Final Fantasy XIV Patch 6.4: The Dark Throne impressions — Treading aether

1 year ago 144

Without a portal back to the Void, the Warrior of Light and her allies are left seeking a way to cross the rift once more. Y’shtola comes up with a plan, however, involving vast quantities of aether being sent to the moon. This would require the approval of both the Sharlayn and Garlean governments,and so the former scions set off across the world to prepare for the final confrontation with Golbez.

The post-Endwalker story content started off strong, but has been building up for so long that it’s started to become tedious. While this patch does have some highs, particularly in the politics of dealing with Garlemald and the events in the void. For most of the runtime though it still feels like it’s retreading ground and spinning its wheels. This marks the third time in a row Zero has learned how friendship works and while it is still cute it’s become tiresome. The story is still enjoyable, but it is going way too slow to feel satisfying at this point, especially after the highs of Shadowbringers all the way through Endwalker. I do want to see where this goes, I just feel like there has to be a more engaging way of getting there.

Strangely, I felt this tedium begin to set in with Y’shtola’s voice acting of all things. Robyn Addison is a phenomenal actress, and that shows in her performance in the latter half of this patch. In the first half, however, it sounds like she’s reading each line for the first time and hasn’t really gotten back into character. That or Y’shtola’s just really bored. Everyone else is fine (it’s especially nice to see Thancred again), and I’m not trying to criticize Addison here, as I said she’s fantastic everywhere else, but I think this is a good example of how the story is feeling at this point.

Final Fantasy XIV Patch 6.4 The Dark Throne Playthrough No Commentary - PC [Gaming Trend]

This update’s story content also includes a new dungeon and trial, which are both very enjoyable. The dungeon has some great visual spectacle, taking place on an aether rich island with several different biomes, and some cool boss mechanics. The trial likewise hits a good sweet spot between being difficult and understandable. The previous boss could be hard to parse at times, but here I could get in the groove of things after seeing each mechanic once or twice. This made for a tense dance of dealing damage and avoiding mechanics that feels just right for story content – not too hard and not too easy. It’s a fun fight that I look forward to playing again in roulettes.

Despite putting it off until now, I actually found myself really enjoying the story of the Pandaemonium raids more than the MSQ this time around. Likewise, I feel the battles reach a good sweet spot for non-savage or extreme content in this final group, being more difficult than main story fights but not having matchmade parties wipe more than once or twice (though the tenth circle came VERY close, with us using a whopping two Healer Limit Break 3’s and even then only the DPS surviving to kill the boss).

Final Fantasy XIV Patch 6.4 Raid Gameplay - PC [Gaming Trend]

The fights are great, and the story feels like it continues Endwalker’s themes nicely. Initially I was a bit sick of the community’s obsession with the unsundered world, and to be honest I still am, but this final stretch brings it all together to make going back to this well worth it. You get some good closure with Elidibus and Lahabrea as they make peace with their failures both past and future (time travel is weird). The music here is especially standout, with some reprises of certain themes I won’t spoil here. It’s all around great, with a delightfully evil villain, complex heroes, and thrilling battles.

Of course, what would Final Fantasy XIV be without its best character, Tataru Taru? Her Grand Endeavor questline continues in this patch and it’s… pretty underwhelming. You’re sent off to Tencliff this time, with the quest requiring you to complete the Shadows of Werlyt series before being able to accept. You meet back up with Gaius to deliver some clothing samples only to discover the G-Warrior Mark II has been stolen. Obviously you take off after the thief in the Mark I, but unfortunately you don’t actually get to pilot it again. Instead, it’s just some QTEs from the Christmas event and then you’re done. I just want to drive my mecha again, Square!

Still, the conclusion to this part is very sweet, and you get a housing event as a reward. Overall underwhelming and Tataru didn’t show up. I think that’s a good way to describe the patch as a whole. Pandaemonium is great and the end of the story quests are cool, but everything else is just OK. This is definitely a low point in the current patch cycle, and I hope they can turn it around in 6.5. Especially if Yoshi P. can finally talk to the producer of Final Fantasy XVI to get a crossover going.

Before we part, the Embody Immerse Gamepack received a 2.0 update along with this patch and it has been greatly improved. The audio compression is essentially a non-issue now, with everything sounding nice and crisp when using headphones. If you haven’t already sprung for this and play with a headset or audio device other than standard speakers, it’s worth seriously considering picking this up. The 3D audio feels just right and immerses you in the experience. I did try leaving this on without headphones to mixed results, but when I do feel like wearing a headset I’ll definitely turn this back on. My only remaining issue has to do with any housing items playing music sounding off, but this issue is still better than it was before. I’m glad they’re still putting in work on this, and it’s really showing.

David is the kind of person to wear his heart on his sleeve. He can find positives in anything, like this is a person who loved Star Fox Zero to death. You’ll see him playing all kinds of games: AAAs, Indies, game jam games, games of all genres, and writing about them! Here. On this website. When not writing or playing games, you can find David making music, games, or enjoying a good book. David’s favorite games include NieR: Automata, Mother 3, and Gravity Rush.

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