Review Runs


Final Fantasy XIV

It took a while, and it has some flaws, but this is truly a fantastic MMO. Easily one of the best out there. Most classes don’t get good until later on, the dungeons take until Stormblood to really improve, the quests never get better… but the story ranges from good to excellent, and the core tenants of dungeons and raids are some of the best in the business. And it has a lengthy and involved trial for anyone wishing to partake. Hugely recommended.
Total Story Score: +477
Total Gameplay Score: +258
Golden Number: 1399.89
A Realm Reborn Golden Number: -30.31
Heavensward Golden Number: 136.8
Stormblood Golden Number: 150.33
Shadowbringer Golden Number: 490.1
Endwalker Golden Number: 716.49
Cheats: No (My friends are my power!)
Total Play Time: 62 Days // 531.46 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-16-2022 // 3-9-2024

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Animation: Hildibrand ARR animation is really quite good
  2. Brickwork: ARR Dungeons
  3. Brickwork: ARR Raids (Crystal Tower and Coils)
  4. Brickwork: ARR zones in general
  5. Character: Alphinaud has his irritations (many, in fact) but you can really see the surface-level boy who really does not understand what he’s doing and is in way over his head
  6. Character: Aymeric is awesome in literally his very first scene. He is smart, kind, pragmatic, and generally awesome
  7. Character: Ditto for Hoary Boulder and Coultinet
  8. Character: Haurchefant is just kind of awesome.. Consistently, even in ARR…
  9. Character: …earning a second positive
  10. Character: Merlwyb is a weirdly good character across ARR
  11. Character: Moenbryda is well voice acted and, honestly, a delight despite her relatively small amount of camera presence
  12. Character: Riol is actually pretty legit, and honestly I wish he got more screen time
  13. Character: Tataru is a delight even in ARR
  14. Character: The Sultana only has a few scenes but they’re critical and she herself is a very sympathetic, interesting character
  15. Consequence Storytelling: Acknowledging the support network under adventurers, aka consequence storytelling
  16. Consequence Storytelling: Consequence storytelling (especially with Garlemald)
  17. Cutscene: The ARR opening cinematic of the destruction at Cartenaux and the Calamity of Dalamud is a very, very well done cutscene
  18. Cutscene: The big scene where the Ultima Weapon is unveiled after the battle with Garuda is, honestly, the first truly good in-game scene in the game
  19. Foreshadowing: Foreshadowing (primals, ala mhigans, Garlean power struggle, Ishgard, etc.)
  20. Integration: There is a fairly large amount of gameplay/story integration going on
  21. Internal Continuity: A special continuity plus bonus for the 2.3 arc and how it acknowledges tons and tons of small but neat little points of continuity
  22. Localization: The localization in the game is spot on…
  23. Localization: …even with regards to adding in dialects and variances based on region
  24. Moment: G’raha’s final farewell as the Eternal Wind plays really is just… feels
  25. Moment: Raubahn’s killing of Teledji is, honestly, the best part of the entire banquet
  26. MSQ: The 2.1 and 2.2 Doman Refugee Crisis arc is great stuff
  27. MSQ: The entire Coerthas arc is legit, noticeably better written and constructed narratively than every single quest before it (even having legitimate reasons to be embroiled in local affairs rather than excuses)
  28. MSQ: The initial developments of the new Grand Company is a great arc, with good cutscenes
  29. MSQ: The initial Limsa Lominsa arc stumbles a bit, but the down to earth storytelling, the gradual escalation from disgruntled to malicious to beast tribes, is quite well done
  30. MSQ: The Ul’dah city-state arc is easily the best of the three, with character introductions, ideas, and tons of world building…
  31. MSQ: …for two positives
  32. Plot: Tempering. We get our first insight into it with Ifrit, and it is exactly as horrible as it should be
  33. Prime Opt: A special positive for the final moments of Cartenaeu, awesomely presented and executed cutscene… and weirdly well earned, while simultaneously being a successful one-winged-angel moment
  34. Prime Opt: Culinarian 1-50 is nicely constructed and has some good worldbuilding, but also some weirdly well done descriptions of the food
  35. Prime Opt: Despite other issues, the Ninja 30-50 has some good camerawork, animation, and some good moments
  36. Prime Opt: Dragoon 30-50 is weirdly good, with lots of good world building (if bad exposition) and surprisingly good cutscenes
  37. Prime Opt: Sastasha // The overall story arc of Haukke Manor, the murder mystery, and the… attempt at tone // While not much, Brayflox Hard is a neat and amusing little excursion
  38. Prime Opt: Scholar 30-50 has some great world building and some neat, heart-warming scenes to it
  39. Prime Opt: The Alchemist 1-50 quest was interesting in how it seemed terrifying at first and veered right into legitimately sweet and sentimental
  40. Prime Opt: The Armorer 1-50 quest wasn’t super great, but it was an interesting contrast of two differing mentalities and a nice showcase of an Idiot Sith
  41. Prime Opt: The Botanist arc does a good job of showcasing a pacifist tormented by the ethics of civilian contribution to conflict
  42. Prime Opt: The Coils of Bahamut. It takes a while to get there (hence only one positive), but when it does it hits pretty well, and is arguably more MSQ than the MSQ was
  43. Prime Opt: The Conjurer 1-30 quest wasn’t super amazing, but the story of Sylphie and her discovery of conjury, as well as the world building of the elements, is good stuff
  44. Prime Opt: The dialogue and intrigue of the Rogue 1-30 quests are legit, despite how hard they are to read at times
  45. Prime Opt: The entire Fishing arc is probably one of the funnier ones in ARR, but the quality of the dialogue is what really makes it shine
  46. Prime Opt: The final cutscene in Wanderer’s Palace (hard) is hilarious // There is one, solitary good quest in the Gridanian areas, and it’s actually quite touching (about the young gentleman and his sister) // The Miner arc has some decent world building in the background
  47. Prime Opt: The Gladiator 1-30 quest was… weirdly good. Enjoyable characters which complexities to them, a good structure, good cinematography
  48. Prime Opt: The Goldsmith 1-50 quest was surprisingly enjoyable given how obvious its plot was, but it had some nice moments and Rorotan was legit
  49. Prime Opt: The Leatherworker 1-50 quest had some hiccups but a rather memorable guildmaster, and a nice story arc about quality vs. speed
  50. Prime Opt: The Pugilist 1-30 is way better than I remember, with good characters and it mostly being about us helping the guild lead be a better pugilist
  51. Prime Opt: There’s a bit of decent world building in the Arcanist chain, and the main character is alright // The decent character bits and good scenes really helped with the Black Mage 30-50 quests
  52. Prime Opt: The Thaumaturge 1-30 story had some hiccups, but I enjoyed the world building and examination of voidsent, aether, and magedom in general
  53. Prime Opt: The Weaver 1-50 quest was surprisingly sentimental and personal, being almost entirely about the budding relationship between the miner and the princess
  54. Prime Opt: Warrior 30-50 is simple but effective, a nice zoomed in character piece with some neat worldbuilding about how Warriors function
  55. Secondary: Edda’s story is a bit too tragic… but it’s well told, and weaves in and out of our story periodically, and ultimately it’s better than it is not
  56. Secondary: Periodic world building in the La Noscea side quests, and some cool individual side stories
  57. Secondary: The Coerthas side quests were really quite good…
  58. Secondary: The Thanalan quests were overall better story wise; while more contained, they were usually better focused on character moments or world building
  59. Secondary: …including several nice bits of world building and some great character arcs
  60. Storyboarding: The Hildibrand animation, storyboarding, and camerawork are astonishingly good, especially with regards to choreography
  61. Storytelling Mechanic: The storytelling tool of the Echo and what it allows us to see and perceive
  62. Storytelling Mechanic: The Unending Journey journal and the ability to rewatch essentially every cutscene in the game you’ve already seen is a great way to catch up on things
  63. Theme: The core theme, even early on, of being the inspiration to help others find their better selves
  64. World Building: Sylphs (and writing). They’re adorable, even outside of their daily
  65. World Building: The Black Shroud, regarding the elementals, the tree, the people who maintain it, the casual anti-outsider mentality, and how precarious the area is to live in
  66. World Building: World building all over the place in Limsa, with the new civilization and attempts at reform and resistance thereto and the economics and structure of it
  67. Animation: Hildibrand, as usual, has some great animation and camerawork
  68. Brickwork: Dravanian regions
  69. Brickwork: Ishgard city
  70. Brickwork: Heavensward dungeons
  71. Character: Alphinaud is wonderful as usual
  72. Character: Alphinaud’s character arc is fantastic, and really shows his growth as a character
  73. Character: Artoirel is an interesting, fleshed out character who has a quick and interesting arc even in his initial presentation
  74. Character: Aymeric really is one of my favorite characters in the entire game not only for his solidarity and genuineness but also his intellect and leadership skill…
  75. Character: …for two positives
  76. Character: Count Edmont de Fortemp is yet another example of a reasonable authority figure, who in his very first scene is awesome enough to warrant a positive
  77. Character: Count Edmont is a truly fantastic character, for much the same reasons Aymeric is and stands as our adoptive father for good reason…
  78. Character: …for two positives
  79. Character: Estinien, too, is a triple bonus for being a great, complex character with a solid arc
  80. Character: Ga Bu. He’s only there briefly, but he’s extraordinarily well utilized, and besides serves as a fantastic launchpoint for Alisae’s return to the party and the character arc she will have for some time
  81. Character: Haldrath (the first Azure Dragoon) has precious little screen time but is awesome for it
  82. Character: Haurchefant continues his awesome streak
  83. Character: Hilda, too, steals the scene every time she’s in it
  84. Character: Kal Myhk is adorable, and we learn a decent amount of dragon society (and biology!) while helping him, his brother, and his mother (Dragons follow the natural order)
  85. Character: Krile has so much character in so little time, I love it
  86. Character: Leveva is just delightful all around
  87. Character: Lucia remains awesome pretty much throughout HW
  88. Character: Matoya! Cantankerous, helpful, and well acted
  89. Character: Raubahn finally comes into his own as a character, helped by his actor
  90. Character: Tataru continues to be an excellent character despite her limited screen time
  91. Character: The connecting character threads between Estinien and Alphinaud
  92. Character: There is a lovely symmetry to Aymeric and his relationship to his father… and Haurchefant and his relationship to his. Both illegitimate children, both risen on their own two feet, and both dealt with in completely disparate ways
  93. Character: Ysale is, as usual, awesome with a great character arc
  94. Consequence Storytelling: Further, this entire arc (while badly positioned) is a great example of both external continuity and consequence storytelling and, despite the problems with its timing, deserves special mention for its quality
  95. Cutscene: Ardbert’s big scene really does a lot in very little time, and the narrative beat of revealing his time right as the story has just followed a major arc about being willing to do anything for victory… and immediately before the Griffin’s foolish, foolish plan
  96. Cutscene: The Echo remains a great storytelling tool and speaking of which, the cutscene of the past shortly after the initial battle with Nidhogg is well directed, acted, and written
  97. Cutscene: The Heavensward opening cinematic is, as usual, pretty good
  98. Cutscene: They actually subvert the usual hostage crap in the Weeping City, and actually make a good scene of it regardless
  99. Cutscene: The ‘we’ve got Aymeric’s back’ scene is awesome
  100. Dialogue: We finally start to see some really solid dialogue
  101. External Continuity: Lolorito’s plan (retcon or no) is a good one, neatly written, and ties up a lot of threads
  102. Foreshadowing: Yet more foreshadowing (especially in the Warring Triad)
  103. Internal Continuity: Excellent, really…
  104. Internal Continuity: …for a full two positives
  105. Localization: The localization continues to be on point
  106. Moment: As much as I personally dislike the scene, the failed peace conference scene is well constructed and does a good job of showcasing the varying mentalities that lead to such terrorism and other such issues
  107. Moment: Earning Midgardsormr’s respect and being granted his mount is a pretty awesome moment
  108. Moment: For all the nonsense about the event itself, Count Fortemp just breaking down at the loss of his son hits to this day
  109. Moment: Honestly, Haurchefant’s scene where he just sorta… goes along with it when he sees us, Estinien, aaand Ysayle is just kind of awesome (good animation, very in character for him)
  110. Moment: The Final Steps of Faith cutscene is brilliant in so many ways I don’t know where to begin. The battle, the choreography and cinematography, the significance …but through it all, just us… walking…. …Star Destroyer
  111. Moment: …for a full…
  112. Moment: …three positives
  113. Moment: The Omega vs. Shinryu fight is not just fun spectacle, there’s actual design to how each side fights and how they compare and contrast each other
  114. Moment: The return of Thancred cutscene is well acted and very well choreographed, despite its issues
  115. Moment: The summoning, and Papalymo’s sacrifice
  116. Moment: Ysayle’s sacrifice, by contrast to some earlier ones, is very well done. Good cinematography, good directing, and it sticks
  117. MSQ: A rare story positive for the Nidhogg raid fight. It’s literally the thematic core of the entire expansion built into the fight; letting go of the past, moving forwards, cycles of vengeance
  118. MSQ: Good structure of the MSQ, both in when the big events hit, and in how much time is attended to the consequences
  119. MSQ: The finale of 3.1 is convenient, but well constructed and very well serves the narrative, both in service of how Ishgard is dealing with things, Aymeric’s reactions thereto, and the impacts it will have furthermore
  120. MSQ: The initial introduction to Thordan and the trial by combat sequence
  121. MSQ: The plot-point of cold, efficient pragmatism of Estinien and us going out to try and treat with Iceheart and, should we fail, at least delay their attack on behalf of Ishgard
  122. MSQ: The Thordan fight was pretty legit from a storytelling perspective. The attacks from the previous knight fights, the FFVII reference, but best of all the final phase after his ultimate attack where he can’t even bring himself to do anything but flail helplessly against the party
  123. MSQ: The Vault does some absolutely wonderful visual storytelling with its music, trash design, and visuals… and the fact that we’re fighting ‘bosses’ (aka primals) as regular bosses
  124. MSQ: The victory lap of the End of the Dragonsong War is pretty legit, with a lot of cool ‘what happened’ moments for a ton of characters
  125. Outro: And yes, another positive for the outro, for being exactly as tear-jerking and powerful as it should be… with Ysayle and Haurchefaunt’s aid
  126. Plot: The big reveal of the nature of Primals is a good scene in general, but even more so the very plot point of what a Primal actually is is a fascinating concept that makes for some great storytelling and will lead to great stuff down the line
  127. Plot: The overall plot has a wonderful layers upon layers of context style to it
  128. Plot: Thordan’s overall plan is actually pretty horrifying, but the way it’s set up and the way he out-plays the Ascians is delightful
  129. Prime Opt: Culinarian 50-60 was mostly noise until the finale, when it was delightfully hysterical
  130. Prime Opt: Dragoon 50-60 has some issues, but is earnest enough and skips over most pitfalls of its arc to be engaging
  131. Prime Opt: Dark Knight 50-60 quests do some good stuff in general, with a nice if horrifying story and general levity and excellence in scenes from the Moogles…
  132. Prime Opt: …for two positives
  133. Prime Opt: Fractal Continuum has some wonderful, horrible Allagan lore in the ‘museum’ format
  134. Prime Opt: Goldsmith 50-60 was surprisingly good, a heartwarming tale of two lovers and making them matching music boxes, well paced and well showcased
  135. Prime Opt: Hildibrand also has some surprisingly good character beats with Vivi and Cyr
  136. Prime Opt: LTW 50-60 is actually pretty well done, with solid character arcs, weaving through backstory of the setting, while advancing alongside the main quest
  137. Prime Opt: Machinist 30-50 has a good core theme, some decent characters, and a nice arc for multiple of them
  138. Prime Opt: Machinist 50-60 continues the good trend of good characters, and really does its job in expounding on the problems facing Ishgard in the wake of the revolution
  139. Prime Opt: Scholasticate (again) has some good general story construction and characters
  140. Prime Opt: The Alexander 12 fight is awesome narratively, especially with the portals being how we survived the cutscene prior to the fight
  141. Prime Opt: The Ascian lore of Summoner 50-60 was pretty neat // ALC 50-60 did some neat things with the Allagans and clones, and the whodunnit was a nice direction to take it // CRP 50-60 had some nice moments with the son and father
  142. Prime Opt: The Dark Knight 30-50 quests did a great job of acknowledging a lot of internal continuity and are just, really great quests in general…
  143. Prime Opt: …for a full…
  144. Prime Opt: …three positives
  145. Prime Opt: The Ninja 50-60 is weirdly competent and well directed, with amusing characters and a proper showcasing of ourself
  146. Prime Opt: The Scholasticate’s early quests are very well written internal politics
  147. Prime Opt: The Scholasticate’s quests themes of the severe and terrible inequality Isghard has shown, done in true in-person detail, are just… wow
  148. Prime Opt: The Sharlayan worldbuilding and general intrigue of the Astrologian 30-60 quests are pretty cool… with problems
  149. Prime Opt: The time travel of the entire Alexander chain is actually quite tightly written, well foreshadowed, and well executed
  150. Prime Opt: WVR 50-60 was actually really sweet, down-to-earth, mundane, and wholesome
  151. Secondary: Azys Lla’s side quests are surprisingly amusing while remaining absolutely horrifying insights into Allagan society
  152. Story Sequencing: The story sequencing of the early arc is well constructed. As we learn more, our plans shift, and as our plans shift, we go to new areas, learn new things, and plans shift again
  153. Theme: Core theme of the cycle of vengeance
  154. Visual Storytelling: The visual storytelling and contrast of the Churning Mists as well as Hraesvalgr and Nidhogg’s lairs
  155. Voice Acting: Alphinaud’s voice actor is great
  156. Voice Acting: Aymeric
  157. Voice Acting: Estinien
  158. Voice Acting: Ysale
  159. Voice Actor: Ardbert’s voice actor is excellent even in this expansion
  160. World Building: A goodly amount of internal continuity with the three mage states across the expansion
  161. World Building: Stone Vigil 2 (Dusk Vigil) has a wonderfully horrifying backstory to what happened in the wake of the Calamity
  162. World Building: The world building of the Aetherochemical Research Facility and just how bleh the Allagans really were
  163. Writing: Well written Star Destroyer storytelling
  164. Animation: Generally clever animation in cutscenes
  165. Atmosphere: Yanxia’s thematic usage and portrayal of the consequence of the remainder oppressed is as gloomy and awful as it should be
  166. Brickwork: Kugane
  167. Brickwork: The blasted flats of Ala Mhigo
  168. Brickwork: Usual Stormblood dungeons brickwork
  169. Brickwork: Usual Stormblood raids brickwork
  170. Brickwork: The far east
  171. Camerawork: Camerawork continues to be excellent throughout
  172. Character: Alisae really has some good character moments in the final few patches
  173. Character: Alisaie gets some good character and screen time both
  174. Character: Alphinaud continues his character arc and progression, and frankly just general character quality
  175. Character: Arenvald is honestly just sort of amazing. A poor background and a good presence
  176. Character: As usual, Raubahn is excellent, arguably really coming into his own as both commander and leader of the Alliance
  177. Character: Cid is pretty legit in the Omega line
  178. Character: Cirina is a delight for the presence she has
  179. Character: Fordola doesn’t get the screen time she deserves, for she is a fascinating and well done antagonist in her own right
  180. Character: Gosetsu continues his trend of excellence and general enjoyability
  181. Character: Hancock is weirdly engaging, moreso for his connection to Lolorito
  182. Character: Hien’s ponderings, and his conclusion; the flooding of Doma, says a lot about what kind of person (and leader) he really is
  183. Character: Isse is actually kind of awesome in general, a perfect personal viewpoint of oppression and a surprisingly human, well fleshed out person in general
  184. Character: Much as it pains me, Zenos does deserve a positive. The ruined, bored, genetically engineered freak
  185. Character: Omega is brilliantly horrifying in how detached and unconcerned it is about the horrifying things it does
  186. Character: Pipin remains an awesome character in general, and a good commander
  187. Character: Soroban is pretty awesome for how little screen time he has
  188. Character: Tataru, similarly, is awesome up to and including the flight from Kugane
  189. Character: Yotsuyu is horrible and evil, make no mistake… but she’s well acted, and there are decent layers to her and her horrible, horrible backstory
  190. Character: Yugiri is, in many ways, far more of a main character than Lyse is and does good stuff throughout
  191. Consequence Storytelling: No-drama, logical consequence storytelling in the initial resistance groups of Ala Mhigo
  192. Cutscene: As much as I have severe issues with it, the scene where Zenos finally notices us is pretty legit
  193. Cutscene: Gosetsu’s pre-battle scene and confession is a great character piece for him (helped by Alphinaud and Alisaie being adorable)
  194. Cutscene: The big scene between Nanamo and Raubahn is just… all kinds of awesome. A great continuation and, arguably, conclusion of both of their arcs
  195. Cutscene: The confrontation of, Echo of, and pain of Fordola’s
  196. Cutscene: The Echo of Delita, Orran, and Alma is actually really good. It says all it needs to, implies much more, and does a great amount in a short period of time
  197. Cutscene: The scene between Fordola and Zenos really is quite well constructed
  198. Cutscene: The scene which introduces Solus does so much and says so much and reveals a great deal about the lore and backstory of the world
  199. Cutscene: The surprisingly mature, dark, proper discussion of financial aid for Ala Mhigo
  200. Cutscene: The terrible, emotional, powerful scene where Yugiri and us successfully saving them only for the realization of how this doesn’t truly save them… is just as powerful as it should be
  201. Cutscene: The verbal duel between Gosetsu and Yotsuyu is actually quite good, showing the depths of their familiarity with each other and using that to exposit
  202. Cutscene: The war council and parlay with Emperor Varis is interesting in hindsight, and surprisingly well presented
  203. Cutscene: The well-constructed political drama of the Alliance’s first true meeting as they discuss the Ascians and Garlemald and the summoning of ‘the voice’ and the tension and suspense and mystery it adds to the proceedings…
  204. Cutscene: …for two positives
  205. Cutscene: Zenos second establishing scene does much more, better, with him
  206. Cutscene: Zenos’ suicide and final cutscenes really do a great job of showcasing the character, and a surprisingly satisfying conclusion to his arc
  207. Doodads: Doodad utilization is, finally, in
  208. Foreshadowing: Foreshadowing! The front-loaded storytelling as of the 4.X patches is real
  209. Localization: The usual standard for the game
  210. Moment: Lyse kicking Gyodo was just kind of generally awesome (and well animated and cameraworked)
  211. Moment: The Burn (Savage)
  212. MSQ: Our little side trip to the Dotharl is nice in general, but what’s even better about it is how Gosetsu is fleshed out throughout
  213. MSQ: Tataru beautifully blackmailing the Ishgardian captain into helping us get to Doma
  214. MSQ: The Ala Mhigo dungeon is a great capstone to the dungeon narratively
  215. MSQ: The entire Steppe arc is one of the better ones, despite being ‘side content’
  216. MSQ: The Ghimlyt Dark and following conclusions are some awesome visual storytelling and war presentation
  217. MSQ: Tsukuyomi fight and the tragedy of Yotsuyu, the life that could have been…
  218. MSQ: …for two positives
  219. Music Direction: Substantially better usage of music in cutscenes
  220. Plot: The hinge-point of the plot of Alphinaud going to Garlemald, the implications and foreshadowing thereof
  221. Prime Opt: Alchemist 60-70 had great external continuity as well as a touching arc and general goodness throughout
  222. Prime Opt: Culinarian 60-70 continues the Culinarian trend of excellence by having a nice simple story about feeding refugees, and cultural drift
  223. Prime Opt: Dragoon 60-70 is nice but Orn Khai is just adorable
  224. Prime Opt: Four Lords, Soroban, Tataru… all good stuff, especially the flashback cutscenes…
  225. Prime Opt: …for two positives
  226. Prime Opt: Fractal Continuum (Hard) continues the Allagan trend of expositing and background worldbuilding (the Ixal were built by Allagans!)
  227. Prime Opt: Goldsmith 60-70 is a nice bit of worldbuilding and consequence storytelling, being about methods of economic restoration for newly freed Ala Mhigo
  228. Prime Opt: Machinist 60-70 is a good tale of continuing to deal with the fallout of Heavensward, and some good character moments for Hilda
  229. Prime Opt: Monk 60-70 has some nice character moments and good backstory about the Mad King
  230. Prime Opt: Red Mage 50-60 has some decent stuff. Magic history, Ala Mhigan history, some continuity, and Arya
  231. Prime Opt: Red Mage 60-70 has good continuity and Arya continues to be adorkable!
  232. Prime Opt: Samurai 50-60 is a straightforward samurai tale, but it’s not bad, and in fact hits its beats quite well
  233. Prime Opt: The lonesome Omega logs segment before O12 is really just… awesome, and terrifying, and lends more ‘character’ to Omega, Midgardsormr, and the war than most anything else does
  234. Prime Opt: The Warrior 60-70 quests are silly but… they’re legit charming, and got an actual laugh out of me
  235. Prime Opt: The White Mage 60-70 quest was a nice little personal story, with some good touches and good continuity
  236. Prime Opt: What can I say about the 60-70 Dark Knight quests? They’re real, raw, brutal, and beautiful. Continuity, connectivity, consequence, the story weaves through our own as we face all we’ve been and lost, and in the end we are who we are… because we are…
  237. Prime Opt: …for a full…
  238. Prime Opt: …three positives
  239. Secondary: There is simple, wholesome, and down-to-earth storytelling in the Doman Reconstruction wonderfully written and brilliantly human…
  240. Secondary: …for two positives
  241. Secondary: There’s some nice tidbits in the Steppes sidequests where we help people find themselves, especially a Dotharl rebelling against his name and Esugan (a cook) rebelling against his warrior brethren
  242. Storytelling Mechanic: As per usual, the usage of the Roleplay system as a storytelling tool is excellent
  243. Storytelling Mechanic: The recurrent usage of the NPCs and party members adding extra dialogue at most quests in the MSQ is a good storytelling tool
  244. Visual Continuity: For the first time in the game, we have a degree of visual continuity between zones (helped by the MSQ’s frequent ‘trips’ to the map)
  245. Visual Storytelling: Good visual storytelling and significance of the Doma dungeon
  246. Visual Storytelling: The Burn is just a wonderfully terrifying concept, it really is… it’s the first time we’ve really seen the actual impact of aether bleed
  247. Voice Acting: Alisaie’s voice actress
  248. Voice Acting: For all my complaints, I cannot dismiss Zenos’ voice actor
  249. Voice Acting: Gosetsu’s voice actor
  250. Voice Acting: Yugiri’s voice actress
  251. Voice Actor: Much as I absolutely despise the character, Asahi’s voice actor is legit… lots of tiny details and subtle nuances
  252. World Building: Kojin in general, especially culturally, are fascinating
  253. World Building: Steppe culture is fascinating and well fleshed out in general
  254. World Building: World building throughout the early quests of what it’s like in occupied Ala Mhigo
  255. Animation: The animation, cinematography, and camerawork are just noticeably higher quality in 5.3
  256. Animation: Special mention to Emet-Selch’s animation, which just really helps sell him as a character
  257. Atmosphere: Hard to describe. You’d think the First would be desperate and afraid but no, they’re just kind of soldiering on. And yet they’re managing it… and there’s this overwhelming feeling of endurance throughout…
  258. Atmosphere: …for two positives
  259. Babylon 5 Effect: There’s a fantastic amount of Babylon 5 Effect going on with G’raha Tia throughout…
  260. Babylon 5 Effect: …for two positives
  261. Brickwork: Eulmore. The fop’s paradise
  262. Brickwork: Lakeland. Simple, but invocative
  263. Brickwork: Il Mheg, paradise lost to the fey
  264. Brickwork: Amh Araeng is one of the prettier zones in the entire game, but besides does a lot of lifting for the vibe of the First…
  265. Brickwork: …for two positives
  266. Brickwork: The Rak’tika Greatwood and its tribes and bows
  267. Brickwork: Shadowbringers dungeons, general
  268. Brickwork: Shadowbringers raids, general
  269. Brickwork: The Crystarium is brilliant in its overall design, visual layout, and general presentation
  270. Camera: The animation, cinematography, and camerawork are just noticeably higher quality in 5.3…
  271. Camera: …for two positives
  272. Character: Alisae continues to be a fantastic character
  273. Character: Alphinaud joins his sister in being generally awesome
  274. Character: And it’s time to finally give the Chai’s their own positives, starting with Dulia for general wholesomeness, complexity of character, and nuance…
  275. Character: …for two positives
  276. Character: And of course two for Nuzz, for being a confident, competent, nervous, and suffering anxiety
  277. Character: Ardbert. The broken hero, the lengthy arc, the rise, fall, and rise again…
  278. Character: …for a full…
  279. Character: …three positives
  280. Character: Cylva’s story is brief but powerful, a cute way to tie in 1.0 and a great cap to the Warriors of Light’s story
  281. Character: Elidibus is a properly written, brilliantly tragic… robot. A mind incapable of perceiving past its mission, something so far gone and so far lost so as to be diminished and, worst of all, is entirely self-aware of it… and further incapable of course correcting…
  282. Character: …for two positives
  283. Character: Emet-Selch. The man burdened by an eternity of failure, bound by duty, unwilling to flinch or flex from his path, even acknowledging it in the process. I could type up an entire page about how amazing this character is, easily one of the best central FF Villains we have ever had…
  284. Character: …for a full…
  285. Character: …three positives
  286. Character: Feo Ul doesn’t have much screen time but they are quite awesome every time they grace the screen
  287. Character: Gaia. She seems so one dimensional at first, but she quickly develops past that
  288. Character: Gaius himself is actually really quite good in the entire arc, weirdly enough, and gets some much needed character development and backstory
  289. Character: Granson himself is also pretty enjoyable and has a decent arc to himself
  290. Character: G’raha being adorably adorkable as he gets to be an ‘adventurer’ (read: kiddo) is just precious
  291. Character: G’raha Tia is just kind of awesome in general… the earnestness, the counterpart to our inspiration…
  292. Character: …for two positives
  293. Character: Lilja is, in general, generally awesome
  294. Character: Lyna is a weirdly good ‘guest character’, not a lot of screen time but good usage of most scenes, and good density of character
  295. Character: Mikoto remains amusing and enjoyable
  296. Character: Misija has a weirdly large amount of characterization for someone they keep wanting to portray as ‘just evil’
  297. Character: Ryne and Gaia have a great connection and chemistry between one another
  298. Character: Ryne and Thancred’s interactions are good in general, but the dynamic between the two is something else
  299. Character: Ryne is a delight throughout really, but serves a good purpose in the plot too; she’s the ‘outsider’ who can be and do what the others can’t
  300. Character: The Crystal Exarch remains a well constructed enigma; the shadow of a villain who never hesitates to aid and assist those in need
  301. Character: The Mikoto and Misija scene is a great example of Mikoto’s character and how she can out-think so much around her, while being a fascinating bit of world building
  302. Character: This is further aided by both Severa and Valdeaulin, both victims of his, who share their stories as they take their positions as his allies
  303. Character: Uriangier really shines in this one, getting to show off his nuance, his care with the pixies, his care for Ryne, and the burden he bore…
  304. Character: …for two positives
  305. Character: Vauthry is a brilliantly constructed ‘villain’… a toddler that can speak, a base animal with precious little understanding of aught or all…
  306. Character: …for two positives
  307. Consequence Storytelling: Bonus consequence storytelling positive for the cure being… exactly what it should be; A first step, moving from 0% curable up to 1% curable, which is both huge and minor at the same time
  308. Consequence Storytelling: Some good consequence storytelling in the restoration of Eulmore arc in 5.1
  309. Cutscene: And the way we array ourselves around and against him is fantastic, culminating in G’raha Tia summoning the other us’s (or however you interpret it)
  310. Cutscene: Ardbert opening up to us about why he adventured, and us sharing our concerns with him, is as always a good scene
  311. Cutscene: Ardbert’s cutscene discussing being adventurers, the mural… and how it all went
  312. Cutscene: Ardbert’s cutscene discussing himself, Seto, and ourselves
  313. Cutscene: Ardbert’s torment at having to watch the suffering die followed immediately by the power of seeing us walking with the victors…
  314. Cutscene: …for two positives
  315. Cutscene: Consequently, the cutscene revealing thusly is fantastic in its execution
  316. Cutscene: Elidibus’ pre-battle cutscene is powerful in its tragedy, in the broken doll Elidibus has descended to
  317. Cutscene: Emet-Selch’s lowering of the mask as he speaks, for the first time, of Amaurot and the time of old to us… even mis-speaking for but a moment… as he lets his hope get the better of him
  318. Cutscene: For the irritation of the fake-out, Y’shtola’s return gives us some great characterization and moments for both Emet-Selch and Runar
  319. Cutscene: Fourchenault’s big jackass reveal scene, his disownment of his kids, is quite well acted and presented despite himself
  320. Cutscene: G’raha’s ‘send off’ is interesting, since it’s not actually a send off (he’s leaving with us after all), but it is instead the end of the ‘Crystal Exarch’ and the culmination of his quest
  321. Cutscene: Hades finally, finally no longer holding back, in his last desperate gasp that he just can’t help but hold onto, he unleashes his all against us but somehow all of us, together, push back…
  322. Cutscene: …for two positives
  323. Cutscene: Honestly the whole Bismark sequence was great
  324. Cutscene: Surprise surprise, but Ardbert’s scene where he speaks of the past, the Warrior, and the people uniting
  325. Cutscene: Tesleen. The conversion, the horror… the micro
  326. Cutscene: The confrontation between Gaius and Valens is actually pretty legit
  327. Cutscene: The confrontation between Vauthry and Alphinaud is brilliant for many reasons, but really firmly showcasing a light on what Eulmore is and why is the best part
  328. Cutscene: The cure for Ga Bu scene is honestly heartwarming and smile inducing
  329. Cutscene: The cutscene of Vauthry v. Exarch is a brilliant one, not just a clash of ideologies but of surface vs. depth
  330. Cutscene: The entire scene of Alphinaud speechifying to the Eulmorians, and their turnaround and assistance, is actually pretty awesome
  331. Cutscene: The final resting scene with the Crystal Exarch is brilliant in many ways
  332. Cutscene: The final send-off of the party right before the final dungeon is poetry, really
  333. Cutscene: The initial confrontation between Emet-Selch and the party is brilliantly portrayed. Camerawork, voice acting, dialogue, foreshadowing…
  334. Cutscene: The intro cinematic is the best they’ve had to-date, with symbolism, brick-laying, great visual storytelling…
  335. Cutscene: …for two positives
  336. Cutscene: The post-Paglth’an scene between Fordola, Alphinaud, and Estinien really bespeaks her broken idealism, and the wounded as they rail at one another
  337. Cutscene: The post Qitana Ravel scene is a hell of an exposition dump, but more than that, it is yet another wonderful character point for him, beautifully voiced
  338. Cutscene: The pre-final battle scene is poetry. You can tell Emet-Selch is holding back, still toying with us, still holding out that faint hope
  339. Cutscene: The reveal of both G’raha Tia’s plan… and Emet-Selch’s interest in us
  340. Cutscene: There’s another great ‘connections between people’ scene as we are departing the Crystarium
  341. Cutscene: The simple Lyna scene of her worrying about her ‘grandfather’ is lovely for many reasons
  342. Cutscene: Watching the fae just… body the Eulmorians is just as immensely satisfying as it always is
  343. Dialogue: The dialogue really, really pops in Shadowbringers…
  344. Dialogue: …for a full…
  345. Dialogue: …three positives
  346. Doodads: Doodad utilization starting to ramp up. It’s almost entirely in the town or city areas, but it’s definitely getting better…
  347. Doodads: …for two positives
  348. External Continuity: Persistent power progression in lore across the expansions
  349. External Continuity: Bonus points for, in more ways than one, being the conclusion of FFXIV’s major arcs to date (the final deaths of all the Unsundered, among other things)
  350. Humor: “What’s the password?” (dramatic flourishing) PASSWORD!
  351. Internal Continuity: The game really starts taking care of its own continuity at this point. The connecting points, threads, and characters across the First are very tightly woven…
  352. Internal Continuity: …for a full…
  353. Internal Continuity: …three positives
  354. Intro: The opening intro does so much so well so fast
  355. Localization: Really starting to see that localization shine…
  356. Localization: …for two positives
  357. Moment: And call me a sop, but I have to give a separate plus for the feels as we talk to Ryne
  358. Moment: And the first night sky in a century
  359. Moment: A special bonus positive for Valens’ death. Pop!
  360. Moment: Elidibus’ final send-off is exactly as powerful, morose, and tragic as it should be
  361. Moment: Emet-Selch’s final rant at the party is honestly incredible
  362. Moment: Lyna’s lament in the wake of the battle
  363. Moment: Merlwyb’s speech to the Executioners is pretty legit, a bit more flowery and a bit more charismatic, but it’s core concept remains true; Evolve or die
  364. Moment: Remember us. Remember that we once lived…
  365. Moment: …for two positives
  366. Moment: Thancred opening up and (finally) having a character arc in Trolley is pretty legit
  367. Moment: The big speech scene in Eulmore is actually pretty legit, in framing, presentation, and the general moment of it
  368. Moment: The moment between Estinien, Alisae, and G’raha is just adorable
  369. MSQ: Arenvald’s crippling, Alphinaud’s reaction, and the perfect capstone of legacy
  370. MSQ: For all the many, many other issues, the ‘final’ confrontation between Thancred and Ran’jit is an excellent bit of storytelling, primarily for Thancred and his arc moving forwards
  371. MSQ: Holminster Switch… the creature from the desert, Tesleen, and the horror of the village over-run
  372. MSQ: Paglth’an really has some fantastic storytelling in its design and visuals, as the battle commences, aided by Estinien and Tiamat
  373. MSQ: So this may sound weird but the Relict Matoya is actually really good storywise… the visuals, music, presentation, cuteness factor, all do a great job of making it more enjoyable than it would otherwise be…
  374. MSQ: …for two positives
  375. MSQ: The Bethric / Skip chain meanders a bit, but when it gets going it’s pretty heartwarming and has some good moments
  376. MSQ: The build up to and reveal of Amaurot is not just fantastic but is the best bit of ‘characterization’ we ever see for the mastery of power Emet-Selch really has….
  377. MSQ: …for two positives
  378. MSQ: The Dying Gasp… Hades.
  379. MSQ: The entire 5.4 arc does exactly what it needs to in terms of pacing; it’s a breather episode. The stakes aren’t gone, nor unimportant, but they are definitely lower, and that’s exactly what it should be in the wake of Hades and Elidibus
  380. MSQ: The entire arc of freeing Tiamat, and Estinian the dragon rider
  381. MSQ: The entire ‘crystals and echoes’ quest
  382. MSQ: The Heroes’ Gauntlet is a great storytelling dungeon most especially in how it carries us throughout the zones ventured thusfar, aided by those we’ve aided thusfar…
  383. MSQ: …for two positives
  384. MSQ: The initial story arc of the Crystarium does so much, and builds up the world, and establishes many tiny plot threads
  385. MSQ: The overall cavalry moment of building the giant Talos is pretty wholesome and a good rejoinder of all the people you’ve aided thusfar
  386. MSQ: The revelation that the vision of the Final Days is a trigger of awakening one’s Echo, as a resultant of how much the Final Days caused literal planetary-wide, dimension-spanning PTSD, is kind of awesomely horrifying
  387. MSQ: The scenes establishing and developing Elidibus do a great job of making him an interesting character despite the revelations about him being so relatively recent
  388. MSQ: The Seat of Sacrifice boss fight has some wonderful storytelling throughout the fight
  389. MSQ: The storytelling in general of the Amaurot dungeon is insane, between the voice over, the visuals, the progression of enemy times even the very map itself? I’m not sure I’ve seen better storytelling in a dungeon before…
  390. MSQ: …for a full…
  391. MSQ: …three positives
  392. MSQ: While it does linger a bit, the Elidibus gauntlet quest is fantastic; It uses our journey, summarized, as a way to characterize him… or perhaps ‘it’
  393. Music Direction: Music utilization for tone and atmosphere
  394. Music Direction: Really starting to use that music well for scenes…
  395. Music Direction: …for two positives
  396. Outro: And finally, the full Crystarium sending us off, with Lyna in tears at the ‘loss’ of her grandfather
  397. Outro: Big plus for the ‘ending’ scene at the end of 5.3. It is a WoW level cutscene, in terms of quality, custom animation, and production values, in addition to the amazingness of the characters and how they all play off each other, especially G’raha…
  398. Outro: …for two positives
  399. Outro: Seto getting to have his final moment with Ardbert
  400. Outro: the Chais bidding farewell to Alphinaud and ourselves
  401. Outro: The ending sequence in general is great. The swim, the people, Ardbert’s axe finally cleansed
  402. Outro: The final send-off quests in 5.3 are an excellent finale section in general but a few points particularly shine
  403. Pacing: The pacing and execution of the ‘breather’ episode in early 5.3… before things get bad
  404. Plot: The entirety of Emet-Selch’s plan for cooperation, why, and wherefore
  405. Plot: The incredible creepiness, build up to, and revelation… of Meol
  406. Plot: The plot structure of the expansion is interesting and very video-gamey, but works quite well for many purposes; World building, characters, party members, and the conclusion
  407. Plot: The very nature of Sin Eaters and the horror and obstacle they present
  408. Prime Opt: And has some great cutscene construction regardless
  409. Prime Opt: Dark Knight 80 is the usual high quality stuff but gets a second positive for the sheer continuity cavalcade as well as the interpretive last moments of who (or what) was really going on…
  410. Prime Opt: …for two positives
  411. Prime Opt: E12 bridge. The entire sequence as Gaia is battered
  412. Prime Opt: E12 outro. The last gasp of yet another of the Ancients, and Gaia and Ryne being given the freedom to be themselves
  413. Prime Opt: Generally good level 80 quest continuity in White Mage, Ninja, Monk, Dragoon
  414. Prime Opt: Gunbreaker 60-70 has some good character tidbits and background worldbuilding
  415. Prime Opt: Paladin (Gladiator) 80 ties up the, uh, gladiator chain quite nicely and has some surprisingly good moments
  416. Prime Opt: Red Mage 80 is simple but nice, and a good capstone to Arya’s arc
  417. Prime Opt: Reaper 70-80 has some memorable characters and moments
  418. Prime Opt: Reaper 70-80 worldbuilding, especially for Garlemald and Garleans in general
  419. Prime Opt: Ryne wanting to connect with Gaia
  420. Prime Opt: Scholar 80 not only cured the Tonberries, but was adorable on several levels
  421. Prime Opt: Summoner 80 has nothing to do with summoning, really, but has some good moments with Arenvald and Fordola
  422. Prime Opt: Thancred and Urianger being dads for Ryne
  423. Prime Opt: The Bozja series giving us some good insight into Cid as well as the events surrounding Dalamud
  424. Prime Opt: The characterization and moments for Renda-Rae in the ranged physical quest are pretty nice
  425. Prime Opt: The final Mean arc is simple, but a nice personal capstone to a series of nice, personal stories
  426. Prime Opt: The fishing Mean quest is, similarly, pretty legit
  427. Prime Opt: The healer’s role quest as usual has some good Warriors of Light build up and storytelling and deserves a bonus positive for Giott being generally delightful…
  428. Prime Opt: …for two positives
  429. Prime Opt: The magical dps role quest is actually pretty legit. It takes a moment to get going, but once it does it turns into a surprisingly powerful tragedy, yet retains positivity as Taynor now gets a chance at a real life after the Flood
  430. Prime Opt: The smithing Mean quest is actually quite nice, it’s got good tone, good light hearted bits, and a nice heartwarming thing at the end
  431. Prime Opt: The tragedy of the tank role quest in general is good stuff
  432. Prime Opt: The Void Quest is a good chunk of continuity, and lays some good bricks for future stories
  433. Prime Opt: Warrior 80 was far more entertaining than it had any right to be
  434. Secondary: Ehll Tou is just adorable, and the alien mentality of being fascinated by ‘crafting’ is a neat world building touch
  435. Secondary: Kholusia’s side quests do a good job of following through on the consequences of Eulmore and how normal citizenry are dealing with the fallout
  436. Secondary: The down-to-earth personal stories of the Crystarium sidequests
  437. Secondary: The orphanage chain of the Firmament is a very good, very ground-floor story about the orphanage
  438. Secondary: The Restoration itself is just good stuff all around. Good continuity, good characters, genuinely heartwarming…
  439. Secondary: …for a full…
  440. Secondary: …three positives
  441. Secondary: The side quests of Amaurot do so much to flesh out the people and culture of the ancients
  442. Secondary: The story of the heretic returned home and the reception he received from family and former neighbors
  443. Storyboarding: The animation, cinematography, and camerawork are just noticeably higher quality in 5.3…
  444. Storyboarding: …for two positives
  445. Storytelling Mechanic: Gaia’s memory issues and the utilization thereof as a narrative tool
  446. Story Sequencing: Really starting to line up the threads well and consistently, with logical reasons for us to go from Point A to Point B…
  447. Story Sequencing: …for two positives
  448. Theme: I have to give a purely subjective plus to this game for so powerfully, emotionally impacting me with its core, central theme… of idealism, both fulfilled… and crushed
  449. Theme: The overall theme of idealism, and what it does to us… good, bad, and in between
  450. Theme: The overall theme of legacy, and what and how we pass on
  451. Visual Storytelling: Eden terraforming
  452. Visual Storytelling: The beautiful visual storytelling of the wall of light in Amh Araeng… the macro
  453. Visual Storytelling: The brilliant visual storytelling of Mt. Gulg and the still-in-construction ‘new paradise’ he is building
  454. Visual Storytelling: The visual storytelling of the Amaurot city is fantastic
  455. Visual Storytelling: The visual storytelling of the eternal bright sky
  456. Voice Acting: Alisae’s voice actress continues to kill it
  457. Voice Acting: Emet-Selch
  458. Voice Acting: Emet-Selch
  459. Voice Acting: General voice acting positive
  460. Voice Acting: G’raha Tia’s voice actor is fantastic
  461. Voice Acting: Let’s make this clear. Ardbert’s voice actor is absolutely phenomenal, doing nuance, layers, and gradients in spades…
  462. Voice Acting: …for a full…
  463. Voice Acting: …three positives
  464. Voice Acting: The Chais, both of them
  465. Voice Acting: Urianger
  466. Voice Acting: Vauthry’s voice actor just sort of absolutely nails it…
  467. Voice Acting: …for two positives
  468. World Building: Aaaand finally, Eulmore and its horrifying perversion of the ‘earn your way’ cultural norm of the survivors, and the classim it engenders
  469. World Building: Eulmore deserves a second positive for the sheer nuance and layers that go into how messed up it is and how… resigned and despairing some of these people really are
  470. World Building: General world building of the Fae segment of the story
  471. World Building: Kholusia continues the world building quest construction of having to earn your way and insight into local function
  472. World Building: The Ancients in general are fascinating on almost every level
  473. World Building: The worldbuilding of Mord Souq and the very idea of ‘cracking the coinpurse’ and its connotations for requirements of interaction and citizenry
  474. World Building: World building of the Night’s Blessed, up to and including the service
  475. Animation: Wonderful, wonderful animation in cutscenes this time around…
  476. Animation: …for a full…
  477. Animation: …three positives
  478. Atmosphere: Cold of Garlemald and its usage as a constant threat in the zone
  479. Atmosphere: Garlean indoctrination and the tragedy of the sisters
  480. Atmosphere: The Thirteenth is a truly impressive hell. Eternal hunger, no death, no pause from awareness…
  481. Atmosphere: …for a full…
  482. Atmosphere: …three positives
  483. Brickwork: Elpis is in general fascinating, with some great visual storytelling
  484. Brickwork: Garlemald zone is generally brilliant visually and in background storytelling
  485. Brickwork: Jungle (Aloalo and Sanctuary) // Forested mountain (Mount Rokkon) // Pandamonium
  486. Brickwork: Labryinthos
  487. Brickwork: Mara Lamentorum
  488. Brickwork: Myths of the Realm has some brilliant visuals
  489. Brickwork: Sharlayan (the city) is brilliantly laid out and indicative of the coastal town motiff
  490. Brickwork: Thavnair is visually beautiful and perfectly encapsulates the island trade nation
  491. Brickwork: The Void
  492. Brickwork: The ‘forest’ which is, honestly, just… heartwarming
  493. Brickwork: Tower of Babil’s general visual storytelling and presentation
  494. Brickwork: Ultima Thule
  495. Camerawork: Once again, much improved camerawork for cutscenes…
  496. Camerawork: …for a full…
  497. Camerawork: …three positives
  498. Character: Alisae is… as usual… awesome
  499. Character: Alphinaud is, as usual, awesome
  500. Character: Athena. She is legitimately, truly messed up, in an impressive way
  501. Character: Dammit 6.1! G’raha is just… the best, really
  502. Character: Emet-Selch in past is given a great amount of additional characterization and moments…
  503. Character: …earning a second positive despite everything for the continued nuance and construction of his character, visually, audibly, and in writing
  504. Character: Erenville has only so much screen time, but is actually pretty awesome in every scene he’s in
  505. Character: Estinien finding himself and demonstrating his growth from Heavensward to Vtra
  506. Character: Golbez. The voice actor helps quite a bit, and it’s a good take on the character
  507. Character: Hermes is a very well constructed example of someone who simply doesn’t quite fit with his surroundings, and so clearly struggles with it
  508. Character: Hyth + Hades make for fantastic chemistry and are fantastic every moment they’re on screen together
  509. Character: Hythlodeus was always a good character, but he is fleshed out even more in the past…
  510. Character: …earning him, his presentation, his purpose in the narrative a second positive
  511. Character: Jullus himself is astonishingly well constructed as a character, in a very short period of time…
  512. Character: …for two positives
  513. Character: Jullus’ arc is great in general
  514. Character: Lahabrea. Somehow the Pandamonium arc actually grants him a character and a degree of depth he was sorely lacking
  515. Character: Lucia actually gets some good time to shine this time around
  516. Character: Matsya has already had his moments to shine earlier but frankly deserves…
  517. Character: …two positives for how brilliantly they portray a simple fisher and the significance thereof
  518. Character: Meteion is just adorable…
  519. Character: …but even more interesting is her nature and how it affects her interactions
  520. Character: Montichaigne is a great example of a good reasonable authority figure, who is helpful and enjoyable despite
  521. Character: Nidhana is just fantastic in general, and delightful as utilized
  522. Character: Tataru doesn’t get much screen time but she, similarly, shines each time she’s there
  523. Character: The loporrits in general are just a delight
  524. Character: Urianger in general actually manages to be even better than normal, this being one of his better…
  525. Character: …earning a second positive
  526. Character: Venat. Just… Venat….
  527. Character: …who is fantastic for her relatively short period of screen time
  528. Character: Vtra is yet another example of a reasonable authority figure who similarly manages to accomplish both being engaging and helpful, while still having his own concerns and worries to flesh him out
  529. Character: Zero. She took a while to grow, and she’s cheesy as all get out, but she’s good when she gets there…
  530. Character: …for two positives
  531. Consequence Storytelling: A lot of logical consequences of the plot in the patch content
  532. Cutscene: 6.1; Estinian’s cutscene with the vendor, the kid, and us is great
  533. Cutscene: 6.1; Y’shtola waking up and being bonked isn’t just adorable and humorous, it’s also well directed and animated
  534. Cutscene: General fidelity quality of opening cinematic
  535. Cutscene: Sense-make logic of the ‘hostage’ situation, and Thancred’s shadowing
  536. Cutscene: Speaking of heartwarming, the Loporrits attempts at keeping us ‘away for our own good’ and how terrible they are at it…
  537. Cutscene: …and Urianger’s moment of settling down with the crew, the significance of names
  538. Cutscene: The 6.1 Tataru cutscene is wholesome and adorable
  539. Cutscene: The first Forum scene does a lot pretty quickly and efficiently; Introduces a new character, establishes the Forum’s method of operation, hints at several things, and changes the stakes into a more personal venue
  540. Cutscene: The initial journey to the moon is excellent in audio, visual, moments, and escalation
  541. Cutscene: The initial sequence in Yedlihmad, with aether sickness and Estinien’s… unique mercantile sense
  542. Cutscene: The interruption scene, which is structured as a build up for a fight… only to be interrupted by the WHM representative
  543. Cutscene: The pre-final battle scene with Y’shtola, Urianger, and Thancred is exactly what it needs to be. Fond, melancholy, showcasing growth, and hints of the ‘after’
  544. Cutscene: The ‘avengers assemble’ moment where Alphinaud calls on the connections we’ve made across the last 5 expansions…
  545. Cutscene: …really did some great stuff overall, showing the dominos where they lay
  546. Cutscene: The ‘chilling with food and friends’ scene is really just fantastic. It’s light hearted, heartwarming, and a great breather moment…
  547. Cutscene: …and very well voice acted, animated, and stylized
  548. Cutscene: Zero and Jullus are a delight in general, and I have to give special praise to the animation thereof
  549. Dialogue: Voices. In addition to general quality dialogue, each character (within reason) speaks with a distinct ‘voice’, with different dialects, structure, and tone…
  550. Dialogue: …for a full…
  551. Dialogue: …three positives
  552. Doodads: Doodad utilization is back up to good quality…
  553. Doodads: …for two positives
  554. External Continuity: But it doesn’t end there, because it also acknowledges the previous expansions (and stuff you personally have done)…
  555. External Continuity: …thus a second positive for external continuity
  556. External Continuity: Plenty in the final patch quests of Endwalker
  557. External Continuity: The brilliant external continuity of the chain of dominos that lead to time travel
  558. External Continuity: The Tataru epilogues in general
  559. Humor: Livingway’s introduction scene is hysterical (and a necessary moment)
  560. Humor: Sigh… for the first time, I will give the Hildibrand chain a humor positive
  561. Humor: The Three Frogs of Light
  562. Internal Continuity: And frankly, the sheer cavalcade of continuity deserves a positive all in its own
  563. Internal Continuity: Internal Continuity is fantastic in this one…
  564. Internal Continuity: …easily earning a second positive
  565. Localization: As per usual, some excellent localization on display…
  566. Localization: …for two positives
  567. Moment: 6.1; The simple yet powerful vows of support and encouragement for Vtra from his people
  568. Moment: Alisae and Alphinaud’s ‘goodbye’ is actually quite well done, especially on the voice acting axis
  569. Moment: Alisaie’s midnight scene is a great example of her idealism in negativity; the fear of things going badly, pushing her to prevent
  570. Moment: Alphinaud’s midnight scene is a perfect encapsulation of his idealism in positivity; the desire for the betterment
  571. Moment: And one final bonus for our final farewell, at long last, to Elidibus
  572. Moment: And one last positive for the final send off of Emet-Selch
  573. Moment: And the Meteion Report
  574. Moment: Calling back Emet and Hythlodeus, the blooming of the flowers, the recalling of Hermes’ words, and the crack in Meteion’s despair…
  575. Moment: …is such a smile and tear inducing scene it deserves two positives
  576. Moment: Dunking on Lugae
  577. Moment: Eric’s final moments with his father, and Eric’s final moment with his mother
  578. Moment: Estinian’s midnight scene is very him. For all his layers and pretensions, the man cares deeply and, more to the point, very much wants all those things like friendship, happiness, and hope fulfilled
  579. Moment: Estinien and Alphinaud’s moment is great (especially when Estinien admits, albeit briefly, that they are family)
  580. Moment: Estinien being, as ever, the perfect person to cut through the crap and force the issue, to perfect musical cues
  581. Moment: Everything about playing as Godbert
  582. Moment: Giving Tataru her necklace
  583. Moment: G’raha’s midnight scene is just so adorkable and so him. The elder mage who is still nervous at just the thought of talking to us, and really just wants to help
  584. Moment: G’raha’s standing up seamlessly into the leadership role in the ‘satrap’s demise is brilliant, and good consequence storytelling
  585. Moment: Honestly, a third positive for this scene. Dialogue, music, emotion, but most importantly of all… it is earned. Multiple expansions of build up are, honestly, rather well culminated in this moment. “It’s the little things, isn’t it?”
  586. Moment: Matsya’s desperate, terrified flight, child in hand, hits me harder than most I imagine… but even ignoring my personal protective instincts towards the kid…
  587. Moment: …the scene is a masterclass. It’s built up perfectly, the story hasn’t held any punches so you know it could have hit here… but even on top of that…
  588. Moment: …Matsya never gave up. He held on, even as he began to turn, he didn’t cross that line. He did not give in. And in his defiance he saved that child’s life, as well as his own
  589. Moment: Quintus’s suicide is actually quite well done
  590. Moment: Thancred’s midnight scene is just so him. The pragmatist and realist who, ultimately, cannot detach himself from his personal connections that keep him going
  591. Moment: The breaking of Venat cutscene is very well acted, presented, and showcased
  592. Moment: The End Walk
  593. Moment: The first Despair Wave
  594. Moment: The G’raha Tia ‘goodbye’ scene is actually really cool, mostly because G’raha is really himself and dorks out beautifully
  595. Moment: The little things scene between the troops is exactly as powerful as it needs to be. Not because of defeating some great evil or stopping some horrible plot, but simply because things have gotten… better. In tiny, insignificant, microscopic ways…
  596. Moment: …and those ways are what really matter
  597. Moment: The scene where Matsya unknowingly and unwillingly spreads the despair wave is brilliantly horrible
  598. Moment: The simplicity of sitting beside the sleeping G’raha and Alisae, and the friendly interactions with Krile
  599. Moment: The ‘breather’ segment has some issues, but the payoff of the scene with Urianger is beyond words. He’s been legit this entire expansion, but the moment of his being embraced by Moenbryda’s parents…
  600. Moment: …and finally allowing himself to accept and embrace in turn, not just them, but himself, and those lost
  601. Moment: Vanaspati’s storytelling is exactly as horrifying as it should be. We see despair propagate…
  602. Moment: …and the escalating nightmare of the backdrop visuals
  603. Moment: While… weird, the whole Great Work moment with Estinien was great
  604. Moment: Y’shtola’s midnight scene continues to be very her; snarking covering the concern and fear that drowns her, and her desire to make sure we’re recovered… always attending to reality
  605. Moment: Zero, the nightmare edgelord, vs. the loporrits
  606. Moment: Zero and Nidhana
  607. MSQ: 6.1; General consequence storytelling in the re-establishment of trade, orphanage construction, and distribution of hoarded wealth
  608. MSQ: As much as it causes me personal trauma, the de-powering and desperate race back to camp is a very powerful moment for very good reason
  609. MSQ: Cutscene incompetence aside, the big confrontation scene with Hermes is generally awesome…
  610. MSQ: …made further so by the natural teamwork of Venat, Emet-Selch, and Hythlodeus
  611. MSQ: General quality for the entire procession to the Thirteenth
  612. MSQ: Ktisis Hyperboreia also has some great story tidbits, not the least of which being fighting alongside those whom we do
  613. MSQ: Loporrit breather section is great in several ways
  614. MSQ: Montichaigne’s lesson and relevant info
  615. MSQ: Some truly hilarious moments with Zero, spicy curry, and a certain shirtless dragoon
  616. MSQ: Tension of post-Zodiark… the axe has fallen, but yet to hit anything
  617. MSQ: The build up and reveal of Vrtra is actually pretty well executed; Not dragged out for fake drama, but laid out and fulfilled in short order
  618. MSQ: The entire arc around the summoning of Zeromus works surprisingly well. Zeromus is a threat, not by virtue of being a universe ender, but by virtue of the portals it seeks to open to the other worlds
  619. MSQ: The entire lead up to Garlemald’s battle is well constructed and has some good character moments
  620. MSQ: The follow through with Garlemald and the Twins continuing to try and keep things fed and functional
  621. MSQ: The time travel twist is admittedly a good one
  622. MSQ: The ‘everyone’s gathered’ scene is just kind of grin inducing
  623. MSQ: Endsinger has great music, dialogue, visuals, presentation…
  624. MSQ: …and is made even better by the hyperbeam moment of phase 2
  625. Music Direction: Lots of great usage of music throughout…
  626. Music Direction: …for two positives
  627. Outro: The Outro / Ending with the family rejoicing at our survival, and the ship journeying across the NPCs we’ve known and the places we’ve visited
  628. Plot: A special bonus point for the added plot point that defeating Zeromus isn’t quite the problem, but saving Azdaja from within that truly tasks us
  629. Plot: The very concept of the Despair Wave is a wonderfully horrific idea on every level…
  630. Plot: …and the game uses it to very good effect across the game
  631. Prime Opt: 6.1; the final Role Quest acknowledging the mess and recovery operations of Garlemald
  632. Prime Opt: And the final moment with Fordola, the kid, and Arenvald is great
  633. Prime Opt: And the quest chain surrounding the Stigma Dreamscape is further nice
  634. Prime Opt: For all its dreck, the Tank Role quest does at least give us some good backstory for Kan-E
  635. Prime Opt: Hildibrand 2 got a legitimate laugh or two out of me, but more to the point is surprisingly well storyboarded and choreographed
  636. Prime Opt: Hildibrand 3 got actual laughter out of me, which is rare for Hildibrand quests
  637. Prime Opt: Hildibrand 4 and 5. Surprisingly for the chain, some actual lore and an actual character present
  638. Prime Opt: Myths chain. A nice breather episode, no world ending threat, and some honest moments of levity and sincerity
  639. Prime Opt: Pandamonium. It wasn’t catching me at first, because the ‘threat’ is… not interesting. But the character focused epilogue of Elidibus and Lahabrea… that works much better
  640. Prime Opt: Ranged Role did several bits of good, mostly for the little moments and private stories…
  641. Prime Opt: …but also for the very triumphant return of Gosetsu (twice!) and Hien
  642. Prime Opt: Smileton is honestly one of the better visually designed dungeons in the game on sheer quality of brickwork and design
  643. Prime Opt: The Culinarian Studium quest is actually quite amusing in its absurdity
  644. Prime Opt: The Healer Role Quest in general is a great, well constructed look at the layered tragedy that is prison hierarchy
  645. Prime Opt: The Stigma Dreamscape visuals and storytelling are very nice
  646. Prime Opt: The Studium Gatherer quests are actually quite sweet and heartwarming…
  647. Prime Opt: …is really quite excellent, and gives us some great visual and audio flavor
  648. Prime Opt: The visual and background world building and storytelling of the Dead Ends…
  649. Prime Opt: …but it gains a second positive for the world and culture building
  650. Prime Opt: Two positives for Mage Role, it’s the usual good Ishgardian well thought out storytelling…
  651. Prime Opt: …but also a good outro and ‘now what’ about the church and its role in Ishargian society
  652. Secondary: As usual, the Ea regional quests are terrifying in their alien’ness
  653. Secondary: Elpis sidequests mk. 2
  654. Secondary: Heartless Hypothesis, the Omega chain…
  655. Secondary: …easily deserves…
  656. Secondary: …a full triple positive. The feels, the ‘epilogue’ vibe, the touching of characters across the expansion, great stuff
  657. Secondary: Similarly the Ea sidequests in Ultima Thule were fascinating and horrifying in equal measure
  658. Secondary: Special mention to the WEAPON chain somehow turning something good out of that nonsense
  659. Secondary: Tataru’s quests in general are good, solid wrap ups
  660. Secondary: The dragon sidequests in Ultima Thule were legit, with good, personal stories and more background for the dragon people themselves
  661. Secondary: The Elpis Regional chain is pretty cute, and horrible as we make our worst enemies in the past // The Garlemald Regional chain is a nice moment of positivity in the otherwise gloomy zone // Helping Dreamingway was just adorable, really
  662. Secondary: The Garlemald sidequests don’t do much in general (a lot of fairly basic ones) but there are enough gems there to be worth notice, usually dealing with the aftermaths of the crisis or rogue 3rd Legion elements
  663. Secondary: The Moon (yay!) has good side quests, mostly adorable stuff but also some good insights into how the loporrits function and are adapting to us…
  664. Secondary: …earning a second positive
  665. Secondary: The Omicron quests about trying to understand connections between people are perfectly horrifying
  666. Secondary: There’s actually several consequence storytelling sidequests in Sharlayan proper, one about Papalymo, one about Moenbryda, one about the Levilleur family, one about Alisae in particular… it’s good stuff
  667. Secondary: The second Four Fiends side quests fleshing out Cagnazzo and Rubicante
  668. Secondary: The side quest with the hecteyes fleshing out Scarmiliogne and Barbariccia
  669. Secondary: We finally (finally) have good side quests in Elpis, ranging from local flavor to world building to explanations of culture and species and discourses on how the ancients interact with each other
  670. Storyboarding: Some really great usage in this one, best we’ve ever seen…
  671. Storyboarding: …for a full…
  672. Storyboarding: …three positives
  673. Storytelling Mechanic: Hythlodeus and the echoes are a great additive
  674. Storytelling Mechanic: The inclusion of portraits alongside the in-dungeon text is a good tool to ensure story is not missed, and is easier (and quicker) to understand
  675. Storytelling Mechanic: The recurrent usage of the NPCs and party members adding extra dialogue at most quests in the MSQ is a good storytelling tool
  676. Storytelling Mechanic: The ‘party’ system and optional interactions system is a great way to add optional dialogue and flavor text
  677. Theme: The little things. Just… the little things…
  678. Theme: …for a full…
  679. Theme: …three positives
  680. Theme: Theme of accepting past and moving through it
  681. Visual Storytelling: Bonus points for the Zeromus fight. Lotta storytelling going on in that fight
  682. Visual Storytelling: Ktisis Hyperboreia does some generally excellent visual storytelling
  683. Visual Storytelling: The Lunar Subterrane. Not what I was expecting from it, but the built in backstory for Durante and Golbez and the fall of Baron was legit
  684. Visual Storytelling: Wonderful visual storytelling in the Aitiascope…
  685. Visual Storytelling: …and little callbacks and continuity moments
  686. Voice Acting: Let’s go ahead and get some voice acting points out of the way. Alphinaud
  687. Voice Acting: Alisae
  688. Voice Acting: Emet-Selch
  689. Voice Acting: General high quality voice acting…
  690. Voice Acting: …for a full…
  691. Voice Acting: …three positives
  692. Voice Acting: G’raha
  693. Voice Acting: Hermes
  694. Voice Acting: The Four Fiends and Golbez himself are well acted and varied
  695. Voice Acting: Urianger
  696. Voice Acting: Venat
  697. Voice Direction: Emet-Selch as narrator was an inspired choice
  698. World Building: The simple yet effective continued development of Allag as horrible during Amon’s flashback
  699. World Building: The wonderfully uncanny valley of the ancient’s culture and the fascination therewith…
  700. World Building: …as they perceive life, death, duty, other races… and their unique form of stagnation

Story Negatives:

  1. Character: Ilberd is just the worst. Screw him
  2. Character: Minfilia is a flat, bland, empty piece of cardboard…
  3. Character: …which is made even worse by just how much camera presence she has, despite her bad VA, bad character, and absence of relevance
  4. Character: This isn’t quite a negative for Minfilia so much as for her constant presence, which makes her worse
  5. Cutscene: The final escape sequence from the World of Darkness is silly on every level. Bad storyboarding and cutscene incompetence galore
  6. Cutscene Incompetence: Excessive amounts of cutscene incompetence…
  7. Cutscene Incompetence: …for a full…
  8. Cutscene Incompetence: …three negatives
  9. Cutscene Incompetence: There is a truly aggressive amount of cutscene incompetence going on with the main character in the Banquet scene
  10. Empty Text: ARR MSQ has a serious Empty Text problem, easily the worst in the entire game…
  11. Empty Text: …for a full…
  12. Empty Text: …three negatives
  13. Empty Text: ARR’s Primary Optionals don’t fare any better…
  14. Empty Text: …for a full…
  15. Empty Text: …three negatives
  16. Empty Text: Nor do ARR’s Secondary quests…
  17. Empty Text: …for a full…
  18. Empty Text: …three negatives
  19. Moment: Yda and Paplymo staying behind is literally contrary to the entire point of us fleeing instead of fighting, AND the gate being closed behind them could have been done with them on the other side to the same effect!
  20. Moment: I need to make special mention of the finale of the Titan chain. It was all for a feast, for us! Yaaay…
  21. MSQ: The Banquet. Good lord, everything about the banquet. I honestly consider it one of the worst sequences in the game, for far too many reasons to list here…
  22. MSQ: …for a full…
  23. MSQ: …three negatives
  24. MSQ: A bonus negative for the Banquet
  25. MSQ: The entire Nabriales ‘chain’ is… weird. It’s critically important to the overall plot, with the White Auracite and the Ascians’ nature, and yet the scenes are just… badly done, and bad tempo, cutscene incompetence, and weird direction rob it of all significance
  26. MSQ: The entire pre-Garuda arc is just straight up padding filler… and, worse, we’re actively in a hurry and the quests literally waste our time (in lore!) while rubbing our faces in that fact…
  27. MSQ: …for a full…
  28. MSQ: …three negatives
  29. MSQ: The entire pre-Titan arc is honestly just… awful. It’s too long, it’s almost entirely filler, and its plot and pacing and story are just… bad…
  30. MSQ: …for a full…
  31. MSQ: …three negatives
  32. Music: Music direction is pretty problematic in ARR, with the same songs being played entirely too often…
  33. Music: …a common problem…
  34. Music: …across entirely too much time
  35. Outro: The Castrum Praetorium has… several issues when it comes to the narrative axis. As an Outro it’s lacking at best, there’s several extended examples of cutscene incompetence, and the actual final thing is just… flat
  36. Pacing: Pacing has serious issues throughout the MSQ…
  37. Pacing: …for a full…
  38. Pacing: …three negatives
  39. Padding: And THEN there’s the fact that every damned cutscene is about twice as long as it should be…
  40. Padding: …for a full…
  41. Padding: …three negatives
  42. Padding: And then there’s the spinning wheels in the Crystal Tower
  43. Padding: This is me being nice and only giving triple negatives for the MSQ padding…
  44. Padding: …for a full…
  45. Padding: …triple negative
  46. Prime Opt: Bard 30-50 is… you guessed it… boring
  47. Prime Opt: Ninja 30-50 honestly takes far too long and is a bit cliche’d, plus Karasu is just irritating
  48. Prime Opt: The Lancer 1-30 quests are… not good. Excessive repetition and honestly mostly drivel, with a tiny bit of nice world building and character right at the end making it merely one negative
  49. Prime Opt: White Mage 30-50 is, at best, boring
  50. Secondary: A whole lot of boring nothing drivel in the La Noscea side quests
  51. Secondary: The Gridanian side quests are the worst of the lot by far with so little meat to them and so much bleh nonsense…
  52. Secondary: …for a full…
  53. Secondary: …three negatives
  54. Storyboarding: There’s a general presentation problem persistent in ARR, which deflates scenes that otherwise should have impact, and detracts from story beats throughout
  55. Voice Acting: Inconsistent / absent voice acting in main story stuff
  56. Voice Acting: Absence of voice acting in raids
  57. Voice Direction: Bad voice acting isn’t all over the place, but there are several performances in ARR which actively ruin their respective scenes
  58. Writing: The absolutely ridiculous nonsense of us picking up and keeping the vial for evidence deserves
  59. Writing: There is an exceptional amount of narrative cheating with the entire build up for the Ivy and how it is designed to completely remove any semblance of foreshadowing from the circumstances
  60. Character: Emmanellain. ‘Nuff said.
  61. Cutscene: As much as I love the overall scenes, throwing the eyes over the bridge is not only stupid, but leads to a lot of bleh
  62. Cutscene Incompetence: Also there’s just general cutscene incompetence all around
  63. Cutscene Incompetence: Cutscene incompetence with the Griffin… again, sigh
  64. Cutscene Incompetence: Some pretty bad cutscene incompetence in the Alexander raids
  65. Cutscene Incompetence: There is an irritating amount of cutscene incompetence in the death of Haurchefant, which actively detracts from the entire sequence
  66. Empty Text: General Empty Text issues. It’s not as bad as ARR but it’s still bad, in the MSQ…
  67. Empty Text: …for two negatives
  68. Empty Text: General Empty Text issues. It’s not as bad as ARR but it’s still bad, in the Primary Optionals…
  69. Empty Text: …for two negatives
  70. Empty Text: General Empty Text issues. It’s not as bad as ARR but it’s still bad, in the Secondaries…
  71. Empty Text: …for two negatives
  72. Pacing: For the second time in in the HW MSQ, we have pacing and sequencing issues as we go right up to Azys La… and then, while we’re on an obvious time crunch… we go off and do side quests for a while
  73. Prime Opt: Astrologian 30-60 just takes too damned long. Between empty text and repeating itself its bloated past reasonability, easily being three times the length of the other class quests and not in a good way
  74. Prime Opt: Honestly Mide’s ‘love story’ is honestly kind of… bad, and sort of ruins the overall arc
  75. Prime Opt: Machinist 50-60’s hatesink Dzamael character was… not well done. Too overt, too sudden a turnaround at the last minute
  76. Prime Opt: Miner 50-60 sucks. It’s dull as dishwater, predictable to its detriment, and doesn’t do anything with its cliches
  77. Prime Opt: The Paladin arc is boring, actively nonsensical, and ignores its own continuity in favor of dull plot points that go no where and mean nothing…
  78. Prime Opt: …for two negatives
  79. Prime Opt: There is no reason for us to be in the Mhach cutscenes half the time, and it leads to a lot of irritating cutscene incompetence as we literally stand there doing nothing in a scene that has nothing to do with us
  80. Prime Opt: Warrior 50-60 is bad, boring, after-school-special and, worse, is the same damn arc from the ARR one…
  81. Prime Opt: …for two negatives
  82. Secondary: The majority of the Dravanian Hinterlands quests are boring to the point of detrimental, following hunters doing hunting things and also pluckiness woo
  83. Secondary: The Moogle quests. Good lord, the Moogle quests. I hate the Churning Mists secondiares with a fiery passion…
  84. Secondary: …for a full…
  85. Secondary: …three negatives
  86. Secondary: The moogle sidequest is not great to begin with, but it’s made even worse because it’s a multi day delay when we’re in a hurry for no good reason…
  87. Secondary: …for two negatives
  88. Secondary: The Western Coerthas quest chains honestly kinda suck
  89. Story Sequencing: Popping in and out and in and out of Alexander for no good reason (often times minutes apart from each other) is just stupid
  90. Story Sequencing: The story sequencing of the main plot and the Ul’Dah plot has issues. The two plot threads are interesting in their own rights, but it’s awful in its placement
  91. Voice Acting: Inconsistent voice acting problem arguably gets worse, as the raids and side quests get even better… and remain absent voice acting…
  92. Voice Acting: …for two negatives
  93. Writing: Charibert and the Knights of the Round are just… cheats, honestly
  94. Writing: Narrative cheating of the Griffin… again, sigh
  95. Writing: The undoing of Y’shtola’s ‘death’ for no real purpose or consequence
  96. Writing: The utter pointlessness of the reveal of Yda = Lyse and the total lack of follow through thereupon
  97. Writing: The way the Warriors of Darkness get portrayed early on is unnecessarily (and narratively cheating) evil muwa ha ha
  98. Writing: While a minor point, being poisoned to set up the failed conference is totally unnecessary as we only had to be absent a few minutes at best. It could have been accomplished while we were out dealing with wolves
  99. Atmosphere: The entire vibe and feel of the desperate and dying Ishgard burdened by the weight of the generations war
  100. Character: Grynewaht continues to ruin scenes as he just sort of ‘theres’ in the Yotsuyu v. Zenos scene
  101. Character: Grynewaht really has no place in the Gosetsu v. Yotsuyu scene
  102. Character: Grynewaht who is somehow as good as Raubahn in combat, who is misplaced in both tone and execution as a bad combination of comic relief and horrific nightmare
  103. Character: Hien finally becomes the negative character I misfondly remember in the patch content
  104. Character: Lyse is not a bad character, but the narrative has no idea how to utilize her properly, and it actively hurts the overall story
  105. Character: Magnai is an asshole, and that’s… ‘fine’ but the problem is despite repeated interactions he never truly gets his comeuppance nor does he get any better
  106. Character: Ramza is an addlepated twit and literally called out in-universe for it
  107. Character: Zenos. The flandardization of what was, otherwise, a decent character
  108. Character: Zenos’ arc conclusion… which is utterly ruined by him being brought back from the dead and rather than doing anything good with it, they just repeat his stupid ‘hunt’ arc…
  109. Character: …for two negatives
  110. Cutscene: Gosetsu and Yotsuyu’s death scene is honestly really, really bad on every level. Pacing, storyboarding, incompetence, and lasts three friggin’ minutes…
  111. Cutscene: …for a full…
  112. Cutscene: …three negatives
  113. Cutscene: The war council and parlay with Emperor Varis’ first half honestly suffers some weird construction and content issues, with the leaders being (frankly) idiots in their moralizing and Varis barely even responding
  114. Cutscene: The ‘ending’ to 4.0 is… weird. It’s misplaced, ignores consequence storytelling (we’re super free) and honestly just… tries too hard
  115. Cutscene Incompetence: Cutscene incompetence with Lakshmi
  116. Empty Text: Stormblood MSQ
  117. Empty Text: Stormblood Prime Opt
  118. Empty Text: Stormblood Secondaries
  119. External Continuity: External continuity with Ilberd being ‘right’ despite everything
  120. Fake Drama: In hindsight, Tsuyu’s tragedy is really quite unnecessary, over-the-top, and done for its own sake
  121. Internal Continuity: We… stopped being the Star Destroyer for some reason in Stormblood. We build back up to it, but it’s undeniable, unexplained, and actively hurts the narrative repeatedly
  122. Internal Continuity: Zenos’ initial fight against us has him shrek us effortlessly which… I’m sorry, what?
  123. Moment: The insistence in Zenos not suiciding by Lyse is just… tonally out of place and, as usual, forces Lyse into a narrative position she should not be in
  124. Moment: Zenos’ situation is further compounded by the fake-out death itself
  125. Music Direction: Music utilization problem continues
  126. Pacing: The pacing of the entire Ruby Sea arc really suffers
  127. Pacing: The pacing of the Ivalice arc is absolutely all over the place, rubber-banding between too-slow and too-fast with no rhyme or reason…
  128. Pacing: …for two negatives
  129. Prime Opt: Armorer 60-70 is dull as dishwater
  130. Prime Opt: Blacksmith 60-70 repeats the problems of ‘ha ha abusive dad is so silly’ and slants the whole story awfully
  131. Prime Opt: Carpenter 60-70 has problems with both of its ‘tones’ (silly vs. serious) and mishandles both
  132. Prime Opt: Leatherworker 60-70 iiiis dull as dishwater boring drivel, with the formulaic after-school-special approach without anything interesting or fun (with the sole exception of the OBJECTION! moment)
  133. Prime Opt: Paladin 60-70 continues the heady trend of Paladin quests… sucking
  134. Prime Opt: Samurai 60-70 was just straight up melodrama nonsense on top of cutscene incompetence
  135. Prime Opt: The entire wine self-insert chain is pointless drivel with very little to redeem it (Hancock was cool)…
  136. Prime Opt: …for two negatives
  137. Prime Opt: Weaver 60-70 is… weird, tonally inconsistent, and leans a little too hard in its slanting towards tradition
  138. Story Sequencing: The disjointed positioning of Stormblood relative to other expansions
  139. Story Sequencing: The story sequencing of the early 4.0 arc is very, very disjointed…
  140. Story Sequencing: …for two negatives
  141. Voice Acting: You guessed it. The absence of voice acting in Ivalice and class quests and the like continues to be a black mark…
  142. Voice Acting: …for two negatives
  143. Writing: As much as I like what came of it, Gaius’ survival is, honestly, yet another fake-out undo death thing
  144. Writing: I like him, and I like where it goes, but Gosetsu and Yotsuyu surviving is total bullcrap on every level
  145. Writing: So by the time we hit the Ruby Sea we start to run into ‘because plot’ reasons for cutscenes
  146. Writing: There is an unacceptable amount of ‘because plot’ in the form of artificial drama, cutscene incompetence, and general lack of agency with regards to Tsuyu
  147. Character: And then there’s Creepface. He’s a badly designed hatesink, devolving into Get Off My Screen territory, and is objectively a one dimensional nobody
  148. Character: And then there’s Ran’jit. Ran’jit, who is an asshole, who is a threat of the week, which is bad for all the reasons it usually is
  149. Character: Ran’jit continues to be terrible. He has less character than Minfilia (the original) and despite having purpose in the story (as Thancred’s opposite) he is consistently mis-used
  150. Character: The irritation and aggravation of Konogg and Anogg is way over the top
  151. Cutscene: The big dramatic cutscene of ‘we’ve got to earn it!’ before two idiot children go off to die horribly in service of hindering their own plans for no good reason. Screw that entire cutscene
  152. Cutscene: There is an aggressive amount of cutscene incompetence during the end of CLL cutscene, with multiple points where multiple people could do something (indeed, the hostage-taker literally kicks away their hostage at a certain point) but we just kind of… go along with it Because Plot
  153. Cutscene Incompetence: A bonus for cutscene incompetence
  154. Cutscene Incompetence: Cutscene incompetence abounds… mostly in the damned raids. Why are we even in these scenes?
  155. Cutscene Incompetence: Cutscene incompetence in the tank role quest
  156. Cutscene Incompetence: Cutscene incompetence returns!
  157. Empty Text: There is entirely too much padding and empty text in the initial Nier quest chain
  158. Empty Text: The repetition of the story is repetitively repetitive
  159. Fake Drama: A bonus negative for fake drama
  160. Moment: Also I’m sorry but him kicking the cart aside is stupid for several reasons. Ignoring the obvious fact that it is a sudden power mary sue bullcrap, it also punches the player in the crotch after all the crap we just went through just to get the stupid trolley working again
  161. Moment: Zenos’ final scene in 5.3 is a little bit too much ‘and an even greater threat looms dun dun dun’ for me, and feels ill timed and worse applied
  162. MSQ: And finally, Ran’jit (sigh) fights us (sigh) again (sigh)
  163. MSQ: There is absolutely no good reason for the main character to participate in the rescue of Minfilia. The whole tonal, thematic point of this encounter is that the Crystarium is inspired by us to take action regardless of us… and then we go along to help them for some reason
  164. MSQ: The Trolley sequence has some decent moments, but has some serious pacing and padding issues
  165. MSQ: Toupasa, Ran’jit, and the usual mary sue / incompetence issues
  166. Pacing: There are occasional pacing (and arguably padding) issues at a few points in Kholusia and the Tempest, when in both cases we’re in a bit of a hurry too
  167. Padding: There are occasional pacing (and arguably padding) issues at a few points in Kholusia and the Tempest, when in both cases we’re in a bit of a hurry too
  168. Padding: There is entirely too much padding and empty text in the initial Nier quest chain
  169. Padding: There’s… a little bit too much ‘get on with it’ while we’re under literally increasing ticking clock scenarios during the finale of 5.3
  170. Prime Opt: And then there’s Allie’s big ‘rebellion’ scene which, forgive me, I won’t go into detail on because quite literally everything is wrong with it up to and including Valens taking a Diamond Weapon beam to the face and surviving…
  171. Prime Opt: …for a full…
  172. Prime Opt: …three negatives
  173. Prime Opt: An utterly unsatisfying, ridiculous conclusion to the Nier Raids
  174. Prime Opt: Creepface’s second cutscene is… entirely too creepy, uncomfortable, and arguably over-written
  175. Prime Opt: Gunbreaker quest chain cutscene incompetence ruins an otherwise good scene
  176. Prime Opt: Konogg’s 180 in character is the usual exaggerated nonsense
  177. Prime Opt: Some generally dull, boring quests in Bard, Black Mage, Machinist at 80
  178. Prime Opt: The Dancer quest isn’t just disinteresting, it’s actively de-investing to the point where I didn’t want to do the quests. This is on top of the fact that it should be a big change to the setting (though this pays off in Endwalker), and retroactively adds something that’s always never been an issue
  179. Prime Opt: The ending of the Weapon chain starts off at a firm ‘neutral’ and between repetition, un-earned crap, veneration of all the wrong things, and after-school special
  180. Prime Opt: The entire Emerald sequence of cutscenes… suck. Just… on every single level, across the board…
  181. Prime Opt: …for two negatives
  182. Prime Opt: There is such a cascade of idiocy in this entire chain it literally is idiot volleyball
  183. Prime Opt: There’s just… meandering dishwater drivel in the physical dps chain, made worse by the literal ‘I hate you!’ (five seconds later) ‘please come back!’ bit
  184. Prime Opt: The Sage 70-80 chain is honestly pretty bad. It tries to engage on an emotional level and fails, and tries to have several big moments and… fails
  185. Prime Opt: The Weapons arc has so many issues for me. Ignoring the obvious weird discomfort of jackass, there’s also the fake drama and needlessly irritating stupidity of the kids
  186. Prime Opt: This is in addition to the flubber-levels of bouncing around the tone of the entire chain has
  187. Voice Acting: The voice acting inconsistency… has returned…
  188. Voice Acting: …for two negatives
  189. Writing: As usual, fake-out deaths (Thancred)
  190. Writing: As usual, fake-out deaths (Y’shtola) are a negative
  191. Writing: Ran’jit’s survival is… absolutely awful. Never explained, terrible even if it was explained, and the usual awfulness
  192. Writing: The time dilation problem remains, as it always did
  193. Writing: Time dilation reaction problem; Alisae edition
  194. Writing: Time dilation reaction problem; Alphinaud edition
  195. Writing: Time dilation reaction problem; Thancred edition
  196. Writing: Time dilation reaction problem; Uriangier edition
  197. Cutscene: This is mostly a pacing issue but there’s some weird meandering and thunder stealing in the post Zeromus cutscene
  198. Cutscene Incompetence: Cutscene incompetence
  199. Cutscene Incompetence: Okay I complain a lot about cutscene incompetence but we just stand there for literal minutes while Meteion (very slowly) recites her information (which we want to stop), allow her to turn (despite knowing what it is), and cause everything… all because we just stand there watching (all of us, even)
  200. Cutscene Incompetence: …more cutscene incompetence
  201. Empty Text: Better than it’s been the whole game, but still bad
  202. Empty Text: Okay I lied, it’s back… it’s back
  203. MSQ: The entire sequence of events around the Milon 2 fight is awful. So Zero shows up and establishes the nature of how voidsent cannot die normally, but immediately establishes there’s a way around this; consuming the creature in question. Zero then… sits back and does nothing while we kill voidsent in front of her over and over. Zero also talks repeatedly about refusing to do anything without payment. All of this neatly sets up the potential solution… which is then instantly thrown out the window in favor of what I can only call nonsense, as instead we insist Zero owes us for her name (of all things), and Zero promptly Worfs the crap out of us (and our entire team) by demonstrating hitherto unforeseen strength in literally one shotting the enemies. Later on Zero mentions her distaste for eating voidsent, but none of that helps the presentation of the entire sequence
  204. MSQ: The final Zenos fight is mis-placed and unnecessary
  205. Pacing: Breather episode of Sharlayan and subsequent pacing issues
  206. Pacing: Breather episode of the Burrows and subsequent pacing issues
  207. Padding: Speaking of repetition, Meteion really does need to stop saying the same damn thing every time we talk to her, it starts to actually pull away from otherwise decent scenes
  208. Prime Opt: The early Ranged Role quest honestly sucked, and was actively angrifying
  209. Prime Opt: The Studium Smithing/restoration chain is dull and is terribly paced
  210. Prime Opt: The Studium Weaver chain is boring as sin and compounded by actively being insulting towards just about everyone…
  211. Prime Opt: …for two negatives
  212. Prime Opt: The tank role quest is… bad. It’s dumb, meanders, and manages to be completely disinteresting which by itself is worthy of two negatives, but then it pushes into actual aggravation as it turns out to all be about the elementals, and how (frankly) awful they are and how we owe them everything and all that blegh…
  213. Prime Opt: …for a full…
  214. Prime Opt: …three negatives
  215. Secondary: Similar problem with Thavnair
  216. Secondary: The Labryinthos side quests are honestly drivel no world building, no fleshing out, no nothing…
  217. Secondary: …for two negatives
  218. Theme: And further hampered by several thematic weaknesses which pull the plot down
  219. Theme: The main theme of the game is… weak, as it is excessively repeated to the point of aggravation
  220. Writing: The handwaviness of being able to casually travel back to the past and the edge of reality (regularly, for multiple quests) is a detriment to the story as a whole, especially given how difficult and costly it was for the initial transit
  221. Writing: The inconsistent time travel problems, especially given how it’s using the same method
  222. Writing: This is functionally an aggregate negative for the multitude of times where we arguably shouldn’t even be present in a moment or scene because we’re just there to do a boss battle, and then the situation actually gets resolved by the real characters after. Also known as WoW Syndrome
  223. Writing: Weirdly unnecessary and lengthy repetition of all we already know with the Forum when many things could have accomplished it with far less waste

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Boss: Further, the Livia and Gaius fights are much improved
  2. Boss: Garuda Hard adds some nice layers to the fight, and is generally well designed (gradient difficulty, recovery mechanics, lots to keep track of but not too much, etc.)
  3. Boss: Good King Moogle Mog XII–may he sing his awesome song forever–is a decent enough council-style fight, with one of each class doing their own thing and having to balance that all at once
  4. Boss: Ifrit Hard is a pretty good fight. Consistent mechanic usage, fun gimmicks, and built in recovery periods
  5. Boss: Shiva, naturally, is a good fight. Multiple phases with consistent layered mechanics
  6. Boss: The Bahamut fight is pretty legit, with good spacing and pacing of mechanics and variance, just… I can’t summarize it, it’s legit
  7. Boss: The Leviathan fight continues the trend of good Trial fights by having a reasonable number of mechanics that layer into each other nicely
  8. Boss: The Nael fight, as frustrating as it is, actually has some really cool, well-woven mechanics
  9. Boss: The Phoenix fight in Coils is a really fun, well constructed dps race fight
  10. Boss: The revamped Ultima fight is an actual friggin’ fight, and it’s got actual mechanics and presentation and markers…
  11. Boss: …for two positives
  12. Boss: The second Gilgamesh fight in Ampador is legit, with great layered mechanics and a lot of fun gimmicks to it
  13. Boss: The Vishap fight, in its nerfed form, is actually quite fun. Tanks have to keep the adds in check, the dps runs the cannons and burns down adds, the healers frantically keep everyone up, and the entire fight is on a short enrage
  14. Boss: Try to be surprised, but the Ramuh fight is similarly pretty fun and well designed
  15. Core Combat: The consistent usage of vuln stacks as a way to apply penalty for failure without being too harsh (can recover from it, drops after a minute if continue to not get hit) and a way to tutorialize which attacks should be dodged
  16. Core Combat: The resurrection mechanic is a good system. It allows for gradient penalty for failure (you get a debuff, it’s expensive, and it’s time consuming, but you don’t have the snowball problem so many JRPGs have)
  17. Core Mechanic: Macros and malleability thereof
  18. Core Mechanic: The auction house is a bit clunky and awkward but there are a lot of options for how to search for what
  19. Core Mechanic: The chocobo companion system, giving another (customizable) tool to help soloing players
  20. Core Mechanic: The Duty Finder is a great way to just zip to any dungeon / raid, queue for specifics, and go in certain ways
  21. Core Mechanic: The roulette system in general is brilliant. It keeps old content relevant, it helps new players, it rewards everyone doing it, it’s even more rewarding if someone’s doing something new, and it has a bunch of options to customize it…
  22. Core Mechanic: …for three…
  23. Core Mechanic: …three positives
  24. Cosmetic: Housing in general is a nice system. Limited, but there are some good cosmetics and some actual functionality to them
  25. Cosmetic: Minions form a good type of personalization and customization
  26. Cosmetic: Mounts are a good type of personal customization
  27. Cosmetic: The glamour system allows for a huge amount of customization in appearance, but limitations in what you can do and the workarounds on top of workarounds pull this back from being more positives
  28. Fast Travel: Generally good fast travel system (find, warp to from anywhere)…
  29. Fast Travel: …for two positives
  30. HUD: The HUD customization allows for you to move just about any element to wherever, and scale them smaller or larger, which is awesome…
  31. HUD: …for two positives
  32. HUD: The player icons (idle, do not disturb, new player, returning player, in cutscene)
  33. Info In Game: MSQ and Class Quest indicators (always shows you what your next main quest or class quest is)
  34. Integration: Gameplay/Story Integration
  35. Interface: The crafting interface is easily one of the best I’ve seen in gaming, with a ton of good interface design and lots of different ways to search for recipes, items, flowcharts, etc…
  36. Interface: …for a full…
  37. Interface: …three positives
  38. Kit: Monk at 1-50 is actually surprisingly well designed, gradually but surely adding portions of the core mechanics of the class so it actually feels fun to play while leveling and at 50…
  39. Kit: …for two positives
  40. Kit: Ninja 1-50 once again pushes most of its core mechanics (the mudras) forwards, and has most of its combos by then, but lacks some other things that help flesh it out later
  41. Kit: Summoner 1-50 is just as well designed as Monk for different reasons, with all of its core mechanics frontloaded and an enjoyable and malleable rotation, while still looking cool…
  42. Kit: …for two positives
  43. Launch: The ARR Miracle x1
  44. Launch: The ARR Miracle x2
  45. Launch: The ARR Miracle x3
  46. Level: Ampador Keep (hard) is honestly pretty fun, with good trash layout and some unique boss designs
  47. Level: Keeper of the Lake is the best designed dungeon in ARR, with good trash design and good ‘barriers to progress’ while having some fun bosses
  48. Level: Lost City of Ampador is surprisingly good, since it actually uses some fun trash gimmicks and has unique (if simple) boss designs
  49. Level: Melusine has some visibility and consistency issues (typical of early fights) but it’s some pretty cool ideas and function // Hullbreaker Isle has some issues, but it has some neat fights (especially the Kraken)
  50. Level: Tam-Tara Hard is a reasonably well designed dungeon; nice minibosses, good trash layout, and reasonable boss design
  51. Level: The Stone Vigil isn’t much, but it’s probably the first actually designed dungeon in the game, with actual thought put into layout, encounter design, balancing, and bosses
  52. Level: Wanderer’s Keep (hard) has some surprisingly well thought out trash design and some fun boss mechanics
  53. Leveling: The Hunting Log isn’t great, and is abandoned too early, but it’s a neat additional way to reward players for seeking out specific mobs and hunting
  54. Level Scaling: The ability to enjoy content at-level as an option is an awesome thing supported by in game systems and mechanics
  55. Minigame: Crafting itself is a very well thought out, balanced, well designed, in-depth, fun system to craft things…
  56. Minigame: …for two positives
  57. Minigame: The Golden Saucer in general is surprisingly good fun, with lots of minigames and a good variety of rewards to them
  58. Minigame: The Lords of Vermillion minigame is… really surprisingly well done, and is a neat little minigame way to use your minions in a non cosmetic fashion
  59. Minigame: Triple Triad itself is fairly well fleshed out, to the point of being its own decent minigame…
  60. Minigame: …for a full…
  61. Minigame: …three positives
  62. MSQ: The new Praetorium is a substantially better dungeon than it used to be, with much truncated pulls and much better bosses
  63. Music: Music is… honestly not that great, but there are some legitimately fun songs
  64. Options: Lots and lots of gameplay options in the menus
  65. QoL: Autoloot on enemies
  66. QoL: Chocobo bank storage (accessible on the fly) is a great QoL feature
  67. QoL: QoL Features (quest log and map to find locations and warp to them, joining other people’s warps for free, notifications of nice long cutscenes, etc.)
  68. QoL: The gear set list and the ability to just hit a button and instantly swap classes and equipment on the fly is extraordinarily useful
  69. Song: Eternal Wind (FFIII remix, functionally G’raha’s theme)
  70. Starting Options: Character creation has a decent number of options and generally well designed structure to it
  71. Traversal: The city’s aethernet is a pretty well designed and helps to get around, with a surprisingly well done menu system
  72. Tutorialization: Guildhests serve as a good (if not great) way to tutorialize people who are new to MMOs the concepts therein
  73. Tutorialization: Smith tutorial quests and how they get players into baseline mechanics
  74. Boss: Alexander 10 is a good, properly tutorialized-within-the-fight boss, with good escalation of mechanics
  75. Boss: Alexander 12 is legit, easily one of the best fights in the expansion with lots of great, thematically appropriate, great mechanics and the awesome portals phase
  76. Boss: Alexander 12 is legit, easily one of the best fights in the expansion with lots of great, thematically appropriate, great mechanics and the awesome portals phase
  77. Boss: Alexander 5 is a pretty fun, complex fight with some neat gimmicks
  78. Boss: Alexander 7 is actually pretty legit, good complexity and good variety
  79. Boss: Alexander 8 is awesome. Lots of moves, tons of fun gimmicks, but best of all no binary difficulty. Failure can be recovered from even despite the frenetic pace thereof
  80. Boss: Alexander 8 is awesome. Lots of moves, tons of fun gimmicks, but best of all no binary difficulty. Failure can be recovered from even despite the frenetic pace thereof
  81. Boss: Arachne Eve is, as usual, a fun and good fight with good manual teamwork and nice ‘use detriments to benefits’ gameplay
  82. Boss: A special bonus for the Ser Charibert boss fight
  83. Boss: As with many other Trials before it, Ravana is pretty legit
  84. Boss: Despite requiring a dungeon journal to know what’s going on, Alexander 9 is a pretty cool fight
  85. Boss: Forgall is, surprisingly, another good example of a ‘use detriments to benefits’ concept with megadeath and the origination of the doritos
  86. Boss: Ozma is a very fun fight, lots of moving pieces and nice big telegraphs (if you know what they’re doing)
  87. Boss: Sophia is a legit fight, with some fun layering and escalation throughout
  88. Boss: The Ascian Primal fight at the end of the Aetherochemical Research Facility is legit
  89. Boss: The final Nidhogg raid is probably one of the better fights in the expansion with the usual fantastic interweaving of mechanics, and a wonderful escalation of all three phases…
  90. Boss: …for two positives
  91. Boss: Tioman is a pretty cool fight overall, with meteors, spread markers, etc.
  92. Boss: Zurvan, similarly, is a great fight, with only one niggling flaw in the whole bit
  93. Kit: Bard 50-60 actually becomes rather fun, with the added dot refresher, new song and subsequent proc, and a few other tidbits
  94. Kit: Dragoon 50-60 continues the trend of enjoyability, with a few extra extensions of combos and an additional ogcd
  95. Kit: Monk 50-60 continues its excellence, adding Blitzes to the otherwise good combo loops
  96. Kit: Ninja 50-60 really comes into its own, having good viscerality and fun but let’s be honest, what really locks it in is its smart usage of cooldowns and charges
  97. Kit: Summoner 50-60 really starts to come into its own, with the added mobility of the Bahamut-related spells and more options for keeping the dps rolling
  98. Kit: Warrior 50-60 is still a good tank (probably the best tank in the range), adding better spenders and self heals
  99. Kit: White Mage 50-60 officially ‘gets good’, with the core lily mechanic coming into its own, and even more ogcds to keep healing interesting
  100. Level: Amdapora Hard has some fun and unique visuals and presentation, but really comes into its own in its boss design, with some fantastic and clever mechanics throughout…
  101. Level: …for two positives
  102. Level: Baelsar’s Wall has fun (if simple) bosses, and good layered trash
  103. Level: Continuing the trend, Sohr Khai is a good dungeon with some fun boss mechanics
  104. Level: Fractal Continuum is a good dungeon with good visuals, good music, good trash design and engaging and fun bosses…
  105. Level: …for two positives
  106. Level: Gubal Library Hard has some fun stuff, but ultimately it’s the excellent boss design that really makes it work…
  107. Level: …for two positives
  108. Level: Hullbreaker Hard is reasonable enough. It’s essentially a series of trash fights, but there’s thought and care put into them
  109. Level: Pharos Sirius (Hard) is actually pretty legit in its own right, with some fun mechanics and the music remains awesome
  110. Level: Saint Mocianne’s Arboretum is actually quite fun, with legitimately fun visuals and audio and some enjoyable bosses
  111. Level: Sohm Al (Hard) continues the trend of decent HW dungeons
  112. Level: The Antitower has good visuals, good music, good trash and good boss design throughout…
  113. Level: …for two positives
  114. Level: The Great Gubal Library in general is quite fun and well designed, with well placed and escalating trash plus some very inventive and fun bosses…
  115. Level: …for two positives
  116. Level: The Vault is, blessedly, a well designed dungeon, with good escalation of trash and some fun boss encounters
  117. Minigame: The Palace of the Dead is a reasonably good ‘trial’ system, letting players try out classes and mechanics, while also providing an alternate leveling system for progression
  118. Music: The music is substantially better constructed and, frankly, better quality than ARR’s
  119. Music: With one notable exception, the music in Alexander rawks
  120. Song: Brute Justice (the, uh, Brute Justice fight)
  121. Song: Revenge of the Horde (Nidhogg final fight)…
  122. Song: Solid Ishgard (Ishgard city, day I do believe)
  123. Song: …for two positives
  124. Boss: Agrias, too, is a great fight that uses the Duty ability to good effect
  125. Boss: Alte Roite does the usual tutorialization, escalation, and is fun regardless
  126. Boss: And big surprise, Ultima is fantastic. Multi layered, lots of different types of mechanics, and it’s effectively two fights in one, with a proper mid-mission checkpoint even…
  127. Boss: …for two positives
  128. Boss: And then there’s the beauty that is Omega 12
  129. Boss: Belias and its time fun mechanics are really cool, mostly about paying attention and knowing in advance where to be
  130. Boss: Byakko is a somewhat simple fight, but its big on spectacle and that it does well
  131. Boss: Catastrophe
  132. Boss: Chaos. Great player-controlled telegraphs, very tight and well used terrain, great escalation…
  133. Boss: …for two positives
  134. Boss: Consequently, the second Jim fight is actually quite fun, with only a few issues here and there
  135. Boss: Construct 7 is, memes and jokes aside, really awesome. It’s a lot of fun gimmicks and mechanics on top of the math segment, which actually buffs you for doing it right…
  136. Boss: …for two positives
  137. Boss: ExDeath is one of my favorite mage bosses ever. The interplay between void and regular spells really makes the whole thing super fun…
  138. Boss: …for two positives
  139. Boss: Famfrit is a hectic fun fest of waaagh
  140. Boss: Halicarnassus. Lots of fun, pseudo puzzle pay attention and reasoning checks…
  141. Boss: …for two positives
  142. Boss: Kefka is a legitimately enjoyable fight, simple in concept but ultimately fun in execution
  143. Boss: Lakshmi is another good boss fight, introducing mechanics with longer timers and showcases so you can be tutorialized before escalating properly
  144. Boss: Mateus is simple but fun
  145. Boss: Midgardsormr
  146. Boss: Much as I have issues with it, Omega 11 has a lot of nicely layered attacks and moves and is… well, Omega
  147. Boss: Mustadio is a very fun pay-attention-check fight, with lots of tracking
  148. Boss: Phantom Train is, similarly, a very fun fight
  149. Boss: Seiryu has good layers and complexity, marred a little by some RNG and some camera issues, but still fun
  150. Boss: Susano is, let’s be honest, a pretty enjoyable fight, and starts to really push the ideas of universal markers and positioning
  151. Boss: Suzaku has some really fun stuff in its design, especially the colored template thing
  152. Boss: The Argath fight is legit, clever, and does some fun stuff with its lie/truth mechanics
  153. Boss: The Orlandeau fight is a bit much, but it’s quite well constructed, with a whole lot going on and nice layering thereto
  154. Boss: The second boss of Bardam’s Mettle, Bardam himself, is good enough to warrant two positives. In addition to being unique and fun, it serves as a tutorial of sorts for the universal markers that have finally grown to be, and is a well designed gradient difficulty conflict which allows for individual and group recovery while remaining challenging…
  155. Boss: …for two positives
  156. Boss: The Shinryu fight is, surprise surprise, good… mean, but good
  157. Boss: Tsukuyomi is a fantastic fight, with great mechanics and a great bridge and great layering and great everything…
  158. Boss: …for two positives
  159. Boss: Yiazmet is a good ‘chaotic’ fight, lots going on and lots to keep track of but essentially all dodgeable
  160. Enemy Design: With the newly touched up dungeons, I think we can finally give FFXIV a trash positive
  161. HUD: Stormblood, finally, starts utilizing universal markers
  162. Kit: Astrologian at 70 has a huge variety of utility and nicely overlapping heals
  163. Kit: Ninja gets even better at 70, with two nice spenders and Ten Chi Jin
  164. Kit: Red Mage at 70 is easily one of the better classes overall with good viscerality, good kit, and a nice complex rotation or two, which weaves nicely in and out of itself…
  165. Kit: …for a full…
  166. Kit: …three positives
  167. Kit: Samurai has a little bit of a button bloat issue, but otherwise is fun, engaging, rewarding has great viscerality, and is a great build/spend class…
  168. Kit: …for two positives
  169. Kit: Scholar 60-70 is only a little different than before, but different enough to add some variety and additional ‘battery’ utility to it
  170. Kit: Warrior continues its trend of excellence with several new useful moves to the kit and a great cooldown
  171. Level: Ala Mhigo is one of the best dungeons in the expansion, with great and proper trash design, bosses, and function…
  172. Level: …for a full…
  173. Level: …three positivies
  174. Level: Bardam’s Mettle is a good dungeon in general, with interesting trash and some very fun boss fights
  175. Level: Fractal Continuum (Hard) has some fun trash but ultimately leans on its music, visuals, and bosses
  176. Level: General quality to the Rabanastre raid (trash design, some fun bosses)
  177. Level: Kugane Castle is alright; simple, but fun, especially the Yojimbo fight at the end
  178. Level: Saint Mocianne’s Arboretum (Hard) is actually really fun, with multiple good trash tiering and fun and innovative bosses…
  179. Level: …for two positives
  180. Level: Sirensong Sea begins Stormblood’s dungeon catalog on a good note, with good barrier trash and simple but fun boss fights
  181. Level: Swallow’s Compass is reasonably fun, good trash tiering and some fun encounters, on top of some legit boss design in the first and third bosses
  182. Level: The Burn (minus the last boss) has some very fun mechanics and good construction
  183. Level: The Doma dungeon is fun, interesting, engaging but also has really fun, well tutorialized, properly complex boss design…
  184. Level: …for two positives
  185. Level: The Drowned City of Skalla is another example of a series of fun boss fights
  186. Level: The Ghimlyt Dark continues the trend of excellent dungeons, some very fun boss fights and actual well done terrain and trash design with environmental hazards…
  187. Level: …for two positives
  188. Minigame: And a plus for Blue Mages variety of spells and the uniqueness and fun thereof
  189. Minigame: Blue Mage’s may be limited, but the Carnivale is a nice lengthy amount of puzzle mini-game content for them to enjoy
  190. Minigame: Heaven On High continues to be a reasonably good ‘trial’ system, letting players try out classes and mechanics, while also providing an alternate leveling system for progression
  191. Music: A second music positive for general quality
  192. Music: Music is, as usual, pretty legit
  193. Music: Omega music… the whole kit, really
  194. NG+: Exists, though with no rewards and some wonkiness and jankiness
  195. Prime Opt: Dark Knight 70’s quest is fun, interesting, appropriate, and thematic
  196. Princess Peach: As before, the Roleplay system is used and used well and is a good variant on Princess Peach segments
  197. QoL: A weird but substantial positive for several QoL improvements added during Stormblood
  198. Song: The Worm’s Tail (Shinryu fight)
  199. Song: Tsukuyomi (her fight). A good song, but very narratively powerful beside…
  200. Song: …for two positives
  201. Boss: Adrammelch is pretty legit too
  202. Boss: And finally, the last fight of beast plus Lyon is a neat little challenge
  203. Boss: Brionac is an interesting and fun fight, made even more so due to the other side of it, the lower Drill fight
  204. Boss: Diamond Weapon, for all the flaws surrounding it, is an excellent fight, smartly keeping tanks relevant while removing ‘threat’ in the traditional sense, with lots of positional and ‘pay attention’ checks…
  205. Boss: …for two positives
  206. Boss: E11, once you figure it out, has some good music and some good presentation to a reasonably well done, if simple, fight
  207. Boss: E12 first half
  208. Boss: E12 second half
  209. Boss: E1 is, shocker, a good fight. Relatively simple yet enjoyably frantic, with lots of leeway time on top of the hits
  210. Boss: E2 is awesome. It’s mostly the same types of mechanics we’ve faced, but with the added layer of the ‘clock’ which ‘delays’ them, forcing you to adapt and move rather quickly…
  211. Boss: …for two positives
  212. Boss: E3 layers its mechanics very nicely, especially towards the latter half, though it fumbles a bit in several ways
  213. Boss: E4 has several issues with it, but where it shines (its frenetic pace and the layering of mechanics) it shines
  214. Boss: E5 has a few problems but is, as per usual, a good fight
  215. Boss: E6 does the usual good thing with layering and positioning, with only a few small issues
  216. Boss: E7 is exceptionally well tutorialized within the fight, with introduction of mechanics in a vacuum and safety before escalating and layering on top of being a very well constructed, unique fight to begin with…
  217. Boss: …for two positives
  218. Boss: E8 is one of the better Eden fights in general, having multiple phases and the great bridge phase, as well as great music…
  219. Boss: …for two positives
  220. Boss: E9 is pretty simple, but keeps things nicely varied, especially with the platforms mechanic
  221. Boss: Emerald Weapon is a good, well designed, well layered, well tutorialized fight with breather periods, good music, good visuals…
  222. Boss: …for two positives
  223. Boss: Her Inflorescence is one of the best bosses I’ve seen in this game. Complexity without convolution, fully tutorialized in the fight, lots of varying and fun mechanics, very unique gimmicks that are explained in-fight, brilliant visuals and music…
  224. Boss: …for a full…
  225. Boss: …three positives
  226. Boss: Red Girl is a very creative, very fun ‘players in control’ fight with a lot going on but all of it manageable…
  227. Boss: …for two positives
  228. Boss: The Bozjan Phantom fight is actually really fun, despite its simplicity
  229. Boss: The Crown of the Immaculate fight isn’t really anything special… but it’s good stuff, good and fun and unique mechanics neatly and nicely layered upon each other
  230. Boss: The Dying Gasp is probably in the running for the best raid in the game on several levels not the least of which being how well constructed it is, how well it layers on itself and how it progresses…
  231. Boss: …for a full…
  232. Boss: …three positives
  233. Boss: The Ruby Weapon fight has a few decent mechanics to it
  234. Boss: The Sapphire Weapon fight is a fun quest, with well designed mechanics and a fun fight with a neat song
  235. Boss: The Seat of Sacrifice is a fantastic fight, while not one of the best ever it’s definitely high tier especially given how it actually has a mid mission checkpoint! Oh and lots of very cool, well constructed mechanics…
  236. Boss: …for a full…
  237. Boss: …three positives
  238. Boss: The Titania boss fight is exceptional, easily one of the best Trials to-date, and one of the better ones in Shadow… tons of layered mechanics and excellent build up throughout…
  239. Boss: …for two positives
  240. Boss: The Trinity Avowed is, similarly, pretty awesome
  241. Boss: The Varis fight is actually pretty legit
  242. Enemy Design: Back to some good trash design in Shadowbringers…
  243. Enemy Design: …for two positives
  244. Kit: Astrologian at 80 continues to have lots it can do, and well
  245. Kit: Bard at 80 doesn’t just have lots of utility and a good setup, but actually leans on a fair few number of different types and varieties of mechanics, with lots of neat complexity and variety…
  246. Kit: …for two positives
  247. Kit: Black Mage is, at long last, a full class at 80. It has a full rotation, but what really makes it shine is the micro optimizations in which cooldowns you use where
  248. Kit: Dancer is a fantastic fight in almost every respect. At first glance it’s simple, but picking it up is very smooth for new players, and it’s well constructed even at lower levels, plus there’s several bits of player control over the RNG of the procs of the class, and it all layers and flows onto itself beautifully, all while looking and sounding cool…
  249. Kit: …for a full…
  250. Kit: …three positives
  251. Kit: Dark Knight at 80 finally has a good overall rotation and presentation, with a decent amount of interweaving mechanics, making it a good… dps class
  252. Kit: Dragoon at 80 is, as with all classes, truly coming into its own, not just with combos that finally loop into themselves, but the additional Life of the Dragon ‘phase’ also adds a lot to the class…
  253. Kit: …for two positives
  254. Kit: Gunbreaker is really a fantastically designed class all around. It has everything other tanks do but just straight up feels better to play, designed around DPS mentality and structured to allow for layering OGCDs while staying mobile and fun…
  255. Kit: …for a full…
  256. Kit: …three positives
  257. Kit: Machinist is still good, but barely different, at 80
  258. Kit: Ninja continues being a well done class, with a few additional bells and whistles (Bunshin being a big one) that allow for greater control over stacking
  259. Kit: Paladin 80 finally, finally became a full and complete tank class at 80, with good rotations and timing and utility
  260. Kit: Red Mage continues to be a good class, with good utility, and good fun, only hampered by being barely changed at 80
  261. Kit: Samurai really, truly comes into its own at 80, with the ‘follow ups’ to combos and more options and buttons to keep things interesting…
  262. Kit: …for two positives
  263. Kit: Scholar at 80 has some great utility and a good spread of abilities further, Scholar at 80 also has a good general mentality and variance to its healing from all other healers…
  264. Kit: …for two positives
  265. Kit: Warrior continues its trend of being good
  266. Kit: White Mage 80 finally has a true loadout of both lily-using abilities and regulars, as well as really upping the viscerality of the class with Glare and Dia
  267. Level: Akademia Anyder isn’t anything special, really, but it has some fun mechanics in its boss designs
  268. Level: Amaurot dungeon is a very well executed dungeon, with tutorialization in trash design, fun and engaging bosses and great music and visuals throughout…
  269. Level: …for two positives
  270. Level: Copied Factory has some issues with padding and telegraphs but is still fun at times and has some legit music
  271. Level: Dohn Mheg continues the trend of good dungeon design and gets a bonus for the final boss being especially good…
  272. Level: …for two positives
  273. Level: General positive for quality of visuals, music, and encounters in Tower at Paradigm’s Breach
  274. Level: Heroes Gauntlet has a bit of a health problem but otherwise is quite well constructed, as we fight our way through the (totally not FFV) classes from other shards
  275. Level: Holminster Switch has some good trash design (and some bad) and starts leaning into the tutorialized boss construct
  276. Level: Malikah’s Well has a few issues, but it shines in its fun and layered boss designs
  277. Level: Matoya’s Relict is weirdly generic for how unique many of its boss mechanics are, and is buoyed up by said mechanics almost entirely
  278. Level: Mt. Gulg has a few issues in boss design, but is overall quite fun
  279. Level: Paglth’an has good trash fights, good viscerality, good boss fights and some truly excellent boss designs. Special bonus points for the second fight, the ‘magitek reactor’ fight, which is at its face a basic elevator boss but is very well constructed in how it progresses (trash to boss to trash to boss) and lots of variable mechanics that vary things up as you go through, with little repetition…
  280. Level: …for two positives
  281. Level: Puppet’s Bunker has some really clever bosses (especially the first and the last ones)
  282. Level: Puppet’s Bunker honestly has some of the best trash in the entire game, earning its own unique positive
  283. Level: Qitana Ravel is honestly one of the better dungeons so far in Shadow. It uses trash as tutorialization, and actually bothers with engaging miniboss encounters in addition to the generally good, if simple, boss designs…
  284. Level: …for two positives
  285. Level: The Grand Cosmos languished a bit in several respects, but makes up for it with some creative and fun boss mechanics
  286. Level: The prisoner section is a nice ‘breather’ section and a good way to do ‘trash’, by rewarding the players for saving the prisoners instead of just typical trash
  287. Level: Twinning has great visuals, great music, and fun bosses…
  288. Level: …for two positives
  289. Leveling: Trusts are a good method to ensure you can do the dungeons through the MSQ and the scenario mode allows people to continue to use it as an additional leveling tool…
  290. Leveling: …for two positives
  291. Minigame: Bozja is lucrative for both cosmetics and leveling and is a great way to ‘try out’ a class at 80 (provided you are already 71)…
  292. Minigame: …for two positives
  293. Minigame: Ocean Fishing is a nice, rewarding, lucrative little side mini game that is reasonably well constructed and reasonably enjoyable
  294. Minigame: Similarly the Diadems are a good, if brutally direct, way to level your mining and botany
  295. Minigame: The Firmament is, problems aside, a great way to level your crafters all the way up to 80 and manages to be rewarding at the same time
  296. MSQ: A rare quest positive for the Elidibus ‘gauntlet’
  297. MSQ: The Second Battle of the Carteneau Flats is enjoyable for many of the usual reasons, and deserves special mention for actually adding mid-mission checkpoints to the game (finally)
  298. Music: Have I mentioned the music? Even early on the music is legit in Shadow
  299. Music: Lovin’ those patch songs
  300. Music: Music! Music music music
  301. Music: Music point number two
  302. Music: Nier and WEAPON raid music
  303. Music: Yet another music positive (this time for Eden stuff)
  304. Princess Peach: The Roleplay fight as Estinien is pretty legit
  305. QoL: Improved quality of life changes including but not limited to; The new interface for synthesizing, the quest altitude indicators, retrying on overmelds, linking party finder directly from chat, new hairstyle interface, expansion vendors in major cities…
  306. QoL: …for two positives
  307. Song: A Long Fall (Twinning dungeon theme)
  308. Song: Weight of the World (Nier raid 1)
  309. Song: Who Brings Shadow (Hades fight)
  310. Boss: Agdistis. Lots of layered, escalating mechanics and tons of positioning fun
  311. Boss: And the final Magus Sister fight is fantastic, lots going on and great presentation and general fun
  312. Boss: Anima, at the end of the Tower of Babil
  313. Boss: Armored Chariot gets a bonus positive for the fun and gimmicky mirrors mechanic
  314. Boss: Athena. It could be a triple if not for some visibility issues, but the combination of platform breaking, staggered predictive telegraphs, multiple adds which vary in approach, it’s solid…
  315. Boss: …for two positives
  316. Boss: Azeyma which, once again, leans pretty heavily on pay attention checks
  317. Boss: Barbarricia. The first phase is solid enough, but the second phase really shines. A properly frenetic, highly mobile fight, but never unfair or unkind…
  318. Boss: …for two positives
  319. Boss: Beatrice, simple but solid
  320. Boss: Bonus points to the Durante fight at the end of the Lunar Subterrane
  321. Boss: Byregot. Basic but good, moving terrain and several pay attention checks
  322. Boss: Caustic Grebuloff (first boss of The Dead Ends) does some fantastic ‘blown exaflare’ mechanics on top of good sound design and general quality
  323. Boss: Endsinger is honestly a fantastic fight, with great visual indicators (outside of telegraphs), wonderful mechanics, and awesome viscerality and music and everything…
  324. Boss: …for a full…
  325. Boss: …three positives
  326. Boss: Golbez. Some very brutal pay attention checks, memorization checks, and absolutely brutal escalation…
  327. Boss: …for two positives
  328. Boss: Halone. Lots of memorization checks, but well staggered…
  329. Boss: …for two positives
  330. Boss: Hegemone. Great swap mechanics, great mechanics in player control, and great mobility…
  331. Boss: …for two positives
  332. Boss: Hepheistos. Fairly simple but solid pay attention checks, and good escalation throughout
  333. Boss: Hermes, lovely and well done mechanics and gradient construction and tutorialization
  334. Boss: Hesperos is great. Lots of pay attention checks, with clear indicators and markers, and a lot of variety in what he can do when…
  335. Boss: …for two positives
  336. Boss: Hippokampos. A very good simple but fun pay attention check, with good escalation of mechanics and layering thereof
  337. Boss: Kokytos. Rotating between bosses (functionally) is quite fun
  338. Boss: Ktisis Hyperboreia’s bosses are great, some fantastic stuff, including the Hrothgar prototype
  339. Boss: Ktisis Hyperboreia’s snake thing boss
  340. Boss: Llymlaen. Lovely arena of course, but the wonderful environmental fun made for some very awesome mechanics
  341. Boss: Menphina. Another interesting fight, well constructed and with absolutely amazing layering and staggered mechanics, rewarding not just memorization but paying attention…
  342. Boss: …for two positives
  343. Boss: Mindi boss has some great pay attention checks and layered mechanics
  344. Boss: Nald’thal is legit. First, the outside of the arena isn’t insta-kill which is always nice. Second, the twisted do/don’t do mechanics. And third, the constant dynamic between the two iterations
  345. Boss: Nophica. Another simple yet basic positioning romp centered around paying attention to what attacks when and where, and your own movement adherence
  346. Boss: Oschon. I loved how they did the ‘moving telegraph’ bit, and rewarded preparation in addition to paying attention
  347. Boss: Pandamonium. Lots of moving pieces, but mostly the gears fit with each other…
  348. Boss: …for two positives
  349. Boss: Peacekeeper (second boss of The Dead Ends) is an absolutely awesome fight, with tons of great mechanics that beautifully keep things frenetic
  350. Boss: Phionix. Good range of ability names, markers, and intuition mechanics
  351. Boss: Proto Carbuncle. Generally good and good escalation, but the reflection / wall mechanic really makes it pop…
  352. Boss: …for two positives
  353. Boss: Ra-La (third boss of The Dead Ends) has some visibility issues but aside from that (minor) issue, it’s very well constructed and wonderfully layered
  354. Boss: Rhalgr and the portal shenanigans
  355. Boss: Rubicante. Clever pay attention mechanics, great player-controlled telegraphs, and some memorization checks…
  356. Boss: …for two positives
  357. Boss: Scarmiliogne. A short and simple rotation, but solid and punishing
  358. Boss: Sindi has some really cool fake out mechanics and nice layering as well (a berserk right before a big hitting telegraph)
  359. Boss: Special mention for the Cagnazzo fight. It doesn’t escalate much, but the loop is strong and filled with some good memorization checks
  360. Boss: Thaliak. A very fun variant fight on the norm, with patterns and triangles
  361. Boss: The Hydaelyn fight itself is a generally well constructed fight but further credit must be given not just for the Trust system itself, but for the ‘lives’ system they implement via stacks of ReRaise…
  362. Boss: …for two positives
  363. Boss: The Livia boss in Aitiascope is a good’n
  364. Boss: The Looming Warden boss is similarly very cool and has a unique ‘driving’ mechanic on top of general fun factor
  365. Boss: Themis. Light and dark motifs, changing patterns of avoidance, and layering balance mechanics on top of it are all great…
  366. Boss: …for two positives
  367. Boss: The Venat fight is surprisingly well constructed and mean
  368. Boss: Twins. The hard enrage hurts it a little bit, as well as a few poorly laid out mechanics, but still very solid establishment
  369. Boss: Zeromus. It’s… weirdly unchallenging, but what it lacks in challenge it makes up for in fun. The viscerality of the fight, the music, the visuals of the barrier breaking attacks, and again… generally fun value…
  370. Boss: …for a full…
  371. Boss: …three positives
  372. Boss: Zodiark is, surprise surprise, a rather fun boss, with fun ‘pay attention to changing scenario’ mechanics and excellent layering…
  373. Boss: …for two positives
  374. Choices: The very nature of the Variant dungeons and how branchy they are deserves its own recognition…
  375. Choices: …for a full…
  376. Choices: …three positives
  377. Choices: The ‘everyone’s gathered’ scene actually changing and acknowledging what you’ve done to-date
  378. Cosmetic: For all its issues, the Portraits system is yet another nice fun little way to customize one’s self
  379. Cosmetic: For all its problems, the glamour system is nice, and a great way to vary up one’s appearance…
  380. Cosmetic: …for two positives
  381. Enemy Design: General quality, especially in the blasphemies
  382. Hub: For one of the only times in the game, Sharlayan is actually well constructed from a gameplay perspective, with good layout and connections between vendors, warp points, and access to auction house
  383. Kit: A bonus point for Samurai just sort of being an amazingly complex, fluid class that folds into itself wonderfully
  384. Kit: Astralogian, level 90. Once again the bloat is real, but the additional buttons for additional situations are not just good, but layer nicely with existing cooldowns
  385. Kit: Dancer, level 90. As per the norm, only a few minor alterations
  386. Kit: Dancer. There’s a reason I consider this class one of the best designed ones in the game. The procs, the layered procs, the bad-luck protection abilities giving the player more control, the extreme mobility, the utility it offers…
  387. Kit: …for two positives
  388. Kit: Dark Knight, level 90. This sounds like I’m repeating myself but it’s mostly just a few minor alterations to an already solid kit, but the additional aoe potential really helps
  389. Kit: Gunbreaker, level 90. It’s a minor change, but the addition of a 1m cooldown ability that burns more ammo rather changes the dynamic of resource management, and makes the dps windows very, very tight… but fun…
  390. Kit: …for a full…
  391. Kit: …three positives
  392. Kit: Machinist, level 90. The addition of another Reassemble in addition to Chainsaw, plus reduction of cooldowns and a power bump, means the overall cycle of heating up / expenditure works a lot smoother and better
  393. Kit: Machinist is one of the weirdest classes in the game. It’s seemingly simple, but has a lot of room for optimization. It’s very frenetic in its button usage, except when it isn’t. And it has massive mobility on top of a great range of attacks…
  394. Kit: …for a full…
  395. Kit: …three positives
  396. Kit: Monk, level 90. Just a few additional blitz combos, but they (as usual) change up rotation priority going forwards
  397. Kit: Monk. The revamp really did it wonders and pulled it up to truly high quality standards
  398. Kit: Paladin, level 90. The additional completely detached ranged combo is a nice addition, and more control over live capacity (especially with Sheltron being made worthwhile) is nice
  399. Kit: Reaper. Reaper is a very solidly designed class, it has its issues of course (as all classes do, they just aren’t themselves until a certain point in time) but the penalty/reward system of procs, properly looping combos, great attack range and general quality mandate quite a few positives…
  400. Kit: …for a full…
  401. Kit: …three positives
  402. Kit: Reaper. We’ll call this the Pillars Of Snow positive
  403. Kit: Red Mage, 90. The final few abilities perfectly space out the initial combo and the additional charges on key abilities really solidifies the class…
  404. Kit: Sage, level 90. As per usual, a few modifications to existing spells helps the throughput, and adds even more tools to the kit
  405. Kit: Sage. It’s a step in the right direction, though not quite there yet. It’s a wonderfully complex healer, equally capable of solid damage, bubbles, and healing. The addition of Eukrasia to vary up some of the kit on the fly is great, and even more puts more pressure on the player to anticipate in addition to react…
  406. Kit: …for a full…
  407. Kit: …three positives
  408. Kit: Sage. The Pillars of Snow positive
  409. Kit: Samurai, level 90. The addition of another ‘build to’ combo at the end of the existing combos are really nice, and lovingly visceral
  410. Kit: Summoner, level 90. The additional combos woven into each summon and the
  411. Kit: Summoner similarly really works so much better after the revamps
  412. Kit: Warrior, 90. Simple yet solid continues to be the trend, with continuations of combos, better cooldowns, and general fun
  413. Kit: White Mage, level 90. The static ‘turret’ really helps, and the usual progression of existing heal combos (and of course, Holy flower of doom)
  414. Kit: …for two positives
  415. Level: Alzadaal’s Legacy is in general good quality in music and design
  416. Level: And Aloalo does not disappoint as yet another good Variant dungeon…
  417. Level: …for a full…
  418. Level: …three positives
  419. Level: Ktisis Hyperboreia is a generally well done dungeon across the board, visually and audibly
  420. Level: Lapis Manalis. Some basic but fun boss fights, with good positioning and movement checks…
  421. Level: …for two positives
  422. Level: Lunar Subterrane. A few issues here and there, but definitely still a solid dungeon
  423. Level: Mount Rokkon continues the Variant dungeon quality…
  424. Level: …for a full…
  425. Level: …three positives
  426. Level: Sil’dihn Subterrane. The Variant dungeons in general are solid, but the varieties and variances therein are what really sell it…
  427. Level: …for a full…
  428. Level: …three positives
  429. Level: Smileton has relatively simple boss fights, but all three are well executed and smooth…
  430. Level: …for two positives
  431. Level: Stigma Dreamscape has some very cool and fun stuff…
  432. Level: …for a full…
  433. Level: …three positives
  434. Level: The Aetherfont. It’s a really chill, fun romp with some legitimately solid boss design…
  435. Level: …for two positives
  436. Level: The rest of Aitiascope is quite enjoyable, with a fun (if simple) second boss and a fun (if too long) third boss
  437. Level: Tower of Babil gets a generic quality positive on top of some fun and engaging bosses…
  438. Level: …for two positives
  439. Level: Vanaspati isn’t super amazing, but still has some fun boss mechanics
  440. Minigame: Crystalline Conflict is frenetic, fast, fun, well interfaced and so easily earns two positives for its overall mode…
  441. Minigame: …for two positives
  442. Minigame: PvP distinct abilities and skills… essentially redesigning each class to be distinct and varied while also retaining some semblance of class identity in PvP is…
  443. Minigame: …a momentous feat which easily deserves…
  444. Minigame: …three positives just on the face of it
  445. MSQ: A brief Princess Peach segment with Zero followed by a solid Trust boss fight
  446. MSQ: Metal Gear Thancred is rather basic at its core, but well executed and with gradient failstate
  447. MSQ: The de-powered soldier stealth section is both brave and new, but more to the point is good when it’s good
  448. Music: General Endwalker music positive…
  449. Music: …for a full…
  450. Music: …three positives
  451. Music: Pandamonium and Myths in general
  452. Music: The FFIV mixes in general. Troia, boss, fiends, fiends again, Zeromus, Red Wings, Baron…
  453. Music: …for two positives
  454. Pacing: Quest design centered around just friggin’ warping you to the spot instead of forcing you to walk manually
  455. Prime Opt: Sage tutorial quest actually properly tutorializes with an interesting and engaging mini dungeon
  456. Prime Opt: The Melee DPS Role Quest boss fight was actually pretty fun
  457. Prime Opt: The Reaper tutorial quest, once again, tutorializes both the class… and positionals!
  458. Prime Opt: The Lugae fight actually is, with inventive mechanics and usage of abilities
  459. Prime Opt: The final solo instance of the Tower of Babil as we deal with Nerva and crew
  460. Princess Peach: The Godbert roleplay segment is exactly as overpowered and hilarious as it should be…
  461. Princess Peach: The victory lap fight at Garlemald as Alphinaud, Alisae, and ourselves is pretty fun
  462. Secondary: Greater attempt and work to create actual variety to quests
  463. Song: Close In The Distance (Ultima Thule theme)…
  464. Song: …for a full…
  465. Song: …three positives
  466. Song: Dynamis (hopeful uplifting Endwalker theme)…
  467. Song: …for two positives
  468. Song: In The Balance (Nald’Thal’s theme)
  469. Song: The Final Day (Endsinger fight theme)
  470. Viscerality: Astralogian
  471. Viscerality: Bard
  472. Viscerality: Black Mage, sound
  473. Viscerality: Black Mage, sound
  474. Viscerality: Black Mage, visuals
  475. Viscerality: Black Mage, visuals
  476. Viscerality: Dancer, sound
  477. Viscerality: Dancer, visuals
  478. Viscerality: Dancer, visuals
  479. Viscerality: Dancer, visuals
  480. Viscerality: Dark Knight, sound
  481. Viscerality: Dark Knight, visuals
  482. Viscerality: Dark Knight, visuals
  483. Viscerality: Dark Knight, visuals
  484. Viscerality: Dragoon, Impact
  485. Viscerality: Dragoon, Visuals
  486. Viscerality: Dragoon, Visuals
  487. Viscerality: Gunbreaker, impact
  488. Viscerality: Gunbreaker, impact
  489. Viscerality: Gunbreaker, sound
  490. Viscerality: Gunbreaker, sound
  491. Viscerality: Gunbreaker, visuals
  492. Viscerality: Machinist, impact
  493. Viscerality: Machinist, impact
  494. Viscerality: Machinist, impact
  495. Viscerality: Machinist, sound
  496. Viscerality: Machinist, sound
  497. Viscerality: Machinist, visuals
  498. Viscerality: Machinist, visuals
  499. Viscerality: Machinist, visuals
  500. Viscerality: Monk
  501. Viscerality: Monk
  502. Viscerality: Ninja
  503. Viscerality: Paladin, sound
  504. Viscerality: Paladin, visuals
  505. Viscerality: Paladin, visuals
  506. Viscerality: Reaper, impact
  507. Viscerality: Reaper, sound
  508. Viscerality: Reaper, visuals
  509. Viscerality: Reaper, visuals
  510. Viscerality: Reaper, visuals
  511. Viscerality: Red Mage, impact
  512. Viscerality: Red Mage, impact
  513. Viscerality: Red Mage, sound
  514. Viscerality: Red Mage, sound
  515. Viscerality: Red Mage, visuals
  516. Viscerality: Red Mage, visuals
  517. Viscerality: Red Mage, visuals
  518. Viscerality: Sage
  519. Viscerality: Samurai, impact
  520. Viscerality: Samurai, sound
  521. Viscerality: Samurai, Visuals
  522. Viscerality: Samurai, Visuals
  523. Viscerality: Samurai, Visuals
  524. Viscerality: Summoner, impact
  525. Viscerality: Summoner, sound
  526. Viscerality: Summoner, visuals
  527. Viscerality: Summoner, visuals
  528. Viscerality: Summoner, visuals
  529. Viscerality: Warrior, impact
  530. Viscerality: Warrior, impact
  531. Viscerality: Warrior, sound
  532. Viscerality: Warrior, sound
  533. Viscerality: Warrior, visuals
  534. Viscerality: Warrior, visuals
  535. Viscerality: White Mage, impact
  536. Viscerality: White Mage, impact
  537. Viscerality: White Mage, impact
  538. Viscerality: White Mage, sound
  539. Viscerality: White Mage, sound
  540. Viscerality: White Mage, sound
  541. Viscerality: White Mage, visuals
  542. Viscerality: White Mage, visuals
  543. Viscerality: White Mage, visuals

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Boss: As much as I enjoy it, the Nael fight has some very serious binary difficulty issues, and absolutely no margin for error
  2. Boss: The Fifth Turn of First Coil of Bahamut can go to hell, between binary difficulty and bad callouts
  3. Boss: The First Turn of Second Coil has a bit of mechanic bloat with some inconsistent indicators which just makes it all a big mess
  4. Boss: The Nabriales fight is not a good fight. It has excessively simple mechanics that are still binary difficulty, and… that’s it. That’s all it’s got… except also being an HP Barrier boss
  5. Boss: The second boss of Stone Vigil (Hard) is bad in every way. It’s badly designed vehicle mechanics on top of janky controls and even if you do it all right it’s a bad combination of boring and incredibly easy to wipe on
  6. Bug: There’s weird, awful, and awkward limitations with the 1-30 classes and doing NG+ with them and related issues
  7. Camera: Camera zoom out issue (especially on larger enemies and encounters)
  8. Co-Op: Forced single player questing (especially MSQ)…
  9. Co-Op: …for a full…
  10. Co-Op: …three negatives
  11. Core Combat: Casting pushback just… sucks. It can go on too long but, most importantly, too much damage while casting can literally just interrupt your cast
  12. Core Combat: The game removes your abilities when synched down in level, which is honestly quite awful for so many reasons (lots of content is below max level, removing abilities changes how you play the class and in some cases actively removes mechanics, etc.)…
  13. Core Combat: …for a full…
  14. Core Combat: …three negatives
  15. Core Mechanic: Squadrons… suck. The AI is pants-on-head stupid, it’s grindy as hell, even with full buffs dungeons just take too long, and the related mechanics are barely worth it
  16. Difficulty: As with WoW, the Coils is a form of locking mandatory, main story behind what is effectively ‘hard mode’
  17. HUD: The decision to lock substantial meat quests behind no marker or signifier whatsoever is honestly really bad design
  18. HUD: The fact that the quest tracker can only track 5 quests at a time sucks on several levels
  19. Interface: And the interface and interactions therewith are clunky at best, especially with the nature of its ‘save’ system
  20. Interface: good luck finding the option you want in the extensive, badly organized, sometimes badly labeled options menu
  21. Interface: The inventory system has several… several issues, but really the worst by far is how limited it is in terms of crafting and the ridiculous inventory problem
  22. Interface: The jankiness of dungeons and how limited they are and function is kind of weird (no way to replace people easily, can’t swap roles in mid dungeon, can’t access certain functionality while in dungeon, etc.)
  23. Interface: There is an obtuseness to the auction house menu which really has to be experienced to understand
  24. Interface: The Unending Journey is… really terribly laid out and actively aggravating to find the cutscenes you want
  25. Interface: Irritation and inaccuracy with showcasing party makeup
  26. Itemization: So while the inventory itself isn’t really that bad… the related itemization bloat problem is a serious problem
  27. Itemization: The costs for fast travel are, frankly, unnecessary and needlessly punishing on lower level players
  28. Kit: Black Mage 1-50. It’s a boring class, which is pretty normal for ARR honestly, but it’s also a Black Mage. The iconic FF class, and a mage to boot, which new layers absolutely will gravitate towards… and shouldn’t. The job is an optional hard-mode (which is fine) but it really should be labeled as such
  29. Kit: Black Mage 1-50 is just plain awful. It commits every sin of game design; it’s boring, it looks bad, it feels bad (immobile turret gameplay), and it lacks cool factor…
  30. Kit: …for two negatives
  31. Kit: Dragoon 1-50 has really bad ability placement (first AoE at 40… no second AoE at all), dull combos, and none of its core features outside of the jumps
  32. Kit: Paladin 1-50 is serviceable, but suffers from two major flaws; It lacks viscerality and it is boooring
  33. Kit: White Mage 1-50 starts bad and crawls its way up to mediocre
  34. Launch: The launch of ARR, while understandable, was honestly unacceptably bad
  35. Level: Aggregate negative for Pharos // Haukke Manor (hard) has a few issues, but it’s not super bad // Haltali Hard isn’t bad it’s just… kinda boring
  36. Level: Ampador Keep has several issues with it. Visually, lighting, boring bosses, knock-down-out-of-fight problem
  37. Level: Aurum Vale is visually disinteresting, has actively bad trash encounter design, and has boring (at best) bosses
  38. Level: Dzamael Darkhold… sucks. It has poorly explained mechanics, irritating trash and boss design, and actively trolling design (roaming eye, standing in crystal near aoe, etc.)…
  39. Level: …for two negatives
  40. Level: Halatali is honestly not great. It has entirely too much trash in entirely too spread out areas and its bosses are not just boring, but have paling mechanics
  41. Level: Pharos Sirius is probably the worst dungeon in ARR. A big, long, irritating slog through frustrating trash with too much health that hits too hard, first boss is one big irritation fest, second boss is entirely too obtuse, third boss is a speed bump, fourth boss is vanilla…
  42. Level: …for a full…
  43. Level: …three negatives
  44. Level: Snowcloak is not great dungeon. Simple mechanics with poor trash and irritating terrain problems with a bad, irritating, repetitive song
  45. Level: The Palace of the Dead has… issues. It’s entirely too sloggy, and the difficulty is very binary (you’re either fine or you’re dead)
  46. Level: The Sunken Temple of Qarn has multiple actually unexplained mechanics (bees, bosses) and does nothing to mitigate these issues
  47. Level: Wanderer’s Palace has several issues with not tutorializing trash mechanics or boss mechanics, but worse than that most of the bosses aren’t interesting or fun…
  48. Level: …for two negatives
  49. Leveling: The game has a very inconsistent leveling curve for alt classes, with how many tools you have and the pace thereof varying wildly from level range to level range
  50. Microtransactions: The in game store is probably the most benign I’ve ever seen… but it’s still there, and it’s still microtransactions
  51. MSQ: In general, the actual gameplay of the MSQuests in ARR are bland at best and actively time wasting at worse
  52. MSQ: The entire pre-Garuda quest arc has long, sloggy areas that are irritating to maneuver through with high level, difficult mobs to deal with…
  53. MSQ: …for a full…
  54. MSQ: …three negatives
  55. MSQ: The pre-Titan quests have many issues. Massive pacing and difficult curve issues, entirely too much straight up walking across a huge swath of uninteresting terrain…
  56. MSQ: …for a full…
  57. MSQ: …three negatives
  58. No Music: ARR specifically has long, empty stretches of no music at night time out in the zones. This is such a long term, irritating issue it gets a second negative…
  59. No Music: …for two negatives
  60. Overworld: Coerthas West
  61. Padding: General quest design…
  62. Padding: …for a full…
  63. Padding: …three negatives
  64. Padding: The daily limitation of only being able to do 12 dailies is bad on several levels, literally artificially lengthening how long any given rep will be to raise
  65. Padding: The padding of the interaction bar
  66. Prime Opt: Bard 30-50 has the same issues but even worse, doing the ‘put quest objects behind high level, dangerous areas because screw you’ problem
  67. Prime Opt: Monk 30-50 has the same quest design problem White Mage did (arguably worse)
  68. Prime Opt: Ninja 30-50 has some of the usual issues and some real padding problems
  69. Prime Opt: The (mandatory) unlock quests to access CT can go to hell. Entirely too much backtracking and no real gameplay
  70. Prime Opt: The Archer 1-30… really sucks. Bad quest locations with irritating quest objectives making the whole thing awful to play through
  71. Prime Opt: The Marauder 1-30 quest has some really boring quests to begin with, but is made much worse via some of the worst ‘go here go there’ padding I’ve seen in ARR…
  72. Prime Opt: …for two negatives
  73. Prime Opt: The Rogue 1-30 quests have a bit too much combat but, far worse, way way too much padding and backtracking (mandatory Hide quests, unclear objectives, and sending you all over the place)
  74. Prime Opt: The Third Turn of First Coil of Bahamut is… not good. It’s trash, it’s easy trash, it’s mandatory, it offers literally nothing, it takes too long, and its layout is badly designed
  75. Prime Opt: Warrior 30-50 is easily the worst of the job quests so far. Long trips to distant, irritating areas to reach with lots of enemies to avoid or fight through, forcing you to equip the items, having to warp around Costa Del Sol for half of it, just… bad…
  76. Prime Opt: …for two negatives
  77. Prime Opt: White Mage 30-50 is some legitimately bad quest design. Zoom around across the entire continent to go to one dangerous area or another to interact with one thing before moving on
  78. QoL: The game forces you to unlock almost everything… which is essentially excessive handholding tutorialization, which even that would be fine if not for the total lack of option therein (no skipping, no choice to say “this isn’t my first MMO” or “this is an alt”) I mean for goodness sakes you can’t even travel to other city states until you’ve unlocked the ability to in the MSQ…
  79. QoL: …for a full…
  80. QoL: …three negatives
  81. QoL: The lack of proper trial or try-out of classes means you have no real way to know what you like before sinking arduously long periods of time into leveling first
  82. Secondary: The ARR Relic is so bad I literally cannot summarize it so instead I will just give it a three negatives and move on. Screw those quests…
  83. Secondary: …for a full…
  84. Secondary: …three negatives
  85. Secondary: The Gridanian quests just… suck, even more than the other zones…
  86. Secondary: The La Noscea side quests are, at absolute best, boring wastes of time
  87. Secondary: The Mor Dhona side quests… suck. They’re already the usual not-good variety, but then you add in a stupid amount of back and forth backtracking and it’s even worse
  88. Secondary: The Thanalan side quests are no better
  89. Secondary: …to the point of being a second negative
  90. Seconds in Minutes: Seconds in minutes quest design
  91. Seconds In Minutes: There’s a bit of seconds in minutes problem in the overworld and travel design in ARR, with walking (and occasionally sprinting) just taking very long across big, empty tracks of nothing…
  92. Seconds In Minutes: …for a full…
  93. Seconds In Minutes: …three negatives
  94. Song: Machinations. The ‘big drum beat, mission’ song is overused to the point where I actively hate it when it shows up, and that’s in addition to its nature tends to hit the same frequencies and registers as dialogue, meaning when it plays over voice acting it causes issues
  95. Traversal: Aether currents. They’re not the worst system, they’re not the best, but they make the critical flaw of locking behind the most useful traveling tool (flight) behind having effectively finished the zone
  96. Unskippable Cutscenes: Unskippable cutscenes… in the MSQQ
  97. Walkthroughitis: So this is for the game as a whole, but there’s just… a whole lot of ‘hit up the wiki’ things in this game…
  98. Walkthroughitis: …for a full…
  99. Walkthroughitis: …three negatives
  100. Backtracking: Crafter backtracking is ridiculous, and almost all of them do it…
  101. Backtracking: …for a full…
  102. Backtracking: …three negatives
  103. Backtracking: The backtracking in the Dravanian Hinterlands is honestly some of the worst it’s been in the entire game…
  104. Backtracking: …for two negatives
  105. Boss: Alexander 2 isn’t a great fight. Neat idea, awful execution, and worst of all it ends up just being boring
  106. Boss: Alexander 4 is a good fight in mechanics but entirely too high in damage with way, way too much damage going out from everything… and thus is overtuned like much of Alexander
  107. Boss: Alexander 9 is unfortunately another victim of the ‘needs a dungeon journal’ type of boss
  108. Boss: The Alexander 1 fight is just… you get what they were going for, but the fixate mechanic has issues and the massive delay between the add death and their puddle spawning is a bit eh, especially given how punishing it is to fail
  109. Boss: Ultimately Alexander 11 just kind of sucks. It has lots of neat mechanics but several are badly explained (or not at all) and that song can suck it
  110. Camera: The camera issue continues to show up periodically
  111. Co-Op: Cannot group… still…
  112. Co-Op: …for a full…
  113. Co-Op: …three negatives
  114. Core Mechanic: The game removes your abilities when synched down in level, which is honestly quite awful for so many reasons (lots of content is below max level, removing abilities changes how you play the class and in some cases actively removes mechanics, etc.) (continued problem)
  115. Grind/Leveling: The Roulette Problem begins. To explain in brief; The game rewards doing a roulette regardless of the roulette selected. This means people are de-invested as part of the mechanism of roulettes as a whole, and have a method to ensure they only get the lower level queues (by removing gear), and no built-in incentive not to. This problem only grows worse as expansions move on and later raids and dungeons become more complex, involved, and (most importantly) time consuming… for no additional benefit. Worst of all, this problem is easily solvable in a lot of different directions and no effort is being expended to do so
  116. HUD: The decision to lock substantial meat quests behind no marker or signifier whatsoever is honestly really bad design
  117. Kit: Paladin 50-60 continues its trend of being the bland white bread of classes
  118. Level: Neverreap has some serious issues, with irritating trash and aggravating boss design (including wasps, too much HP)
  119. Overworld: Heavensward’s overworld design is honestly terrible. The zones are far too spread out with far too much irritation in traversal (even with flying in some cases), and with far too little distribution of aether crystals…
  120. Overworld: …for a full…
  121. Overworld: …three negatives
  122. Padding: For general quest padding design…
  123. Padding: …for a full…
  124. Padding: …three negatives
  125. Prime Opt: As expected, the Void Ark is not a good raid. It’s not that bad (not really) but it’s a lot of boring and a lot of not-good, with unengaging trash and boss encounters in a dull grey surrounding
  126. Prime Opt: The Armorer 50-60 quest is easily the worst of the already-bad crafter chains…
  127. Prime Opt: …for two negatives
  128. Prime Opt: Weirdly, Dun Scaith wasn’t good either. Too long, too much HP on the last boss, and worst of all multiple examples of the dungeon journal problem
  129. QoL: The unlock problem continues (literally can’t go to certain zones, or find vendors…)
  130. Secondary: Churning Mists sidequests aren’t as tedious as some others, but they’re substantially more frustrating, with a lot of ‘hide and go seek’ in complex areas with lots of verticality and no real guidelines… and they pull this trick multiple times, and the nonsense pattern of quest distribution…
  131. Secondary: …for a full…
  132. Secondary: …three negatives
  133. Secondary: Similarly, Dravanian Forelands side quests have the same general problem (less so), where they have a single quest chain of note which just involves an enormous amount of backtracking
  134. Secondary: The Heavensward Relic quest is certainly better than the ARR one, but that doesn’t make it good, and it’s still a nice long slow boring grind
  135. Secondary: The Western Coerthas sidequests… really, really suck. Far too much pointless backtracking across a huge, vast, irritating zone (especially if you don’t have flight)…
  136. Secondary: …for two negatives
  137. Song: That damned, mis-used song is back
  138. Traversal: Aether currents. They’re not the worst system, they’re not the best, but they make the critical flaw of locking behind the most useful traveling tool (flight) behind having effectively finished the zone
  139. Backtracking: Second negative for Ruby Sea backtracking
  140. Backtracking: The Peaks
  141. Boss: Larboard. That is all
  142. Boss: The Burn has some reasonable stuff to it, but the Mist Dragon fight can go to hell. It has some nice mechanics but the tuning on the final ‘mist’ phase is entirely too harsh, being very difficult (or impossible depending) to see where to avoid, no time to correct if you don’t see it coming, and the hit is way too punishing when it does
  143. Camera: The camera zoom out issue continues and, honestly, is a more persistent issue than before…
  144. Camera: …for two negatives
  145. Co-Op: Co-Op Problem, the Bloodening…
  146. Co-Op: …for a full…
  147. Co-Op: …three negatives
  148. Core Mechanic: Low level ability removal issue, which will ever and always be an issue
  149. Difficulty: This is a weird one but locking the awesomeness and fun of the ExDeath and Kefka Savage fights behind… y’know, Savage difficulty
  150. Grind/Leveling: The Roulette Problem gets worse and is actually probably one of the worst in the series given both Ivalice and Omega raids being in the bundle…
  151. Grind/Leveling: …for a full…
  152. Grind/Leveling: …three negatives
  153. Interface: Heaven On High’s interface and interactions therewith are clunky at best, especially with the nature of its ‘save’ system
  154. Kit: Astrologian at 70 really has too many buttons, and some… oddities to it
  155. Kit: Black Mage at 70 is noticeably absent several skills that it really should have and feels incomplete
  156. Kit: Paladin at 70… CONTINUES to suck, with barely different rotations and STILL lacking basic utility
  157. Launch: Raubahn Extreme (bad launch issues)
  158. Mid Mission Checkpoints: Several instances of problems with long solo sessions or lack of mid-mission checkpointing in solo instances
  159. MSQ: The second solo Zenos fight continues the trend of bad game design. It’s a supposed to lose fight where if you lose you start over, it’s a long fight (easily 5 minutes), it pulls a ‘gotcha’ second health bar, and finally and worst of all he pulls an ‘I win’ at the last minute (Beatrix Syndrome)…
  160. MSQ: …for a second negative
  161. MSQ: The solo Zenos fight in Rhalgr’s Reach has many gameplay issues with it, not the least of which being it’s a supposed-to-lose fight where (if you lose) you… fail and have to start the (lengthy) instance over again
  162. MSQ: The ‘stealth’ mission in Kugane has several issues (no real tools, no real indicators, no real destination, and entirely too easy to have to start over)
  163. NG+: New Game + and only having one save slot
  164. Overworld: Unfortunately, Stormblood zones suffer the same general problem from Heavensward; too big and too empty…
  165. Overworld: …for two negatives
  166. Padding: All quests in Stormblood are padded. All of them…
  167. Padding: …for a full…
  168. Padding: …three negatives
  169. Padding: Padding issue of interaction bar
  170. Padding: The Doma Reconstruction weekly gating content sucketh
  171. Prime Opt: Dragoon 60-70 quests kinda… suck, lots of backtracking and little else across large swaths of irritation
  172. Prime Opt: The Black Mage 60-70 quests
  173. Prime Opt: The Botanist quests suck. Arduous and time elongated
  174. Prime Opt: The Fisher quests suck! Gah!
  175. Prime Opt: The Ivalice quests’ needless, pointless backtracking for wine
  176. Prime Opt: The Miner quests suck. Arduous and time sensitive
  177. QoL: Unlock issue as usual
  178. Secondary: As per usual, the Steppes sidequests just kind of suck in backtracking and design
  179. Secondary: As usual, The Peaks sidequests have a truly egregious amount of backtracking (especially in the latter half)
  180. Secondary: The Ruby Sea sidequests have improved in some ways, but the zone’s design makes doing them a colossal chore, especially given the significant amount of backtracking involved in how they chain
  181. Secondary: The ‘find the sheep’ quest, and ‘find in circle’ quests in general, can suck it
  182. Seconds In Minutes: Seconds in minutes issues periodically
  183. Song: One of these days they’re going to get rid of that frickin’ song
  184. Traversal: Aether Currents continue to be bad
  185. Backtracking: The Nier raid quests require you to walk through the entire area entirely too often, which is, yes, another backtracking issue
  186. Boss: E11 has a bit too much trial and error with nothing really indicating what works how in… any of his mechanics really
  187. Boss: E3 nevertheless has some problems with some of its attacks being difficult to see and very punishing (no less than 3 distinct attacks that instant-kill)
  188. Boss: E4 is entirely too punishing, with potential issues with snapshotting, it being extraordinarily easy to die instantly in multiple ways, and a bit of a dungeon journal issue
  189. Boss: E4 is entirely too punishing, with potential issues with snapshotting, it being extraordinarily easy to die instantly in multiple ways, and a bit of a dungeon journal issue
  190. Boss: E6 has a few minor issues which pull it a bit down
  191. Boss: E7’s binary fail-state on several mechanics
  192. Boss: Finally, E10 has a few issues which keep it from being… good, and not much to offset it
  193. Boss: The Ruby Weapon fight has a lot of issues. The tuning is a bit off, the visuals are actively detrimental, the music sucks
  194. Camera: Camera zoom out issue continues its tyrannical reign
  195. Co-Op: Forced single player questing (especially MSQ)…
  196. Co-Op: …for a full…
  197. Co-Op: …three negatives
  198. Core Mechanic: Low level ability removal issue, the return
  199. Graphics: The bloom overglow of the initial Il Mheg is irritating and literally headache inducing, add onto that the frustration of navigating and questing in the literally-hard-to-see visuals
  200. Grind: Unfortunately Bozja is still fairly limited, gives you hardly any Mettle (which is required to advance), and (like the Diadem) is grrrriiiiiindy…
  201. Grind: …for two negatives
  202. Grind/Leveling: Only doing the MSQ will result in hitting level walls multiple times throughout the expansion
  203. Grind/Leveling: The Roulette Problem gets worse with each expansion…
  204. Grind/Leveling: …for a full…
  205. Grind/Leveling: …three negatives
  206. Hub: Navigating the Crystarium honestly sucks with both verticality and the inability to jump off ledges at multiple points
  207. Interface: The Firmament’s interface issues are honestly pretty bad
  208. Kit: Astrologian at 80 continues to have a button bloat problem
  209. Kit: Scholar at 80 is really hampered by a lot of little but multitudinous issues that feel like artifacts of older, more out-dated game design
  210. Level: Dalriada’s inconsistent scaling made worse by inconsistent timing
  211. Level: Delebrum’s sloggy nature and inconsistent scaling
  212. Mid Mission Checkpoints: Eden 12 is actually a great fight, except that you have to go through the same lengthy cutscene each time you fail and it’s right towards the beginning, after the easy stuff. No checkpoint, no skipping, and it absolutely destroys the tempo (story and game wise)
  213. Mid Mission Checkpoints: Generic runback for bosses
  214. Minigame: Ocean Fishing is entirely, entirely too dependant upon RNG to really go somewhere with it, to the point where it’s actively 4 layers deep of RNG (no exaggeration)
  215. Minigame: The Diadems, while useful, are dull as sin and exceptionally grindy
  216. MSQ: And finally, the final Ran’jit fight is pointless, dumb, padded, and boring
  217. MSQ: The first fight with Ran’jit is bad in every way. Too much HP, disinteresting mechanics, long and boring, and he pulls an I-win button at the end
  218. MSQ: The first Ran’jit fight is also a supposed-to-lose fight… where, if you lose… you have to start it over
  219. MSQ: The Ronkan ruins is… awful. No mid mission checkpointing and binary failstate
  220. MSQ: The Trolley section is, being kind, boring padding quest design… some of the worst in Shadow…
  221. MSQ: …for a full…
  222. MSQ: …three negatives
  223. Overworld: The overworld design is weirdly lacking in Shadowbringers…
  224. Overworld: …for a full…
  225. Overworld: …three negatives
  226. Padding: Screw weekly turn ins (as usual)
  227. Padding: The quest design, especially in secondaries, hasn’t gotten any better…
  228. Padding: …for a full…
  229. Padding: …three negatives
  230. Padding: The Relic quest is badly designed at several levels, requiring either excessively grindy activities to have a chance at progression, or doing content that’s effectively abandoned…
  231. Padding: …for a full…
  232. Padding: …three negatives
  233. Padding: While I’m at it, the health of the bosses is entirely too high, even accounting for lost actions and the echo buff
  234. Penalty For Failure: Twice Come Ruin honestly sucks so much and I hate absolutely everything about it… but… there are much, much worse mechanics, and ultimately my main issue with it is it’s too binary, when there’s so many ways to make it more gradient
  235. Prime Opt: Castrum’s inconsistent scaling made worse by inconsistent timing
  236. Prime Opt: The Fisher Mean quests, uh… suck
  237. Prime Opt: The in-between quests of the Nier raids are padding central, forcing you to go to Point B via 5 separate points, with entirely too much backtracking across areas without fast travel
  238. Prime Opt: The physical dps role quest is literally bugged, the NPCs screwing up and failing the mission… more than once
  239. Princess Peach: The Thancred v. Ran’jit fight goes on just a little bit too long
  240. QoL: The Unlock Problem persists as usual
  241. Secondary: The sidequests in Rak’tika greatwoods are very frustrating in navigation and quest layout
  242. Song: Y’know at some point they’re going to stop using that song
  243. Traversal: Aether Currents, the return
  244. Boss: Rhalgr and falling-off mechanics returns
  245. Boss: The final Zenos fight is entirely too padded given its placement and purpose
  246. Camera: Camera zoom out issue
  247. Co-Op: Forced single player questing (especially MSQ)…
  248. Co-Op: …for a full…
  249. Co-Op: …three negatives
  250. Core Mechanic: Low level ability removal issue
  251. Cosmetic: Portraits. They’re great and I love them but goddamn are they spaghetti coded. The wrangling you have to do with them is beyond aggravating…
  252. Cosmetic: …for two negatives
  253. Grind: The Trust system is excessively grindy (having to do a minimum of 5 runs of just the first dungeon, at around 30-50 minutes each, just to be able to do a second dungeon) plus you can’t level them all at once, so you have to do even more runs to level everyone
  254. Hub: Bestway Burrows is entirely too large with too few mechanisms in place to facilitate movement early on
  255. Info In Game: The exceptionally bad indicators of which quests are which, especially on the map (sometimes it chains directly, sometimes it does not, you can talk to everyone or actually do every quest to see but otherwise there’s no real cohesive methodology) and frankly this is so aggravating that it puts me off doing them at all…
  256. Info In Game: …for two negatives
  257. Interface: Transmog. The way it only works in towns, the way it requires being in an inn to set it up to access the (multiple) banks you have which have
  258. Interface: Usual issues with saves, interface, and grouping in Eureka Orthos
  259. Kit: Sadly Samurai, for all its awesomeness, really has some bad ability bloat issues
  260. Launch: Even though there’s not much they could really do about it, honestly the launch status was unacceptably bad
  261. Level: Eureka Orthos. Enemies hit very, very hard, have lots of health, and the entire thing just takes so, so long
  262. Mid Mission Checkpoints: Runback negative comes back
  263. Minigame: Crystalline content interface issues including can’t queue in a group
  264. MSQ: The binary failstate of the ‘follow the girl’ quest along with other related padding issues
  265. MSQ: There are several issues that drag down the de-powered segment; Lack of mid mission checkpoints, ease of failure (any magitek that spots you is essentially game over), and issues with navigation and stealth indicators
  266. MSQ: The tail Urianger mission is actually worse than the earlier one in Garlemald
  267. MSQ: The ‘Sage Council’ quest is actually terrible game design. Massive explorative area, vaguely labeled, with no pattern to layout, with fake-outs earning it a second negative for pure unadulterated padding in the worst way…
  268. MSQ: …for two negatives
  269. MSQ: The ‘tail the kid in Garlemald’ quest is the same problems with the other ‘tail’ quests but even worse as the kid ‘jukes’ you… more than once
  270. Music: The terrible, terrible decision to replace the zone music with a short loop that grows old very fast over a long, long section of game is frankly awful and earns a second negative for sheer duration…
  271. Music: …for two negatives
  272. Overworld: Elpis
  273. Overworld: Garlemald
  274. Overworld: It’s unfortunate but true that every zone shares the same problem; too large, too empty, too padding for not having fast movement and/or flying. Thus, Sharlayan
  275. Overworld: Thavnair
  276. Overworld: Ultima Thule
  277. Overworld: Zone 4 has some very bad pathing / terrain issues on foot
  278. Prime Opt: The fishing Studium quests honestly suck. The RNG involved is silly, even when doing everything right and using the right abilities, and on top of that it takes way, way, way too long…
  279. Prime Opt: …for two negatives
  280. QoL: MSQ required to unlock content and mechanics
  281. QoL: The Unlock Issue continues
  282. Seconds In Minutes: Some few, but consistent
  283. Song: You know the one. It’s back, again, and it’s over-used, again
  284. Traversal: Aether currents. They’re not the worst system, they’re not the best, but they make the critical flaw of locking behind the most useful traveling tool (flight) behind having effectively finished the zone
  285. Tutorialization: The game has an annoying tendency to repeat tutorial messages way, way past when it should… in short it does so every single time it pops up

Star Trek Online

The beginning sucks (as is true with all MMOs) and the gameplay is wonky as hell, but the core nugget of Trek is there and it’s awesome. I highly recommend playing Federation aligned and skipping as much of the early stuff as you’re able, as the story doesn’t really get good until the Solenae arc.
Total Story Score: +76
Total Gameplay Score: -18
Golden Number: 103.98
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 17 Days // 804.00 Hours
Time Reviewed: 7-31-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. NPC Set Dressing is good in general
  2. The TOS Intro is simple but good, digs into where STO shines best (continuity!), and sets you up for what’s to come quite well
  3. Temporal Agent Chekov and his mission are simple, but good stuff, with some good moments and nice threading of the Babel episode
  4. The final TOS mission does some good tying up of several threads, great foreshadowing, and ultimately serves as a nice cap to things
  5. ESD is… decent, it looks very much like ESD should look, with good usage of NPCs and the ships in dock
  6. The Klingon mission Manhunt is actually pretty good in general; Good showcasing of Klingon fake-honor, good showcasing of how corrupt the Empire is under J’mpok, and the big scene with the Bird is fantastic
  7. Space skyboxes
  8. Special praise to the early TOS missions for putting real and good effort into making everything actually look very early TOSy
  9. Alpha (Klingon mission) is actually pretty good, sets up some good moments, has a few choices, and isn’t face palmingly stupid (a high bar for Klingons)
  10. Afterlife (Klingon mission) despite pulling the ‘is it real or not’ crap, is still a great mission; good writing, good showcase of Klingon culture (literal or otherwise), and is honestly a pretty good connection and conclusion point for the Klingon story arc
  11. The initial storytelling, animation, and some scenes and battles make sense, and the inclusion of Janeway actually helps quite a bit, with the new Federation Intro
  12. Spectres mission, What Lies Beneath is genuinely horrifying and uses its concepts (a broken murderous hologram) to good effect
  13. Spectres mission, Everything Old Is New, is a good contrast to the previous horrifying deathdoom
  14. Spectres mission, Night of the Comet is a decent payoff to both Drake and the Devidians, and while the nerve tonic is aggravating it was nice to see Scotty in action
  15. The Spectres build up mission is great (and I love the Omega Particle joke)
  16. Bajor is neat, but I love the effort put into Mirror Bajor
  17. I love the plot element and story sequencing of the 2800. Okay we’ve got a breather episode, cool, dealing with the Borg, cool, oh crap a gigantic fleet of Dominion show up and it’s the missing 2800 from DS9, and now we have a huge problem… well crap
  18. The visual presentation of and general ideas around Boldly They Rode are great, and (narratively) walking on DS9’s surface to infiltrate it is great
  19. The Romulan opening cinematic does a good job of immediately putting yourself in the mindset of the post-Hobus Romulans
  20. And the Romulan Intro is probably one of my favorites, despite the obviousness of it it’s still well executed and enjoyable to boot
  21. The initial Romulan story arc about struggling to get a crew together, help local refugees, and barely fighting back against the Elachi and the Tal Shiar is legitimately better constructed and generally more interesting than honestly the rest of the content to-date
  22. I love the New Romulus finding, its connection to future arcs, and its connection to Romulan (and Vulcan) past
  23. And finally, the Khitomer conference is a great mission; Excellent writing for the Klingon representatives (and captain), perfect understanding of the cultures involved, and some Babylon 5 Effect for Sela’s introduction to the narrative
  24. The Charva arc and revisit of Virinat is pretty neat
  25. Tal Shiar arc has some pretty big flaws but the payoff of Taris, Hakeev, and Sela is fantastic
  26. Everything about the Mind Game is fantastic. The horror of it, the fact that you’re forced to (and can fight it but… can’t succeed), just the whole thing
  27. Continuing the nightmarish horror, the entirety of Installation 18 is a great narrative payoff to the mind numbing dulldom of Nimbus 3
  28. The Colisseum mission has its issues but that initial setup is legitimately excellent, deserving its own plus individually
  29. The Romulan finale and its implications about the iconians, the final death of Hakeev, and Sela being (temporarily) removed from the board
  30. The visuals and layout and styling of New Romulus is excellent
  31. I love the actual ‘New Romulus’ arc itself; the last dying gasp of the Tal Shiar, the Hirogen and their willingness to fight whomever, and the slow reveal of the Dewans
  32. The big reveal of the iconian gateway, still functional and related to the fate of the Dewans, now in the hands of the Republic…
  33. Sphere of Influence has some good build up with the gateway and the slow, creepy reveal of the Solenae and how much they’re already planning…
  34. …but the way they showcase their intel area, and the Omega bombshell, plus the implied politics of the entire situation, really nail it
  35. A Step Between Stars deserves a positive literally just for the visual storytelling of that damned star and how terrifying it is
  36. Continuing, the progression through the station and the reveal of what happened to the Jenolan Sphere was a great build up…
  37. …leading to the big revealing twist with Cooper, and the unveiling of the Undine threat
  38. The initial setup of Surface Tension is already awesome, with great moments with a lot of people (Garak, the xindi, Shon)
  39. Surface Tension continues to do some awesome stuff, mostly with the destruction of ESD as well as the interactions with Cooper
  40. The big reveal of the Iconians, finally, and the tilting of the arc is just… such a great moment
  41. The entire mindscape with Tuvok is delightful and very well executed
  42. I love the simplicity of helping the talaxians out with local, small scale issues as they prepare to colonize a new world
  43. Capture the Flag has some good moments, but really working and interacting with the crew is what sells it
  44. Dragon’s Deceit and the big reveal of the bluegills is fun in general, but the spy motif works amusingly well
  45. Alliances defies expectations of its Voyager episode and instead is actually good, with several neat micro-stories of how we rope several sides together for the coming conflict
  46. The final Vaadwaur mission (Takedown) is suitably well presented, a good payoff for the Delta arc, and the reveal about Gaul is exactly what it should be
  47. Dust To Dust is excellent. Despite my… issues with the Kobali and their stupidity (gonna have words with ‘em, I swear!) I do love what they do with them, and the first Harry, and tying it all in to the vaadwaur and the Delta arc in general…
  48. …easily earning a second positive
  49. There are individual exceptions which will get their own positives, so for now…
  50. …we will give…
  51. …three positives for visual storytelling
  52. Similarly the game does… decent doodads, earning one positive
  53. The Babylon 5 Effect in this game is real
  54. Excellent and consistent foreshadowing…
  55. …earning a full…
  56. …three positives
  57. Obisek is a well written and engaging character, competent but still willing to bite back while still remaining diplomatic
  58. The relevance of the PC in events honestly elevates my enjoyment overall
  59. Tuvok is fantastic, big shock, but they use him to good effect
  60. Neelix is excellent, not just for his usage and presentation but for absolutely nailing him and (surprise surprise) avoiding him being annoying
  61. Seven isn’t quite as good as some of the others, but she’s still enjoyable and still manages good character moments re: the vaadwaur
  62. The Doctor is The Doctor, played to perfection and generally excellent
  63. Harry Kim is finally given a chance to shine, and despite the fact that he got positives in his arc he deserves a bonus one for the excellents of his performance
  64. Which is a good time to talk about the voice acting of the original cast of Voyager. While some of the brought-back actors sway in and out of quality, the Voyager team just nails it
  65. This is a good time to talk continuity. The game keeps legitimately excellent track of what it’s already done…
  66. …earning a full…
  67. …three positives for Internal Continuity
  68. This is further added on by the big one. I have honestly never seen a game do this good with an external work, using external continuity to fantastic effect…
  69. …so it’s not just three…
  70. …positives, but actually…
  71. …I’m giving a bonus fourth positive for not just the external continuity being excellent and adding to the work, but for just how well STO nails that particular variety of ‘here’s a one off alien from one episode of one show, and let’s make something of them’ that they do so, so well
  72. The big moments of Uneasy Moments are good, though they do have issues
  73. Blood of Ancients is a game changer; The massive loss, the erasure of the Preservers
  74. House Pegh gets right back to being awesome, with a fun infiltration and some actually brain-having Klingons
  75. …but bonus points must be given for Kahless. He went out like a boss, knew what he was getting into, retained his honor by challenging T’Ket, and held his own for several seconds against the foe
  76. Time In A Bottle brings back the Krenim in a big way (foreshadowed earlier) and gives us some good actual exposition about the iconians (also our first time really seeing them as a group), plus Nog is awesome
  77. Butterfly has a lot of issues, really, but it’s a fun episode by itself, especially the what-if scenarios
  78. Okay so I have, have to give three positives for this because I absolutely love this. The fact that the majority of STO is in timeline 1, which is NOT the timeline of the shows, is amazing… the fact that we do an incursion, damning the Tuterians into becoming the Sphere Builders, which causes not only the events of Enterprise but also the entire Temporal Cold War, is fantastic …
  79. …so this single plot point…
  80. …earns a full three positives
  81. Ancient Iconia is brilliant, just visually
  82. The closed timeloop of Sela and the Iconians isn’t as brilliant as their previous temporal outing but it’s still a damned good one
  83. I should further mention that I absolutely love how… how very Star Trek it is to make peace with the Iconians rather than to defeat them
  84. Sela manages to be a surprisingly interesting character, with her own arc and her own… moments, up and down
  85. I really like how we spend the entire Iconian War losing and barely holding on
  86. Nog is Nog and he’s as awesome as ever, and it was great to have him
  87. The Temporal Ambassador mission is problematic, but is still creative, fun, and a good way to turn things on its head
  88. The general arc wielding of the Yesterday’s War episodes is enjoyable
  89. Survivor is well acted, emotionally powerful, and a great final, true sendoff for Tasha and Sela…
  90. …making it one of the more powerful individual quests in the entire game, earning it two positives easily
  91. Sunrise is, finally, properly, the post-Legion story arc we needed; Almost entirely focused on exploration and puzzle solving, with enough hints and connections to the Temporal War to make it interesting
  92. Stormbound has a couple of glaring flaws but is a nice way to arc weld several temporal plots together
  93. Ragnarok has a lot of issues, but Chekov is legit, as is Scotty, and it was nice to see the conclusion of Noye and the final results of our meddling as well as the creation of the Prime Timeline
  94. Echoes of Light is awesome on many levels. It’s the breather episode we needed after the Iconian arc, while also still helping to establish several future plot points, and finally resolving the fate of K-13
  95. Rodek and Tony Todd are awesome as always
  96. Kuumaarke is just such a breath of fresh air, great original character who manages to be positive and energetic without being annoying or irritating
  97. Further her voice actress nails it so hard, showcasing a lot of range and nuance in a very short period of time
  98. Another bonus positive as we keep getting further into the game for the quality of the skyboxes
  99. Mirrors and Smoke is awesome. Great, great visuals, great storytelling, surprisingly dark but not too dark…
  100. …just some lovely stuff all around, easily worth two positives
  101. Brushfire brings back Kurn, which is awesome, ends Torg, which is awesome, and restores Martok, which is mega awesome
  102. The reveal of the germanium eggs is a decent moment, and sparks a turn in the arc
  103. The reveal of the Hur’q is honestly pretty awesome by itself
  104. And the cliffhanger! Odo being back, and with just one line; “We need to talk.”
  105. The Renegade’s Regret is a great quest really, tying things up nicely while also showing how horrible the Tzenkethi really were
  106. The Victory Is Life cinematic really throws a lot of characterization for Odo into it, while setting up the stage for what is to come brilliantly
  107. The jem’hadar intro is short, but sweet, doing a lot with very little time and sending tons of foreshadowing hints everywhere
  108. DS9’s revamped interior is excellent; great doodad usage, showcasing of the station, and of course a nice place to just chill
  109. Storm Clouds Gather is very, very talky, but it’s good talky. A whole lot of catching up on a whole lot of characters
  110. Armistice is simple, but effective, and a lovely way to tie up loose ends and free Kira up to join the ‘party’
  111. The big confrontation scene between Odo, Kira, and Garak is absolutely fantastic. Well acted, well portrayed, very Trek; dark, but with purpose and hidden idealism. It’s a massive, quadrant-level stakes moment and yet it’s all about the personal interactions of these three people…
  112. …and so it earns…
  113. …a full three positives
  114. The Search is well acted and well presented and honestly just good damned stuff in general
  115. Doomed To Repeat is just… great. The revelations about the Fek’iri, the Dominion involvement in history, Weyoun’s intervention, Kira and Odo’s dynamic, and of course the big shocker…
  116. …all earning two positives
  117. The entire Gamma arc has some great foreshadowing
  118. And further, really builds itself up properly but quietly, lot of Babylon 5 Effect going around
  119. Lek walking away from the explosion is legitimately so amazing that, even knowing it was coming, it still made me grin
  120. The references and general humor of the Quark’s Lucky Seven is legit by itself
  121. The banter between characters is, for one of the only times in the entire game, actually quite good across the DS9 crew
  122. Quark talking down T’Ket is another type of awesome, but it’s still quite awesome
  123. The general cleverness and tight writing of Quark’s Lucky Seven is just fantastic
  124. Tenebris Torquent has cheesy but enjoyable atmosphere and general tone and vibe
  125. Similarly, the lowkey payoffs of plot threads (the admiral, the backpack, the calling device) all work very nicely
  126. But the big reveal about the female changeling, her role in the Dominion, is a hell of a twist that turns the entire Dominion on its head
  127. Dukan’Rex goes through a wonderful arc across the Gamma arc, as he slowly questions, considers, and develops
  128. Home kinda… sucks honestly, except for that lovely outro which serves as a great coda
  129. Odo is just amazing, showing the layers of desperation, fear, care, concern, and his finding a place as both a founder and a good person…
  130. …so two positives for him
  131. Kira, similarly, absolutely knocks it out of the park, being one of the main characters throughout and being used to great effect…
  132. …also earning a second positive
  133. A bonus positive just for Nana Visitor, who is legitimately a fantastic actress throughout
  134. Weyoun is exactly what he needs to be, broken and insane while supporting his founder
  135. Bashir is excellent, and it’s great to hear Siddig again
  136. Quark is very Quark, retaining his humor while also his sense of gravity
  137. Rom doesn’t have as much of a role, but he’s still awesome
  138. Garak. Garak is perfect for this, being someone who’s enjoying himself immensely while never taking his role and duties anything less than completely seriously, and staying a half a step ahead of most everyone else as he goes…
  139. …earning him a second positive
  140. And Andrew Robinson also gets his own positive for managing the nuance, subtleties, and excellence in acting
  141. Tilly is legit, thankfully
  142. Okay so I have… issues with how they just create life all willy nilly, but Anthony Rapp does a pretty good job with Stamets, not just in general but in distinguishing between Stamets Hologram and Stamets 2
  143. Credit where it’s due, the Mycelial Realm actually looks and acts pretty legit, and tying it in to the Elachi works better than it should
  144. The Discovery Patrols are actually pretty decent overall, brief but fun snippets with Stamets and crew
  145. The big cavalry moment of all the Enterprises coming back, even though it was to sell the 10th Anniversary Bundle, is still pretty awesome
  146. Credit to Seven in the entire 10th Anniversary sequence. She nails her character and her role quite well
  147. Madran’s bit in the Klingon Stupid Arc was legitimately enjoyable and honestly amusing
  148. Okay, I’ll give you this one, Gowron is great here. O’Reilley does a great job of the role and his presence honestly elevates an otherwise terrible story
  149. I do love the way we out-think Cooper and get him eaten by his own ship

Story Negatives:

  1. Cutscenes are hilariously bad in their storyboarding, animation, and blocking
  2. Voice acting varies pretty wildly in overall quality
  3. This is a good time to re-iterate the voice acting problems because holy crap. Between dull takes, readings that literally ruin lines, and repeats and bugs…
  4. Daniels and his convenience stupidity
  5. The gameplay and story segregation is pretty stark in this one, easily some of the worst I’ve ever seen, with events in lore having no real connection to actual gameplay…
  6. …like us taking on dozens of superior ships and entire fleets regardless of logic or sense…
  7. …and killing literally thousands of troops by ourselves without incident, all while being a normal officer in cutscenes
  8. Klingon intro is… pretty stupid on several levels, to the point of being aggravating, made all the worse by how stupid evil we are
  9. Worf is honestly… bad in the early Klingon stuff (and absent later)
  10. The Klingon Mission Heir We Go Again stumbles over itself in its stupidity; the giant holes in security, the sudden turn-on-a-dime switch for Worf, the romulan Tal Shiar agent being mind bogglingly stupid, the aforementioned Tal Shiar giving away the identity of his co conspirator and then on top of that our refusal to acknowledge it
  11. The Mars, Bringer of War mission is an old, crap mission and it shows… revamped to play better, but the story remains disjointed, clearly from back when the KDF wasn’t even a real faction, and disconnected from reality on so many levels it plays like a bad TOS episode
  12. The Federation Intro is really, really, really aggressively stupid. Detailing it would take quite a while, but there’s a lot of nonsensical, disjointed, or otherwise plot hole elements throughout, and that’s before you even include the Borg…
  13. …because the friggin’ Borg being the intro villain makes no sense on essentially any level, and they do it terribly
  14. There’s a weird game / story segregation problem with how it does ranks, because we (very very quickly) get promoted to Fleet Admiral, while still acting like a captain, for no real good reason or purpose
  15. The B’vat arc in its current, gutted state starts too late and literally only lasts two episodes, so no build up and no pay off, and it sucks
  16. Pretty much the entire Cardassian arc as is honestly sucks. It starts off with the True Way, instantly shifts into the Terrans, bounces over to the Alpha Jem’Hadar only to immediately abandon them in favor of Laas. The chopped bits make you feel like you’re reading a book with pages torn out, which is appropriate, because you are
  17. The writing and specific moments of the 2800 plot honestly suck
  18. The entire Cold War arc is so bland it drifts into bad
  19. I hate to mention it but during the Taris and Mind Game arc, there are bits of writing and voice acting that simply do not work
  20. The Romulan finale cutscenes honestly kind of sucked, failing to capture what was actually going on the entire time
  21. The Voth Fortress Ship is so, so dumb on so many levels… it’s a setting breaker, threat of the week nonsense, but worst of all it just doesn’t fit in Trek in general
  22. Vaadwaur overblown as a big quadrant-level threat… even if it makes sense with their iconian backers, it still hurts the entire arc
  23. There’s some weird dialogue issues in the Iconian arc, along with weird repetition
  24. Delta Flight… weirdly sucks. The dialogue is bad and stilted, the voice acting is subpar at best and laughable at worst, the whole mission is just bleh
  25. So let’s go ahead and mention something here; Butterfly is total nonsense, but what makes it negative worthy is how Jarok and everyone else are all gung ho about doing their first incursion
  26. The Yesterday’s War episodes are horribly misplaced. They start without preamble or explanation as though you know what’s going on, and feel like filler despite being about huge scale death dooms, it’s weird
  27. Let’s get this out of the way. The way they… use time travel in the Future Proof arc is so elasticy and so loosey goosey for the sake of the game that it’s ridiculous
  28. Okay so for the most part STO bypasses the cutscene incompetence problem but good lord, the temporal arc is stuffed with it
  29. Ragnarok has a lot of issues, easily earning up to a negative for the frustrations throughout
  30. Admiral Tzen-Tarrak is just evil. Any possible nuance and layer is torpedo’d by virtue of him being horrifically evil and enjoying it
  31. The Hur’q are too strong. Them being a challenge for a beleaguered Alliance? Sure. Them pasting the Dominion? Uhhh…
  32. Home… falls flat, in several ways; the directing, the voice acting, the non relevance, just… bleh
  33. The DIS intro being copy paste of the Fed one does it no favors (or vice versa)
  34. The Plausibility of the Possible is… weirdly bad. It’s very surface level and simplistic, stating a point and doing nothing with it, and this is on top of the other issues with it
  35. Impossibility of Reason begins… really badly. The shuttle nonsense is insanity on every level, and us being on the shuttle is even stupider
  36. Amna’s death scene was absolutely terrible. It could have actually worked but they wanted to have the big sacrifice goodbye and so instead a woman walks over, hits a bomb manually, then spends half a minute giving a tear felt goodbye before dying
  37. Melodrama. Just… so much melodrama
  38. The cutscene incompetence has always been there but it really starts to rear its ugly head in the Discovery stuff
  39. The very existence of the Pahvo weapon is by itself a negative; a super weapon that can nuke whatever at near infinite range nearly perfectly… sure
  40. This also ties into a problem STO has in general, but is worst here in the Discovery stuff; insisting that each new threat is some big galactic scale conflict
  41. The… absolutely insane level of cutscene incompetence displayed on Pahvo really bothers me on so many levels
  42. Did I mention the super weapon can also beam you anywhere instantly?
  43. The plot point of murdering tons of people to allow other people (who are just as evil) to return home safely actively aggravates me
  44. The Pahvo missions are… just bad. BILLIONS will die!
  45. Oh and J’ula’s super weapon simply by using it repeatedly can wipe out all life, in all universes, everywhere… right
  46. The… ridiculousness of the Mycelial Realm is its own problem, but creating life (Stamets) just to bypass a bridge without even really addressing it is… what?
  47. The childish moralizing in the Measure of Morality quest honestly irritates me. It doesn’t matter that it’s in character, it’s still annoying
  48. The Mo’Kai Virus is a macbook hacking an alien mothership…
  49. …it’s so, so stupid on so many levels and I hate its stupid face
  50. The Khitomer Discord mission is just… peppered with bad writing, idiocy, and character assassination
  51. Where do all these Mo’Kai come from? Her and a couple ships got warped to the future but she has fleets (plural) at her disposal in the present
  52. The central plot of the Klingon Civil War (that we are literally working for J’mpok against the rebel J’ula) irritates me on so many levels
  53. The fact that J’mpok’s ‘I’m evil ha ha’ is treated like some big reveal is… insanity
  54. The big swap and ‘twist’ of J’ula actually being good all along and the Hero and the Good Guy is honestly the worst thing to come out of this game. It flies in the face of logic, reason, good storytelling, development, and personal opinion…
  55. …earning…
  56. …three negatives
  57. The Kai Leng field engulfing the captains as we leave Khitomer and making them all stupid
  58. The fact that the story wants so badly to have this ‘desperate, on the run’ take because J’mpok declares us terrorists is so stupid on so many levels I had to stop and think about how to properly explain it
  59. J’ula’s actress… sucks, which is made worse because she’s surrounded by better Klingon actors
  60. The sudden near-total absence of the Alliance during the Klingon Stupid just adds all types of aggravation to it
  61. The fact that the PC is an observer in J’ula’s story legitimately hurts the narrative on several levels; Ignoring the obvious facts that have their own negatives, it also doesn’t really do anything with her story, and hurts logic and reason by having us be her uber driver without having us have any impact on said narrative
  62. T’kuuvma keeps being talked up like some great and venerable leader who’s super awesome and they just keep hammering it in so often it’s aggravating (ignoring the fact that T’kuuvma was Klingon Hitler for a second)
  63. I have other issues with it but at the end of the day, the introduction of Grethor as a real, actual place we can go and grab someone’s soul to drag back into a clone and the entire affair is a huge example of underthought. No real effort or thought put into… the huge, huge implications this has, just nope let’s do it
  64. J’ula is a freaking mary sue, one of the worst ones in Trek
  65. The excessive emphasis on how amazing L’Rell is bothers me on every level, especially since it’s all told and none shown
  66. The primary plot of ‘go to hell to recover the soul of someone to serve as a legend/advisor’ doesn’t work on either level because we have literal living legends with us and much, much better advisors…
  67. …on top of the fact that we don’t need any help beating what’s left of J’mpok’s pathetic empire which (in addition to losing a gargantuan portion of its forces during the a-year-ago Iconian War) just lost its unity as most of the Houses all fractured and splintered off. There is NO reason to bother getting this woman and yet it’s the central plot of an entire episode
  68. The absolute ass kissing going on about how amazing L’Rell is and how amazing J’Ula is is legitimately sickening, and that’s before you realize that a 150 year old ship and a no-name idiot calling for help is what unified the friggidy Klingons
  69. The dialogue in the later Klingon missions is just not good, lots of repetition and stating the obvious and general empty text
  70. The Outro to the Klingon arc is bad in general, just across the board
  71. Special mention for the use of the reset button with the Klingon Empire in the wake of the entire story arc (about the Empire being on its way out) and the thematic and literal narrative core of the rest of STO (reforming and moving forwards to better ourselves… see the Romulans, Dominion, etc.)
  72. L’Rell is just not salvaged by her actress. She is an awful character who is terribly positioned and takes over the Empire for no damned reason
  73. J’ulu’s consistent usage of the Kai Leng field can go straight to hell

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Music is mostly licensed stuff, but what’s there and is unique is good
  2. The character creation has sliders, modular outfits, good presets, and variable based on starter…
  3. …easily leading to…
  4. …three positives for sheer quantity and quality
  5. The TOS Intro is good for what it’s trying to do; it’s a solid tutorial for the basic systems of the game and has surprisingly good level design and layout to guide you where you’re doing and what
  6. Game is exceptionally co-op friendly, allowing you to do roughly 98% of the entire game with a friend, in addition to scaling and team matching…
  7. …earning a second positive
  8. HUD rearrangement
  9. ESD is reasonably well laid out, with the three main spokes all relatively close to each other and nicely knit
  10. The massive, insane amount of build customization… is totally optional
  11. Ship selection is insane…
  12. …with so many hundreds of ships it’s hard to even properly summarize the variety on display here…
  13. …easily earning a full three positives
  14. Ship slots and the variety thereof is similarly excellent throughout
  15. Weapons variety in terms of reach, range, special abilities, and damage type are similarly astonishingly varied and contribute enormously to the Build gameplay…
  16. …easily earning…
  17. …three positives
  18. Sets are great, often offering good bonuses and being worth building around
  19. Consoles are just as good and varied as weapons, and so earn the same…
  20. …three…
  21. …positives
  22. Specs are a nice way to add some additional customization on top of everything else
  23. Traits are mostly neat, and worthwhile on their own…
  24. …but what really pushes this is the starship traits you get for leveling ships
  25. Bridge Officers (BOFFs) and their extensive and expansive abilities serve as still further excellent build and customization…
  26. …earning…
  27. …three positives
  28. Duty Officers (DOFFs) aren’t quite as extensive, but still can be used to great effect if carefully set up
  29. The tailor customizations is some good, if not great, cosmetics… mostly hampered by its interface, but still excellent overall variety…
  30. …earning two positives
  31. The usage of shields in space as a form of layered customizations for ships
  32. Usefulness and rewarding nature of reputations
  33. Usefulness and rewardfulness of fleet gear
  34. Endeavors are a nice way to encourage you to go out and do things, and are a nice account-bound reward system
  35. The Klingon mission Manhunt is a bit brief but still enjoyable, nice little jaunts, visuals, and flow to it despite the size problems
  36. Ground weapon variety is actually surprisingly good…
  37. …especially when you consider the kit of, uhm, Kits
  38. Salvaging and re-engineering is actually a pretty great system, very accessible even to new, casual, and leveling players
  39. The Afterlife mission is a decent example of visuals, audio, and some (minor) gimmicky fights
  40. The ‘synch to team leader’ level thing is a great way for people to help people group up and keep things fair and fun
  41. Into The Hive is surprisingly good, with an actual boss fight with actual mechanics that are tutorialized through the stage and everything
  42. The ability to replay missions infinitely and whenever is a very effective form of New Game +…
  43. …honestly one of the better ones I’ve ever seen…
  44. …and easily worth three positives (why aren’t more MMOs doing this?!)
  45. Aggregate: The Kobyashi Maru is decent enough; it’s an arena, but the hazards and suffixes help // Azure Nebula is decent enough // As is the Nukara hold the line mission
  46. Borg space missions are still generally fun even after all these years
  47. Mind Game is a simple mission but the choices and the structure of it are great for how they emphasize the narrative
  48. The Vault (Tholian one) is actually kinda neat and fun, with a little gimmick and general enjoyability
  49. Sphere of Influence has been much improved in the ‘roleplay’ section of piloting another ship (unique abilities for our unique crew help a lot), plus it’s nice to have a ground mission not lean on killing dozens of trash mobs
  50. Finally we reach a point where the adventure zones are actually good. The various space zones are decent, but the ‘recurring events’ format actually worked quite well for it
  51. A separate bonus for the Undine and ground Voth adventure zones and their event focused cycling and rewarding
  52. The Breach does do some good stuff here and there, making the experience actually fun when it isn’t arduous
  53. A Step Between Stars starts the chain of actually good quests, with some neat sections and gimmicks and actual gameplay in level design
  54. Surface Tension serves as a new tutorial for the game, and does a good job of it
  55. Surface Tension is fun, good layering objectives and good usage of unique gimmicks to vary up the combat
  56. The Mindscape mission is easily one of my favorite quests in the game, even gameplay wise, using its conceits in new and creative ways to keep it fun and interesting
  57. Undine Infiltration is actually pretty creative; It’s simple, but it’s still fun and enjoyable to piece together the infiltrators, and leans light on the combat
  58. Viscous Cycle continues the modern trend of good TFOs, with fun targets and enjoyable semi optional mini objectives
  59. The competitive ‘pvp’ TFOs are actually pretty fun…
  60. …both of them
  61. The enemy variety in the game is legitimately excellent, with a huge range of enemies and differing tactics…
  62. …easily earning…
  63. …three positives
  64. Takedown is a great mission, between the layered areas which don’t reload the cell (persisting buffs and the like), calling in different allies with different results, and the final ground battle…
  65. …it earns two positives
  66. The Dust To Dust quest is actually pretty fun, between the lightning, the maze, and the collapsing platforms
  67. Iconian 1 and unique platforming stuff
  68. While it’s not much, the varied up gameplay and different focus of Sunrise is very welcome, and honestly is the type of mission I’d like to see more of
  69. Days of Doom is actually pretty fun. It’s got unique objectives which aren’t irritating, encourages the team to split up and coordinate…
  70. …and is topped off by a fun and enjoyable encounter you defeat through interaction and not just shooting it
  71. Tzenkethi Front is decent overall, back to objective based actions and some neat give and take on offense/defense
  72. The Renegade’s Regret is great, they do exactly what they should do with the ‘roleplay’ system and make the entire experience fun
  73. The Dominion intro gets you into things quickly, tutorializes well, and hands you all you need to jump right into it
  74. Quark’s Lucky Seven and the variety in gameplay and general fun is just… legit
  75. Call me weird but I actually rather like the Tenebris Torquent gameplay; it’s flawed, but they branch out and do more than the typical ‘trash fights’ approach to it
  76. The Pahvo Dissension mission is actually pretty fun, with the chained objectives and decent map design
  77. Beneath The Skin is actually not bad gameplay wise, mixing it up a bit and having some neat little attempts at gameplay
  78. To Hell With Honor actually isn’t bad on the face of it, with the layered objectives and the reward/penalty for rushing the bases
  79. Mycelial Realm isn’t bad either, with real objectives and decent layouts which encourage multiple tactics
  80. Sentinels is quick, rewarding, and fun
  81. The advancing wall of doom while rescuing people in its path during Khitomer Discord was actually pretty clever, unique, and fun
  82. Best Served Cold is when TFOs finally start to come into their own; base holding with dynamic objectives around defeating then protecting transports, and the exploding ships which we have to defeat before the stations get hit…
  83. …earning two positives

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Bindings and options don’t share (or have the option to) across characters
  2. Co-op issues with dialogue, triggers, and other nuisances
  3. Tailor customization options locked behind in game store
  4. The in game store, as usual, sucks
  5. The way the game locks amazing stuff behind ludicrously overpriced bundles is asinine
  6. The in game lootbox system is bad on so many levels. First there’s the fact that lootboxes exist at all
  7. Then there’s the fact that they shove them into your face as regular loot, despite the fact that you can literally buy them infinitely for free
  8. Then there’s the chat spam (which is admittedly toggleable) that tells you when anyone, anywhere, successfully gets a rare item
  9. Speaking of which, the worthwhile stuff is ludicrously rare, and random
  10. Then we add in the extra layer of predation by making the boxes free but you have to pay for the keys, adding that extra layer of crap
  11. Each box also gives you a very small amount of lobi
  12. Lobi itself is its own issue, as the only (reliable, repeatable) source of lobi in the entire game is the lootboxes
  13. There is a degree of FOMO with regards to ships, consoles, devices, and traits
  14. Vanity shields from lockboxes! Because of course they are
  15. Also, no preview pane so no idea what you’re buying
  16. Sector travel at low level sucks, really really badly, and only avoids more negatives by virtue of the transwarp to quest option
  17. The load times are honestly ridiculous, even after patching everything
  18. The game has the usual audio overlap issue a lot of games have, making it a bit too easy to miss dialogue (and being irritating regardless)
  19. The ‘animations’ of ground combat are, let’s be as blunt as we can here…
  20. …bad, bad, bad, easily two negative territory
  21. There’s quite a bit of audio spam and no real way to avoid it (both in dialogue and in SFX)
  22. The game has no real controls or safeguards over the dilithium in game economy, which has a knock on effect on quite a bit of the rest of the game
  23. There is a fairly substantial lack of information in game on several key aspects of the game
  24. The interface has to be ‘dealt with’ almost constantly… honestly being one of the worst interfaces in general and in an MMO in general…
  25. …leading to two negatives
  26. The grind time on reputation is unacceptable
  27. The grind on procuring marks for the rep items is pretty bad too
  28. The very nature of how Fleets … just… work is entirely too convoluted to the point of ridiculousness
  29. So there’s an extensive problem with how fleets function. First, outside of the obvious social aspect, Fleets are there for Fleet gear first and foremost. Fleet gear costs Fleet CREDITS. You cannot earn Fleet credits, only Fleet MARKS. You then have to toss them into projects with limited basins and other irritating stuff to contribute in order to turn marks into credits. This has… all of the problems with it…
  30. …and honestly giving it only two negatives is just because of how unnecessary fleet gear is
  31. Crafting is arduous, grindy, and mostly vestigial
  32. The entire DOFF system is barely explained and requires either looking things up on the wiki or dropping an obscene amount of in game (or real) money on the good ones for builds
  33. There is a pretty bad early game syndrome going on here, as early combat (both ground and space) is mind numbingly boring
  34. There is a lack of tutorialization and categorization for the massive, massive and extensive builds mechanisms in the game, leading to being lost in the candy store
  35. Defara Adventure Zone. Ill defined quests which have no real feedback and aren’t good to begin with
  36. The Arena of Sompek could be worse, but it’s boring and dull and infinite
  37. The game kicks you from group (disbands it, actually) after leaving an instance
  38. Any issues with instances mean bailing; Any bailing (under any circumstances) means a 30 minute penalty, period
  39. Old Patrols just… sucked, so badly
  40. They were boring, disinteresting, and sloggy…
  41. …and plagued with issues reminiscent of older game design
  42. The Spectres Flickering is honestly awful and literally causes client wide issues
  43. Spectres backtracking
  44. The Spectres nerve tonic puzzle isn’t bad at its core but is just arduous to slog through
  45. Forged In Fire audio spam is above and beyond
  46. Forged In Fire is also really bad about boss padding in health, even if it’s not as bad as it used to be, it’s still bad
  47. The entire ‘forced to occupy Bajor’ quest series is bad, bad, bad. It’s excessively padded, boring as sin, and drags on longer than most entire episodes…
  48. …earning its entirely necessary two negatives
  49. Meanwhile having to deal with the ferengi twit and the swarmers and the shuttle AND the bugs… earns a negative
  50. General audio mixing problems
  51. Severe and multiple softlocking bugs with Boldly They Rode
  52. Borg ground missions suck in general, regardless of the follow up missions which suck even more
  53. The Cure Applied TFO can go straight to hell. It’s long, slow, boring, easy to screw up, has almost no feedback, and can literally bug out
  54. Khitomer In Stasis isn’t bad until you get to the confusing cross team thing which is padding at best and confusing at worst
  55. Exceptionally boring quest design on Nimbus III (very x of y)
  56. Speaking of which the overworld design of Nimbus III is… not good, at best
  57. Boring MMOy quests in New Romulus, on top of honestly pretty bad overworld design
  58. This is in addition to New Romulus having long swaths of boring, bugs and irritations everywhere, and timed events that don’t share credit even across teammates
  59. The Elachi station mission sucks
  60. The Elachi TFO is identical to the mission and therefore… sucks
  61. The Elachi patrols suck
  62. The Elachi ground missions… suck (forced rebreathers in an area where the enemies do tons of status effects and damage)
  63. The Elachi ground TFO sucks…
  64. …and is identical to the mission. But let’s talk about why…
  65. …shuttlecraft suck. They’re just ships. Fast, mobile, but with none of the massive build variety or options you get for ships. So they’re just ships, but… bad. And thus all shuttle missions independently suck
  66. So, why does ground combat suck? Well it contains issues that space combat has, with none of the benefits… no facing to speak of, no variety of weapon arcs, and none of the extensive build gameplay. So it’s just bad…
  67. …and easily worth…
  68. …three negatives by itself
  69. Then we get into targeting, which is some of the worst targeting I’ve ever seen in an mmo, bouncing back and forth between being better to hit tab, another hotkey custom bound, or mouse click depending…
  70. …so targeting…
  71. …is another three negatives
  72. The Vault continues the trend of bad shuttle missions. Aside from the usual problems, the tight vertical space in a game that doesn’t support going up or down, on top of time wasters and irritants, makes the whole thing bleh
  73. Vault Shuttle Event has established a new precedent as the worst MMO dungeon we’ve covered to-date. It’s a shuttle mission, with the verticality mentioned previously in the Vault, with boring trash that respawns, which is an escort mission, which takes forever to repair if you screw up, for an escort that doesn’t dodge anything, while requiring you to kill all enemies to progress, while nothing indicates that whatsoever, while enemies can get bugged and locked inside the terrain…
  74. …thus earning us…
  75. … a triple negative dungeon
  76. The Coliseum mission has a few dozen constant little irritations and bugs to it
  77. Having to redo the New Romulus missions is just whatever on so many levels
  78. …uh, twice. Redoing the missions… twice
  79. So both of these iterations…
  80. …deserve double negatives
  81. And they pull this crap AGAIN later in New Romulus…
  82. …which continues to be awful in every way
  83. Breach has some bad padding issues and it’s still easy to get lost at points (plus the loss of the ‘speed buff’ can screw over players)
  84. Lazy difficulty settings
  85. Audio spam problems return for the Iconian TFOs
  86. Unfortunately the Iconian TFOs in general kinda suck. They tried some gimmicks but these ones didn’t work
  87. The HUD has another problem; lack of feedback. It’s legitimately hard to see buffs and debuffs, both in general and in the field
  88. Miner Instabilities has… some issues. The audio spam is really bad in the early part, the game isn’t clear about splitting up, and the progression triggers are buggy
  89. The game’s in-game chat is… bad. Bad filtering options, bad options in general, bad presentation, just bad…
  90. …worthy of two negatives
  91. Tzenkethi warzone… honestly sucks. The scaling is off, it takes forever to progress and you can lose progress, and it’s barely rewarding (especially in terms of time investment)
  92. Gravity Kills has some great ideas but awful implementation; between the pull issues with certain ship configurations, the literal instant respawning of enemies, the bad placement of hawking particles, just… everything really
  93. The recurring ‘hold the line’ TFO format isn’t ‘bad’ really but it’s over-use drags it into bad territory
  94. The Gamma ‘adventure zone’ sucks. The individual quests are alright but badly scaled and badly balanced and can get boring, fast
  95. Home is one of the most boring missions in quite a while; it’s (literally) kill a bunch of trash, kill a bunch of ground trash, hold the line against ground trash, kill trash, kill ground trash, hold the line against ground trash. That’s… it
  96. The DIS Intro being copy paste of the Fed one (or vice versa) is really lazy
  97. Yet another negative for the continuing reliance upon the same boring one-note hold the line objective
  98. Hold the line, dammit
  99. To Hell With Honor has entirely too many turrets which are entirely too overtuned, and having to kill all the elachi at each step honestly drags it down
  100. The first Measure of Morality quest isn’t… bad, but it has some weird and wonky issues, made worse by being forced to not have our BOFFs, and of course the irritation of the Control fight
  101. The pure RNG bad design of the arena fight of Madran’s deserves its own negative

The Old Republic

Let’s get this out of the way; this game has serious, serious problems. But I still love it… well, part of it. If ever there was a game to cherry pick this is it, but I can strongly recommend the Sith side classes, partially recommend Consular and Smuggler, and recommend you subscribe when you play to make the experience not even worse.
Total Story Score: +294
Total Gameplay Score: -204
Golden Number: 158.39
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 36 Days // 737.44 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-12-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Voice Acting: Ord Mantell VA
  2. Voice Acting: Coruscant VA
  3. Voice Acting: Taris VA
  4. Voice Acting: Nar Shaddaa VA
  5. Voice Acting: Tatooine VA
  6. Voice Acting: Alderaan VA
  7. Voice Acting: Balmorra VA
  8. Voice Acting: Hoth VA
  9. Voice Acting: Belsavis VA
  10. Voice Acting: Voss VA
  11. Voice Acting: Tython VA
  12. Prime Opt: Ord Mantell and the showcasing of the messed up nature of both the Republic and the Separatists
  13. Secondary: The Secondary Quests in Ord Mantell are good flavor and good world building
  14. Prime Opt: Esseles is probably one of the better dungeons storywise, with some good characters and good decisions, and a surprisingly down to earth but worthwhile plot
  15. Animation: Esseles also has some good cinematic direction and Animation throughout
  16. Brickwork: Ord Mantell Brickwork
  17. Brickwork: Coruscant Brickwork
  18. Sound Design: Coruscant Sound Design
  19. Secondary: Coruscant’s side quests do a good job of showcasing the gray on black nature of the planet, the Republic, and the Senate as we do quite a few quests with and for Senators, and we see a good spread thereof
  20. Prime Opt: The Coruscant Primary is so-so, but the addition of the Gree, their unique and fun method of dialogue, and their relevance to the function of Coruscant are honestly awesome
  21. Prime Opt: Taris primary quest absolutely nails just how… absolutely awful Taris really is, and how terrible of an idea it is for the Republic to keep burning men, time, effort, and resources on a project that is failing miserably
  22. Secondary: Taris secondary quests do a good job of adding to the storytelling, world building, and personal stories therein
  23. Prime Opt: Tatooine primary is a nice callback to the Rakata in general, and the way the Czerka try to mis-use and abuse it honestly fits in neatly with them
  24. Prime Opt: Alderaan Primary drifts into decent, mostly with the politics and the proxy war actively going on
  25. Prime Opt: The Balmorra Primary is mostly so so, but there’s some good moments and some good side characters, making the arc more positive than not (especially since the Madine is actually willing to accept that he’s wrong, a rarity amongst Republic generals)
  26. Internal Continuity: Internal continuity of Balmorra between Sith and Republic
  27. Prime Opt: Surprisingly, the Quesh Primary arc is actually pretty good. The affable yet intelligent sith, the manipulating Hutt, all surprisingly well written and straight
  28. Prime Opt: Hoth’s Primary’s general plot is actually fascinating in its banality; Being all about salvage rights. This is further augmented by the general vibe and tone of the piece…
  29. Prime Opt: …and a bonus positive for the decently well-written interactions and individual quests (especially the Republic > Imperial temp truce bit)
  30. World Building: Voss’ quests are so so, but the world building they provide to Voss and their people and culture are pretty great
  31. Prime Opt: The Voss Primary is actually pretty well written throughout; good moments and twists
  32. Prime Opt: Tython and the showcasing of the incompetence of the Jedi Order
  33. Humor: There are quite a few ‘so bad it’s good’ animations across the Republic quests, and they are (unintentionally) hilarious
  34. Character: Elara Dorne is immediately a good character, in quite literally her first scene; She’s competent, professional, and manages to be well written enough to not be irritating or stuck up
  35. Moment: Elara Dorne’s Taris reactions and responses are honestly fantastic (“I suggest you put a blaster bolt in his skull”)
  36. Voice Acting: Elara Dorne’s voice actress nails the role
  37. Character: Forex is simple, but forthright in what he is; the cheesy, ridiculous fun
  38. Prime Opt: Elara’s quests, while flat (as all non-main companions are), her arc of proving herself despite her background and heritage is a neat one
  39. Prime Opt: Forex’s quests are silly and ridiculous but they’re delightful, well acted, and of course the descriptions of his ops are hilarious
  40. Moment: For the first time, in the entire Trooper storyline, there is a legitimately good story beat for Trooper; the trap on A-77, and the loss of Sergeant Jaxo
  41. Moment: The sham trial with Zian and the option to literally shoot him in the face is just… hilarious
  42. Prime Opt: The conclusion of Jorgan’s quest chain is weirdly satisfying out of no where, and even has decent elements of the grunts sacrificed vs. the agents sacrificing
  43. Voice Acting: Companion VA
  44. Internal Continuity: The choice regarding Galen, and how it keeps coming up later
  45. MSQ: Taris in general is surprisingly well written for how brief it is, a lot of which sits on the strength of Watcher One and some legitimate dilemmas for the JK to face
  46. Character: Lord Praven is a weirdly good and nuanced of not only a Dark Side user, but just an interesting character in general
  47. Character: Okay so… honestly, credit for how the Jedi Council are portrayed; Arrogant, wise, patient, reckless, and disagreeing with each other constantly
  48. Character: T7 is, let’s be honest, pretty legit. He’s only not more positives because of his lack of presence
  49. Voice Acting: Generally good voice acting work for the JK
  50. Voice Acting: Companion VA
  51. Aggregate: By itself, the general horror of the Power Guard concept // Tol Braga is honestly a better Obi-Wan character than Orgus // Pak’s tiny arc on Belsavis is super brief… but more interesting than the rest of Belsavis entire, and a neat little bit of competency from the Republic Colonel on hand
  52. MSQ: JC Taris is… actually pretty good. It’s got a decent section of options, surprisingly enjoyable dialogue, and works well dark or light
  53. Plot: Act 1 stumbles a bit but is a nice build up for solving something that (at least hypothetically) is a non standard obstacle that (hypothetically) doesn’t require killing to solve
  54. Dialogue: The dialogue in act 1 for Consular is some of the best on the entire Republic side
  55. Voice Acting: The voice actress for the Consular is bland on light… but she’s actually legit when dark
  56. Voice Acting: General VA positive across Consular
  57. Writing: The way they portray the Dark Side is legitimately interesting for Consular; she can be cruel, but amusing, but in general is portrayed more as intelligent and pragmatic than simply a thug
  58. Writing: Okay credit where it’s due, Morrhage is interesting, and the dilemma at the end of Act 1 is actually legit
  59. MSQ: JC Balmorra is actually a pretty good story arc. The dynamic between Zenith and Tai is more than a simple zealot vs. politician, as both have shadings of nuance that help flesh them out, and the arc itself has several good layers it adds to your character
  60. MSQ: JC Belsavis is surprisingly well constructed, shows some new insight on the Esh Ka, and continues the overall arc
  61. Plot: JC Act 3 has a few flaws, but the overall thread of the Children and building up a web of supporters is actually pretty cool
  62. Dialogue: The dialogue stumbles a bit, but is generally well written throughout
  63. Writing: The consistent Dark Side portrayal continues to be amusing, interesting, and pragmatic
  64. Character: Holiday is weirdly interesting in her own right, and exceptionally well acted
  65. Character: Iresso is… weird. He’s bland, but reliable, and is probably our best ground troop character on the entire Republic
  66. MSQ: JC Corellia does a good job of selling the terror of sleeper agents as its primary plot
  67. MSQ: JC Corellia is… just weirdly good. The working with forces you’ve gathered, functionally leading (and actually choosing) how the battles go
  68. Outro: JC Outro is actually really satisfying, acknowledges choices and reality, and feels more satisfying than JK (I know, low bar)
  69. Character: Zenith isn’t much, but he’s weirdly engaging (no doubt helped by his actor)
  70. Character: Nadia is in the same boat; the beginnings of a good character
  71. Voice Acting: Companion VA
  72. Intro: Immediate personal stakes in tutorial
  73. Intro: Intro does a lot right, establishing stakes, tone, character, and stakes
  74. MSQ: The Coruscant quests are delightful. The bounty hunters, imperials, general humor and fun side characters
  75. Character: Bonus points for Miel just kinda being a bro throughout
  76. Humor: The, uh, ‘trap’ set for us in deep space is absolutely hysterical
  77. MSQ: Tatooine’s arc is quite amusing, playing the seductress sith against the completely innocent jedi
  78. MSQ: The entire Darth Bandon arc is a hilarious and proper usage of External Continuity
  79. Moment: Okay, the ‘duel’ on Alderaan was fantastic, a great moment
  80. Plot: Act 1’s structure in how we meet and develop Risha before she joins helps her to be an actual character
  81. Character: Skavak is, let’s be honest, occasionally amusing… mostly early on
  82. Humor: The repeated Flirt options are legitimately amusing, especially since most of the people you flirt with just shut you down
  83. MSQ: I love the Hoth arc; in addition to Guss, we also have a nice twist with Ailila and Trick
  84. Storyboarding: Okay, the storyboarding and… amusement of framing the death of Raskurro on Rogun deserves its own positive
  85. MSQ: Belsavis had some surprisingly decent stuff; Ivory was more complex than he could’ve been, and there were legitimately amusing moments
  86. Humor: Smuggler consistently amuses, getting a Humor positive
  87. Character: Spar is simple, but highly amusing on Balmorra
  88. Storyboarding: There is periodic amusing storyboarding
  89. Dialogue: The dialogue is a strong point for the Smuggler
  90. Character: Risha is a pretty interesting character, further helped by having a pretty good and multi-faceted story arc..
  91. Character: …earning her two positives
  92. Character: Guss is similarly just kind of wholesome, humorous, well acted, and awesome…
  93. Character: …earning him two positives
  94. Voice Acting: General Smuggler VA positive
  95. Voice Acting: Companion VA
  96. Brickwork: The general ‘imperial’ Brickwork aesthetic is distinct and well designed, and adds to the atmosphere of their territories
  97. Camerawork: Regardless of all other things, the presentation and camera usage of the Foundry is quite good
  98. Brickwork: Korriban brickwork does a great
  99. Visual Storytelling: Korriban visual storytelling
  100. Voice Acting: Korriban VA
  101. Secondary: Korriban sidequests
  102. Voice Acting: Dromund Kaas VA
  103. Secondary: Dromund Kaas sidequests are… actually really good, showing tons and tons of world building, characterization, variety, and general writing quality, and terror…
  104. Secondary: …earning two positives
  105. Prime Opt: Dromund Kaas Revanites
  106. Brickwork: Dromund Kaas Brickwork
  107. Prime Opt: Balmora quests are a good insight into how horrible the Sith Empire can be, the occupation, and of course the lead up to the eventual Balmorran story arc on the Republic side
  108. Voice Acting: Balmorra VA
  109. Secondary: Balmorra bonus series is surprisingly well constructed as a follow-through to the initial occupation (the Primary)
  110. Internal Continuity: Internal continuity of Taris between Sith and Republic
  111. Prime Opt: Nar Shaddaa’s initial Primary, with the Syndicate, is amusing and well written
  112. Voice Acting: Nar Shaddaa VA
  113. Prime Opt: While mostly the same arc, the Sith Tatooine Primary is still pretty legit
  114. Voice Acting: Tatooine VA
  115. Voice Acting: Alderaan VA
  116. Secondary: Alderaan bonus and world building of Killiks and the order of killing them
  117. Voice Acting: Taris VA
  118. Prime Opt: Taris Primary and Thana and Gravus
  119. Voice Acting: Hoth VA
  120. Voice Acting: Belsavis VA
  121. Voice Acting: Voss VA
  122. Voice Acting: Corellia VA
  123. Prime Opt: Corellian’s Primary is actually somewhat decent, mostly thanks to Darbin Sull
  124. Voice Acting: Nal Hutta VA
  125. World Building: Hutta’s world building is actually pretty good, between how the underworld works in general, the Hutts, and the Evocaii
  126. Brickwork: Nal Hutta is exactly what it should be; a filthy swamp
  127. Secondary: Nal Hutta’s quests are good for the vibe… of the Bounty Hunter
  128. Voice Acting: Male VA
  129. Voice Acting: Female VA
  130. Voice Acting: Companions VA
  131. Intro: Intro does a lot very quickly; establishes our character, the kind of ‘world’ we live in, our crew, and our goal
  132. MSQ: Hutta’s arc is simple but enjoyable. It feels like we’re a relatively normal person just trying to make it in the business, and the vibe and atmosphere work for me
  133. MSQ: Dromund Kaas continues to be amusing…
  134. MSQ: …but more than that, the entire sequence is a great way to exposit on how the Sith Empire operates, from nobility to military to intelligence
  135. MSQ: Balmorra is another amusing short story; working for a moron and dancing circles around him to get to our real target…
  136. Internal Continuity: …while also helping sabotage Imperial efforts, leading to some connective tissue to the Republic Balmorra lines
  137. MSQ: The Balmorra conclusion is immensely satisfying, especially watching Pirrell dissolve as things fall apart around him
  138. MSQ: The Nar Shaddaa arc is somewhat simple, but the supporting cast really helps to sell it
  139. MSQ: The Tatooine story arc is exceptionally well written, and engaging… it’s seeing a Han Solo / Jack Sparrow type character, except we’re not on their side for once and are going after them…
  140. MSQ: …this is in addition to a showcasing of Tatooine’s functionality as the border world…
  141. MSQ: …and of course I absolutely love the target we’re after
  142. MSQ: Okay so the Alderaan sequence is brilliantly built up and paid off. First we encounter absolute snobs of nobility (already priming us for what is to come), then we are given formal opportunity to act as an official liaison, then we are given the option of doing some stupid sidequest… or…
  143. MSQ: …we slug the guy, giving us a brief encounter before we can slug him AGAIN…
  144. MSQ: …and at the end of it all, we’re actually thanked for it!
  145. Moment: And THEN there’s when we are asked to kill a noble and we do it just so… perfectly casually and without hesitation, without even looking!
  146. MSQ: The Act 1 final mission is quite satisfying, seeing Tarro Blood brought so low, and having the choice of how to kill him (and the fact that he failed a will check), awesome
  147. Character: Tarro Blood is actually a pretty good rival. If you’re dirty, he’s a reflection of you. If you’re just that good, he’s what you’re fighting against. And in both cases he pushes you constantly, and fails
  148. MSQ: The Taris quest is bland… right up until that last scene with Torian and his father, which is surprisingly good
  149. Plot: The first act does have a good overall format to its plot; a sequence of mini stories
  150. Character: Mako is a bit simple, but she’s a delightful little marshmallow
  151. Character: Gault is fantastic. He’s a great character in Tatooine, and he keeps being a great character after…
  152. Character: …probably helped by the fact that he has actual layers and depth to him
  153. Character: Blizz is amazing. I don’t want to over-emphasize him, but the truth is he’s positive, upbeat, uplifting, helpful, and has some of the best little ‘companion moments’ in other cutscenes, and even his sidequest…
  154. Character:…easily earning him…
  155. Character:…three positives
  156. Dialogue: Generally good dialogue throughout
  157. Outro: Okay, that final bit with the Chancellor and Darth Idiot is legitimately good. It’s not built up at all, but it’s still good
  158. Intro: The SW Intro once again immediately establishes itself. We know a lot about who we are and the tasks we’re being shoved into very quickly
  159. Intro: The second quest, dealing with the three criminals, is fun and multi-faceted
  160. Intro: The intro does a lot to immediately establish our potential and raw power without tipping into JK range
  161. Character: Baras is very established very early on… literally in just two scenes we see what type of character he is. His devotion to the Dark Side and its tenants, but his absolute focus on out-maneuvering his opponents
  162. Character: Tremel is a brief character but very well done for his screen time
  163. Character: Baras actually varies in how he reacts to you dependant entirely upon how you deal with him, adding another wonderful layer to his character
  164. Character: Baras also establishes very early on that he, ultimately, is very pragmatic. He does NOT give a damn how you do things, only that you get results… good, bad, in-between
  165. Character: Baras also establishes his paranoia very, very early on… in a nice, subtle way that makes you not only skip over it, but also inclines you to think he’s right
  166. Plot: The act 1 plot device of Jaesa’s ability is very well constructed, as a way to make her relevant to Baras and his spy network, and a way to make her twist one way or the other depending on your actions
  167. MSQ: Dromund Kaas continues the general excellence of Warrior with several key insights into how the Sith operate…
  168. MSQ: …and how Baras operates
  169. Moment: The… option with Grathan and his wife is just hilarious
  170. MSQ: The Durmat side bit is amusing, and it’s a good establishment of Quinn
  171. MSQ: …but everything to do with Rylon and the reality of being a deep spy is brilliant
  172. Voice Acting: Sith Warrior’s male voice actor is honestly amazing…
  173. Voice Acting: …earning two positives
  174. Voice Acting: Sith Warrior’s female voice actress is incredible…
  175. Voice Acting: …earning two positives
  176. MSQ: Nar Shaddaa’s quests continue to help establish Baras, Sith politics, and showcase Republic mentality along the way
  177. MSQ: Nomen Karr’s initial introduction is brilliant. It establishes his cold calculus, his detachment, and his pride…
  178. MSQ: …and no matter how you play things, evil or good, he still tries everything he can to kill you, a recurring trend
  179. Moment: So let’s get this out of the way; the Tatooine cutscene is phenomenal. It’s well written, deep, interesting, and can go a lot of different ways depending on how you do it. It’s one of the better sequences in the game…
  180. Moment: …earning it…
  181. Moment: …a full three positives
  182. Banter: Banter with Vette is consistently good throughout
  183. Moment: Duke Kendoh’s deflation; build up, pay off, and then even further pay off
  184. Moment: The entire sequence with the General
  185. Moment: And finally the various options and paths with the parents
  186. MSQ: The two jedi in the trap ship is absolutely hysterical when you’re good
  187. MSQ: The good Act 1 conclusion is easily one of the most satisfying payoffs after a wonderful build up of the entire first act. The reveal of Karr, turning Jaesa, the game acknowledging your choices in lore, the entire idea of reforming the empire from within, and Jaesa joining you in the task…
  188. MSQ:…easily earning itself…
  189. MSQ:…three positives
  190. MSQ:Then there’s the Act 1 conclusion if you are evil. Corrupting Nomen Karr, turning Jaesa with simplicity and honesty, and of course the subtle tidbits of how you are out-pacing Baras’ anticipations…
  191. MSQ:…so it earns once again…
  192. MSQ:…a third positive
  193. MSQ: The way they use Pierce on Taris is actually pretty legit, and the ‘use your entire team’ sequence is actually awesome
  194. Character: Further, while I don’t like Pierce much, he’s well used (if simple) and serves as a good contrast to Quinn
  195. Worldbuilding: Everything to do with Wyellett is horrifying and awesome. Easily the best showcasing of Light Side corruption in all of Star Wars…
  196. Worldbuilding: …earning two positives by itself
  197. Writing: The build up and pay off of Baras’ attempt on our life is brilliantly handled
  198. Plot: Similarly, the entire plot point of us becoming the Emperor’s Wrath is fantastic, and opens up a lot of narrative usages in the near future
  199. Consequence Storytelling: Baras’ overall scheme to take over as the Voice is honestly just… really, really smart
  200. MSQ: The Belsavis MSQ does a very good job of showcasing the internecine sith politics as well as the imperial military’s opinion and operations therearound
  201. Character: Timmns is honestly a pretty great character, and is a good showcasing of a smart jedi
  202. Plot: The slow descent of Baras into sloppiness, and then later panic, is great
  203. Character: Jaesa’s entire character arc as a light side is actually pretty cool, even as it’s somewhat sad in how much resistance she faces
  204. Character: Jaesa as dark side is… disturbing, like very well written disturbing
  205. Humor: Dark Side can be hilariously funny, often…
  206. Humor: …earning two positives
  207. Plot: The precision strike that is the Voss MSQ is brilliant. It explains the 8 year silence, most of the events leading up to and through the game, and does a better job with Vitiate than in the entire JK storyline
  208. MSQ: Thus the Voss arc earns…
  209. MSQ: …three separate positives
  210. Character: Despite everything, Quinn is still a fascinating and well written character…
  211. Character: …earning him two positive
  212. Storyboarding: The storyboarding in SW is, in general, much higher quality than most of the other classes combined
  213. Character: Vette is just delightful, but what really makes her work so well is the nuance and multi-faceted nature of her character. She can be attentive, amusing, quirky, thoughtful, caring, considerate, brutal, snarky… and all properly showcased at the right time and to the right person, all on top of a great voice actress…
  214. Character: …earning her…
  215. Character: …three positives
  216. Character: Bonus positive for general sweetness and positivity of the Vette romance
  217. Voice Acting: Generally great companion VA…
  218. Voice Acting: …for two positives
  219. Camerawork: Surprisingly good camerawork throughout
  220. Character: Let’s get this out of the way. Baras is easily one of if not the best written Siths in the entire franchise, and one of the best characters in all of (vanilla) TOR. He is pragmatic, adaptive, clever but flawed, forward thinking but focused on the moment, and he even has a character arc developing across all three acts. This is on top of being a major focus from the very beginning to the very end, giving him a huge amount of time to breathe and grow. Baras…
  221. Character: …is easily…
  222. Character: …three positives by himself
  223. Voice Acting: Then there’s Baras’ voice acting and presentation, which goes above and beyond…
  224. Voice Acting: …earning him two positives therefore
  225. Prime Opt: Pierce isn’t much, but his quest is surprisingly good… a nice, if brief, showcasing of Imperial spec ops, as well as a (frankly) better spec ops plot than the entire Trooper arc
  226. Humor: Moff Broysc is funny and brilliantly comedically timed
  227. Storyboarding: Corellia’s SW storyboarding is… weirdly good, compared to the rest of the game
  228. Humor: SW Corellia is… weirdly amusing, consistently
  229. MSQ: The entire Corellia arc feels like it should be a ‘sidequest’ but it’s actually directly connected to the main plot of going after Baras
  230. Character: Vowrawn is awesome. Smart, affable, well acted, and a long term thinker
  231. Outro: While not as powerful or impacting as Inquisitor, the Outro is still generally awesome. The confrontation with Baras, the Council laughing, his slow descent into desperation and panic, and finally his ignoble death, and us walking away as the acknowledged Wrath….
  232. Outro: …earning it…
  233. Outro: …three positives
  234. Theme: The two central themes are quite strong throughout the work. The first is the theme of personal power vs. political power and the dynamic and interplay between them…
  235. Theme: …earning two positives
  236. Theme: Then there’s the other big theme; duplicity. Virtually every character in the entire arc has a surface and a subsurface personality, and a huge amount of the work is about how those two contrast and compete with one another (most obviously with Jaesa)…
  237. Theme: …earning it two positives
  238. Intro: The opening is the total opposite of the awful JC one earlier; It establishes so much so fast. There is a lot of show not tell, we establish there are stupid, evil, and decent people on the Sith, we get our first interaction with our initial two obstacles (Harkun and our rival), and it’s just generally awesome
  239. Writing: Sith Inquisitor immediately establishes its writing chops; We immediately see the very nature of the Sith philosophy in action; Harkun favors Ffon, and in so doing coddles him, making him weaker… while also making us stronger by virtue of forcing us to adapt and improve in the face of this excess opposition. We make ourselves stronger, and Ffon makes himself weaker
  240. MSQ: The literal second SI quest is a fantastic quest, as it allows you to be good, evil, crazy, and none of the above are mutually exclusive. It is surprisingly well written and bizarrely entertaining
  241. Voice Acting: Zash’s voice actress is absolutely fantastic, not just a delight to listen to but she manages a wide range of emotions and concepts
  242. MSQ: The conclusion of the SI Korriban chain is honestly very satisfying no matter how you play it;
  243. MSQ: The singular plot point of how Zash defeats Skotia is well built up, well earned, brilliant, and pays off fantastically. It also ties in neatly to the overall theme of the Inquisitor; out maneuvering your opponents rather than brute forcing them
  244. Plot: Unlike both JK and JC where you’re just kind of awesome, the reveal of our connection to Kallig is nicely done…
  245. Plot: …but even better, they use this connection smartly throughout the plot
  246. MSQ: Balmorra’s arc has a few stumbles, but the way Major Bessiker and his son and the vault is both amusing and interesting
  247. MSQ: The cult construction plot of Nar Shaddaa
  248. MSQ: Though difficult to pull off, successfully outmaneuvering the assassins and the jedi is immensely satisfying
  249. MSQ: The Act 1 conclusion is both satisfying and surprisingly well constructed, effectively boosting our power base and position thanks to Zash’s machinations
  250. Plot: The very existence of Force Walk is legitimately brilliant in many ways. It gives us a gameplay reason to go around collecting Force ghosts, it gives us a narrative reason to garner them to ourselves, it builds in a narrative reason to choose Light (convince) or Dark (oppress), and finally it serves as a good in-universe explanation for how we are able to expand our power so vastly and so quickly…
  251. Plot: …earning it…
  252. Plot: …three positives for the sheer quality of the writing of this plot point
  253. MSQ: SI Taris is a brief but enjoyable sojourn, moreso for how many ways it can go as you work around Ashara
  254. MSQ: The Voss arc is actually pretty cool, showcasing in very tangible sense just how foolish our idea was to grab so many Force ghosts, and the lengths we have to go through to remove them
  255. Voice Acting: The Sith Inquisitor’s voice actors are really quite good, in fact both of them are good…
  256. Voice Acting: …earning a full…
  257. Voice Acting: …three positives
  258. Character: Darth Zash is a fantastic character, villain, and position in the plot. She guides us, aides us, betrays us, and serves as our growth and is well acted and is just generally awesome…
  259. Character: …earning her…
  260. Character: …three positives
  261. Theme: The entire SI arc follows two central themes brilliantly. The first is the theme of out-maneuvering and out-thinking their enemies, and it consists all the way through our conflict with Thanaton…
  262. Theme: …earning a second positive
  263. Theme: The second Theme is that of freedom… from the obvious (the former slave), to the frequent (Thanaton’s enslavement to tradition) to the finale (freeing the Sith Ghosts)…
  264. Theme: …earning a second positive
  265. Character: Darth Kallig doesn’t do much, but what he does is nice
  266. Character: Ashara is a bit mixed, but when she’s nice she’s nice
  267. Character: Talos is just… so wholesome, so legit, and so wonderful that…
  268. Character: …he deserves three positives…
  269. Character: …for general awesomeness (and voice acting)
  270. Character: Thanaton is, honestly, one of the most amazing villains in the entire game. He is nuanced, complex, varied, and wonderful in how he teaches us, treats us, and just… it’s hard to gush enough about him. HE pushes HIMSELF into the corner via his own beliefs and traditions, and as he loses more and more the only one who keeps making things worse is him… and all the while he is pushing us and making us do more and more, pushing him back…
  271. Character: …so he effortlessly earns…
  272. Character: …three positives
  273. MSQ: SI Corellia does some good stuff, showcasing our ability to adapt on the fly and out maneuver Thanaton consistently
  274. Outro: The final confrontation with Thanaton is absolutely amazing on every single level. Music, audio, visuals, writing, voice acting, just… amazingness…
  275. Outro: …easily earning…
  276. Outro: …three positives
  277. Outro: The finale and ending are fantastic, satisfying, and more importantly…
  278. Outro: …also takes into account your choices as you go
  279. Voice Acting: Companion VAs
  280. Character: The Sith Inquisitor is quite satisfying to play as light side twice over, for you can play as a ‘good’ Inquisitor…
  281. Character: …and you can play as an ‘evil’ Light inquisitor
  282. Character: Similarly dark Inquisitor is just as satisfying, allowing you to play a combination of insane to absolutely bonkers…
  283. Character: …with literal delusions of godhood
  284. Dialogue: While it has a few issues here and there, the dialogue just pops across Inquisitor…
  285. Dialogue: …earning it two positive
  286. Internal Continuity: The Inquisitor chain follows its own events very smartly, building and paying off similarly well…
  287. Internal Continuity: …earning two positives
  288. Storyboarding: Inquisitor does a good job with several of its cutscenes, really helping to sell the power involved
  289. Voice Acting: The male VA is honestly one of the best in the entire game…
  290. Voice Acting: …earning himself…
  291. Voice Acting: …three positives
  292. MSQ: The central theme of Intelligence operating in spite of the Sith is pushed very early on, as our literal first quest chain involves adapting to our plans being thrown due to just some random Sith dickwad who had a killing boner
  293. Intro: Not as strong as the others, but the Intro is still surprisingly strong
  294. Plot: Hutta’s overall framework is excellent; it’s tight, brief, but efficient; a perfect example of a typical operation, including ups, downs, and adaptation…
  295. Plot: …earning it two positives for sheer quality
  296. Character: Karrels is a surprisingly well written character for how brief he’s on camera, a common trend for Agent
  297. Moment: Much as I hate him, Jadus’ opening cutscene does everything it needs to very effectively; He is intelligent, powerful, and has no problem throwing his weight and authority around
  298. Moment: Okay so I’m going to give Jadus’ SECOND scene a positive too, for it helps to indicate exactly how monstrously horrifically evil he really is, all while said with a very calm tone of voice and very careful word usage, everything summarized by the simplest of phrases…
  299. Moment: …the democratization of fear
  300. Integration: Gameplay/Story Integration
  301. MSQ: Dromund Kaas is all about build up… while Hutta was an entire operation from front to back, this resets the board by laying multiple bricks not just for Act 1 but for the entire story arc
  302. Plot: The destruction of the Dominator is one of those funny things… such a relatively small thing, but it perfectly sets up the entirety of the remaining plot of the entire arc
  303. Moment: The return to the destruction of the Dominator is a brilliantly constructed ‘military crisis’ scene, brilliantly written and acted
  304. Character: A bonus point just for Keeper across Dromund Kaas. He is professional above all other things… not uncaring, not inhuman, not evil, just professional. Triage being a major element thereof
  305. Brickwork: The brickwork of the Phantom is honestly completely brilliant; someone spent a lot of time thinking about what and how to design it and it shows
  306. MSQ: Balmorra is yet another example of a good ‘op’, with good supporting cast and multiple paths through things…
  307. MSQ:…earning it two positives
  308. Writing: The very existence of a ‘superweapon’ (Cyclone) that actually makes perfect sense is fantastic
  309. MSQ: The Nar Shaddaa arc continues the excellent trend of quest design and story intrigue, helped by the usual excellent cast and usual horrifying implications…
  310. MSQ: …earning itself two positives
  311. Visual Storytelling: Visual Storytelling: Periodic, but it’s there… little hints and tidbits
  312. Writing: Under-stated emphasis constantly
  313. MSQ: Tatooine attention to detail… and the double blind trap…
  314. MSQ: …and of course the thematic significance of the ghost cell, the corrupt intelligence network with a decent person who wants to defect from it…
  315. MSQ: The main arc on Alderaan continues the overall themes, and has some amusing moments with the Baron and his wife
  316. Character: The Eagle is actually a pretty well written, interesting example of a zealot… He wants to return to the ‘good old days’ of isolationism and ‘purity’ and has some legitimately good points despite his overall zealotry
  317. MSQ: Okay so let’s get this out of the way; the Act 1 conclusion is absolutely amazing. It’s honestly one of the highlights of the entire vanilla game. It is tense, terrifying, beautifully built up, properly foreshadowed, and at all times you feel the atmosphere of the moment…
  318. MSQ: …earning it…
  319. MSQ: …three positives purely on one axis
  320. MSQ: Then we add in the dilemma that is presented; Defeat Jadus and lose thousands of lives, or spare them and him in turn. This is a great dilemma and very well presented…
  321. MSQ: …earning it…
  322. MSQ: …three positives
  323. MSQ: Now we must acknowledge the routes this offers. We can join him or we can fight him and in so doing delay him and survive long enough to destroy his ship…
  324. MSQ: …earning it…
  325. MSQ: …three positives
  326. Moment: But here’s the beautiful one; the out-maneuver option. Out-talking one of the most powerful and terrifying Sith Lords in the game sounds like bad comedy but it is all upheld by the sheer quality and magnitude of the writing on display. It flows naturally, it feels exactly how it should, and it is damned satisfying and possibly one of the best singular scenes in the entire game…
  327. Moment: …earning it…
  328. Moment: …three positives
  329. Character: Zhorrid is horrid (ha ha) but surprisingly well acted and written, and is truly a reflection of her father’s insanity
  330. Character: Jadus himself must be mentioned here. He isn’t at the level of quality of Baras or Thanaton, but he is an absolutely terrifying force, and is easily the most evil character in the game…
  331. Voice Acting: …and his voice actor helps elevate him into two positive territory
  332. MSQ: Act 2’s beginnings are already strong (double agent arc, change to status quo)…
  333. Moment: …but are made much stronger by the out-of-nowhere reveal that our Republic handler has control of us due to brainwashing, and the questions that spawns
  334. Theme: Taris wonderfully and quietly hammers in the quiet horror of the brainwashing. Chance claims he didn’t want to use the control code, but despite everything can’t resist doing so… twice… And so we see the dangers of such tools
  335. Storyboarding: The great scene showcasing how bad our brain is breaking down is very well done and appropriately creepy
  336. MSQ: It’s simple, but the sequence where we find out about the chemical and why it was used on us is a great sequence
  337. Plot: While a bit weak, Act 2’s overall plot of the double agent plot is great
  338. Storytelling Mechanic: Oddly the LACK of choices across Act 2 is absolutely amazing in how it shows just how powerless you really are while reprogrammed
  339. Character: Ardun Kothe is a fantastically nuanced… a bad man and a justice lord who lives in a horrible ‘world’ that ‘forces’ him to be what he is. And he knows that… and he HATES it…
  340. Character:…and it makes him a fantastic rival character
  341. Moment: I know it’s a minor moment, but it’s so, so important for our character, when we reprogram ourselves… “No more control”
  342. MSQ: The Belsavis arc is fairly straightforward… except for the inclusion of SCORPIO and her SHODAN shenanigans
  343. Moment: The mental trap left on the calls of the Cabal is both clever and brilliant; it axes the war effort (explaining many other story arcs), it screws with our support base (but leaves our closest supporters, who were partially or not-at-all enhanced) functional…
  344. Atmosphere: …and it adds to the overall vibe of Act 3, us being cut off and alone against a force substantially more entrenched
  345. Characters: The supporting team (Watchers, Keepers) are great supporting cast
  346. Atmosphere: Generally well done military tone throughout
  347. Dialogue: Generally well written dialogue, easily the best in the game…
  348. Dialogue:…earning itself…
  349. Dialogue:…three positives
  350. Character: Keeper is honestly fantastic. He is professional, secretly an idealist broken down by experience, he owns up to his faults and expects the best from others, holds himself to these same ideals and does all he can…
  351. Character: …earning him an easy…
  352. Character: …three positives
  353. Voice Acting: The female voice actress is just as good as the male one…
  354. Voice Acting:…once again…
  355. Voice Acting:…earning three positives
  356. Voice Acting: Generally good companion voice acting
  357. Character: Kalliyo is damaged goods. A toxic, disturbed individual who abuses and uses everyone around her, but she is well written and well performed in her construction
  358. Foreshadowing: There’s quite a bit of it, so much so that it dovetails into…
  359. Babylon 5 Effect: Babylon 5 Effect. Agent plays a bit differently the second time around
  360. Character: Watcher X is only present briefly, but is memorable for how they use him
  361. MSQ: Voss shows why the Voss are neutral, gives great insight into their people, and has some nice politicking in the background
  362. Consequence Storytelling: The game lives and breathes consequence storytelling… while it’s not the best I’ve seen, it absolutely gets credit for it
  363. Internal Continuity: A huge amount of the internal continuity of TOR weaves in and through the Agent storyline
  364. Plot: Build up to the dissolution of Imperial Intelligence…
  365. Plot:…and the payoff thereof. And despite how mind-numbingly stupid the decision is… it fits horribly well
  366. Character: Scorpio is appropriately horrifying and well voice acted
  367. Character: Lokin is probably the best overall companion for the Agent by sheer virtue of how subtle and understated he is
  368. Theme: The janitors; doing the unpleasant work that no one else can or wants to
  369. Theme: Cost of service… the price of loyalty and what that really means when the chips are down
  370. Theme: The temptation of tools, and the enabling of people’s true nature
  371. Character: Main character arc…
  372. Character: …dependent upon player choice
  373. MSQ: General storytelling of just how devastating (deliberately) and mishandled (deliberately) the Corellian war really is, easily the best showcasing of it across the classes
  374. Outro: The Outro is, of course, fantastic. Legitimately a conclusion to the entire TOR Vanilla arc, with lots of options and nuance and several powerful moments, including the showcasing of our ultimate rival as just another nobody just like us…
  375. Outro:…all earning it…
  376. Outro:…three positives
  377. Storytelling Mechanic: The entire mail system as a Storytelling Mechanism
  378. Visual Storytelling: Taris, visually, really showcases just how bad things are and have been since KotOR1
  379. Brickwork: Lovely, lovely brickwork for Nar Shaddaa, honestly some of the most visually impressive zones in the entire game…
  380. Brickwork: …earning two positives
  381. Brickwork: Alderaan is legitimately gorgeous, truly excellent brickwork throughout…
  382. Brickwork: …also earning two positives
  383. Brickwork: Voss may be a bit of an autumn planet, but it too has legitimately good brickwork
  384. Storytelling Mechanic: I do think the droid’s ‘binary language’ is a nice bit of storytelling mechanic
  385. Doodads: So, doodad design is… off. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s very plain, and it varies so wildly that most individual places don’t qualify. Therefore the game, in general, gets… one doodad positive
  386. Writing: The timeline placement of the entire game is actually quite brilliant; Very recently after a major war, so lots of clean up and consequences to fill two acts worth of content across many classes, then allowing us to go back to a ‘hot’ war thereafter as a status quo alteration
  387. Writing: Further, the cold war itself has some great bits here and there
  388. World Building: The general portrayal of the Republic is honestly the best I’ve seen in any Star Wars medium…
  389. World Building: …earning it…
  390. World Building: …three positives
  391. World Building: The general portrayal of the Jedi is definitely the best I’ve seen in any Star Wars medium…
  392. World Building: …earning them…
  393. World Building: …three positives
  394. World Building: The general portrayal of the Sith is absolutely fantastic, and again the best across Star Wars…
  395. World Building: …earning…
  396. World Building: …three positives
  397. Plot: Hutt Cartel plot structure is surprisingly well constructed
  398. Voice Acting: Makeb VA
  399. MSQ: Republic Makeb Planetary Primary isn’t too shabby; it has some nice foreshadowing, and I enjoy the overall approach; We’re primarily fighting thugs and corporate greed
  400. Cutscenes: Republic cinematics and storyboarding is… honestly surprisingly good, with actual destruction and something approaching actual cutscenes
  401. Humor: Republic Makeb is… strangely amusing
  402. Character: Dr. Oggurobb… the Happy Hutt
  403. Character: Darth Marr’s intro establishes him very well and very properly; the pragmatic Sith who actually has a brain
  404. Plot: The Sith Makeb starts very strong; We know what they’re after, but we have none of the resources or backing of both the Republic and the locals, instead we literally build a defacto base out of a crashed shuttle
  405. MSQ: The initial Imperial Makeb quest is actually quite strong; We land, and immediately run around shutting down comm outposts and giving the all clear so no one knows we’re hear, keeping that ‘infiltration’ vibe going
  406. Writing: General writing quality of the Sith Makeb series
  407. Internal Continuity: The way the Republic and Imperial stories dovetail each other is really quite well done
  408. Cutscene: The way Makeb ends on the Sith side, with public acknowledgement of the loss of Vitiate and the restructuring of the Sith Empire is a great cutscene
  409. Atmosphere: Kaon actually has some legitimately great atmosphere
  410. Cutscenes: Surprisingly good cutscenes (animation, camerawork) for the Czerka dungeons
  411. Brickwork: Surprisingly good brickwork on Manaan
  412. MSQ: Depths of Manaan was actually pretty decent, with a developing plot and some nice character moments
  413. MSQ: The initial setup on Rishi is actually pretty legit, especially since we can choose to play along or not
  414. MSQ: Weirdly it also serves as a good… beginning of a story. If TOR actually began here it would legitimately work as the start of a story, given how it does…
  415. Exposition: …surprisingly good exposition very naturally
  416. Writing: The initial build up across early Rishi is really good. Starts low (local pirates), connects them to the greater thread (Revanites), and escalates properly
  417. Prime Opt: Rishi class quests for Warrior and Inquisitor. The search for eternal life, the reality of being the Wrath
  418. Prime Opt: Aaand then there’s Agent, which is just legit pretty much no matter how you slice it
  419. Prime Opt: But then out of absolutely NOwhere is Jedi Knight. It’s just… insanely well done, all about helping people and beautifully written to boot…
  420. Prime Opt: …on top of the fact that it acknowledges the Vitiate crap in a proper way
  421. Brickwork: I honestly really like how Rishi looks. It gets across a very nice atmosphere
  422. Cutscenes: Cutscene quality in general remains high in the Revan expansion
  423. Brickwork: Yavin 4, credit where credit is due, looks really well done. First zone in the entire game I will actually give…
  424. Doodads: …the doodads positive to
  425. Character: Lana is legitimately a great character. A bit rushed, but still well done for her screen time
  426. Character: Theron doesn’t do as much as I’d like either, but he’s well acted and well positioned, and serves as a good counterpart
  427. Character: Darth Marr gets even more screen time here, and he uses it quite well
  428. Cutscenes: The initial in engine cutscenes are, honestly, really good. They use trickery and cleverness to make them look better than they are, but it’s all very well done
  429. Voice Acting: Darin De Paul
  430. Voice Acting: (general)
  431. Moment: HK-55’s little montage moment was legitimately delightful
  432. Moment: The way Valkorion tempts you with Lana’s death is actually legitimately well done
  433. Brickwork: Zakuul’s brickwork is, legitimately, very well done (teleporting shuttles aside)…
  434. Brickwork: …and deserves its positives
  435. Character: HK-55 is a continuous source of delight, amusement, and surprisingly good timing and presentation…
  436. Character: …earning him two positives
  437. Storytelling Mechanics: Valkorion being in our head and poking in periodically is a great storytelling mechanic
  438. Integration: The fact that they can swap companions in and out as the story demands is a great thing really
  439. Doodads: Generally good doodad usage throughout
  440. Camerawork: Generally good camerawork throughout
  441. Humor: Okay, somehow the game is really making me laugh, like… more than I thought it would
  442. Worldbuilding: The usage of random background dialogue to flesh things out is very well done, much better than in the vanilla game
  443. MSQ: The Kaliyo chapter is probably one of the better ones so far.
  444. Character: Okay I weirdly like Jorgan here. They use him well and he’s exactly how he (arguably) always should have been
  445. MSQ: Okay I do like making a new lightsaber with the combined unification of the Sith and Jedi
  446. Moment: Okay. Vette’s re-introduction to the narrative was legitimately delightful
  447. MSQ: Chapter 13 is just kinda awesome in general… amusing, well written, well dialogued…
  448. Writing: …but it gets bonus points for the creative intelligence of vaporizing the gold and stealing it that way
  449. Humor: Bonus point to Chapter 13 for being legitimately hilarious
  450. Character: Usage of SCORPIO
  451. Character: SCORPIO in Chapter 15
  452. World Building: Zakuul decadence worldbuilding
  453. Character: Gault is a delight in how he’s used
  454. Character: Theron continues to be great
  455. Character: There’s a few stumbles but Lana continues to be rather enjoyable
  456. Writing: Surprisingly well written and stretched storytelling around the new romance arcs
  457. Cinematic: The cutscene was, really, quite well done on many levels
  458. Cutscene: The opening cutscene leading into the assault on Voss is honestly really well done
  459. MSQ: Chapter 1 does a lot well in a surprisingly fast order. The new status quo with SCORPIO and Vaylin, the choice with Arcann, Valkorion taking a more active role in manipulations…
  460. Consequence Storytelling: …and the continuation of consequence. Voss and Gormak working together, the Sith Empire having finally mulched through enough morons to land on someone with a brain who wants an alliance
  461. MSQ: Moff Lorman’s betrayal, combined with Saresh’s, the properly brief but enjoyable build up and pay off
  462. Voice Acting: Darin De Paul again
  463. Moment: The finale of Chapter 3 on the Gravestone was actually pretty legit
  464. Character: SCORPIO continues to be as awesome as ever…
  465. Character: …but the final outro for SCORPIO is a wonderful moment, and serves as an interesting denomount for the Agent storyline (of all things)
  466. MSQ: The infiltration of the Zakuul palace mission is honestly great
  467. Moment: Arcann slamming Valkorion is honestly a great scene
  468. Brickwork: Nathema… Medriaas. The tomb world
  469. MSQ: Chapter 7, Into The Void… and the terrible audio logs
  470. World Building: Finally finally finally getting Tenebrae’s backstory on camera, and doing a good job of making him feel as horrible as he really is
  471. Moment: Okay credit where it’s due, I actually felt it when they killed Torian, despite having never cared about him before
  472. Moment: Vaylin’s death was actually quite well done
  473. Cinematic: What can I say about this? It’s literally better in cinematography, symbolism, camerawork, animation, and emotional impact than a huge amount of what we’ve seen out of Star Wars in years…
  474. Cinematic: …earning it two positives
  475. Outro: The Inner Mind segment of Chapter 9 is LEGIT. Visuals, narration, audio, impressions, how it works with Tenebrae as a character, it even perfectly encapsulates the character, the build up, and is just fantastic payoff. Watching Tenebrae finally, finally, finally lose… is immensely satisfying…
  476. Outro: …earning it…
  477. Outro: …a full three positives
  478. Character: Vaylin is really used so much better than in the previous expansion
  479. Writing: The general quality of writing is some of the best I’ve seen thus far in the expansions
  480. Cutscenes: The cutscene quality continues to be just generally awesome across the board…
  481. Cutscenes: …earning it two positives
  482. Pacing: Story pacing is substantially improved over most of the previous stuff
  483. Character: I cannot believe I’m typing this but… Tenebrae is actually a legitimately good character herein
  484. Brickwork: Zakuul is really very well done
  485. Consequence Storytelling: The acknowledgement of resources being sparse, and being a major plot point
  486. MSQ: General quality of the more lower-tier storytelling of Ossus
  487. Character: Anri has relatively little screen time but they do a lot with her on Ossus, giving a great ground-level viewpoint of the Sith and the war in general
  488. Brickwork: Onderon is quite lovely
  489. Dialogue: The dialogue is actually pretty tightly written on Onderon
  490. Character: Darth Savik is amusing, interesting, and well portrayed
  491. Humor: Okay. King Hatesink is honestly really funny
  492. Plot: Gault is always nice to see again, but the logic of having to convince a neutral party to get what we want is surprisingly well constructed
  493. Cutscenes: Generally good cinematography again
  494. Banter: Kira and Scourge are actually really delightful in how they play off each other
  495. Humor: Okay, watching Tenebrae’s two cults fight against each other as they both try to out crazy each other is legitimately amusing
  496. Moment: Okay I’ll give you this, game. The scene where everyone… just… everyone unites to burn Tenebrae down to ash is actually quite well done, and legitimately satisfying
  497. MSQ: The Mandalorian arc is… bland, but it is a nice break from the norm
  498. Voice Acting: Generally good voice acting
  499. Brickwork: Dantooine
  500. Doodads: Generally good, but special mention to the ship and Dantooine
  501. Animation: Continuing the good usage of animation in cutscenes
  502. Character: Rivix is probably being bolstered by Gideon Emery but he’s still cool
  503. Character: I can’t believe this but I really do like what they’ve done with Malgus here
  504. Cinematic: Okay that opening cinematic is very well done. General quality and badassness aside, it’s a great personal showcasing of the difficulties of the Jedi’s approach, and implications of Malgus’ overall plans…
  505. Cinematic: …earning itself two positives
  506. MSQ: The entire arc with Korrd and Norok is… surprisingly well done

Story Negatives:

  1. Voice Acting: Alien VA has some issues in general (especially since you can’t increase the subtitle size), but the Ugnauts deserve special mention for being legitimately awful and ear hurting
  2. Secondary: So, the Nar Shaddaa quests aren’t great to begin with (mostly disconnected side stories), but the bonus series is much worse
  3. Secondary: The Tatooine bonus series is lacking, at best
  4. Cutscene Incompetence: General cutscene incompetence
  5. Secondary: The Hoth Bonus Series is… weird. It’s all about this Sith Beastlord but then starts an arc about using bioweapons against the Sith and then just… stops dead, it’s bleh
  6. External Continuity: The way they completely mis-used the Exile is not great at best, and then add onto that how little presence or relevance they have and it’s just… what?
  7. World Building: Belsavis simplicity, pacing, and world destruction
  8. Secondary: Voss bonus series has several issues, but totally ignoring internal continuity with the… y’know, Voss primary is bad enough by itself
  9. Prime Opt: Okay so the Corellian Primary is ‘fine’ but the way it ends is… not
  10. Empty Text: This is in addition to the fact that Corellia has tons of Empty Text issues
  11. Prime Opt: Tython bad writing and ridiculousness
  12. Voice Acting: It’s hard to explain but the voice acting for the Trooper is… off. The male voice actor is acceptable but boring, but Jennifer Hale (who is, I remind you, Jennifer Hale) sounds like she’s trying too hard, coming across too forcefully, and too clipped…
  13. Voice Acting: …making the voice acting, an otherwise positive aspect of the game, working out badly across the entire work
  14. Intro: The Intro (Ord Mantell) is… boring, at best. A military story which can work… but doesn’t, instead coming across as a paint-by-numbers first-draft story
  15. Moment: The ‘big reveal’ Moment of Havoc squad being evil is… bad. It’s a dumb reveal and it’s a dumb scene
  16. Dialogue: Throughout Coruscant our character’s reactions and dialogue all boil down to the same thing; We’re A Dick, or Yes Ma’am, and it effectively removes us from even being a character
  17. Gameplay / Story: Gameplay/story segregation issues (honestly Trooper just… does not fit, at all, in the overall game)
  18. MSQ: Tatooine’s entire story arc is brief, blunt, and stupid. It’s badly placed, has little to do with anything, and is just… off
  19. Fake Drama: Also the needlessly Fake Drama of Fuse’s ‘big sacrifice’ in a scene that’s honestly terribly presented
  20. Character: Needles is evil muwahahahaha
  21. MSQ: Honestly everything about the Alderaan sequence is just… more pointless filler, and worse, Gearbox is just kind of there and we just kind of waltz into his ‘not trap’ and the whole sequence is stupid
  22. Character: Wraith isn’t quite as bad as Kai Leng, but she’s definitely that type of character
  23. Moment: The bizarritude of just kind of… waltzing on board the Justice is utterly unexplained and so strangely off kilter that I legitimately thought I missed something
  24. Character: The final ‘redemption’ of Tavus out of absolutely no where, for no reason, is not just dumb on the face of it, it’s very very badly presented and honestly I have no idea what they were thinking with this
  25. Writing: Regardless of Tanno’s awfulness, his ‘because plot’ ‘we MUST recruit him’ crap is awful
  26. Writing: The entire Act 2 of Trooper is all about telling not showing, and insisting on railroading for ill explained reasons
  27. MSQ: And then Act 2’s big finale is a tepid battle on a superweapon ship which… is just kind of underwhelming
  28. Dialogue: Act 3’s dialogue starts to honestly drag, even by this game’s standards; It’s hard to explain if you haven’t actually heard the lines, but they’re flat, honestly third draft material at best
  29. MSQ: Act 3’s primary thrust? …recruiting. Again, if you’re paying attention
  30. MSQ: Okay so. We’re on Belsavis to save these people for… some reason, and they’re actually innocent so that’s cool, but then there’s some actually bad dialogue swirling around it so cutscenes come across as wrong…
  31. Storyboarding: …then you add in a healthy dose of bad Storyboarding making the scenes even worse
  32. Character: Jorgan is, at best, a poorly written character who fails at what he’s supposed to be; the rogue vigilante (turn in your badge!)
  33. MSQ: The Voss arc is, at best, weak, and at worst, nonsensical… also we are STILL running around recruiting
  34. Prime Opt: Jorgan’s quest chain is… completely wasted potential, flounders and blunders onwards and does almost nothing until the very end where it suddenly pushes a very unearned (yet good) finale
  35. Character: Garza could have been a good character. She is not. She is the beginnings of an interesting character that goes nowhere and does nothing
  36. MSQ: The ENTIRE REPUBLIC is at stake because of this one stupid general! The whole thing! (Corellia)
  37. Outro: Can’t forget that one last F U to the entire sequence; if you take the general alive, they immediately (and I mean MINUTES later) ransom him back to the Sith. Thanks
  38. MSQ: The JK Tython segment is… not great. Inside of what can, at best, be a few days, we go from joining the Order to being a full fledged Jedi
  39. MSQ: JK Coruscant… the second planet… is all about saving the entire planet from a superweapon, and it’s repeated (several times) that if we fail it will be disaster for the ENTIRE Republic
  40. MSQ: JK Tatooine is… what? We have to save the ENTIRE PLANET from total annihilation, on a timer too
  41. MSQ: JK Alderaan is sort of… whatever. The superweapon is silly, the cheating with the spy is out of no where, Thul is awesome but then everything is wrapped up weirdly….
  42. MSQ: …but what really makes it stand out for bad is how they ‘kill’ Orgus off camera, then we find him, then kill him off again. Both incidents in a vacuum don’t work, but the two back to back make it much worse
  43. Writing: While not universal, most of the Dark Side options come across as entirely too whiney
  44. Writing: While not universal, most of the Light Side options come across as licking the Council’s boots
  45. Writing: Okay so the Chosen One angle is hammered early and often (literally on the tutorial planet)
  46. Pacing: Act 1 is very rushed. Very, very rushed
  47. Writing: Act 1 in general has a common writing 101 problem; no establishment, just skipping to the ‘good stuff’…
  48. Writing: …and in the absence of establishment it just falls flat
  49. Character: Darth Angral was pathetic and stupid
  50. Writing: JK uses a lot of cliches and tropes without anything good to offset them
  51. Writing: Superweapons R Us could work, but the problem is it completely drains any oomph any of them could or would have…
  52. Writing: …which really comes out during the destruction of Uphrades, which falls completely flat
  53. Story Sequencing: The story sequencing across Act 1 is legitimately off
  54. MSQ: General bad writing on Balmorra
  55. Character: Okay so I’ve never liked Doc, but I was waiting to actually give him a negative… until I started talking to him. I could comment on how irritating he is, or how scummy, or creepy, but what really sells it is he’s so… obviously a poor attempt at a ‘jerk with a heart of gold’ attempt, and is done entirely too much and too hard…
  56. Character: …then you have to take into account that he’s clearly designed to be a slice of humor in the storyline. Humor that relies entirely on unpleasant and/or creepy concepts badly executed
  57. MSQ: The like 3 minute cutscene of ‘being evil’ is not just badly directed…
  58. MSQ: …it’s a huge waste of potential (and a ‘three years later’ problem too)
  59. MSQ: Act 2 is… weak, at best. A lack of build up to a lack of pay off
  60. Writing: So the Act 2 timeskip actually has a huge number of domino issues later on in the narrative
  61. MSQ: So Belsavis is… death cultists and their usual nonsense, but also we’re saving TRILLIONS from a lightspeed superweapon of doom
  62. MSQ: Then there’s Voss, which has us going all in to not only prophecies and destiny (not actually explained, just… there) in order to save billions (there aren’t billions of voss by the way) oh and naturally we defeat Sel Makor, THE villain of the Voss, and the first part of it just… meanders
  63. Character: Kira’s ‘romance’ is… badly written, similar to Corso and Doc, entirely too blunt and honestly badly written
  64. Consequence Storytelling: So Act 3 has repeated, multiple examples of jedi knights and masters who helped us before who are… inexplicably evil. It’s implied they were turned by the Emperor, but when how and why isn’t even discussed, and even this is just left to the imagination…
  65. Visual Storytelling: …leading to a presentation negative in addition to a narrative one
  66. Writing: The Jedi Knight inexplicably being made supreme commander of the entire Corellian war is… so, so many levels of nonsense
  67. Writing: Ssssso the jedi are all evil, presumably turned evil off camera by Vitiate. Cool. That’s fine, really, but why is NONE of this properly showcased or explored in any manner at any time? Everyone acts as if it’s the new norm and no one even reacts to it
  68. Character: Rusk isn’t as bad as I remembered, but he’s a bland pile of empty nothing
  69. Outro: Okay so the final big confrontation with Vitiate is so, so, so many levels of pathetic one very level I honestly don’t even feel up to explaining why…
  70. Outro: …so instead…
  71. Outro: …here’s three negatives
  72. Outro: Okay so… the actual ending sequence is the usual KotOR aping problems… but then on dark side it suddenly shifts gear for no perceivable reason (with no build up too) so… that sucks on both sides
  73. Character: Vitiate himself is the most generic sith imaginable…
  74. Character: …earning two negatives by himself
  75. Intro: The very very opening cinematic is… bad. Bad expectations, bad writing, bad usage of characters, bad amping us up to be some great prodigy
  76. MSQ: JC Coruscant absence of story
  77. Consequence Storytelling: JC’s act 1 lacks… acknowledgement of anything we do, like the consequences just do not exist despite being a story that really should have them
  78. Cutscene Incompetence: Cutscene incompetence
  79. Writing: So, JC Light side is… bland. Very, very… very bland, so a negative…
  80. Writing: …for each…
  81. Writing: …act
  82. Character: Qyzen is… weird. I generally don’t like him, but his quest arc is… not just flat, but tonally dissonant. It honestly feels like Qyzen was designed to be our ‘evil’ party member, but they also wanted him to be our first and Primary companion, so the whole thing is bungled
  83. Character: Qyzen gets a second negative for general suckitude
  84. Character: Corso’s romance arc is terrible. Just terrible
  85. Character: Skavak’s general flatness and lack of arc hurts him, and ultimately makes his ‘dark mirror of the Smuggler’ act fall flat, and there’s no real payoff other than ‘it’s over’
  86. Plot: The anti-climatic and generally… bland end to Act 1 is weird after spending so much time building up to this great fortune, getting it, and then… absolutely nothing changes or is different
  87. Plot: Act 2 is… off. In addition to the fleh ending of Act 1, Act 2 acts like we’re still just basic nobodies and refusing to acknowledge anything we’ve done to date, and worse it meanders pretty badly despite having a cool idea (Republic privateer)
  88. Consequence Storytelling: So the game has this weird disconnect. It keeps insisting you’re super rich and building a massive criminal empire but doesn’t… do or show anything with it
  89. Cutscene Incompetence: Cutscene incompetence is pretty bad across Smuggler for some reason
  90. Character: Rogun the Butcher is… lacking, at best, for someone supposedly always present, and then the ‘big twist’ which falls completely flat
  91. Writing: Speaking of which, the big twist falls completely flat
  92. Character: Bowdaar is one-note and irritating to listen to
  93. Character: The Voidwolf is a flat character pretty much across the board
  94. Outro: The entire Outro and finale just… sucks. It’s hilariously bad, short, and empty significance
  95. Character: Corso deserves a negative just for himself. He’s a badly constructed, well acted, bizarre mish mash of a hate-sink who’s supposed to be likeable…
  96. Character: …earning him a third negative
  97. Character: Revan. Bringing Revan back was already a mistake, but the way they portray him is weak at best and bad fanservice at worst
  98. External Continuity: I also feel the total disconnect of Revan and HK and the Forge don’t work as well
  99. Prime Opt: The Nar Shaddaa later Primary is honestly just… a weird disconnected bundle of short stories of middling to bad interest
  100. Secondary: Nar Shaddaa’s Bonus series just… drags. It drags and it’s not interesting and it keeps involving some new bioweapon or intelligence report or generally doing the usual kind of mindless crap Bonus series quests usually are
  101. Cutscene Incompetence: Cutscene incompetence rears its ugly head
  102. Prime Opt: Honestly the Alderaan Primary is a bit lacking
  103. Secondary: Similarly, Alderaan’s secondaries are of Bonus Series level quality
  104. Secondary: Taris’ Bonus Series is stupid (let’s go fight more Republic military) and stupid (they’re also building a secret weapon… oh it’s a fleet! Being built on TARIS)
  105. Prime Opt: So the Belsavis Primary on the Sith side is no better than on Republic, circling entirely around the Dread Masters and our desperate desire to… release them… for some damned reason or another…
  106. Prime Opt: …which honestly the entire sequence is pretty weak, in addition to the total lack of options involved therewith (because of the raid)
  107. Intro: The Hutta quest stumbles pretty early with the death of most of our crew entirely too early for it to really have any impact
  108. Cutscene Incompetence: Several issues with the Hoth quests
  109. Plot: Act 2’s plot… isn’t
  110. Character: Skadge is a one-note thug who has nothing that salvages him…
  111. Character: …which also is made worse by his, well, everything about him…
  112. Character: …earning him one of the worst character slots in the game
  113. Story Sequencing: Skadge is also our major quest giver for Belsavis, for seemingly no reason, leading to this weird disconnect as we lose sight of what and why we’re here (a common problem in Act 3)
  114. MSQ: The Belsavis arc in general is a whole lot of nothing
  115. MSQ: The Voss arc is brief, which is all that keeps this pure padding from being more than one negative
  116. Character: Jun Seros is another in a series of TOR’s pathetic rival characters… shows up in late Act 1, fails to do anything whatsoever across his entire arc, fails to fulfill on any kind of theme or character, has a grand total of 4 cutscenes, and dies like a punk
  117. Storyboarding: Storyboarding: The late Act 3 cutscenes start to try a few things cutscene wise… and fail
  118. Character: Darth Tormen is the OTHER pathetic rival character; a completely bog standard ‘evil sith’
  119. Prime Opt: Mako’s quests fumble pretty badly with how long they drag it out and how much they overplay the melodrama of it…
  120. Prime Opt: …then there’s the fact that they never do anything with it and it just… ends
  121. Plot: Siantide is every level of nonsense… and what’s worse, its an unnecessary plot point which isn’t actually true and finally is just stupid…
  122. Plot: …earning two negatives
  123. MSQ: Broonmark forced into party for, really, no reason
  124. Storyboarding: The… presentation of Baras’ big trap falls flat of the reality that it is in fact
  125. Character: Broonmark sucks. He’s such a nothing pointless character…
  126. Character: …and a total waste of space
  127. Character: Lord Draahg is a dumb character from the get go, but worse is how he’s touted as our ‘rival’… especially when our real rival (Baras) is substantially better
  128. Character: Draahg’s unexplained and pointless Scion-lite
  129. MSQ: Quinn’s final quest is a weird and honestly a mis-step in the story. It’s a betrayal with little build up and zero pay off
  130. MSQ: Draahg’s final appearance just cements how stupid he really is. They try to do a fake build up with ‘the assassin’ and then talk him up like he’s some super amazing super power who can effortlessly kill a Darth WHILE fighting us, but no, he’s the same old Fat Chocobo
  131. Character: Khem Val, and the super amazingness that is Tulak Hord
  132. Character: Ashara… when you’re evil, just does not fit. Worse, she really should be much younger to fit her… whininess
  133. Character: The game literally forces Xalek into your party despite all sense, reason, and characterization…
  134. Character: …and he is a total nothing character
  135. Aggregate: The finale of the Nar Shaddaa questline is unnecessary and out of place // While it’s a minor point, the ‘hey by the way the Rakata created alien life’ bit at the end of Belsavis is… odd
  136. Primary Optional: The companions and their quests aren’t ‘bad’ per say, but don’t really fit alongside the main plot at all. This is on top of the fact that (frankly) most of the party members shouldn’t even be in ‘the party’, nor should ‘the party’ be as large as it is. Both hurt the overall narrative
  137. MSQ: The torture sequence is… weirdly out of place. It’s badly voice acted, but-thou-must’d in a situation and game where we should have an alternative, and it has no real impact before or after
  138. External Continuity: External continuity is… honestly just the worst. TOR doesn’t connect with Star Wars proper at all, not even its immediate successors…
  139. External Continuity: …earning a full…
  140. External Continuity: …three negatives
  141. Spritework: Children models in general are… off
  142. Secondary: Hammer Station is typical of TOR side quests; There’s a huge systems-wide super doom threat that has nothing to do with anything really and feels a lot like they’re just trying really hard to make us care when there is no reason to
  143. Secondary: Athiss continues the trend of bad dungeons; We’re here to stop some evil super alchemist who’s a threat to everything… again… which deflates everything… again…
  144. Secondary: So, Colicoid War Games is just… … …what?
  145. Storytelling Mechanic: The storytelling mechanic of the droid language almost never stays up on screen long enough to properly parse
  146. Secondary: Directive 7 is, once again, a big galaxy wide threat of doom, unearned, and just sort of whatever
  147. Camerawork: Cameras. Quite a few cutscenes are actively ruined by bad camerawork
  148. Voice Acting: Most of the alien voices are fine, honestly, but the wookiee ones are actually unpleasant, and terribly chosen (often going with the ‘yelling’ clip when uncalled for)
  149. Writing: General timeline issues here and there
  150. Writing: The game absolutely mandates that all companions A: Join and B: Stay in the party, regardless of all other considerations, and this absolutely does not work
  151. Writing: The game is inconsistent about acknowledging your chosen species
  152. Writing: General nonsense on Makeb… a space ship to evacuate millions of people, super mining, just… weird stuff
  153. Writing: Revan’s back. Again. Yay for fake-out deaths
  154. Writing: Lack of character relevance (this is a fairly lengthy and complex problem but it boils down to; You have 8 characters with multiple nuances available to them… and those are thrown to the wayside, essentially by requirement, in the expansions)
  155. Plot: Let’s get this out of the way; the way they use Revan is not good and generally stupid
  156. Character: Further, the… splitting Revan is nonsense and stupid
  157. External Continuity: But here’s the big one. The way Revan is mistreated here is legitimately awful. It’s fanservice done badly, and does Revan a dis-service and players of KotOR1 a dis-service…
  158. External Continuity: …earning it two negatives by itself
  159. Writing: Vitiate just… isn’t engaging as a villain. He comes out of nowhere and is this escalating nonsense, but here’s the real problem; he’s portrayed as a Threat Of The Week, and all the problems that implies
  160. World Building: There’s a strange insistence upon not only keeping the dynamic of the Reps and Imps going (for some reason), but also insisting the Sith Empire (against all reason and logic) hasn’t completely fallen apart yet
  161. Prime Opt: Smuggler and Bounty Hunter are just… vacuous and bad
  162. Prime Opt: But both pale to Trooper, which is so bad it gets its own negative
  163. Plot: So. Vitiate already ate an entire planet, which we know from the JK storyline would be enough to kickstart his ritual to eat the galaxy. Naturally he then… peaces out to NOT do this for… some reason?
  164. Plot: Meanwhile, we have a third superpower who’s SO strong they can challenge the Republic and Sith simultaneously and win… that we’ve never heard of before. Sure. This is probably the second dumbest premise in MMOs…
  165. Plot: …earning it two negatives
  166. Moment: Marr’s death?
  167. Plot: So the Gravestone is a superweapon. Of course.
  168. Writing: Worfing on Arcann
  169. Cutscene: The entire vs. Arcann scene
  170. Writing: Actually bothered to defeat Vaylin in cutscene, but then let her live… which is honestly worst of all worlds because it de-powers the actually strong one (Vaylin) but also ensures she stays around for the inevitable boss fight
  171. Integration: The non Force users really… really should not be here
  172. Integration: The really weird thing is periodically there’s clearly an agent/smuggler mission, then a trooper/bh one, and none of them really… gel well with anyone else
  173. Character: Koth is… off. He’s generally a decent character except for the fact that he’s the character they make be the pro-fascist idiot regularly for no good reason
  174. Character: Seylin and Arcann are both very, very, very basic level sith and they’re just damned boring…
  175. Character: …earning both a negative
  176. Pacing: The pacing of KotFE is just… off
  177. Story Sequencing: The story sequencing similarly just sort of bounces around all over the place
  178. Storyboarding: Periodic issues with storyboarding and cutscenes
  179. Writing: There are presentation issues with the central plot that would take too long to describe. It feels like it went through several iterations crudely
  180. Character: The writing can’t decide what it wants to do with Arcann and the character suffers for it
  181. Theme: Forcing the player to choose the Empire or the Republic goes completely contradictory to the entire themes and build up of the entire previous THREE expansions…
  182. Theme: …earning it two negatives
  183. Writing: The choice itself is a complete reset button…
  184. Writing: …and not a particularly good one
  185. Pacing: Then there’s the fact that the choice is extraordinarily rushed. Literally one quest after the big ending of KotET and about a 3 minute cutscene of stupid…
  186. Pacing: …earning it another negative
  187. Moment: Okay let’s get this out of the way here. The scene with the faction leader and the activation of the superweapon is really dumb
  188. Character: This is in addition to what I can only call character assassination (with Elara and Acina depending on your choices)
  189. Moment: And finally, the total lack of build up to a ridiculous and hilariously awkward pay off with Theron’s dad is just awful
  190. Writing: So Tyth is a big dumb evil droid obsessed with rage that can destroy ships from planetside but is weak to ship bombardment… Oh also it’s a machine god and… it’s… it’s a friggin’ threat of the week
  191. Writing: Okay so… Theron’s a traitah! First of all I saw this from a mile away, but second of all the way they frame this is just… honestly awful. It also became apparent almost immediately that he’s actually a double agent, which DOES make it less bad, but doesn’t diminish the negative I’m currently typing
  192. World Building: There’s grass on Nathema. There’s GRASS on NATHEMA
  193. Internal Continuity: Let me reiterate. Inside of two years on the OUTSIDE there are TREES on NATHEMA cuz the Force came back!
  194. Writing: So they decided to bring back class story characters for one cutscene then kill them off. Okay. Cool. Some of the choices are really reaching, and several of them actively make no sense
  195. Character: Vinn Atrius… Who is yet another villain of the week!
  196. Character: Then there’s Zildrog, who is stupid on every level to begin with. A superweapon which is also super amazing and ultra powerful and can hack systems and ships and fleets from light years away instantly…
  197. Writing: …but what really pisses me off is the implication that this stupid one-off threat-of-the-week was behind all of Tenebrae’s power
  198. Plot: So, choose between the two sides. No, really. No really really YOU MUST CHOOOOOSE
  199. Writing: Somehow… Malgus has returned
  200. Writing: Okay so the intro setup for Onslaught is stupid on so many levels I’m just going to ding it and move on
  201. Plot: The plot of Onderon really is ‘just roll with it’
  202. Worldbuilding: World destruction with infrastructure and…
  203. Worldbuilding: …writing not supporting galaxy state in service of status quo
  204. Plot: Status quo problems in general
  205. Writing: Okay so… I’m sorry but the coincidence of killing Tenebrae’s body the same moment we beat him in our minds is too much of a coincidence even for Star Wars
  206. Plot: Somehow, Revan has returned…
  207. Plot: …again. Again again… again
  208. Writing: Okay so Tenebrae is back… kind of. It’s Tenebrae 2, but narratively it’s still the same damned problem
  209. Writing: Then there’s the fact that it’s all being done for no real point or purpose other than empty fan service
  210. Voice Acting: THEN we have the fact that Tenebrae’s voice actor is bad enough to deserve its own negative for being the most generic Sith I’ve ever heard. Seriously, drop him on Korriban at level 3 and I couldn’t tell the difference
  211. Writing: So we’re just sort of randomly hanging out around Manaan in our ship right when Anri needs us, without even knowing about what’s going on so this really is a coincidence… sure
  212. Internal Continuity: Then there’s the fact that they’ve just sort of stopped acknowledging who we are (Alliance AND class)

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Class: While it takes until the late 40s to go anywhere, the at-50 Trooper gameplay is… decent, with some good ability layering and decent utility
  2. Class: Tank spec…
  3. Class: …is awesome…
  4. Class: Combat spec has good build/spend construction
  5. Class: Shadow DPS spec
  6. Class: Tank spec…
  7. Class: …tank spec…
  8. Class: …tank spec!
  9. Class: The Sharpshooter spec is exactly what a properly glass cannon should be; it does a ton of damage, has a few ‘get away from me’ abilities, and otherwise is quite squishy…
  10. Class: …earning it a second positive
  11. Class: Smuggler healer is actually legit. Good variety, good utility, bad throughput, good mana design…
  12. Class: …earning two positives
  13. Class: Pyro spec is actually really fun, and its inverse resource mechanic is quite clever…
  14. Class: …earning two positives
  15. Class: Healing follows a similar flow, and so is decent enough to earn a positive
  16. Viscerality: Pyro and the eternal flamestorm
  17. Choices: Choices gameplay on Korriban
  18. Choices: Choices gameplay on Tatooine in how it fundamentally changes the pool sequence
  19. Choices: The variety of choices on Alderaan are honestly quite lovely
  20. Viscerality: Viscerality for Sith Warrior is the best in the game…
  21. Viscerality: …earning it two positives
  22. Choices: Belsavis choices
  23. Choices: SI Korriban choices gameplay
  24. Class: Mage in general is decent; good spread and good interweaving of abilities, only really held back by how immensely glass cannony it is
  25. Class: While not quite as good as the Smuggler/Agent, the healing spec is still quite servicable
  26. Choices: Continued good choices gameplay for SI Taris
  27. Choices: General choices gameplay throughout
  28. Viscerality: What can I say, I like lightning
  29. Choices: Lovely choices on Hutta
  30. Integration: Gameplay/Story Integration
  31. Choices: Balmorra and multiple paths and quests based on choices
  32. Choices: Once again, Nar Shaddaa continues the trend of letting you have multiple avenues of progression
  33. Boss: The Jadus conversation boss is honestly fantastic, well constructed and difficult to navigate…
  34. Boss: …earning it two positives
  35. Choices: A further positive for the length and depth of choices in the Jadus encounter
  36. Secondary: Bonus objectives that are worth a damn
  37. All Roads Lead To Rome: All Roads Lead To Rome quest design
  38. Choices: Choice to decide character arc
  39. Choices: The Voss choices and how it informs your character
  40. Outro: The final dungeon is a neat little thing, and the finale acknowledging your choices and giving you quite a few options for an ending
  41. Cosmetics: A very large and varied amount of cosmetics and options therewith…
  42. Cosmetics: …even if a lot of them are locked behind the auction house
  43. Cosmetics: The ability to sync dyes is a nice cosmetic feature
  44. Cosmetics: Reasonably decent amount of options for character creation
  45. Options: Pretty good Options…
  46. Options: …earning two positives
  47. Options: The HUD customization allows for you to move just about any element wherever, including scaling and locking…
  48. Options: …earning two positives
  49. Co-Op: The fact that other players can join conversations, locally and at range, and aren’t mandatory, and you aren’t penalized for what they pick, is easily the best solution to co-op conversations I’ve ever seen…
  50. Co-Op:…earning, by itself…
  51. Co-Op:…three positives
  52. Camera: The camera lets you zoom way out, and all the way in to first person, which is damned good
  53. Pacing: The ‘health refill’ ability every class get at level 1 is a quick and efficient way to keep gameplay flow up
  54. Log: Story thus far
  55. Info In Game: Info in game on stats and mouse-over for direct comparisons as well as summary…
  56. Info In Game: …earning two positives
  57. Cosmetics: In-game Outfits system is a good system for transmog cosmetics, allowing color changes, individual piece replacements, outfit loadouts, and a few other little options…
  58. Cosmetics:…leading to two positives
  59. QoL: In-game loadouts for different specs is a nice Quality of Life feature, allowing for spec, role, and gear…
  60. QoL: …earning two positives
  61. Co-Op: The game’s free tagging system across other players is rather nice…
  62. Co-Op: …for two positives
  63. Cosmetics: Decent variety of mounts (cosmetics)
  64. Cosmetics: Housing system in general (cosmetics)
  65. Cosmetics: Housing decor options (cosmetics)
  66. Music: While we didn’t get to hear much of it during the stream, the music does have some good pieces
  67. Map: In general the map is reasonably good despite its style
  68. Core Mechanics: PvP objective based missions
  69. Core Mechanics:Companions are, in general, good gameplay across the board
  70. Core Mechanics:Companions are useful in combat…
  71. Core Mechanics:…companions can be customized in gear and in spec…
  72. Core Mechanics:Companions hotswapping in and out…
  73. Core Mechanics:…and Companions easily working with other players, adding to co op
  74. QoL: The ability to respec in a cantina between your various, uh, specs is a very nice feature…
  75. QoL: …earning two positives
  76. Level: For the first time in the game, a dungeon (flashpoint) gets a gameplay positive; Colicoid War Games’ little puzzle sequences are actually kinda neat
  77. Level: My goodness, Kuat Drive Yards was… actually good. It still had issues, and wasn’t super amazing, but it was a noticeable improvement across the board
  78. Level: As an aside, the general tendency to allow players optional shortcuts or bonuses with crafting in dungeons is a neat feature
  79. Graphics: The game has generally good graphics fidelity
  80. Choices: The ability to escape out of conversations is awesome for a lot of reasons…
  81. Choices: …earning it two positives
  82. QoL: Any class can be any spec, with some limitations based on unlocks, which holds it back a bit but is still a great feature
  83. QoL: The ability to grab some quests anywhere via the quest window, and more importantly the ability to fast travel to some of them, is a nice feature
  84. Choices: Choice gameplay on the Sith side of Makeb
  85. Level: Okay so it’s not much, but the Depths of Manaan is… actually a dungeon. It has decent bosses and a good developing flow throughout
  86. Choices: Rishi’s choices are rather delightful
  87. Level: Blood Hunt is continuing the trend of increasing quality in dungeon design; short, sweet, minimal trash, and some interesting boss design…
  88. Level:…earning it two positives
  89. Boss: Surprise surprise, the Revan fight is actually really well designed. Color me impressed
  90. Choices: For all its other issues, Ziost does have some good Choice design
  91. Choices: Okay so uh, the non-voiced choices section is… weirdly good with the variety of choices
  92. QoL: The very option to just open up the companions or quest tab to just warp to quests is a nice QoL feature
  93. MSQ: Chapter 15 is, surprisingly, actually fun and interesting, with the traps, terrain, and unique usage of enemies
  94. Minigames: The very existence of the vehicle sections and concept and how it can vary up gameplay
  95. Boss: Actual boss fights!
  96. Hyperbeam Moment: The Liberty Prime section was legit
  97. MSQ: Love the ‘crash the party’ mission (Chapter 6) really
  98. Pacing: Pacing is honestly very on point
  99. MSQ: Multiple generally fun quests throughout
  100. Outro: The final section where we play as Tenebrae is probably the best usage of the vehicle section concept in the whole game
  101. Choices: Hatesink mockery is quite amusing
  102. Boss: The Tenebrae boss fight comes close enough to quality that I have to mention its interesting mechanics. Could have been a truly good victory lap fight
  103. Boss: Generally good boss mechanics
  104. Choices: Surprisingly good, multifaceted choices on Manaan

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Town: The Republic Station layout, design, placement, and traversal is just sort of… dull
  2. Level: The Esseles dungeon is one of the better ones in the early dungeon design… aaand it’s a bunch of long, empty corridors with literally hundreds of trash mobs, and bosses with no mechanics to them. Not great
  3. Overworld: Coruscant’s Overworld design starts the trend of bad Overworld design in this game. Bad flow, lots of back and forth across huge swaths of enemy-infested terrain, combined with odd quest placement and lots of chokepoints
  4. Secondary: Taris side quests. Some are inoffensive, others are ‘do X of Y at a slow respawn rate without sharing within group’
  5. Audio Spam: Taris has some audio spam issues
  6. Secondary: Taris quests are annoyingly backtracky and have a lot of irritation problems
  7. Secondary: The Taris Bonus Series is literally uncompletable due to a bug
  8. Secondary: Continued side quest issues on Nar Shaddaa
  9. Backtracking: The backtracking in the Nar Shaddaa bonus series is genuinely awful by itself…
  10. Secondary: …but add in the tons of elites and padded mobs? Bleh
  11. Map: Also Nar Shaddaa’s map and quest tracker can go to hell
  12. Secondary: So, Tatooine’s quests are ‘okay’… until you hit the Bonus Series and all the thrown-together, half-hazard quest design starts flooding to the surface…
  13. Secondary: …this is in addition to the map, tracking, and frustrating enemy issues
  14. Secondary: Alderaan’s quest flow and literal lack of vector quests isn’t great
  15. Boss: Alderaan’s big Usurper fight suuucks on every level. Lots of high health high damage mobs, each progression marker spawns a champion droid you can’t avoid, and if you (personally) don’t destroy the shield generators you don’t get credit
  16. Secondary: The Alderaan bonus series continues the trend of bonus series being glorified dailies, being entirely too sloggy and entirely too padded…
  17. Secondary: …bonus points for the absolute slog that was this one micro dungeon which was absolutely filled to the brim with mobs that had way, way too much health
  18. Overworld: Balmorra’s general layout is bad, but it’s made worse by the map and quest tracker being on crack
  19. Overworld: Quesh continues its stellar track record of being generally crap. It’s simultaneously too empty and too dense, with the same general issues every other zone has combined with total boredom
  20. Bugs: Hoth quests are really quite buggy
  21. Prime Opt: Hoth’s quests also omega suck. In addition to the usual problems, the slow respawns on items is awful…
  22. Secondary:…and the quest spread is just the worst
  23. Secondary: So, Hoth’s Bonus Series is very, very long, very very sloggy, and very very awful in an already literally headache-inducing area…
  24. Secondary: …earning it two negatives
  25. Level: The two Revan dungeons on the Republic side are both typical vanilla dungeons; Trash fests with boring corridors…
  26. Level: …so each gets a negative
  27. Prime Opt: So then there’s Belsavis. We already tagged the negatives for zone design and map design down in the ‘all’ category, but then we have two problems. Quest design, which is the usual bad…
  28. Prime Opt: …but much worse is quest flow, which isn’t as bad as Hoth, but it’s still bad
  29. Prime Opt: The quest on Voss, The Trials, is super bugged. Bad tracking, bad updating, and bad progress in a group
  30. Overworld: Voss’s map, quest flow, and overworld design continue to suck
  31. Secondary: Belsavis Bonus and drop rates / backtracking
  32. Secondary: Voss bonus series continues the wonderful trend of bad, boring quest design and backtracking…
  33. Secondary: …and long swaths of irritating mobs bottle-necking access to quests in areas with severely restricted, irritating terrain design…
  34. Secondary: …making it the worst bonus series by far
  35. Prime Opt: Let’s get this out of the way. Corellia’s quests are the god damned worst. They are everything wrong with other quests in the game, but more and worse across the board…
  36. Prime Opt: …earning…
  37. Prime Opt: …three negatives, but then…
  38. Padding: There’s the quest flow, which is actually awful, has no pattern rhyme or reason to it, and encourages awful backtracking…
  39. Padding: …earning…
  40. Padding: …three negatives for sheer padding
  41. Gameplay / Story: Gameplay/story segregation with how we just don’t line up with the very process of being a PC in an MMO
  42. Choice: The lack of Choice Gameplay for Trooper is honestly aggravating in a game built around it
  43. Backtracking: Tatooine backtrackery
  44. Prime Opt: Non-primary companion ‘quests’ and their general awfulness
  45. Backtracking: Alderaan backtrackery fun
  46. MSQ: The Balmorra quests can go to heeelll
  47. Prime Opt: Jorgan’s quest involves a stupid amount of needlessly long, needlessly confusing, boring traversal
  48. MSQ: Hoth Trooper dungeons suuuck
  49. Prime Opt: Jorgan’s quest continues to have long, long padded gameplay
  50. Padding: The later sections, especially Corellia and finale, are just padding central
  51. Backtracking: Coruscant backtracking quest flow
  52. Class: DPS spec and resource flow issues
  53. Difficulty Curve: Many of the plot quests of JK Act 1 are way, way overtuned
  54. Backtracking: You like backtracking, right?
  55. Choices: Weird railroading and lack of options in Choices gameplay
  56. MSQ: JK… Hoth. ‘Nuff said
  57. MSQ: JK Belsavis and quest positioning and layout (and slooog)…
  58. MSQ: …and then the absolute garbage of the final quest, where we have to not only fight a champion, but have a timed sequence of disarming spread out bombs which even ignoring irritations in finding them, there’s the fact that if you knew exactly where they were it’s still pure padding
  59. MSQ: JK Corellia is just… juuust awful, easily the worst Corellia segment thusfar. Imagine getting a quest to fight through a dense area of elites to gain access to a shuttle to warp to three separate, sequential elite areas with all the usual awful enemy placement and encounter design…
  60. MSQ: …leading to…
  61. MSQ: …three negatives
  62. Outro: Okay so the final boss fight against Vitiate is… what?
  63. Padding: Usual final act padding problem
  64. Backtracking: Tython’s backtracking to the temple every single step is getting silly
  65. Padding: Usual final act padding issue
  66. Audio Spam: Audio spam with the friggin’ laugh
  67. Audio Spam: More audio spam on Taris
  68. HUD: TOR Effect continues
  69. Backtracking: Backtracking issues on Tatooine
  70. Core Combat: So, half of Smuggler is cover based, and further into the game the number of enemies that can stun, grapple, or yank you (out of cover) increases, making your primary mechanic a liability…
  71. Core Combat: …earning two negatives
  72. Difficulty Curve: So the Voidwolf’s final ship attack is… hilariously, ridiculously overtuned…
  73. Outro: …and the ‘final battle’ and ‘final escape’ from the Voidwolf is pathetic, boring, and devoid of energy
  74. Level: Boarding Party continues the trend of bad dungeon design
  75. Secondary: So… I hesitate to give a negative to a single quest, but honestly the one (and only) escort quest in the game in Balmorra is every kind of bad. Slow, interrupted by combat, easy to screw up, doesn’t share credit, etc.
  76. Prime Opt: Balmorra’s quests in general have a lot of the vanilla issues (non sharing progress, items taking too long to ‘respawn’, etc.
  77. Secondary: Balmorra bonus series and the cavalcade of X of Y vomit, and continues Balmorra’s track record of irritation in overworld design
  78. Secondary: Nar Shaddaa’s bonus series gets back to bad design pretty much across the board; item layout, overworld layout, flow of quests, backtracking, just… slog
  79. Secondary: Nar Shaddaa’s bonus series is also pretty buggy
  80. Secondary: Tatooine’s secondary quests fall back into the WoW vanilla territory of rare drops for rare enemies in irritating bundles
  81. Secondary: And then there’s how Tatooine’s secondary quests just won’t end, despite sucking
  82. Secondary: Aaaand then there’s Tatooine’s Bonus Series
  83. Secondary: Alderaan’s sith’s quest design and layout continues to suck
  84. Secondary: Alderaan’s bonus series and drop rates galore…
  85. Secondary: …in addition to the usual issues
  86. Overworld: Taris’ quest flow and map indicators are literally not existent in some cases, and are actively confusing in others
  87. Secondary: Taris’ bonus series is even worse on backtracking than usual
  88. Secondary: Hoth’s secondary quests are blegh in general
  89. Prime Opt: Hoth’s Planetary Primary is bugged to the point of aggravation
  90. Secondary: The Belsavis Bonus Series can go straight to hell…
  91. Secondary: …does not pass go and does not collect 200 credits
  92. Terrain: Special negative for the elevators on the Sith side
  93. Prime Opt: Belsavis Planetary Primary isn’t good
  94. Secondary: Belsavis secondaries are absolutely terrible…
  95. Secondary: …especially in their quest flow
  96. Secondary: Voss bonus series continues the wonderful trend of bad, boring quest design and backtracking…
  97. Secondary: …and long swaths of irritating mobs bottle-necking access to quests in areas with severely restricted, irritating terrain design…
  98. Secondary: …making it the worst bonus series by far
  99. Backtracking: Voss quest flow continues the lovely trend of backtrackery nonsense
  100. Bug: The quest on Voss, The Trials, is super bugged. Bad tracking, bad updating, and bad progress in a group
  101. Prime Opt: The respawn timer on Voss Planetary Primaries are ridiculous
  102. Secondary: Corellia secondary quests are no better than the Republic’s… worse, they contain the same general issues the Republic does, though admittedly lesser…
  103. Secondary: …earning two negatives
  104. Prime Opt: Then there’s the Corellia Primary, which just kind of… drifts, with no real rhyme or reason to it
  105. Backtracking: Backtrackiiiing more than meets the eye
  106. MSQ: Taris is just awful gameplay wise. Lots and lots of needless steps, irritation, and stalling
  107. Backtracking: Special mention to Hoth’s backtrackiness
  108. Choices: Lack of choices throughout Belsavis
  109. Padding: The encounter design, density, and health padding of the later BH areas are just awful
  110. Padding: The Hoth quests start to show the ugly side of Sith Warrior… the padding slog
  111. Padding: This is continued in their bridge quests, starting with the assassination on Vengean
  112. Choices: So, the inability to kick or kill party members is a problem across the board, but its the most egregious by far with Quinn
  113. Backtracking: Having to go back to Korriban frequently can get rather irritating, for the usual backtracky reasons
  114. Padding: You guessed it, the usual padding issue
  115. Padding: Usual slog problems
  116. Backtracking: The usual backtracking problem (really starts to show up in later planets)
  117. Options: The game will not save resolution settings, forcing a reset every time you launch the game…
  118. Options: …which is just unacceptable
  119. Options: Furthermore, you cannot manually set your windowed settings at all, you have to eyeball it while dragging with the mouse
  120. Launch: Vanilla’s launch was pretty bad. I’ve seen worse, but it was bad
  121. MTX: MTX
  122. MTX: MTX shoved in face
  123. MTX: MTX that make the game better, aka ‘quality of life features’
  124. MTX: Collected items require individual real money purchases to unlock for alts…
  125. MTX: …which is so many levels of ridiculous I can’t even put it into words…
  126. MTX: …so that’s three negatives by itself
  127. MTX: The penalization for non-subscriber status is real…
  128. MTX: …and it’s insidious too, given how many different aspects of the game it makes worse and slower…
  129. MTX: …earning three negatives
  130. QoL: The entire Character Legacy screen is redundant and stupid
  131. HUD: TOR Syndrome, so named for a good reason…
  132. HUD: …is even worse than I remembered…
  133. HUD: …three negatives
  134. Bugs: Graphics bugs
  135. Bugs: Gameplay bugs
  136. Controls: General jank of controls, smoothness, and animations, as is typical for most MMOs…
  137. Controls: …earning two negatives
  138. Levels: Hammer Station is actually worse then Esseles really, though ultimately from a narrative perspective. In gameplay it’s long empty corridors with lots of trash and boring boss fights
  139. Levels: Athiss is somehow even worse than Esseles, with all the same problems further burdened by entirely too much health on every trash pack (and as usual, boring bosses)
  140. Levels: Cademimu has tons of trash, tons of health, boring bosses, and that damned elevator…
  141. Levels: …on top of inconsistent area indicators and other QoL problems
  142. Levels: In the Mandalorian Raiders dungeon, Braxx the Bloodhound gets his own negative for way too much friggin’ health
  143. Levels: Mandalorian Raiders is just the worst dungeon thusfar. It has all the problems the other flashpoints have but worse…
  144. Levels: …especially in light of the bosses, which are just so, so bad
  145. Levels: So, Colicoid War Games. It’s been improved to no longer being ridiculous and stupid… but it’s still bad. It still has the same issues all the other dungeons do…
  146. Levels: …in addition to the mind numbingly boring first two ‘encounters’ which are bad, bad, bad
  147. Levels: So, Directive 7 has the usual issues, which is ‘fine’…
  148. Levels: …but that last boss is an audio spam, badly designed pile of nonsense
  149. Minigames: Space Combat missions are boring and stupid
  150. Minigames: Space Combat missions have terrible gear-wall ‘difficulty’
  151. Minigames: Space Combat missions ramp up so fast and in an awkward way that they discourage people from even doing them
  152. Padding: Seconds-In-Minutes in layers between zones (stations, ship, multiple load screens, etc.)
  153. Overworld: Taris even worse designed than Coruscant gameplay wise, with irritating roadblocks and a frustrating map with irritating enemies everywhere…
  154. Overworld: …earning two Overworld negatives
  155. Padding: Daze still exists…
  156. Padding: …and due to the enemies essentially all having unavoidable de-mount abilities…
  157. Padding: …is the worst daze mechanic in MMOville
  158. Animations: The game has several pretty bad server tick issues, which leads to inconsistency in where you are and what you’re doing… odd animations, weird teleporting and rubber-banding, and dying after attacking…
  159. Animations: …all earning…
  160. Animations: …three negatives
  161. Overworld: Balmorra’s overworld design is juuust irritating. Cliffs, lifts, and dazes
  162. Overworld: Tatooine continues the trend of badly designed overworlds… big, empty, confusing
  163. Overworld: And then there’s Hoth. Big, empty, big, empty, big, empty Hoth
  164. Overworld: So. Belsavis. Belsavis is huge, with irritating terrain that uses obstacles and walls and cliffs to limit your movement, almost every single enemy has the ‘dismount you’ ability adding to irritation, also almost every single enemy pack is full of high health and high damage jackasses who can wreck you (especially if you’re solo), also there’s lots of chokepoints and a bad map which makes getting turned around easy, and all of this is on top of the place being huge and taking forever to traverse, and that’s on top of the quest tracker literally not working right thanks to the multiple flightpath methods…
  165. Overworld: …Belsavis is one of the worst zones in MMO history…
  166. Overworld: …and earns a full three negatives
  167. Bug: Graphics stutter and non-optimization is pretty bad
  168. HUD: Feedback problems. There’s a general disconnect from actions and results, damage barely feels like it’s even there, and it’s hard to pay attention to things like buffs, debuffs, and the like…
  169. HUD: …earning a full…
  170. HUD: …three negatives
  171. Padding: Enemy health is entirely too high…
  172. Padding: …for…
  173. Padding: …three negatives
  174. Padding: Enemy density is way, way, way too dense…
  175. Padding: …leading for…
  176. Padding: …three negatives
  177. Enemy Variety: Enemy variety is severely lacking…
  178. Enemy Variety: …earning two negatives
  179. Encounter: Enemy placement is similarly irritating and tries to force encounters, making it awful…
  180. Encounter: …given the aforementioned two problems
  181. Padding: Enemy respawn rate is actively terrible, in many cases being capable of running into respawns on your face after doing a cutscene…
  182. Padding: …for…
  183. Padding: …three negatives
  184. Padding: Worse, interactable respawn rates are absolutely awful (varying in time but up to 5 friggin’ minutes)… and this is ignoring the fact that interactables don’t share across players, so the more players in an area the longer even normal quests take, aka WoW Vanilla Syndrome…
  185. Padding: …earning a full…
  186. Padding: …three negatives
  187. Minigame: PvP is still the same thing it is in the overwhelming majority of MMO’s; A big mess where gear reigns supreme and the issues with the game in general get in the way of the whole thing
  188. Traversal Mechanics: Traversal across the board is too slow. Walking, sprinting, mounted speed, and the distances you have to travel, all a huge huge amount of padding on top of every individual instance thereof…
  189. Traversal Mechanics: …earning…
  190. Traversal Mechanics: …three negatives
  191. Map: And also a negative for Belsavis’ map
  192. Graphics: Hoth is, purely visibly, awful. The blinding white glare is not just painful and irritating…
  193. Graphics: …it’s honestly bad design…
  194. Graphics: …and literally headache inducing
  195. Overworld: So. Corellia. It’s a big dumb maze with inconsistent traversal and long swaths of bleh on top of the issues with the tram…
  196. Overworld: …easily earning…
  197. Overworld: …three negatives
  198. Map: Further, the map issue is even worse than in Belsavis…
  199. Map: …earning two negatives by itself
  200. Cosmetic: It’s a very minor issue, but in a game this large it does show up periodically; The game periodically just doesn’t have you actually use your weapon in cutscenes, instead defaulting to the, uh, default
  201. Padding: Quest triggers are finicky and artifact, and often require you to do very specific steps even when there’s no reason to (such as go to a planet in your ship before going to a planet)
  202. Difficulty Curve: The difficulty curve across 1-50 is legitimately awful… it spikes up frequently, and has no idea what it’s doing…
  203. Difficulty Curve: …but it gets much, much worse when you get to the later worlds…
  204. Difficulty Curve: …culminating in the nightmare that is Corellia and its ‘elites R us’
  205. Difficulty Curve: Corellia deserves its own separate difficulty spike negative
  206. Bugs: Inconsistent bugs with sharing credit even within group and while on the same quest…
  207. Bugs: …which crops up more than it should…
  208. Bugs: …and is awful to boot
  209. Tutorialization: So the game tutorializes the basic stuff reasonably well… but as with all MMOs, there are several things throughout that just are not properly explained…
  210. Tutorialization: …earning it a full…
  211. Tutorialization: …three negatives
  212. Bugs: Though inconsistent and periodic, occasionally the terrain’s collision is just… wrong, and leads to glitching and bugging
  213. Traversal Mechanics: Elevators. There’s less than there used to be, but they’re still a problem. They’re slow, dangerous due to physics issues, and almost always tall enough to kill you if you try to bypass them
  214. Bugs: Capes. The capes have some amusing stuff, buuut then there’s ‘the’ cape bug; where it gets stuck in your legs and just jitters there in cutscenes. It’s a very common bug, ruins the scenes it happens in, has been around for over a DECADE, and restricts cosmetic possibilities
  215. Level Scaling: So… scaling. While this is different from Oblivion’s scaling (which is personal instead of group-related), but it’s still easily the worst group scaling I’ve ever seen in a video game…
  216. Level Scaling:…earning it…
  217. Level Scaling:…a full three negatives
  218. HUD: The in game quest tracker is lacking. This is actually more of a Map issue than anything else, but ultimately boils down to bad filtering, bad color distinction, and bad options. There’s no at-a-glance, the game can literally send you to the wrong place (Balmorra, Belsavis), three completely different types of quests look identical, main and bonus objectives look identical, and nothing indicates a party member quest vs. your quest…
  219. HUD: …earning it…
  220. HUD: …three negatives
  221. Core Combat: So, the game is heavily melee focused… percentage wise, almost every spec focuses on being up in melee range (even the ones equipping a blaster), and the general movement tech and pathfinding supports this as well. This is in a game that is swarmed with ranged-focused enemies, which makes combat… ALL combat, really… far more irritating and frustrating than it should be…
  222. Core Combat: …for…
  223. Core Combat: …three negatives
  224. Choices: Continuing from story negatives, the fact that EVERY party member is mandatory both to get and to keep in vanilla TOR is unacceptable
  225. Secondary: Non primary companion quests are honestly just the worst. Oh the actual story they go through can be good, but the literal fade to black ‘aaand it’s done’ crap is awful, awful presentation…
  226. Secondary: …earning…
  227. Secondary: …three negatives
  228. Camera: The wobbly camera they added periodically can suck a lemon
  229. Core Mechanic: Anti-stealth mechanics in place for overworld content, because screw you do our terrible combat dammit
  230. Prime Opt: The very first Ilum planetary primary is to slog through two very long, very narrow corridors worth of overtuned enemies
  231. Prime Opt: Same problem on the Sith side
  232. Difficulty Curve: Ilum is way overtuned
  233. Difficulty Curve: And again on the Sith side
  234. Secondary: Ilum’s x of y quests are… not good
  235. Secondary: Ditto for the Sith side
  236. Bugs: The ‘can’t participate in this conversation’ bug just keeps happening on Ilum…
  237. Bugs: …over and over and over…
  238. Bugs: …and over and over…
  239. Encounter Design: Ilum… just… Ilum… so much density of so many enemies
  240. Encounter Design: And again on the Sith side
  241. Bug: The game disallows universal hotkeys while in game. While this is obviously incredibly aggravating to streaming, it also gets in the way of more fundamental things… like voice chat
  242. Level: Battle of Ilum is… well, it’s a TOR instance
  243. Level: And so is the False Emperor
  244. Bugs: General bugs…
  245. Bugs: …but then the ‘group no progress’ bug rears its ugly head again…
  246. Bugs: …and again and again…
  247. MSQ: The Planetary Surgery quest is just padding, padding, padding (and bugged!)
  248. Level: Kaon Under Siege has honestly all the regular problems the dungeons have
  249. Level: Lost Island tries to be creative and… fails, but they’re trying!
  250. Level: Then there’s the two Czerka dungeons which I won’t even bother listing their names…
  251. Level:…cuz they both have the same damned issues
  252. Boss: A bonus negative for all these dungeons having bleh or boring bosses
  253. Bugs: The infinite load bug is infrequent, but it’s there
  254. Level:: The gates absolutely friggin’ killing you once you start a boss fight is so many levels of nonsense, what the hell
  255. Audio: Bad sound balancing
  256. Co-Op: Co-Op hostile quests from Revan onwards… you can group, but you can’t share, so they’re just kind of along for the ride
  257. Choices: Lack of character relevance (this is a fairly lengthy and complex problem but it boils down to; You have 8 characters with multiple nuances available to them… and those are thrown to the wayside, essentially by requirement, in the expansions)
  258. Level: Battle of Rishi is actually pretty weak for this point in the game, dull bosses and too much repetitive trash
  259. Overworld: Ziost is right back to being terribly designed, irritating enemy placement, padding nonsense
  260. Padding: Somehow, Skytroopers have returned. They’ve returned so often that I felt the need to be snarky in this point because I want you to understand just how much of a chore slogging through fifty billion of these things was. This is Corellia levels of enemy, encounter, and health design…
  261. Padding: The encounter spam is really bad
  262. Padding: The health is really bad
  263. Enemy Variety: The enemies are really bad
  264. Enemy Variety: …times two
  265. Co-Op: Co-op opposition…
  266. Co-Op: …earning two negatives
  267. Secondary: Alliance quest irritations with… Pierce
  268. Secondary: …Bowdaar, Qyzen…
  269. Secondary: …Blizz, Xalek, and Talos
  270. MSQ: The Jorgan quests honestly kinda suck…
  271. MSQ: …and then they just… keep… slogging… onwards…
  272. Integration: The non Force users really… really should not be here
  273. MSQ: The big ‘one with the Force’ quest
  274. Level: The Star Fortresses aren’t… bad, really, but they’re very boring, and tend to be very padded…
  275. Level: …and the repeated padding nature of them
  276. Bugs: The bug cavalcade continues
  277. Co-Op: More co-op hostile design (literal friendly fire in the walker!)
  278. Bugs: Kill on quest item interaction
  279. Hyperfail Moments: Vehicle sections sometimes out-last their welcome
  280. Bug: The insane migraine inducing section with the mouse droid
  281. Level: Uprisings are boring
  282. Level: Uprisings are repetitive
  283. Difficulty Curve: Uprisings are massively overtuned
  284. Choices: The sudden forced irritating choice between Republic and Sith again
  285. Minigames: Boring vehicle battles continue
  286. Level: Crisis on Umbara tries to be cool and stumbles pretty hard
  287. Level: Then there’s the Chiss dungeon which is even worse by being absolutely flooded with trash. Like, just flooded with it
  288. Level: THEN there’s the bosses of each of these dungeons, which juuuuust suck
  289. Boss: Okay so the Zildrog fight really really sucks. First the first phase of the fight is… okay, but way too much health as usual. Then there’s phase 2 which is just as paddingly. But then there’s phase 3, with enemies that ignore range and line of sight making the fight literally bugged. And all of this is on top of some pretty bad audio spam the entire time, so…
  290. Boss: …the entire sequence…
  291. Boss: …earns three negatives
  292. Encounter: Enemy spam
  293. Co-Op: Not-sharing co-op bug
  294. Difficulty Curve: Overtuning
  295. Pacing: Somehow general padding has returned
  296. Padding: It’s not as bad as before but there’s still some padding issues on Onderon
  297. Level: Way, way too much slog in Operation Meridian
  298. Boss: Unfortunately the Tenebrae fight has multiple issues with it… unclear tooltips, weird phase transitions, arguably wrong mechanics, entirely too much health on everything, and it just…
  299. Boss: …draaaags
  300. Level: Spirit of Vengeance has all the usual problems TOR dungeons tend to have…
  301. Level: …but then there’s the anti stealth bullcrap, and the slog gets even worse than usual
  302. Level: Secrets of the Enclave continues the trend of TOR dungeon design
  303. Launch: So the launch of Legacy of the Sith was… not good. I won’t go into details, it was bad…
  304. Launch: …earning it two negatives
  305. Bugs: They still haven’t fixed some of the crap Legacy added
  306. Core Mechanics: General design flaws that Legacy added which screwed with… honestly the entire game, top to bottom
  307. Bugs: So… you can just sort of get… stuck during the main quest. And stay stuck.
  308. Bugs: And it kept happening
  309. Graphics: So the engine is really starting to have issues by modern times, to the point where I had to actually turn the graphics down… for TOR