Game news FF14 Endwalker: Before the test, our first impressions in video after 30 hours of play
Last Friday, Final Fantasy XIV kicked off Early Access for its fourth expansion, Endwalker, before being officially available to everyone today. While the latter marks the end of the narrative arc that began in 2010, we were able to play it for about thirty hours this weekend and we tell you what we thought about it in video before the test.
This weekend, despite the massive influx of players who put the servers down, we were able to participate in the Early Access Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker and complete the first half of The Epic. Before giving our final verdict in our test, we share our impressions so far in the video above.
A plot that keeps all its promises so far?
As for the Epic, the main quest, we find the Heirs of the Seventh Dawn where we left them. Barely back in the primitive world, our heroes discover that Towers of the Apocalypse have appeared in the four corners of Eorzea and are causing disruption. Unfortunately, behind these strange phenomena, we find both familiar faces and new enemies that do not bode well for the future of the planet. To find a solution, the Heirs are heading towards Sharlayan, a neutral city and a high place of knowledge which refuses for the moment to help the rest of Humanity in the face of the Apocalypse for a reason still unknown.
During the first hours, the plot of Endwalker takes a little time to set up and presents above all the new areas that we are led to explore rather than other more important issues. Fortunately, many major twists and turns occur relatively early, and are interspersed only with rare sequences which come a little to lower the tension. Without saying too much, we will be content to say that the story is in line with the revelations of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers while being regularly unpredictable to constantly arouse the interest of the player.
By this aspect of the end of the world, the title also manages to deliver some really touching moments with minor characters to the plot but who are the first to be affected by this disaster. And since this is the conclusion of a story arc that started ten years ago, expect to see many well-known faces again that will make you feel how far you’ve come through the various expansions. This is particularly the case thanks to the very many dubbed cinematics that we have seen so far which always benefit from a careful French dubbing, both for the characters that we have known for years as the new ones who are doing very well.
New areas under the sign of variety
Throughout this adventure, players are therefore encouraged to explore six new areas as in each expansion. And to say the least, Endwalker’s environments are not lacking in diversity. Between Sharlayan which serves as the capital for this extension and its architecture inspired by Ancient Greece, the region of Thavnair and its colors which recall Indian culture or the ruins of the Empire of Garlemald and its icy climate, there is something to do. Thanks to a particularly careful artistic direction, each zone gives off a unique aura which makes us forget the somewhat dated technique of the title. And then, these regions are all the more pleasant to explore as they are accompanied by the music of Masayoshi Soken who once again delivers high-level compositions.
In order to enjoy its surroundings, The Epic of Endwalker features new types of missions that add variety to the classic adventure course. Regularly, we have to be accompanied by a non-player character to a specific area. Along the way, it is possible to chat to learn a little more about him or to talk about the situation in general. Then there are spinning missions that take the form of a simplified infiltration sequence in which you just have to hide behind the elements of the set so as not to be spotted. Obviously, this kind of content is not transcendent, but it allows to change a little the activities that we are used to doing, especially since the Epic limits as much as possible the FedEx quests (where you have to carry something ‘point A to point B) which makes the experience more pleasant. Finally, the sequences where we play the Heirs of the Seventh Dawn are still in the game and allow you to try out different gameplays in simplified versions.
The Reaper and the Sage, two highly effective jobs
To complete this first round-up of Endwalker, the expansion also welcomes new features in terms of jobs. We can first of all note the arrival of the Reaper and the Sage who both have a very different approach is for good reason, it is a DPS (job whose goal is to do damage) and a Healer (job whose goal is to heal his teammates). As indicated by his name, the Reaper fights with a scythe and has rotations to raise his two gauges which finally allow him to summon a specter called Avatar. Once at his side, this is where the Reaper deals maximum damage. By all the visual effects that accompany its attacks, the job is particularly pleasant to play, even if it requires a certain time to learn because of its gauges to be raised simultaneously.
The Sage heals him using his nouliths, small magic satellites, which above all allow him to protect his allies with magic shields. By this different approach to the role of Healer, the Sage is what we call a Barrier Healer, meaning he focuses more on protecting his allies than on pure care. This way of playing has the disadvantage of requiring a lot of anticipation from the one who plays it in order to be as efficient as possible. But since the quest for the job is unlocked from level 70, it is very likely that many players will try their hand at the role of Healer with the Sage since it starts directly at a high level.
Besides these new jobs, the others were especially entitled to new skills in the right line of Shadowbringers with the passage of the maximum level to 90. However, two of them have undergone a major overhaul, namely the Monk and the Summoner. To go into a bit more detail, the Monk sees the introduction of a new mechanic called Masterful Blitz that allows him to deal a large amount of damage after many conditions. On the other hand, the Summoner is also getting a facelift since he can now summon Primordials like those of the Epic and no longer simplified versions.
After this first weekend of intensive play, Endwalker is proving so far as to be expected. The adventure promises to be epic and promises many answers to questions long left unanswered. As for the new zones, these last are for the moment up to the expectations of the players thanks to the unique charm that each of them already. And when it comes to the Reaper and Sage jobs, the latter both manage to bring something new to their respective roles through interesting approaches. Now, we just have to reach the end of this adventure to know whether or not Endwalker is indeed the conclusion long awaited by many players.
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