Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Review – The Ideal Final Fantasy Experience
Endwalker is a story in Final Fantasy XIV that has been developing for several years. Since the game’s re-launch in 2013, several expansions have been published, and under the guidance of Naoki Yoshida, each successive expansion has further strengthened the opinion that this is one of the finest Final Fantasy titles. If we ignore its MMO framework, the underlying product is one of the most unforgettable Final Fantasy titles, all of which have captured the series’ essential DNA so brilliantly.
When I think about what makes a Final Fantasy game great, I think of the party members, the dynamic character development, the fantasy environment, and the villains. Final Fantasy games have some of the most memorable storylines told by a Japanese developer, and Endwalker solidifies this notion. This is the conclusion of a significant plot arc that has been building for a long time. It’s one of the most stunning pieces of video game narrative I’ve seen in a while.
What if you’re a Final Fantasy enthusiast who’s never played an MMO before? Is Endwalker a decent place to start? Yes, I believe so. While the game is now seeing a surge in new and returning users, causing server congestion, it is still a fantastic game if you can get online. Because of the impact of COVID-19, it is difficult to expand servers owing to a lack of semiconductors, and the developers had to cease selling new copies of the game because of the lengthy queues that began to build.
Leaving that aside, Endwalker provides the full FFXIV experience, including all expansions. It brings the story’s major narrative arc to a close. The quality-of-life improvements achieved over the last several years have made it extremely welcoming to newcomers. There is still a lot to slog through in the first few chapters, but until you get to the later narrative expansions, Heavensward and higher, you can start to enjoy the plot and character development.
Final Fantasy XIV tells a complicated story of treachery, power, fear, and strength. The MMO does not shy away from presenting some of the series’ darkest themes, but with Endwalker, most of the plot aspects explored so far are completed without any significant loose ends. After their loss in Shadowbringers, the destiny of the Garlean Empire and the secret of the Ascion’s ambition are addressed. The end of the Hydaelyn–Zodiark arc provides the Warrior of Light and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn a purpose as they face their greatest peril yet. The game centers on a series of catastrophic events known as The Final Days, which threaten the whole planet.
Endwalker is not a fast-paced expansion that begins with a bang. It takes time to bring the story to the forefront, and the pacing is sluggish and won’t perk up right away. At the expense of pacing, each key character in the plot gets their opportunity to shine. This character growth is required for the finale to strike a new chord. The plot is also rather long, requiring up to 30 to 40 hours of your effort only to complete the major missions. While the new mission features are supposed to broaden the gameplay, they often seem like a mixed bag. There are stealth or follow quests scattered throughout the game that prioritizes story above gameplay. These are not enjoyable to play and leave you feeling lethargic.
Endwalker has a lot of emotional payoffs. The story is genuinely global this time, with your character journeying to the moon (like in another classic Final Fantasy), but it is far too ambitious to finish there. Endwalker respects each character and, rather than dwelling too long on the plot’s broader aspirations, it offers cover in the intimate moments, the human motives, and presents us with a satisfying conclusion. It is also more directly related to Shadowbringers than any of the other expansions, and many plot threads come to a head without overcomplicating the story.
In an attempt to provide a great plot, the gameplay occasionally lingers too long, creating the impression of superfluous bloat. This is also true for several of the tasks that aim to slow down the plot’s pace. While the writing is typically superb, there are occasional ridiculous moments that give it a subtle anime flavor rather than what we would expect from a WRPG. Despite the inadequacies in the writing, character growth is at the heart of the plot, and the narrative is not afraid to kill off major characters. The plot has a sad tone with the backdrop of a world-ending tragedy, yet the impact of it can be difficult to feel at times.
Endwalke’s level cap has been increased to 90 as part of the new gameplay adjustments. There are two new jobs as well: Sage and Reaper. These appear to be worthy additions, giving a fair combination of offensive and defense, although they definitely cannot replace our old favorites. Reaper is more aggressive, with the personification of the grim reaper wielding a scythe. Sage is a little more technical job that will require some practice in combat. Both of these classes are unlocked at level 70, so you won’t be able to access them straight away. The new zones also have a distinct atmosphere, with the creators drawing influence from Asian cultures. This gives them a distinct flavor that separates them from other regions throughout the world. But, in the end, what counts is that they are all fun to explore.
Endwalker makes no significant changes to the fundamental gameplay loop. The dungeons and boss battles retain their concept, but the new fights are thrilling, giving a combination of difficulty and skill. The new quality-of-life improvements make the game feel more manageable. The user interface has been revamped to make it simpler to fast travel, as well as changes to some of the current jobs to make them seem less difficult to use while preserving their potential.
Endwalker solidifies Final Fantasy XIV’s place as one of the top games of the decade. It is emotionally intense, narratively complicated yet simple to comprehend, and provides some great gameplay with an aggressive progression system. It was a massive endeavor to offer a satisfactory finale to a tale that had been years in the making, but Square Enix Creative Business Division III has done exactly that, so the future of their forthcoming project, Final Fantasy XVI, appears bright.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Game Information
- Price: $39.99
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Creative Business Unit III
- Platform: PS5 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher