Thanks to Lea for this awesome screenshot of me.

WARNING: Major Spoilers Ahead

I have been unbelievably busy with life, and I know that I will once again distance myself from Eorzea, so I figured now was the best time to write this. Nowadays, game developers have been complete degenerates, targeting profit over everything else. EA, Bethesda, Blizzard, and many other firms have joined the parade of fools, and I was initially afraid that Square Enix may have become one of the clowns. But perhaps I was wrong. Let’s review and discuss Shadowbringers; all the way up to patch 5.1.

The main story was amazing, but lazy. Allow me to elaborate.
Unlike Shitstorm Hemorrhoids (Stormblood for those who are confused), Shadowbringers introduced an extremely interesting cast of characters, including those who we have seen previously. One character stood out much more than the others, and that was Emet-Selch.

This character was a masterpiece; original, intriguing and relatable, just like a few other antagonists in the Final Fantasy franchise. Emet-Selch allowed the story to bear considerable weight and sentiment, which helped Final Fantasy XIV return to its former glory. Emotion was a big part of every cutscene, resembling Heavensward and its writing. Personally, I was overwhelmed by the first few quests that were given to the Warrior of Light in The First. Tesleen's sacrifice truly set the tone of Shadowbringers, and I was pleasantly surprised. On top of the general gloominess, Vauthry's presence forced the player to feel uncomfortable all the time, which was very impressive.

My favorite part of Shadowbringers was its expansion and explanation of Final Fantasy XIV's lore. The in-depth exploration of Hydaelyn and Zodiark allows the Warrior of Light to be more than just some adventurer who fetches useless items. Now, with the knowledge that used to belong only to the Ascians, the player is the core of creation and destruction. It was very exciting to know that every event has led to such grand circumstances.

All in all, Shadowbringers did not disappoint me, and I am sure the majority of players were also satisfied. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, action and character development. Was it possibly Square Enix's scheme to make Shitstorm Hemorrhoids so boring that this expansion shined more?

HOWEVER, looking back (see what I did here with the screenshot?), I cannot help but feel slightly cheated. It is always easy to write great stories if you reset the world, which is exactly what Shadowbringers did. The First was almost like a spin-off, completely separated from the ordeals of Eorzea, making it possible to introduce brand new characters and world mechanics that do not require relevance to previously-addressed institutions. Although the writing was excellently executed, the laziness is definitely there. Of course, I still very much enjoyed Shadowbringers, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about the following expansions. Let's just hope Square Enix doesn't pull a Konami and get rid of their best staff.

This brings me to the next point of discussion: patch 5.1. I am a huge fan of Nier and Yoko Taro. Possibly the biggest fan in New Zealand. So naturally, I was over the moon when I heard that Final Fantasy XIV was going to get a raid inspired by Nier. A few days ago I gave Copied Factory several goes, and although more could be done to make the raid feel more Nier-like, it is undoubtedly enjoyable. Much more enjoyable than the completely disappointing Ivalice raids, and more fun than the Eden raids.

The major issue with all this Nier collaboration lies in the story. It is pure crap. I sincerely thought the armored stranger from Eden was going to be 2B (or 2P, who, by the way, is originally from Soulcalibur VI). But nope, the world of Nier was just under a mining area, kept as a secret by some Vivi with a beard. Yoko Taro must be in a coma if he is not offended by this half-assed installation of Nier into the realm of Final Fantasy XIV. The person in charge of writing this filth also tried to be cute with Konogg and Anogg, giving them contrasting personalities, as well as black and white gear to fit the Nier:Automata theme. What a load of superficial idiocy.

I will stop complaining for now. I sincerely hope this isn't the beginning of some horrendous downward spiral that will make everything in Final Fantasy XIV mediocre. I am unsure what Square Enix has planned, but as long as they prioritize their fans and players over quick and mass production of half-assed messes, I am sure both Final Fantasy XIV and Final Fantasy VII Remake will do just fine. It's not just the game producers, it's also us, the players, who need to understand our values in games and take responsibility for what we ask for.

Lastly, but definitely not least, I am sorry to all my friends who I have not been able to spend more time with. I have been preoccupied with so many things both in and out of Final Fantasy XIV. I hope we can all go back to talking about all sorts of stuff while barely focusing on the expert roulette soon. Feel free to contact me outside of the game whenever you would like to talk about politics, sociological issues, life, or just anything. I'll be waiting, just like all of you are.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. I know this wasn't a short review, but I hope I said all that needs to be said. I'll come back and edit this post if I think of anything else to discuss. Feel free to leave comments, as I would love to know what you think of Shadowbringers and patch 5.1.

Cheers, everyone. Enjoy Final Fantasy XIV!