII remake was also an action RPG.
    Anyone who is surprised that FFXVI isn’t a turn-based JRPG must have lived under a pretty heavy rock for decades.

    1. thank you!!! like tho the heck are the people even reviewing the game? have they not been paying any bit of attention!!?

  3. IDK, I am having fun with the game and think it will easily win GOY. I don't know what people are complaining about.

    1. Too White? Sounds like a good game. I'm actually going to buy a PS5 just to play it now. I'm sick of woke trash.

  4. I think dating it backward is a good move. Most complaints from mans seem to be the game is "too white" which I don't get at all. It is a Japanese franchise.

  5. Why would isometric 3D be that big a deal for FF7, when every RPG was doing that (see Ultima 7). It still had turn based combat.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Comparison List (0)