8 / 10
reviewsOverall / 10
July 2, 2019Launch Date
Closing Fantasy XIV‘s model new growth, Shadowbringers, does a complete hell of lots for the sport to maneuver its central story ahead, which is a double-edged sword. The sport’s central battle is between the Warrior of Gentle, Scions of the Seventh Daybreak and their immortal adversaries The Ascians. The growth brings that battle again to the fore, for the primary time since A Realm Reborn. Positive, the Ascians have been within the background of the sport even with the Heavensward and Stormblood expansions, however Shadowbrings makes that battle the central level of the narrative once more. So, in a way, FFXIV has returned to it’s roots with this one.
Whereas the stakes are all the time excessive any time the Ascians are concerned, the destiny of two worlds are at stake on this growth. So there’s definitely a number of narrative drama.
Moreover, the sport provides two new playable races, two new fight jobs, and a revamped battle system.
So it’s an enormous, huge content material dump and that makes it an absolute necessity for followers of the MMO.
The battle system, whereas bringing many needed modifications to the sport, simplifies a ton of jobs. And in doing so, strips a number of the nuance out of the varied jobs. Essentially the most affected by the battle system modifications have been healers, who acquired an enormous shakeup of their meta. Healers misplaced their early 10% injury down protect capacity, Defend. Whereas this simply implies that Astrologians and Students must rely extra closely on their very own mitigation expertise, it leaves White Mages with none mitigation till after stage 70. And whereas the healer modifications have been crafted to pressure a extra “pure therapeutic function” onto the healer jobs, it’s left white mages as nothing greater than cure-bots. And whereas all healers are salty about their lack of capacity to change up and DPS each once in a while, the change appears just a little too extreme.
Astrologians have brand-new playing cards, which is able to take some getting used to, although all of them appear a bit too one-note in the intervening time. Whereas memorizing the consequences of a number of completely different playing cards is asking a little bit of an additional step for Astrologian gamers, having the entire playing cards present a Steadiness-like DPS buff is a bit too easy.
Tanks additionally noticed some main modifications, together with the addition of a brand new tank job, Gunbreaker. Whereas Gunbreaker is a completely enjoyable tank job to play, the brand new battle system modifications have managed to make all 4 tanks really feel just a little too comparable. Positive, Warrior continues to be the DPS tank, Paladin continues to be the most effective at mitigation, however each Darkish Knight and Gunbreaker have strong DPS and integral mitigation. So that they’re a bit middle-of-the-road. Not that any of them are not possible to play, however the brand new battle system means none of them can stand alone practically in addition to they did from patch 4.1 onward within the Stormblood cycle.
So we’re left with a barely imbalanced tank/healer meta. Clearly, the purpose of the battle system modifications have been to make all tanks and healers equally viable. And whereas I feel Sq. Enix has completed an admirable job on the tank aspect (I do have some indignant ideas concerning the misplaced mitigation expertise nonetheless), the healers have been sadly thrown apart. White Mages particularly are caught in a really, very awkward place.
One among my greatest points with the Stormblood battle system modifications was the steadiness between Warriors and Students. With Shadowbringers, we’ve acquired the precise reverse downside. Students do a strong job of holding all 4 tanks alive, however White Mages are a little bit of a demise sentence. Particularly in case you have two WHMs within the end-game excessive trials.
The modifications for the DPS roles have largely been constructive. It’s a lot simpler for Summoners to regulate their pets, even with the modifications to the Titan-Egi summon. Mechanist feels extra fluid and, nicely, mechanical than it used to. And whereas the general synergies between DPS roles have been diminished, they haven’t been hit too onerous.
So whereas the battle system modifications are main, they’re not too crushing exterior of end-game. And we’ll probably see main modifications coming within the subsequent few patches.
Which brings us to the second main providing of Shadowbringers: the story.
For me, the motion of Closing Fantasy XIV has all the time been finest when set by the villains of the story. Partly as a result of I truthfully don’t care concerning the majority of the Scions of the Seventh Daybreak, but additionally as a result of an excellent villain could make or break a recreation.
Whereas loads of followers adore the Scions, I’ve all the time discovered them to be extra akin to props than correct characters. They typically exist to supply prolonged explanations concerning the numerous workings of the world and its aether, which results in lengthy bits of expository dialogue and little character. As a result of the third growth focuses on the Scions and their battle with the Ascians over the destiny of a model new world, they change into the first supporting characters for the participant character. And that’s typically not for the most effective. Whereas having a number of of them at a time is tolerable, see Heavensward and Stormblood, the entire forged is usually a little bit of a drag. Their obvious deaths throughout A Realm Reborn and the Seventh Astral Period cycles are, arguably, their finest moments general.
Shadowbringers‘ main villains are the Ascian Emet-Selch, also called Emperor Solus zos Galvus, and Lord Vauthry. For many of the recreation, Emet-Selch fills a job not in contrast to Loki within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Vauthry, then again, tries to be the archetype of a Dystopian “benevolent” dictator. Which sadly, makes them each pale compared to the villains who’ve taken over earlier narratives. Zenos yae Galvus was the driving pressure of Stormblood and menaced the participant all through each scene, whereas nonetheless being extremely compelling regardless of being probably the most monstrous character within the recreation. Even Yotsuyu did a greater job of holding the gamers consideration, as a result of her backstory was simply heartbreaking sufficient to be relatable and but equally villainous. Heavensward‘s Nidhogg additionally did an excellent job on the “comprehensible motivations” rating, although the titular Heavensward themselves have been a bit one-note.
Sadly for Closing Fantasy XIV, Vauthry is an excessive amount of a caricature to be compelling as something apart from meme fodder. Whereas Emet-Selch is a fantastical trickster and an intriguing character, he’s onerous to make right into a main villain. His motivations are troublesome to get behind, in any case, the Ascians satisfaction themselves on being inscrutable. Emet-Selch could not put on a literal masks like Lahabrea, Nabrales, or Elidibus, however for almost all of the growth, his actions are hidden behind a veil that’s troublesome to pierce.
When Emet-Selch does determine to convey the participant in on his motivations, its all wrapped up in a pleasant bow of spooky house aether magics, which results in prolonged cutscenes that specify how the world was shattered into The Supply and it’s 13 reflections. Which may be nice in the event you love the lore of the sport. However in the event you don’t, it truthfully drags. Which is the largest downside with the Ascians as main antagonists within the first place. A lot of their motivation is tied up in probably the most obscure facets of FFXIV lore that they aren’t fascinating.
And getting round the way in which the participant is ready to freely teleport between the Supply areas and The First is a hilarious instance of recreation devs having to do some cautious lore footwork to get round earlier plot-points with out invalidating outdated content material. In spite of everything, each different character (together with the Scions themselves) who travels between the worlds must be incorporeal ultimately. The unique Warriors of Darkness from the First have been, in truth, useless once they crossed over. However not the Warrior of Gentle, no. Can’t entice the participant in new areas with no technique to get again. That simply doesn’t work in an MMO.
So as an alternative we get some hand-waving and psuedo-scientific explanations involving aether manipulation and little or no substance.
As for the story itself, nicely. With out entering into spoilers, the principle marketing campaign is irritatingly formulaic. The participant and Scions determine to change into the Warriors of Darkness and free the First from a collection of Gentle Wardens to be able to return a day-night cycle to the world. And that’s precisely what they do. Issues solely actually transfer off these rails within the last stretch of the marketing campaign. And that’s a reasonably horrible story format. The denumount needs to be mixture of the varied story threads which have lead as much as the ultimate moments, however Shadowbringers spends an excessive amount of time doing the identical outdated factor. The ultimate few hours of content material are probably the most fascinating items of the story, they usually’re nearly solely stage 80 quests. So, you solely get to the great bits when you’ve hit stage cap. And that’s a reasonably horrible design.
And as for being the Warriors of Darkness, the participant and the Scions do very, little or no of that. Actually, they truthfully proceed to do what they’ve all the time completed: fight the most important threats to the world so as, diametrically against the Ascians. Positive, on The First, the Ascian plan concerned overrunning the world with a Flood of Gentle, however that doesn’t actually make the participant a Warrior of Darkness only for killing re-skinned variations of voidsent enemies.
What Shadowbringers does unequivocally nicely, nevertheless, are the 2 new jobs. Dancer and Gunbreaker are completely enjoyable to mess around with. They usually mesh nicely with the present jobs, even when they’ve managed to change the matchmaking queues for dungeons, raids, and trials.
Nonetheless, between making the varied fight roles oddly homogenous, being saddled with less-than-stellar villains, and getting slowed down in historical past classes, the brand new dungeons and trials are inexplicably enjoyable. The instanced content material provides a number of fascinating new battle mechanics, and the end-game variations solely add to that. So the gameplay is in a reasonably strong place general regardless of a number of issues with the battle system.
The narrative will not be my favourite, however it’s removed from the worst. Shadowbringers continues to be leagues above the Seventh Astral Period, and it’s extra contained than A Realm Reborn. As for the place it leaves off, nicely. Issues appear to be entering into an fascinating path for the post-launch content material, and so I’m excited to see how the Shadowbringers story evolves. It’s base is, sadly, too static and too secure.
(Final Up to date July 6, 2019 12:26 pm )
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