The main scenario in Final Fantasy XIV is something beyond description. Those of you who know me well, know that I am a hopeless junkie for amazing narratives. I’ll take a linear game with a stellar plot, over an open-world game with pure “freedom” any day, because I’d rather be told a story, than wander around looking for my own to tell. What makes this game so different from the average MMO is that it translates the deep, involved character building and complex plot of Square Enix’s single player RPGs into an online experience that often feels like any other Final Fantasy you’ve played.
Soul Surrender, the game’s 3.4 patch, is a shining example of everything that’s right about the game’s focus on story. One of my favorite parts about this game is that your character’s NPC companions play so heavily into the plot, and are constantly growing as characters. This causes me to care about them and grow as attached as I would be to my party members in offline installments in the series. We get that in spades here, and it has me incredibly excited for the next full-fledged expansion. A complete list of new content can be found in the official Patch 3.4 Notes, but for the purposes of this post, I’m only going to deal with the continuation of the main scenario.
Spoilers Ahead! Queue for Duty at Your Own Risk!
Okay, still with me? While certainly, the conclusion of Heavensward was appropriately satisfying and epic, there were an array of loose ends that needed to be tied up to give us full closure. Back in June, Patch 3.3, Revenge of the Horde, culminated in the end of the Dragonsong War arc. After wrapping up with Soul Surrender, I can definitely tell that we’re headed away from Heavensward, and we’re headed into 4.0 territory.
There’s a lot to cover in Soul Surrender, and while I was tempted to do a blow-by-blow description of the events, I’m going to let you play for yourself (or look up the videos). What we’re doing here is reacting to the main scenario and dungeons. Commenting with me today is Rose, one of my oldest friends, and a fellow Warrior of Light.
Kyle: I’m pretty excited to discuss Soul Surrender. It was a pretty exciting patch. Do you have any opening thoughts?
Rose: Please find a way to quote me saying “that’s one biiiiig bitch.” *ruins your article*
Kyle: Hahaha, I forget. When did you say that? It sounds familiar.
Rose: I don’t believe I’ve said that. It’s a quote from Deuce Bigalow. “That’s a huuuuuge bitch.”
The Date with Aymeric
Kyle: I was just glad that we finally got to take him up on his offer for dinner from what feels like ages ago. But it was definitely too peaceful for comfort.
Rose: The whole time I was eating with him, I was literally saying shit the whole time, like “Nonononono, don’t eat that, don’t let them serve you a drink! Don’t look happy!”
Kyle: Well, fortunately they didn’t pull another Nanamo on us, and it was just a segue into:
The Return of Alisaie
Kyle: I was pretty impressed with how they implemented her as a full-fledged member of the team, after her dull portrayal in A Realm Reborn. Her new outfit looks totally fierce (so glad I won’t be mistaking her for Alphinaud anymore), she’s shown to be compelling, displays depth and legitimate growth—and most importantly, she’s sassy as fuck.
Rose: She is definitely the one of two twins that I appreciate. She doesn’t whine, and does things for reasons greater than herself. Not to mention, she’s one of the few characters in this game that is actually intelligent enough to notice basic things, instead of being surprised when the obvious comes to light.
Xelphatol & The Great Gubal Library (Hard)
Kyle: I enjoyed Xelphatol. It felt more like an actual adventure, than the filler dungeons we’ve been getting. Xelphatol is located east of Ishgard and north of Gridania, sending us towards Ala Mhigo, where we’re almost certainly headed in 4.0. And Gubal was a fresh take on an aging dungeon—one that I actually liked better than the original.
Rose: The new dungeons are both very enjoyable. Xephatol is surprisingly easy, but makes me laugh profusely every time I go for the first boss, who literally learned to use his balloons for evil purposes. The new Gubal Library has some boss fights with really enjoyable mechanics. I’m pretty simple and will always enjoy something that forces me to run around a lot.
Kyle: I also want to add that the soundtracks in both dungeons were totally killer (that new 3.4 boss theme really gets me pumped), and the bosses reminded me that mechanics can be fun, and not a weird chore!
Rose: I feel like you are telling me to eat my vegetables.
Warriors of Darkness
Kyle: I was very satisfied with the conclusion of their story arc. They were bad ass, yet sympathetic, and the fight with them was probably my absolute favorite moment in the entire game so far. The Scions joining me in battle and the fact that “The Maker’s Ruin” played during, were major components. Any time that theme plays, you know shit is about to get beyond epic.
Rose: The thing I appreciated the most with the ending of the Warriors of Darkness arc is the fact that they weren’t truly evil. There’s something to be said for having a “bad guy” that makes you reflect on your own character.
Kyle: I didn’t see it coming, honestly. You were the first one of us to start theorizing wildly about Urianger’s alignment about a year ago, correct? What was your first clue in 3.4 that you were right?
Rose: I was already fairly certain about his betrayal by the time 3.4 had come out. I had plenty of time since Heavensward came out to connect my thumbtacks on the Eorzean map with string. It was completely confirmed for me, though, when there was the masked elezen with them at the end of Xelphatol.
Kyle: I can’t get over that feeling of confusion, realizing you were right, as I shouted “HOLY HELL, URIANGER IS A WARRIOR OF DARKNESS!” into the chat window.
Rose: I’m wising up to Square Enix’s ways. I’ve turned into the ultimate Eorzean conspiracy theorist. I’m the crazy, old man in a trench coat, on the corner, who’s like, “Hey kid… wanna know the truth about goobbues?”
Ala Mhigo & The Masks
Kyle: The identity of the Masks’ leader is still a mystery. I know it’s probably Ilberd, but I want it to be Gaius van Baelsar. It was said that the Garlean Empire had marked the leader for death, that they’d send a legion after him if they found out his identity, and I could swear something was mentioned about him not having a face. All I know is that the idea of Gaius with the Eyes of Niddhogg trumps logic with coolness.
Rose: Could beee. But I do think Ilberd will show up in this Ala Mhigo bit, since that’s what he’s crazy pants about. I think it would make more sense.
Kyle: Oh, I’m still assuming that it’s Ilberd. But that Urianger shit got me suspicious of everything.
Nero at Carteneau
Kyle: When you told me I would get super excited about the final scene, I automatically knew: Nero tol Scaeva is back! I didn’t expect my favorite character to show up after the Crystal Tower arc, but sure enough, the last scene shows Nero at Carteneau, super pleased about his latest find. My money’s on it being Omega Weapon. Hoping he plays a huge role in 4.0. Thoughts?
Rose: I swear to God, that greedy bitch needs to step off.
That’s all for this patch, but we’ll be back for more when 3.5 hits, presumably in December (though no official date has been set).
Do any of you play Final Fantasy XIV and want to nerd out about it? Hit us up on our twitter account, @OmnibusJournal. Looking for a Free Company and wanna chill with us? Look up “Heroes of Eorzea” on Sargatanas.