It’s the end of the world ! No, not because of the Covid, but because the Apocalypse is hitting the world of Final Fantasy XIV. After a slight postponement of two weeks, Endwalker, the fourth expansion of FFXIV, the second MMORPG in the Final Fantasy universe, has finally been available for a few days. And as the name suggests, this new adventure brings with it the end of the first major story arc of the game started more than ten years ago. But while the expectations around this expansion are particularly high, is Endwalker really living up to the enthusiasm of the players?
The plot of Endwalker begins where the patches of the previous expansion, Shadowbringers left off. We therefore find the Heirs of the Seventh Dawn back in the primitive world while strange buildings called Tours of the Apocalypse appeared out of nowhere around the world. Quickly, our heroes discover that well-known enemies are behind these phenomena, which does not inspire any good for the future of Eorzea and the planet. To fight against the announced Apocalypse, all the nations join together to form a great alliance with the exception of the city-state of Sharlayan, high place of knowledge, which refuses to participate in this coalition for an unknown reason. In order to understand the reasons for this refusal, the Heirs will take the road to Sharlayan which will be the first stage of the extension.
In terms of his scenario, Endwalker is in the straight line of Shadowbringers by basing a good part of its action on the latter’s revelations. However, this does not prevent theextension to have their own identity, with this threat of the Apocalypse which makes hover an atmosphere of the end of the world and emergency throughout the adventure. Thanks to this atmosphere, we are entitled to truly moving moments, as much with the main characters as with those who play a minor role who are also entitled to their quarter of an hour of glory. And then, the extension also has an end-of-cycle aspect by the nostalgia that emerges from certain passages which make you feel how far you’ve come since the beginnings of the game. the story takes a little time to fall into place before developing the major issues. But past a certain milestone that comes relatively early, the plot ends up taking off and connects the revelations until its outcome. Endwalker therefore manages to provide many answers to the questions left unanswered thanks to dense but fascinating explanations. Beyond that, the extension succeeds above all in making us experience strong moments thanks to its particularly epic dungeons and challenges. And that’s not all, since we also have the right to unpredictable twists and turns that make you want to always know more about what will happen. Despite all its qualities, theThe extension also suffers from slight rhythm problems, with a few sequences between two crucial moments that drag on a bit. But rest assured, nothing to spoil the epic breath of adventure.
As for the content of the Epic, we remain on the classic since it is always a question of going from quest to quest, with from time to time dungeons and challenges to be completed with other players to progress. But where Endwalker brings a bit of new stuff is in the different types of quests that we are led to do. We are therefore entitled to support missions that allow us to discuss with our companions as well as spinning missions that offer simplified infiltration sequences. Quests that have nothing revolutionary therefore, but which bring a little change to the formula. Alongside, there are always sequences where we embody the Heirs of the Seventh Dawn and solo instances that give rise to epic battles. Additional content will be added in future patches like raids, a new player versus player mode as well as the introduction of deserted islands on which it will be possible to farm. Visually, Endwalker offers new areas with unique charm thanks to artistic direction more polished than ever. Whether it’s Sharlayan and its architecture from ancient Greece, the colorful Thavnair region inspired by Indian culture or the ruins of the imperial capital of Garlemald, the title displays a wide variety of environments. Fortunately, this observation applies just as much to the various dungeons of the Epic which have some good surprises in terms of atmosphere. Thanks to all these elements, we easily forget the game’s dated engine which sometimes displays pixelated textures or animations that are a little too rigid. On the other hand, we must remember that we are dealing with an MMORPG that must manage an impressive number of resources simultaneously, which explains this kind of concessions.
On the soundtrack side, we find once again Masayoshi Soken, historical composer of the title, which delivers both epic and calming tracks that match the mood of the situation every time. In addition, we have been pleasantly surprised to see the number of doubled cutscenes that includes the Epic with an efficient staging and an intelligent cutting of the shots. All these sequences make it possible to benefit from the French dubbing which is still as good as ever, whether it is that of the characters that we have known for years or that of the new arrivals. In terms of gameplay, Endwalker is a extension under the sign of many adjustments. If the max level is increased to 90, all other stats have been decreased to allow for complete rebalancing of game values. But rest assured, if the sums displayed on the screen are less impressive than before, they remain identical in proportion. To quote other developments, we note that the belts have been removed from the game while it is now possible to play a male Viera. On the dungeon side, now only bosses give experience once defeated and the adjuration system that allows you to browse instances with artificial intelligence has been improved.
But of course, the biggest novelty of Endwalker’s gameplay is above all the introduction of two new jobs, the Reaper and the Sage. As the name suggests, the Reaper fights with a scythe and can summon a specter called Avatar. Inasmuch as DPS, its goal is to inflict maximum damage as quickly as possible thanks to its spinning attacks accompanied by numerous visual effects. On the other side, we find the Sage whose goal is to help his allies with magic shields and healing spells. More specificly, it is a barrier healer because he focuses more on the protection of his companions than on pure healing like the white mage. By this rather particular approach which requires a lot of anticipation, the Sage is not easy to learn at first glance but is nonetheless pleasant to play. Result, we therefore have to do two new effective jobs which each bring their contribution to the building with original gameplays. To finish on the other jobs, most are entitled to new skills in the right line of Shadowbringers with the passage of the maximum level to 90. Only two are entitled to in-depth changes ase Monk who gains a new chakra Where the Summoner who focuses more than ever on his Summons.
With Endwalker, Final Fantasy XIV offers itself a conclusion that meets the expectations of the players. Thanks to highlights and many revelations, this new extension brilliantly succeeds in concluding the narrative arc of Hydaelyn and Zordiarche which began ten years ago. This feat is mainly due to dungeons and epic challenges who travel through the Epic as well as compositions by Masayoshi Soken which are always top notch. And if the adventure knows a few lengths, above all, it provides many satisfactory answers and takes advantage of very inspired environments which make it possible to forget the dated technique of the game. An extension which therefore does not bring major novelties, but rather additions like dnew jobs and many more than welcome adjustments.