Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will always be remembered as the game that did the impossible and completely rebooted a failed MMO to something that was not only praised by the critics, but it also managed to get the long time fans back into the game. It has since received two expansions and numerous content updates that only improve on the base game. The latest expansion is Stormblood and it brings a whole new set of features, playable areas and new classes to the game.
While Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward was the first expansion that also added new classes and continued the story from the base game, it felt more like a rehash then a full fledged expansion. The strongest part of Heavensward was its story which it delivered with spade but the rest of the package felt a little barren. The new jobs weren’t as fun to play and lacked the skills to make them stand out from others. The newly added areas felt like an extension of what was already in the base game. This is an area where Stormblood improves on greatly, not only with its new job classes, but also with the additional of new locations that feature a distinctive Asian touch to them.
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood will see the player travel to the states of Ala Mhigo and Doma. The story focuses on these two regions where the main party attempts a rebellion against the ruling Garleans but their plan fails, forcing them to fall back to Doma. After their failed attempt at taking over Ala Mhigo, the main party works towards achieving the same objective in Doma and are successful at taking it over. After their victory, they all return back to Al Mhigo with the weakened Garlean Empire to attempt to take it again. The new region Doma is exciting to explore with locations that are inspired by the Asian culture. New zones have also been added for you to explore and amidst them, you can also try your hand at the new classes, Samurai and Red Mage.
I really enjoyed my time with Heavensward, which featured an emotionally engaging story culminating into a powerful ending. Of course, just like Heavensward, Stormblood features a strong focus on its narrative with a story that spans several acts. You will be visiting the areas of Al Mhigo and Doma during the main story events which should delight the long time Final Fantasy XIV fans since these have been teased in the lore for a while now. The story is bolstered further by some great cutscenes and the lack of fetch quests make the plot all the more interesting to follow. Stormblood also introduces a brand new villain to the series that should easily rank among the best.
The new jobs completely change the combat in the game. Red Mage focuses on the more offensive side of combat while giving the player an equal opportunity to use both support skills and powerful set of attacks. I had the most fun tinkering around with the Red Mage class to attempt to dish a large amount of damage while also keeping my party supported throughout some of the tougher battles. Meanwhile the Samurai class is purely melee focused and good for those who like to go all heavy on DPS. It has attacks that dish out a large amount of damage quickly so it can be ideal for you if you prefer to play alone rather than with a group of friends.
One of the new gameplay feature that have been introduced in the expansion is the addition of swimming and diving. These mechanics are present for the first time transforming the experience of exploring in the world. The controls are surprisingly fun to use here and while some quests require you to swim underwater for fetching items, they don’t seem all that bad. Together with this new mechanic, the new zones feel much more expansive and tightly designed. There is a lot to explore, quests to attempt and enemies to fight in Stormblood and you will spend a significant chunk of your time just attempting some of the side-content before you progress in the main story.
I rarely play MMO games but there is just something unique about Final Fantasy XIV that manages to keep me interested. Perhaps it is due to the excellent story featured in the game, or perhaps it is due to the addictive nature of the gameplay, but Final Fantasy XIV carries a special place in my heart. While the game is notorious for offering fetch quests, the developers have attempted to change it somewhat with Stormblood. Such type of quests still exist but now some of them are tied to the lore so in a way, attempting them is an interesting process in itself since you will learn more about the game. Each area with bring new type of challenges to attempt while offering quests that dive into the lore for the particular area.
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is perhaps one of the best expansion for a game. It is content rich and full of an interesting story and characters. If you are already in love with the world of Final Fantasy XIV, you certainly can’t miss the new additions and features introduced in this expansion. Square Enix is also working on additional content updates for the game with the world of Ivalice being planned as an upcoming content update. While the end-game content is a little underwhelming, Stormblood as a whole is a great package that should be experienced by a Final Fantasy fans, even those who prefer a single-player offline experience.
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is the second expansion pack of Final Fantasy XIV, announced at the 2016 Fan Fest, being released for PC, Macintosh, and PlayStation 4.
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is one of the best expansion for an MMO RPG. It already builds on a fantastic base game to continue the journey with its narrative while introducing new gameplay features and playable classes.