From two new Job classes, to gorgeous new expansive lands, to primal fights and challenging new dungeons, the newest DLC to the Final Fantasy 14 MMO has something for every fan of the series to enjoy.
At its best, Stormblood is the culmination of everything that truly makes this MMO shine. At its worst, it’s the same game with some new quests and jobs to keep the long time fans coming back for more. While Stormblood doesn’t deliver anything new to really change up Square Enix’s long time formula, what they do give us is immensely enjoyable and hands down the best DLC for the game to date.
Both the Red Mage and Samurai class offer some impressive new abilities and attacks. From the duel casting opportunities of the Red Mage to the sweeping, AOE melee attacks of the Samurai, both classes offer some fun new gameplay, and probably the best job quests in the game. Personally I went with the Samurai class; which ended up being everything I wanted from a melee class job.
Using the Samurai in dungeons made me feel like a god, dealing out heavy damage to my enemies. Sadly, the trade off is its complete shit in PvP. The Red Mage however, has a most appealing trait of being able to switch between spells and melee damage on the fly, its no wonder this has become a fan favorite.
It’s clear that some serious time and effort were put into the new combat gauges for these classes. They felt very stream-lined and added meaning to rotating abilities within the class. For example, with my Samurai, executing 3 combos lit up 3 icons which then let me deal an incredibly punishing attack on a single opponent that took away a massive amount of health. Being able to dish out this type of attack always put a smile on my face as I watched my enemies health dissolve before my eyes.
These new “mini-game” type gauges combined with the new dungeons and primal fights made the gameplay feel like a dance of sorts as I tried to manage my combos while constantly moving across the battlefield as giant enemies or bosses continued to reign down complex AoE attacks. While these new dungeons and titan sized bosses are some of the best Square Enix has done with their template, sadly it is the same they’ve used for years now. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, its just a little disappointing theres nothing new brought to the table.
However, these are minuscule issues that are otherwise shadowed by the fantastic decisions made in this addition to the core game. Stormblood makes Final Fantasy 14, hands down, one of the best games in the long running series to date. What would a Final Fantasy game be without it’s elaborate stories? Stormblood delivers a well rounded story or war and sacrifice complimented by some great dialogue and voice acting. I sympathized with it’s villains and cared about it’s main protagonists. The flip side of this coin though is that the side quests were dull and lacked much thought or effort.
While I very much enjoyed the overall story, I hit some road blocks when I wasn’t a high enough level for a particular quest. This forced me to either grind out some side quests or take part in some PvP which I wouldn’t recommend if you chose the Samurai class. Therefore I was left with completing Side Quests which became rather tedious and mind-numbing after a few hours. In order to access the DLC your character must be at least 50 to receive one of the two new job quests and 60 to safely dive into the new expansion.
There is an easy, if not pricey, cop out though if you’d prefer to get right to the newer stuff. For the hefty price of $25 you can push your character right up to level 60, and for ANOTHER $25 you can bring them through all of the Heavensword content so you can dive right into the action. Because, you know, who doesn’t mind throwing an additional $50 towards a game after buying the dlc?
All of that aside, grinding the 10 levels I needed for my Samurai was a great opportunity to really see what this new job class could do. My advice? Use this as a chance to learn your new classes and clear out old dungeons. Done properly, the leveling process to access Stormblood isn’t too taxing, and can take only a few hours, a small price to pay to get into some of the best content the game has to offer.
Grinding also gives you the chance to take in all the incredible new areas and sites of Stormblood. From Mongolian like hills and valleys, to sprawling cities heavily inspired by Chinese/Japanese culture, to an awesome new underwater, Atlantis-like metropolis; Stormblood offers some gorgeous new landscapes that reward exploration and curiosity with loot and surprises.
From the story, to the new jobs, to the beautiful new areas; the dungeons, primal fights and new bosses; Final Fantasy 14 Stormblood is the best of this game we have seen to date. So take a week off from work, grab some snack, and shut off your phone. Stormblood is a DLC worth every minute of your time.