Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Review: Perfect Dark(ness)
In Shadowbringers, followers will discover a mix between the whole lot that makes Final Fantasy XIV sensible already with some deft strokes of narrative and gameplay innovation that solidify it as the perfect MMORPG in the marketplace at present.
While Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers remains to be ostensibly about saving the world – simply not yours – it additionally hits a lot nearer to dwelling than the standard MMORPG growth usually goals for. That’s true of different style stalwarts and Final Fantasy XIV itself, which has typically requested gamers to interrogate huge ideologies that contain complete nations because the essential fixture of latest content material. In Stormblood, it was colonization and the politics behind it, and in Heavensward, corruption and faith have been the secret. All of those concepts are at play in Shadowbringers, too, however they’re extra intently related to a private story of progress, tragedy, and relationships – the latter of which shine brighter than all the light-infused area of Norvrandt, by the point the story involves an in depth.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is the third growth for the franchise, and it is one thing of a turning level. Square Enix’s unbelievable and admittedly unbelievable resuscitation of a recreation that launched as one of many worst main MMORPG makes an attempt of all-time is already well-known, however it’s time we transfer previous that. Final Fantasy XIV is, like among the extra cynical characters would remind you within the new growth, not in want of being saved. Unlike Norvrandt, although, that is as a result of it is already been rescued. Now, the 16 million subscriber title has to grapple with a brand new problem – the highlight and the expectations that include being acknowledged as an already nice recreation. Luckily, in Shadowbringers, followers will discover a mix between the whole lot that makes Final Fantasy XIV sensible already with some deft strokes of narrative and gameplay innovation that solidify it as the perfect MMORPG in the marketplace at present.
Players will reprise their position because the Warrior of Light as they’re hurtled into the brand new area – and world – of Norvrandt, a spot that at the beginning look could be thought of paradise for followers of Hydaelyn, the Goddess of Light. Yet underneath the endless daylight of Norvrandt lurks the sinister information that each one shouldn’t be effectively, and hasn’t been for a very long time. This is likely one of the first and most compelling narrative beats in Shadowbringers, setting the tone for all that’s to return. The Warrior of Light received, on this world, throughout time and house and largely faraway from the Source. The darkish was pushed again and in consequence, an apocalypse of divinity ravaged the land, upending all however the tiniest slivers of civilization that now should battle for his or her survival towards “holy” beings often known as sin-eaters.
So, yeah. Religion, corruption, and proper and mistaken stay central to the plot of Shadowbringers. The change is that the story develops round a tight-knit group of buddies and allies who all develop and develop their very own private narratives all through the story. At instances, Shadowbringers feels much less like an MMORPG and extra like a brand new single-player entry within the Final Fantasy franchise. Returning characters anchor the formidable story and lend it the emotion that can draw gamers in, whereas new additions have a depth that extends effectively past common execution. Emet-Selch, specifically, is likely one of the best-written characters we have seen in fairly a while, however it’s not an award he wins simply – there are lots of in Shadowbringers alone, previous and new, that contend for that title with every revelation. It could be effectively value it to play Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers for the story alone, a top quality that would develop into one thing of a convention in Final Fantasy XIV after Heavensward and Stormblood possessed equally engrossing journeys.
Shadowbringers does extra than simply spin an excellent yarn, although. The addition of Gunbreakers and Dancers provides new depth to the franchise although, admittedly, would it not have killed Square Enix to lastly embrace another healer class? It’s one of many only a few complaints we’ve got concerning the growth – queues take ages as the sport presently faces a scarcity of these keen to lend events crumbs of Cure, and that is partially resulting from the truth that it has been almost 4 years since we final received a brand new healer position. Lack of selection for that position however, although, the brand new jobs are intelligently designed and improve the depth for tank and damage-dealing roles effectively.
If there is a winner between the 2 within the early days of Shadowbringers, although, it is the Gunbreaker. The job is best-suited for an off-tank position, because it tends to deal injury that surpasses traditional tanking expectations however can be just a little harder to maintain alive. There’s additionally an fascinating rigidity between Superbolide, which drops a Gunbreaker’s well being to 1 whereas stopping incoming injury, and a healer needing to know if an emergency heal is required or if they will wait it out and simply steadily deliver the tank again up. It provides a dynamic to dungeons and trials that’s fascinating to observe, even when, as soon as once more, it feels just a little unfair that tanks received a wholly new toy whereas healers received one thing new to maintain monitor of throughout already frenetic fight.
The Dancer, alternatively, will seemingly want a little bit of tweaking, though it is nonetheless an fascinating and enjoyable job because it stands now. Late recreation, nevertheless, it is damage-dealing leaves gamers wanting, and single-target buffs will take some getting used to now that Bards have had their party-wide arsenal eliminated. When the Dancer is given time to ascertain their routine and start transitioning by means of the rhythmic execution of their rotations, nevertheless, the category is one thing to behold, visually and statistically. As it stands now, with prolonged fights a staple of the end-game content material in design, it seems Square Enix stays dedicated to letting the job have an opportunity to breathe. In earlier dungeons, although, the Dancer does not actually get an opportunity to get going, not essentially in injury however quite in design. That can clearly hamper a participant’s enjoyable with it, and it is one thing that can retroactively should be addressed, though it is hardly a priority with all of the shiny new content material that Shadowbringers introduces to the fold.
The addition of Viera and Hrothgar as races has additionally successfully taken over Final Fantasy XIV, because it’s arduous to stroll various steps with out tripping over a bunny girl. The Hrothgar have been surprisingly standard too, nevertheless, and each races have helped improve the range of aesthetics and social gathering look in-game, one thing that is all the time welcome. The Viera’s settlement can be a pleasant standout within the story, a zone that will get breezed by means of in the course of the Main Scenario Quest and is well-worth a participant’s time to retread as soon as all is claimed and accomplished.
One of crucial additions when it comes to accessibility involves Shadowbringers within the type of the Trust system. It lets gamers select a full social gathering of NPCs – importantly, those they’ve come to care deeply about over the course of previous expansions and Shadowbringers particularly – and sort out story dungeons with them. For DPS jobs, it is a godsend, as prolonged queues have lengthy been the strike towards embracing that position, particularly in between expansions when queue instances start to get just a little longer. It’s additionally a boon for gamers who do not benefit from the firm of strangers, or who’ve grown sick of individuals executing mechanics poorly throughout dungeons. From what we will inform, the Trust system brings NPCs which might be all the time competent and will not wipe except the participant themselves does one thing mistaken. It would possibly take just a little longer – the objective of the Trust system is to not provide the proper social gathering, which might get rid of the necessity to queue with actual individuals altogether – however it’s the type of addition that solely strengthens the general Final Fantasy XIV providing. We examined the Trust system within the first and final dungeon it was provided in Shadowbringers, and each instances it felt easy, simple, and really a wonderful solution to be taught mechanics your self if required. The NPCs will present gamers how you can keep away from assaults or the place to face, which may also be a useful studying software for many who wish to social gathering with others however do not wish to be a burden initially.
The dungeons themselves are a spotlight of the growth and one other continuation of the elegant design that Stormblood was so well-known for. Shadowbringers dungeons – specifically, its trials – are flat-out thrilling. Each one options mechanics that can hold participant co-ordination on the forefront, however with cautious execution will be surmounted with relative ease. It’s a great mix, saving the hair-pulling and keyboard-throwing for arduous modes solely. The finest a part of the dungeons would possibly simply be their soundtrack, although, which is healthier than it has ever been. Music in Final Fantasy XIV is all the time a power, however the composition in Shadowbringers is charming. It’s the type of soundtrack that many who expertise it’s going to hunt down and play throughout downtime in their very own private lives, and that is a excessive praise for a online game OST.
If there is a criticism available with Shadowbringers, it is the identical one which plagues each MMORPG – steadiness wants addressing, not less than to some extent. There are nonetheless jobs that really feel far and away superior to others, though that hole has shrunk significantly because the early days. There are additionally minor hiccups when it comes to the pacing on the finish of the Main Scenario Quests – together with a puzzling stage requirement gate that feels prefer it’s carried out backwards.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is the perfect MMORPG growth in latest reminiscence – maybe of all-time. Its exceptionally few warts are the sort that shall be eliminated with just a few patches of tweaking, and what’s left is pores and skin so unblemished it rivals the sheen of a crystal. Shadowbringers tells the perfect story that Final Fantasy XIV has ever advised, units up an equally intriguing story to comply with after, and does it whereas introducing us to among the most awe-inspiring environments and battles we have ever seen within the style. If there was nonetheless a debate, let it finish now. Final Fantasy XIV is the recreation for MMORPG fans and newcomers alike, and Shadowbringers is the growth that proves it.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is accessible now for PC and PlayStation 4. A digital copy of the growth on PC was offered to Screen Rant for the needs of this assessment.