“Shadowbringers” is such a goth identify, to the purpose that I wouldn’t be shocked when you entered Final Fantasy XIV’s newest enlargement anticipating to see, oh, broody anime antiheroes operating a supply service for vampires. But it’s a lot greater than that.

It’s a story that reminds us that the world’s magnificence will depend on a stability of sunshine and darkish relatively than a surfeit of 1 or the opposite, and that starry nights boast as a lot majesty as sunny afternoons. It’s an oddly well timed story that riffs off modern considerations about ignorant politics within the context of a sickened world, and its cutscenes command extra curiosity than many collection on tv. It’s not solely one of the best Final Fantasy XIV enlargement to date (no less than by way of its launch state), however its story hits with such a pressure that there’s not any query that Square Enix’s MMORPG warrants inclusion in discussions of one of the best Final Fantasy video games of all time.

That’s a giant assertion, I do know, and I’m unhappy that I can’t focus on the story in nice element with out giving an excessive amount of away. So let’s suffice it to say that this can be a story about the way you and FFXIV’s ordinary solid of NPC tremendous mates—the Scions of the Seventh Dawn—get whisked away to a dying world that’s in peril not from an eternity of darkness, however relatively from an all-consuming supply of sunshine. The gentle is dangerous, in different phrases, which is sort of the tradition shock for a band of fighters that includes somebody referred to as the “Warrior of Light.” So insidious is that this gentle, actually, that it’s whittled down the world to a single inhabitable continent, and the individuals who dwell inside have gone generations with out seeing the glory of an evening sky.

Remarkably, although, it’s nonetheless a world that appears and looks like your previous stomping grounds of Eorzea, proper right down to acquainted races, kinds of costume, and the truth that these “aliens” have zero hassle understanding what you’re saying. It’s not with out its surprises, although, similar to a race of hulking cat males referred to as the Hrothgar and bunny-eared ladies generally known as the Viera, each of whom are actually out there as playable races. There are even dwarves!

And the wonders prolong past individuals. To the south, a tsunami of frozen “light” looms over the horizon like dried icing, and much to the north, you’ll discover a fairy kingdom the place the natives make life hell for guests extra out of mischief than malice. To the west, a metropolis of wealthy individuals who deviancy themselves away in a form of Masque of the Red Death whereas they look ahead to the sunshine to complete its job. It’s a planet that’s all however taken the top of the world for a given.

Square Enix

No must rage in opposition to the dying of the sunshine right here.

And but life persists. People defy the inevitable destiny by making an attempt to proceed dwelling regular lives, and there’s quite a bit to admire about that persistence. There’s quite a bit to admire about just about every little thing. The writing right here from Natsuko Ishikawa endows the Scions of the Seventh Dawn with a depth they’ve not often had earlier than, and within the custom of so many different nice tales, even the villains warrant sympathy. Even when their goals aren’t palatable, they’re no less than comprehensible. When the ultimate battle comes eventually following an unforgettable closing act, the aftermath leaves an aftertaste of tragedy.

The primary themes tread acquainted floor, however there may be hope, love, and a way of humanity right here that’s seldom present in an MMO. I care about these characters. (There’s additionally a recurring dangerous man who’s means too good at kicking ass, however he has good strains and a great outfit, so I’ll give him a move.) Eventually the story goes in instructions I barely would have dreamed of once I first set foot on this new world, leading to a payoff that’s higher than every other second of the sport to date. Much of the depth of this second owes its energy to the attractive rating by Masayoshi Soken, which enriches the expertise of Shadowbringers at each flip.

Trust, when you should

Beyond all that, although, Final Fantasy XIV retains a lot of the core design of earlier expansions. It nonetheless locations loads of emphasis on FATEs—the semi-random, dynamic occasions that pop up throughout the panorama—and it nonetheless requires you to enterprise into dungeons and the occasional eight-man raid as a part of the leveling course of. But Shadowbringers introduces a key change within the type of the brand new (and completely optionally available) “Trust” system, which helps you to take alongside three NPCs from the principle storyline in dungeons relatively than having to take care of human gamers you match with by the Duty Finder.

Shop Amazon