It’s implausible to consider about how distant Final Fantasy XIV has come. After a catastrophic strange launch behind in 2010, a new growth group led by Naoki Yoshida rebuilt a diversion roughly wholly from a belligerent up, and it was relaunched as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn to widespread acclaim. It’s left from strength to strength in a years since, and now stands as one of a best MMORPGs around. The latest expansion, Stormblood, is serve explanation of that.
In many ways, Stormblood is some-more of a same. It doesn’t have any of a grand, unconditional reforms that we mostly see in MMO expansions; instead, a concentration is on fine-tuning a experience, expanding a universe and story of Final Fantasy XIV, and giving we some-more things to see and do within a game. You know what? we couldn’t wish anything some-more from it.
After Heavensward diverted a courtesy divided from a hazard acted by a Garlean Empire, they’re once again a concentration of a story in Stormblood. The Warrior of Light (that’s you) and a Scions of a Seventh Dawn set out to acquit Ala Mhigo and Doma, dual city states that have been assigned by a sovereignty for 20-odd years. The tour takes a heroes to a hilly highlands of Gyr Abania and to Asia-inspired Othard continent in a distant east. As a Scions transport from place to place, solemnly operative to enthuse rebellion, we get a glance of what life is like underneath a empire, and how a unapproachable people of Doma and Ala Mhigo have been beaten into submission. At a centre of all of this is Lyse, a Scion and a local of Ala Mhigo, who spends a march of a tour entrance to accept her purpose as a chairman who contingency lead her people to freedom.
It’s a classical Final Fantasy story – a rope of insurgent heroes rising adult opposite an immorality sovereignty – told with all a character, emotion, and humour we’ve come to pattern from a series. It borders on cheesy, nonetheless has a ideal change of frankness and self-awareness that it never goes over a edge, ensuing in something enthralling and heartfelt. The finish cutscene is quite moving.
That said, there are some pacing issues. Most of a story plays out in Othard, with a heroes operative to revitalise a Doman Liberation Front. It’s a delayed burn, as we make your approach from place to place moving a people to mount adult to their oppressors – from a bustling capital of Kugane, to a exhausted tillage villages of Yanxia, to a winding tribes of a Azim Steppe. The slow-moving tract gives we a possibility to unequivocally get to know a people involved, and see how majestic function affects a people on a ground, and it’s here that Stormblood’s story is during its best. But a Ala Mhigo arc that follows it felt rushed, like a writers had run out of ideas. What should be a many climactic partial of a story ends up being a many tiresome.
It substantially doesn’t assistance that a Ala Mhigo arc takes place opposite Gyr Abania, a hilly alpine segment that gets gradually some-more drab as we work by it. The initial dual zones within a region, The Fringes and The Peaks, have their possess kind of pale beauty, with autumnal foliage set opposite a backdrop of hard spires, precipice faces, and tiny lakes and streams. By a time we get to The Lochs though, a whole place is only a routine area of brownish-red rocks, and even a lochs that give this section a name don’t do many to mangle that up. It’s a joyless section – that is thematically suitable – nonetheless not a arrange of place that we unequivocally wish to spend time in.
By contrast, Othard is positively stunning, sketch a impulse from real-world Asia. The island republic Hingashi, where Kugane is situated, is formed on Japan, with Edo-period pattern and culture: a people dress in normal Japanese garb; Kugane is filled with teahouses, shrines, castles, and onsen; and a republic is ruled by a shogun who joined a several clans after a bloody age of quarrel not distinct Japan’s possess Sengoku period. The Japanese change extends to a mainland in Yanxia, that is where Doma is based, nonetheless it draws on China as good in some of a buildings and a enemies we confront there. Finally, there’s a Azim Steppe to a north of Yanxia, that is formed on a Mongol Empire – hence a warring winding tribes and Manchurian-esque clothing.
With these new regions come new dungeons, and Stormblood has some of a many engaging ones nonetheless – both in terms of confront design, and their demeanour and feel. The initial cave we run into is a Sirensong Sea, a condemned boat cemetery suggestive of Final Fantasy V; it’s sincerely straightforward, nonetheless still manages to build in some engaging trainer mechanics, quite around a final boss’s betrayal attacks. Shusui of a Violet Tides, an underwater Japanese-style palace, is notable for a visible design, and in Kugane Castle, Yojimbo’s heading miserliness creates for an impossibly fun fight. A few of a other dungeons feel a bit some-more like repeats of what’s come before, generally a ones that have we infiltrating majestic facilities, nonetheless all have during slightest something of seductiveness to offer.