Reviewed: Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker
What is the meaning of life?
Finally reached the end of FFXIV Endwalker 6.0. Though uneven in narrative pacing and game quality, Endwalker sticks the landing with a remarkable conclusion to a 10-year long epic saga, rewarding long-time fans and players with an end point to the Zodiark-Hydaeyln arc.
It lays the fan-service on thick, but recalling from the entire game's story up to this point is appreciated every now and then and is a victory lap for the dev team. There are bright spots of deft writing throughout, including the last quest chain from when you land on the final destination, that feels like it could only have been made possible thanks to the trust Yoshi-P and team had built with the players over the years.
As a standalone product, FFXIV Endwalker does not reach the dizzying narrative or gameplay heights of Shadowbringers, and though this is another world/universe ending plot, for me, it never carried quite the same dramatic weight as sparking a revolution in Stormblood, or bringing the war between dragon and man to an end in Heavensward.
The game felt unbearably slow most of the way through, getting exciting only when a major story reveal takes place in the middle of the MSQ, and then really ramps up towards the very end. I can already start to see the seams of the construct that is the game's mechanics and design, which means to say, Yoshi-P and team know that if they dragged this out any longer, it will be outstaying its welcome. I look forward to what gameplay and story innovations FFXIV will bring in the next chapter.
Endwalker posits a philosophical question "What does it mean to live? What does it mean to exist, when mankind is subject to so much pain and suffering."
This expansion's answer to that question is that with love and hope, we will triumph above all, and though not the best work in their ouevre, it is crystal clear (see what I did there?) that the love for the players and the world that we've built together with the dev team is a fundamental truth. And like our Warrior of Light believes in the game, that's worth fighting for.
PS. The music is a series high note, and Loporrits are the best. Don’t @ me.