Review Runs


The Old Republic Sith Warrior

This is not what I would call a fun game, but the story more than makes up for it. I highly recommend that, if you care, you poke at it with a subscription and a friend (or two, or three).
Total Story Score: +17
Total Gameplay Score: -18
Cheats: Yes (my friends are my power)
Total Play Time: 5 Days // 45 Hours
Time Reviewed: 7-04-2020

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Voice acting quality is quite good, with very few exceptions
  2. Voice acting quantity! There is a ton, and I mean a ton, of (good) voice acting
  3. Korriban Sith Warrior was a good tutorial and intro, quickly and efficiently getting us into the times, the Sith in particular, the sith Empire in general, and introducing us to several good characters including the big one; Darth Baras
  4. Darth Baras is one of my favorite Sith / Dark Side users in the entire setting. He’s pragmatic, smart, and a long-term planner who is still flawed and has his own issues
  5. A second plus for Baras being easily the best villain of the original 8 stories, and a fantastic and believable character who had a logical, well-written descent into desperation as we slowly ripped his power base apart
  6. The Black Talon instance is good stuff storywise, with decent branching narrative and generally good options and relevance, and is overall a good establisher for Malgus, Satile, and the cold war
  7. Sith Warrior Intro is good. It does good establishment of characters, the Empire, the cold war, and our initial threat and arc of Jaesa
  8. TOR in general has some of the best Jedi across the series, doing a great job of showcasing a good variety in Jedi as well as showing just how bad Jedi can get
  9. TOR has, overall, what I consider the best dark side and Sith characters in… the whole of Star Wars, with a good variety and gradient between them
  10. TOR has, overall, what I consider the best Republic people in the series (elite nobles, well meaning commanders, pompous jackasses, etc.)
  11. Best Imperial Soldiers, with good gradient and I feel like I’m repeating myself here
  12. Sith Warrior characters (as per the design; Sith Warrior gets an additional positive for quality and quantity of characters we meet throughout, including but not limited to Rylon, Rylon’s son, Rathari, Kendoh, Pierce, Timmns, Tremel)
  13. Variety of perspective in Empire characters (as per the standard, an additional positive for excellent characters through the Imperial Planetary Primaries)
  14. Quest follow-up mails is a great way to further flesh out characters and stories, and show a small bit of (optional) follow-up on arcs
  15. Visual design of Nar Shaddaa is good stuff, also is a great showcasing of the tech, society, and that sort of grunge Vegas thing
  16. Sith Warrior; confrontation with self doubts in Tatooine is just a great scene. It’s the first real time the game acknowledges your playstyle and choices, and it has several permutations (4 total) depending on what you are and what you choose during the conversation
  17. Internal continuity is quite good. You have to be paying attention, but there are references to the stories of the other classes and factions all over the place
  18. Alderaan Sith Warrior is enjoyable; there’s decent political intrigue in the background, they go out of their way to make a creepy scummy person and then give you the chance to constantly give them their comeuppance, and they allow the SW in particular to really flex in cutscenes
  19. Nomen Karr is an engaging and interesting character, and a nice foil for Baras and yourself
  20. Sith Warrior Act 1 conclusion is incredibly satisfying, even now having done it many times over many years
  21. Vette is just kind of wholesome and cool
  22. Voss planet, civilization, culture, and Planetary Primary are all good stuff
  23. Vowrawn is just delightful, and easily one of the better Sith characters across the Imperial side in general and SW in particular
  24. The finale conclusion with Darth Baras, the build up, the showcasing of your choices with other Sith along the way, and the confrontation itself is all epic and awesome
  25. Aggregate: Droid language and its unique structure is neat // Rylon is actually pretty cool, especially for having only one scene to him // Visual design of Tatooine // Visual design of Hoth // Wylatt is really one of the best examples, ever, of Light Side corruption and it is beautifully horrifying
  26. Aggregate: Timmns is one of the more interesting jedi we meet and, ultimately, I wish I saw more of him // Jaesa is enjoyable in her own right, hampered by her limited presence post-joining // Pierce is, despite his amoral stance, pretty easy to get along with and enjoyable to have along // Quinn grew on more than I thought he would, ultimately being an intriguing foil to Baras

Story Negatives:

  1. Side quests are just… not interesting, even despite having cutscenes and dialogue, and are barebones X of Y style
  2. Many of the instances are just… crap storywise and have the same quantity and quality as a single sidequest on some random planet
  3. External continuity is frankly awful almost every time it comes up. TOR just does not fit with the rest of Star Wars’ continuity
  4. The Revan instances are especially bad, with ridiculous presentation of HK-47, Revan, and Revan’s significance to the overall plot (which itself is… silly at best)
  5. Limited party size which is an issue for the usual reasons, especially in a game that actually lets people not present join in conversations via holocomm
  6. Draahg is just a piss poor Darth Scion and a very Kai Leng character who’s just there and irritating and your rival for no good reason
  7. Aggregate: Hoth’s Planetary Primary is incredibly boring, to the point that it felt like pure filler // Taris’s Planetary Primary is… not good
  8. Aggregate: Broonmark is a completely boring one-note character and a piss-poor attempt to recreate the fascinating character study of Hanharr // Directive 7 and its entire story arc is unnecessarily large scale and ridiculous regardless (we even arrive seconds before the galaxy would be destroyed) // TOR Syndrome
  9. Second negative for the Absent Party problem

Gameplay Positives:

  1. The ability to escape back out of cutscenes in the case of missing or misclicking or misunderstanding or whatever
  2. Reasonably good interface customization options with positioning and scale
  3. Party conversation mechanics are great
  4. A second positive for the great conversation mechanics and the fact that there’s a back-luck-protection built in to help ensure everyone gets a say over time
  5. General co-op friendly design (party size of 4–so 2 players plus 2 companions, the party conversation mechanics, social points for grouping, most encounters and quests designed around the small group, etc. etc.)
  6. Fast travel is reasonably well designed, especially if you have a house; You can warp to spots at will
  7. There’s a very good built-in system to allow for cosmetics, with dyes, lots and lots of equipment which can be mix and matched, as well as ‘synching’ dye colors if you so choose
  8. Additional positive for the ‘permanent transmog’ appearance option, and the ability to have multiple cosmetic suits, visibility of pieces of armor, etc.
  9. Finally there are a huge variety of cosmetic options across the board
  10. Housing is sufficiently varied and enjoyable for a housing mechanic, and also allows for cross-character interaction, and improves fast travel
  11. Aggregate: Character design has a decent amount of options // Clear indicator of Class and Planetary quests // Leveling is sufficiently fast to allow for picking and choosing of content
  12. Aggregate: Directive 7’s boss fights were actually decent, and had actual mechanics // Darth Baras’s fight is thematically appropriate and suitably fun and epic, and even better for how he uses SW abilities throughout the fight

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Travel spacing padding; aka it takes a while to get from point A to point B, and there are long, long stretches in worlds, in between quests, and just traveling around town designed to stretch out gameplay to take as long as possible as part of the usual MMO treadmill
  2. Side quests are just… not interesting, even despite having cutscenes and dialogue, and are barebones X of Y style
  3. Combat isn’t bad in the strictest sense of the word, but ultimately is just a bit… lacking in depth and complexity, which wouldn’t be an issue if not for the sheer amount of combat the game has
  4. Encounter design is not interesting in general, usually boiling down to ‘enemy’, ‘pack of enemies’, ‘summons adds’, or occasionally they have knockdowns or knockbacks
  5. Cannot swap specs in instance, and requires going to a specific NPC to swap specs
  6. Space combat is actively awful at almost every level. It does not have good variety in enemies, objectives, the controls are crap, the setup is all straight gear based, and there’s a hell of a stat wall
  7. The early dungeons, aside from the first two on both sides, are lacking in every way. There’s no interesting visuals, encounters, bosses, or story
  8. In game shop’s mere existence is not a good thing in a game that is a subscription game (or should be)
  9. Usage of in game shop is aggressive and aggravating, and there is a lot of design trying to push the Cartel on players
  10. Absolutely awful ‘free to play’ mode with horrible chopping of features and options
  11. Inconsistent application of Light Side / Dark Side choices, combined with an absence of third options in many cases where there should be
  12. Colicoid War Games is incredibly awful in a sea of otherwise bad instances, with buggy design, poorly set up mechanics, and a total lack of tuning
  13. A final negative for the ‘vanilla’ dungeons just being… awful. The mechanics are almost not even there, the layout is too long, there’s too much trash with too much health, there’s no interesting points to them (one ‘good/bad’ decision per), and the whole thing is just… not worth doing
  14. Gear treadmill as vertical leveling, and also boring disinteresting gear, which is irritating to keep up with and not fun or rewarding
  15. Bad design in terrain and overworld flow (Taris, Quesh, Hoth, Belsavis)
  16. Slog of Belsavis, Voss, Corellia
  17. Additional negative for many hours of slog across the final planets
  18. Font size issues (no option to alter font sizes except for chat, and the existing fonts are entirely too small)
  19. TOR Syndrome (dialogue wheel options not lining up with what you think they mean)
  20. Skill design issues (ultimately disinteresting playstyles and lack of complexity in skill design)
  21. The non-main Companion ‘quests’ are just… disappointing and ridiculous in their fade to black nature
  22. Aggregate: The game as a whole suffers from the format and structure of how it approaches Companions, both in terms of when they join you, how they are distributed across the planets // Unable to release while in combat // Rez has a 15 minute cooldown unless you’re a healer
  23. Core Combat really deserves a second negative for being aggressively unfun
  24. Second negative for absolutely awful, badly designed Encounter layout…
  25. …and a third one for some of the worst Encounter designs in gaming
  26. Speaking of which, that Enemy Variety is awful. You’ve got droids, beasts, gunslingers, and saberslingers…
  27. …and that really is it for planet after planet after planet of content
  28. Second negative for that awful Overworld design and planetary layout
  29. A very wonky, downturning Power Progression Curve that just wigs out by the time you get to the final few planets
  30. Trash design in dungeons is not good. It’s just more random encounters with too much health

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: +466
Total Gameplay Score: +122
Golden Number: 437.35
Cheats: No (My friends are my power!)
Total Play Time: 54 Days // 475.94 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-16-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. The storytelling tool of the Echo and what it allows us to see and perceive
  2. 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
  3. The Ul’dah city-state arc is easily the best of the three, with character introductions, ideas, and tons of world building…
  4. …easily earning a second positive
  5. Camerawork in cutscenes is actually quite good
  6. The localization in the game is spot on…
  7. …even with regards to adding in dialects and variances based on region
  8. There is a fairly large amount of gameplay/story integration going on
  9. The visual storytelling of the Noscea area
  10. 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
  11. The visual storytelling of 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
  12. The core theme, even early on, of being the inspiration to help others find their better selves
  13. 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
  14. The ARR opening cinematic of the destruction at Cartenaux and the Calamity of Dalamud is a very, very well done cutscene
  15. Tempering. We get our first insight into it with Ifrit, and it is exactly as horrible as it should be
  16. World building exposition of the three Grand Companies
  17. 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)
  18. A second positive for the Coerthas arc. Tightly written, internally consistent, and well characterized
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. Visual storytelling of the third Coil of Bahamut
  22. Tataru is a delight even in ARR
  23. Thancred, for how relatively little screen time he gets, is pretty awesome…
  24. …as is Y’Shtola
  25. Acknowledging the support network under adventurers, aka consequence storytelling
  26. Sylphs (and writing). They’re adorable, even outside of their daily
  27. Foreshadowing (primals, ala mhigans, Garlean power struggle, Ishgard, etc.)
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. G’raha’s final farewell as the Eternal Wind plays really is just… feels
  31. Periodic world building in the La Noscea side quests, and some cool individual side stories
  32. The Thanalan quests were overall better story wise; while more contained, they were usually better focused on character moments or world building
  33. The Coerthas side quests were really quite good…
  34. …including several nice bits of world building and some great character arcs
  35. The Hildibrand animation, storyboarding, and camerawork are astonishingly good, especially with regards to choreography…
  36. …earning a second positive
  37. The Botanist arc does a good job of showcasing a pacifist tormented by the ethics of civilian contribution to conflict
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. The Weaver 1-50 quest was surprisingly sentimental and personal, being almost entirely about the budding relationship between the miner and the princess
  41. The Goldsmith 1-50 quest was surprisingly enjoyable given how obvious its plot was, but it had some nice moments and Rorotan was legit
  42. The Leatherworker 1-50 quest had some hiccups but a rather memorable guildmaster, and a nice story arc about quality vs. speed
  43. The Alchemist 1-50 quest was interesting in how it seemed terrifying at first and veered right into legitimately sweet and sentimental
  44. Culinarian 1-50 is nicely constructed and has some good worldbuilding, but also some weirdly well done descriptions of the food
  45. The Kobold beast tribe has a nice, surprisingly touching, and well told story arc
  46. The Sahagin beast tribe has a surprisingly well written character in Novv
  47. The conclusive Beast Tribe collective quest at the end of the dailies is quite well done, with good cutscenes and touching moments… and a few moments of awesome to boot…
  48. …earning a second positive
  49. The Gladiator 1-30 quest was… weirdly good. Enjoyable characters which complexities to them, a good structure, good cinematography, it was…
  50. …worthy of a second positive
  51. The dialogue and intrigue of the Rogue 1-30 quests are legit, despite how hard they are to read at times…
  52. …and some really great storytelling and cutscenes
  53. 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…
  54. …earning a second positive for general quality and cutscenes (the youth as he punched!)
  55. The Thaumaturge 1-30 story had some hiccups, but I enjoyed the world building and examination of voidsent, aether, and magedom in general
  56. 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
  57. DRG 30-50 is weirdly good, with lots of good world building (if bad exposition) and surprisingly good cutscenes…
  58. …earning a second positive
  59. WAR 30-50 is simple but effective, a nice zoomed in character piece with some neat worldbuilding about how Warriors function
  60. Scholar 30-50 has some great world building and some neat, heart-warming scenes to it
  61. Despite other issues, the Ninja 30-50 has some good camerawork, animation, and some good moments
  62. The 2.1 and 2.2 Doman Refugee Crisis arc is great stuff
  63. The initial developments of the new Grand Company is a great arc, with good cutscenes
  64. 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
  65. Aymeric is awesome in literally his very first scene. He is smart, kind, pragmatic, and generally awesome
  66. Consequence storytelling (especially with Garlemald)
  67. Moenbryda is well voice acted and, honestly, a delight despite her relatively small amount of camera presence
  68. Haurchefant is just kind of awesome.. Consistently, even in ARR…
  69. …which is really saying something
  70. Raubahn’s killing of Teledji is, honestly, the best part of the entire banquet
  71. 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
  72. Merlwyb is a weirdly good character across ARR
  73. The Sultana only has a few scenes but they’re critical and she herself is a very sympathetic, interesting character
  74. Riol is actually pretty legit, and honestly I wish he got more screen time
  75. Ditto for Hoary Boulder and Coultinet
  76. ARR does a decent job of remaining internally consistent and having good internal continuity
  77. Aggregate: Visual storytelling of 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
  78. Aggregate: 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
  79. Aggregate: 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 BLM 30-50 quests
  80. The Heavensward opening cinematic is, as usual, pretty good
  81. 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
  82. Hauchefant continues his awesome streak
  83. Visual storytelling of Ishgard (the city)
  84. Artoirel is an interesting, fleshed out character who has a quick and interesting arc even in his initial presentation
  85. The initial introduction to Thordan and the trial by combat sequence
  86. 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
  87. 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
  88. Visual storytelling of the Dravanian Forelands
  89. The big reveal of the nature of Primals is a good scene in general, but even more so…
  90. …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
  91. The localization continues to be on point…
  92. …even to the point of being better than before, especially with regards to…
  93. …the dialogue being just fantastic across the board.
  94. Dialogue mk. 2
  95. Dialogue mk. 3
  96. Lolorito’s plan (retcon or no) is a good one, neatly written, and ties up a lot of threads
  97. 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
  98. The overall plot has a wonderful layers upon layers of context style to it
  99. The Echo remains a great storytelling tool…
  100. …and speaking of which, the cutscene of the past shortly after the initial battle with Nidhogg is well directed, acted, and written
  101. Honestly, Hauchefant’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)
  102. Core theme of the cycle of vengeance
  103. The ‘we’ve got Aymeric’s back’ scene is awesome
  104. Well written Star Destroyer storytelling
  105. 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
  106. For all the nonsense about the event itself, Count Fortemp just breaking down at the loss of his son hits to this day
  107. There is a lovely symmetry to Aymeric and his relationship to his father… and Hauchefant and his relationship to his. Both illegitimate children, both risen on their own two feet, and both dealt with in completely disparate ways
  108. Alphinaud is wonderful as usual
  109. Alphinaud’s voice actor is great
  110. Alphinaud’s character arc is fantastic, and really shows his growth as a character
  111. Tataru continues to be an excellent character despite her limited screen time
  112. The visual storytelling and contrast of the Churning Mists as well as Hraesvalgr and Nidhogg’s lairs
  113. Ysale is, as usual, awesome…
  114. …with good voice acting…
  115. …and a great character arc
  116. Estinien, too, is a triple bonus for being a great, complex character..
  117. …but also well acted…
  118. …and well arced
  119. The connecting character threads between Estinien and Alphinaud
  120. Raubahn finally comes into his own as a character, helped by his actor
  121. Haldrath (the first Azure Dragoon) has precious little screen time but is awesome for it
  122. Hilda, too, steals the scene every time she’s in it
  123. Visual storytelling of the Dravanian Hinterlands
  124. Matoya! Cantankerous, helpful, and well acted
  125. Ysayle’s sacrifice, by contrast to some earlier ones, is very well done. Good cinematography, good directing, and it sticks
  126. Visual storytelling of Azys Lla
  127. Earning Midgarsormr’s respect and being granted his mount is a pretty awesome moment
  128. The world building of the Aetherochemical Research Facility and just how bleh the Allagans really were
  129. 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
  130. The Alexander 12 fight is awesome narratively, especially with the portals being how we survived the cutscene prior to the fight
  131. The time travel of the entire Alexander chain is actually quite tightly written, well foreshadowed, and well executed
  132. 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
  133. Lucia remains awesome pretty much throughout HW
  134. Krile has so much character in so little time, I love it
  135. Yet more foreshadowing (especially in the Warring Triad)
  136. They actually subvert the usual hostage crap in the Weeping City, and actually make a good scene of it regardless
  137. Stone Vigil 2 (Dusk Vigil) has a wonderfully horrifying backstory to what happened in the wake of the Calamity
  138. Leveva is just delightful all around
  139. The Sharlayan worldbuilding and general intrigue of the AST 30-60 quests are pretty cool… with problems
  140. MCH 30-50 has a good core theme, some decent characters, and a nice arc for multiple of them
  141. MCH 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
  142. A goodly amount of internal continuity with the three mage states across the expansion
  143. The NIN 50-60 is weirdly competent and well directed, with amusing characters and a proper showcasing of ourself
  144. DRG 50-60 has some issues, but is earnest enough and skips over most pitfalls of its arc to be engaging
  145. The DRK 30-50 quests did a great job of acknowledging a lot of internal continuity…
  146. …and are just, really great quests in general…
  147. …earning a second (or third) positive
  148. DRK 50-60 quests do some good stuff in general, with a nice if horrifying story…
  149. …and general levity and excellence in scenes from the Moogles
  150. WVR 50-60 was actually really sweet, down-to-earth, mundane, and wholesome
  151. GSM 50-60 was surprisingly good, a heartwarming tale of two lovers and making them matching music boxes, well paced and well showcased
  152. CUL 50-60 was mostly noise until the finale, when it was delightfully hysterical
  153. LTW 50-60 is actually pretty well done, with solid character arcs, weaving through backstory of the setting, while advancing alongside the main quest
  154. Aggregate: The Ascian lore of SUM 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
  155. 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)
  156. Azys Lla’s side quests are surprisingly amusing while remaining absolutely horrifying insights into Allagan society
  157. Hildibrand, as usual, has some great animation and camerawork
  158. Hildibrand also has some surprisingly good character beats with Vivi and Cyr
  159. The Scholasticate’s early quests are very well written internal politics
  160. The Scholasticate’s quests themes of the severe and terrible inequality Isghard has shown, done in true in-person detail, are just… wow
  161. Scholasticate (again) has some good general story construction and characters
  162. Fractal Continuum has some wonderful, horrible Allagan lore in the ‘museum’ format
  163. Good structure of the MSQ, both in when the big events hit, and in how much time is attended to the consequences
  164. The return of Thancred cutscene is well acted and very well choreographed, despite its issues
  165. Aymeric really is one of my favorite characters in the entire game…
  166. …not only for his solidarity and genuineness but also his intellect and leadership skill…
  167. …and finally his fantastic presentation and voice actor
  168. 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
  169. Matoya is a delightfully presented and constructed character
  170. 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
  171. 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…
  172. …but through it all, just us… walking….
  173. …Star Destroyer
  174. And yes, another positive for the outro, for being exactly as tear-jerking and powerful as it should be… with Ysayle and Hauchefaunt’s aid
  175. 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
  176. 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
  177. 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
  178. 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
  179. Aggregate: An aggregate positive to Hildibrand for general humor and pacing // Honoroit is enjoyable, and pitiable, for the little screen time he gets // Emmanellain does get something of a story arc, brief though it may be
  180. Ardbert’s voice actor is excellent even in this expansion
  181. Count Edmont is a truly fantastic character, for much the same reasons Aymeric is…
  182. …and stands as our adoptive father for good reason
  183. The summoning, and Papalymo’s sacrifice
  184. Thancred is, as usual, pretty legit
  185. 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
  186. The recurrent usage of the NPCs and party members adding extra dialogue at most quests in the MSQ is a good storytelling tool
  187. No-drama, logical consequence storytelling in the initial resistance groups of Ala Mhigo
  188. World building throughout the early quests of what it’s like in occupied Ala Mhigo
  189. Zenos second establishing scene does much more, better, with him
  190. Doodad utilization is, finally, in
  191. Substantially better usage of music in cutscenes
  192. Visual storytelling of the Fringe
  193. Tataru beautifully blackmailing the Ishgardian captain into helping us get to Doma
  194. Kugane in all its splendor
  195. Lyse kicking Gyodo was just kind of generally awesome (and well animated and cameraworked)
  196. 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
  197. Visual storytelling and doodad utilization of Kugane
  198. Yanxia’s thematic usage and portrayal of the consequence of the remainder oppressed is as gloomy and awful as it should be
  199. 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
  200. As much as I have severe issues with it, the scene where Zenos finally notices us is pretty legit
  201. Isse is actually kind of awesome in general, a perfect personal viewpoint of oppression and a surprisingly human, well fleshed out person in general
  202. 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)
  203. Our little sidetrip to the Dotharl is nice in general, but what’s even better about it is how Gosetsu is fleshed out throughout
  204. The entire Steppe arc is one of the better ones, despite being ‘side content’
  205. Cirina is a delight for the presence she has
  206. Tataru, similarly, is awesome up to and including the flight from Kugane
  207. Hancock is weirdly engaging, moreso for his connection to Lolorito
  208. Gosetsu continues his trend of excellence and general enjoyability
  209. Yugiri is, in many ways, far more of a main character than Lyse is and does good stuff throughout
  210. Alisaie gets some good character and screen time both
  211. For all my complaints, I cannot dismiss Zenos’ voice actor
  212. Alisaie’s voice actress
  213. Gosetsu’s voice actor
  214. Yugiri’s voice actress
  215. Soroban is pretty awesome for how little screen time he has
  216. Hien’s ponderings, and his conclusion; the flooding of Doma, says a lot about what kind of person (and leader) he really is
  217. Gosetsu’s pre-battle scene and confession is a great character piece for him (helped by Alphinaud and Alisaie being adorable)
  218. Good visual storytelling and significance of the Doma dungeon
  219. 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
  220. Kojin in general, especially culturally, are fascinating
  221. The scene between Fordola and Zenos really is quite well constructed
  222. As usual, Raubahn is excellent, arguably really coming into his own as both commander and leader of the Alliance
  223. …and a second
  224. Visual storytelling of The Lochs
  225. Pipin remains an awesome character in general, and a good commander
  226. The Ala Mhigo dungeon is a great capstone to the dungeon narratively
  227. Zenos’ suicide and final cutscenes really do a great job of showcasing the character, and a surprisingly satisfying conclusion to his arc
  228. Much as it pains me, Zenos does deserve a positive. The ruined, bored, genetically engineered freak
  229. Omega is brilliantly horrifying in how detached and unconcerned it is about the horrifying things it does
  230. Cid is pretty legit in the Omega line
  231. The lonesome Omega logs segment before O12 is really just… awesome, and terrifying, and lends more ‘character’ to Omega, Midgarsormr, and the war than most anything else does
  232. DRG 60-70 is nice but Orn Khai is just adorable
  233. MCH 60-70 is a good tale of continuing to deal with the fallout of Heavensward, and some good character moments for Hilda
  234. Four Lords, Soroban, Tataru… all good stuff…
  235. …especially the flashback cutscenes
  236. Fractal Continuum (Hard) continues the Allagan trend of expositing and background worldbuilding (the Ixal were built by Allagans!)
  237. There is simple, wholesome, and down-to-earth storytelling in the Doman Reconstruction…
  238. …wonderfully written and brilliantly human
  239. 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
  240. The WAR 60-70 quests are silly but… they’re legit charming, and got an actual laugh out of me
  241. What can I say about the 60-70 DRK 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.
  242. A second…
  243. …and a third positive earned thusly
  244. The WHM 60-70 quest was a nice little personal story, with some good touches and good continuity
  245. MNK 60-70 has some nice character moments and good backstory about the Mad King
  246. RDM 50-60 has some decent stuff. Magic history, Ala Mhigan history, some continuity, and Arya
  247. RDM 60-70 has good continuity and Arya continues to be adorkable!
  248. SAM 50-60 is a straightforward samurai tale, but it’s not bad, and in fact hits its beats quite well
  249. ALC 60-70 had great external continuity as well as a touching arc and general goodness throughout
  250. Steppe culture is fascinating and well fleshed out in general
  251. 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
  252. GSM 60-70 is a nice bit of worldbuilding and consequence storytelling, being about methods of economic restoration for newly freed Ala Mhigo
  253. CUL 60-70 continues the Culinarian trend of excellence by having a nice simple story about feeding refugees, and cultural drift
  254. Arenvald is honestly just sort of amazing. A poor background and a good presence
  255. Generally clever animation in cutscenes
  256. The confrontation of, Echo of, and pain of Fordola’s (cutscene)
  257. The surprisingly mature, dark, proper discussion of financial aid for Ala Mhigo
  258. The big scene between Nanamo and Raubahn is just… all kinds of awesome. A great continuation and, arguably, conclusion of both of their arcs
  259. Much as I absolutely despise the character, Asahi’s voice actor is legit… lots of tiny details and subtle nuances
  260. Tsukuyomi fight…
  261. …and the tragedy of Yotsuyu, the life that could have been
  262. The hinge-point of the plot of Alphinaud going to Garlemald, the implications and foreshadowing thereof
  263. As per usual, the usage of the Roleplay system as a storytelling tool is excellent
  264. 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
  265. Fordola doesn’t get the screen time she deserves, for she is a fascinating and well done antagonist in her own right
  266. The visual storytelling of The Burn (dungeon) is as fascinating and horrifying as it should be
  267. Alphinaud continues his character arc and progression, and frankly just general character quality
  268. Camerawork continues to be excellent throughout
  269. The Burn (Savage)
  270. The well-constructed political drama of the Alliance’s first true meeting as they discuss the Ascians and Garlemald…
  271. …and the summoning of ‘the voice’ and the tension and suspense and mystery it adds to the proceedings
  272. Alisae really has some good character moments in the final few patches
  273. 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
  274. The war council and parlay with Emperor Varis is interesting in hindsight, and surprisingly well presented (visual storytelling)
  275. Foreshadowing! The front-loaded storytelling as of the 4.X patches is real
  276. The Ghimlyt Dark and following conclusions are some awesome visual storytelling and war presentation
  277. The down-to-earth personal stories of the Crystarium sidequests
  278. 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
  279. The intro cinematic is the best they’ve had to-date, with symbolism, brick-laying, great visual storytelling, and…
  280. …is just generally awesome
  281. The opening intro does so much so well so fast
  282. The visual storytelling of the eternal bright sky
  283. The Crystarium is brilliant in its overall design, visual layout, and general presentation
  284. The initial story arc of the Crystarium does so much, and builds up the world, and establishes many tiny plot threads
  285. Music utilization for tone and atmosphere
  286. The worldbuilding of Mord Souq and the very idea of ‘cracking the coinpurse’ and its connotations for requirements of interaction and citizenry
  287. The very nature of Sin Eaters and the horror and obstacle they present
  288. The beautiful visual storytelling of the wall of light in Amh Araeng… the macro
  289. Tesleen. The conversion, the horror… the micro
  290. Kholusia continues the world building quest construction of having to earn your way and insight into local function
  291. Aaaand finally, Eulmore and its horrifying perversion of the ‘earn your way’ cultural norm of the survivors, and the classim it engenders
  292. 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
  293. Kai-Shirr and his weekly arc of renovating the Beehive and trying to turn it into a legitimate establishment with his friends is both wholesome and logical
  294. Eulmore’s visual storytelling
  295. 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
  296. 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
  297. Holminster Switch… the creature from the desert, Tesleen, and the horror of the village over-run
  298. And the first night sky in a century
  299. General world building of the Fae segment of the story
  300. Watching the fae just… body the Eulmorians is just as immensely satisfying as it always is
  301. Emet-Selch’s animation and motion capture
  302. The initial confrontation between Emet-Selch and the party is brilliantly portrayed. Camerawork, voice acting, dialogue, foreshadowing…
  303. World building of the Night’s Blessed, up to and including the service
  304. Ardbert’s cutscene discussing himself, Seto, and ourselves
  305. Ardbert’s cutscene discussing being adventurers, the mural… and how it all went
  306. The cutscene of Vauthry v. Exarch is a brilliant one, not just a clash of ideologies but of surface vs. depth
  307. For the irritation of the fake-out, Y’shtola’s return gives us some great characterization and moments for both Emet-Selch and Runar
  308. 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
  309. Ardbert opening up to us about why he adventured, and us sharing our concerns with him, is as always a good scene
  310. Ardbert’s torment at having to watch the suffering die…
  311. …followed immediately by the power of seeing us walking with the victors
  312. Lyna’s lament in the wake of the battle
  313. Thancred opening up and (finally) having a character arc in Trolley is pretty legit
  314. 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
  315. 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
  316. Ryne and Thancred’s interactions are good in general, but the dynamic between the two is something else
  317. The Crystal Exarch remains a well constructed enigma; the shadow of a villain who never hesitates to aid and assist those in need
  318. With precious few exceptions, the dialogue in Shadow in particular is exceptionally well constructed…
  319. …easily earning…
  320. …three positives
  321. The incredible creepiness, build up to, and revelation… of Meol
  322. The entire scene of Alphinaud speechifying to the Eulmorians, and their turnaround and assistance, is actually pretty awesome
  323. 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
  324. The overall cavalry moment of building the giant Talos is pretty wholesome and a good rejoinder of all the people you’ve aided thusfar
  325. The final resting scene with the Crystal Exarch is brilliant in many ways
  326. The brilliant visual storytelling of Mt. Gulg and the still-in-construction ‘new paradise’ he is building
  327. The reveal of both G’raha Tia’s plan… and Emet-Selch’s interest in us
  328. The entirety of Emet-Selch’s plan for cooperation, why, and wherefore
  329. 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
  330. Vauthry is a brilliantly constructed ‘villain’… a toddler that can speak, a base animal with precious little understanding of aught or all…
  331. …helped by an absolutely fantastic voice actor…
  332. …who, by himself, deserves a second positive
  333. Surprise surprise, but Ardbert’s scene where he speaks of the past, the Warrior, and the people uniting
  334. Let’s make this clear. Ardbert’s voice actor is absolutely phenomenal, doing nuance, layers, and gradients in spades…
  335. …easily earning…
  336. …a third positive
  337. There’s a fantastic amount of Babylon 5 Effect going on with G’raha Tia throughout…
  338. …second positive worthy
  339. Feo Ul doesn’t have much screen time but they are quite awesome every time they grace the screen
  340. Lyna is a weirdly good ‘guest character’, not a lot of screen time but good usage of most scenes, and good density of character
  341. Alisae’s voice actress continues to kill it
  342. There’s another great ‘connections between people’ scene as we are departing the Crystarium
  343. Honestly the whole Bismark sequence was great
  344. Lyna is an excellent supporting character, surprisingly multi-faceted
  345. General voice acting positive
  346. 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…
  347. …second positive territory
  348. And a positive for his voice actor nailing it
  349. The build up to and reveal of Amaurot is not just fantastic…
  350. …but is the best bit of ‘characterization’ we ever see for the mastery of power Emet-Selch really has
  351. The final send-off of the party right before the final dungeon is poetry, really
  352. And call me a sop, but I have to give a separate plus for the feels as we talk to Ryne
  353. Emet-Selch’s final rant at the party is honestly incredible…
  354. …made even better by virtue of his truly fantastic voice actor, for which…
  355. …he earns a full two positives
  356. The visual storytelling of the Amaurot city is fantastic
  357. The side quests of Amaurot do so much to flesh out the people and culture of the ancients
  358. The Ancients in general are fascinating on almost every level
  359. The storytelling in general of the Amaurot dungeon is insane, between the voice over, the visuals, the progression of enemy times…
  360. …even the very map itself? I’m not sure I’ve seen better storytelling in a dungeon before…
  361. …earning a third positive
  362. 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
  363. 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)
  364. The Dying Gasp… Hades.
  365. 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…
  366. …but somehow all of us, together, push back.
  367. Remember us. Remember that we once lived.
  368. The ending sequence in general is great. The swim, the people, Ardbert’s axe finally cleansed
  369. Character positives for Ardbert
  370. …x2
  371. …x3
  372. Character positives for Emet-Selch
  373. …x2
  374. …x3
  375. The Bethric / Skip chain meanders a bit, but when it gets going it’s pretty heartwarming and has some good moments
  376. The simple Lyna scene of her worrying about her ‘grandfather’ is lovely for many reasons
  377. 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
  378. Consequently, the cutscene revealing thusly is fantastic in its execution
  379. Some good consequence storytelling in the restoration of Eulmore arc in 5.1
  380. And it’s time to finally give the Chai’s their own positives, starting with Dulia…
  381. …for general wholesomeness, complexity of character, and nuance
  382. And of course two for Nuzz, for being a confident, competent, nervous, and suffering anxiety…
  383. …and both being beautifully voice acted
  384. The big speech scene in Eulmore is actually pretty legit, in framing, presentation, and the general moment of it
  385. 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
  386. 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’
  387. 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…
  388. …easily earning a second positive
  389. The entire ‘crystals and echoes’ quest
  390. The Heroes’ Gauntlet is a great storytelling dungeon…
  391. …most especially in how it carries us throughout the zones ventured thusfar, aided by those we’ve aided thusfar
  392. G’raha Tia’s voice actor is fantastic
  393. The animation, cinematography, and camerawork are just noticeably higher quality in 5.3
  394. The overall theme of idealism, and what it does to us… good, bad, and in between
  395. The overall theme of legacy, and what and how we pass on
  396. The pacing and execution of the ‘breather’ episode in early 5.3… before things get bad
  397. Alisae continues to be a fantastic character
  398. Alphinaud joins his sister in being generally awesome
  399. G’raha Tia is just kind of awesome in general… the earnestness, the counterpart to our inspiration…
  400. …earning him another positive
  401. Elidibus’ pre-battle cutscene is powerful in its tragedy, in the broken doll Elidibus has descended to
  402. The Seat of Sacrifice boss fight has some wonderful storytelling throughout the fight
  403. Elidibus’ final send-off is exactly as powerful, morose, and tragic as it should be
  404. 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
  405. The final send-off quests in 5.3 are an excellent finale section in general but a few points particularly shine
  406. …the Chais bidding farewell to Alphinaud and ourselves
  407. …Seto getting to have his final moment with Ardbert
  408. …and finally, the full Crystarium sending us off, with Lyna in tears at the ‘loss’ of her grandfather
  409. 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…
  410. …easily two positive range
  411. “What’s the password?” (dramatic flourishing) PASSWORD!
  412. The cure for Ga Bu scene is honestly heartwarming and smile inducing
  413. 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
  414. 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…
  415. …earning a second positive
  416. G’raha being adorably adorkable as he gets to be an ‘adventurer’ (read: kiddo) is just precious
  417. 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
  418. 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
  419. The confrontation between Gaius and Valens is actually pretty legit…
  420. …and a special bonus for Valens’ death
  421. Gaius himself is actually really quite good in the entire arc, weirdly enough, and gets some much needed character development and backstory
  422. 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
  423. Eden terraforming
  424. Thancred and Urianger being dads for Ryne
  425. Ryne wanting to connect with Gaia
  426. Gaia’s memory issues and the utilization thereof as a narrative tool
  427. E12 bridge
  428. E12 outro
  429. Gaia
  430. Ryne and Gaia
  431. The story of the heretic returned home and the reception he received from family and former neighbors
  432. Ehll Tou is just adorable, and the alien mentality of being fascinated by ‘crafting’ is a neat world building touch
  433. The orphanage chain of the Firmament is a very good, very ground-floor story about the orphanage
  434. The Restoration itself is just good stuff all around…
  435. …with good Internal Continuity…
  436. …and generally heartwarming, well constructed characters
  437. 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
  438. The fishing Mean quest is, similarly, pretty legit
  439. The final Mean arc is simple, but a nice personal capstone to a series of nice, personal stories
  440. The characterization and moments for Renda-Rae in the ranged physical quest are pretty nice
  441. 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
  442. The Bozja series giving us some good insight into Cid as well as the events surrounding Dalamud
  443. And has some great cutscene construction regardless
  444. Mikoto remains amusing and enjoyable
  445. Misija has a weirdly large amount of characterization for someone they keep wanting to portray as ‘just evil’
  446. 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
  447. The healer’s role quest as usual has some good Warriors of Light build up and storytelling…
  448. …and deserves a bonus positive for Giott being generally delightful
  449. Lilja is, in general, generally awesome
  450. The tragedy of the tank role quest in general is good stuff
  451. Granson himself is also pretty enjoyable and has a decent arc to himself
  452. 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
  453. GNB 60-70 has some good character tidbits and background worldbuilding
  454. RDM 80 is simple but nice, and a good capstone to Arya’s arc
  455. PLD (GLD) 80 ties up the, uh, gladiator chain quite nicely and has some surprisingly good moments
  456. WAR 80 was far more entertaining than it had any right to be
  457. SCH 80 not only cured the Tonberries, but was adorable on several levels
  458. SUM 80 has nothing to do with summoning, really, but has some good moments with Arenvald and Fordola
  459. DRK 80 is the usual high quality stuff…
  460. …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
  461. Generally good level 80 quest continuity in WHM, NIN, MNK, DRG
  462. The Void Quest is a good chunk of continuity, and lays some good bricks for future stories
  463. The moment between Estinien, Alisae, and G’raha is just adorable
  464. The entire arc of freeing Tiamat, and Estinian the dragon rider
  465. Paglth’an really has some fantastic storytelling in its design and visuals, as the battle commences, aided by Estinien and Tiamat
  466. The post-Paglth’an scene between Fordola, Alphinaud, and Estinien really bespeaks her broken idealism, and the wounded as they rail at one another
  467. Fourchenault’s big jackass reveal scene, his disownment of his kids, is quite well acted and presented despite himself
  468. Arenvald’s crippling, Alphinaud’s reaction, and the perfect capstone of legacy
  469. Dialogue positive…
  470. …mk 2…
  471. …mk 3…
  472. Persistent power progression in lore across the expansions
  473. RPR 70-80 has some memorable characters and moments
  474. RPR 70-80 worldbuilding, especially for Garlemald and Garleans in general
  475. General fidelity quality of opening cinematic
  476. Sharlayan (the city) is brilliantly laid out and indicative of the coastal town motiff
  477. The Three Frogs of Light
  478. 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
  479. The initial sequence in Yedlihmad, with aether sickness and Estinien’s… unique mercantile sense
  480. While… weird, the whole Great Work moment with Estinien was great
  481. The simple yet effective continued development of Allag as horrible during Amon’s flashback
  482. Thavnair is visually beautiful and perfectly encapsulates the island trade nation
  483. 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
  484. The ‘chilling with food and friends’ scene is really just fantastic. It’s light hearted, heartwarming, and a great breather moment…
  485. …and very well voice acted, animated, and stylized
  486. Montichaigne’s lesson and relevant info
  487. The ‘everyone’s gathered’ scene is just kind of grin inducing
  488. And frankly, the sheer cavalcade of continuity deserves a positive all in its own
  489. The entire lead up to Garlemald’s battle is well constructed and has some good character moments
  490. Cold of Garlemald and its usage as a constant threat in the zone
  491. Garlemald zone is generally brilliant visually and in background storytelling
  492. Garlean indoctrination and the tragedy of the sisters
  493. Jullus arc is great in general
  494. Jullus himself is astonishingly well constructed as a character, in a very short period of time
  495. The interruption scene, which is structured as a build up for a fight… only to be interrupted by the WHM representative
  496. Sense-make logic of the ‘hostage’ situation, and Thancred’s shadowing
  497. Quintus’s suicide is actually quite well done
  498. 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…
  499. …and those ways are what really matter
  500. 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?”
  501. 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
  502. Tower of Babil’s general visual storytelling and presentation
  503. The initial journey to the moon is excellent in audio, visual, moments, and escalation
  504. Hythlodeus and the echoes are a great additive
  505. Tension of post-Zodiark… the axe has fallen, but yet to hit anything
  506. Loporrit breather section is great in several ways
  507. Livingway’s introduction scene is hysterical (and a necessary moment)
  508. The ‘forest’ which is, honestly, just… heartwarming
  509. Speaking of heartwarming, the Loporrits attempts at keeping us ‘away for our own good’ and how terrible they are at it…
  510. …and Urianger’s moment of settling down with the crew, the significance of names
  511. Alphinaud’s midnight scene is a perfect encapsulation of his idealism in positivity; the desire for the betterment
  512. Alisaie’s midnight scene is a great example of her idealism in negativity; the fear of things going badly, pushing her to prevent
  513. 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
  514. 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
  515. 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
  516. 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
  517. Vanaspati’s storytelling is exactly as horrifying as it should be. We see despair propagate…
  518. …and the escalating nightmare of the backdrop visuals
  519. The scene where Matsya unknowingly and unwillingly spreads the despair wave is brilliantly horrible
  520. G’raha’s standing up seamlessly into the leadership role in the ‘satrap’s demise is brilliant, and good consequence storytelling
  521. Estinien finding himself and demonstrating his growth from Heavensward to Vtra
  522. 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…
  523. …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…
  524. …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
  525. The Healer Role Quest in general is a great, well constructed look at the layered tragedy that is prison hierarchy
  526. And the final moment with Fordola, the kid, and Arenvald is great
  527. For all its dreck, the Tank Role quest does at least give us some good backstory for Kan-E
  528. Ranged Role did several bits of good, mostly for the little moments and private stories…
  529. …but also for the very triumphant return of Gosetsu (twice!) and Hien
  530. Two positives for Mage Role, it’s the usual good Ishgardian well thought out storytelling…
  531. …but also a good outro and ‘now what’ about the church and its role in Ishargian society
  532. Ktisis Hyperboreia does some generally excellent visual storytelling
  533. Ktisis Hyperboreia also has some great story tidbits, not the least of which being fighting alongside those whom we do
  534. Cutscene incompetence aside, the big confrontation scene with Hermes is generally awesome…
  535. …made further so by the natural teamwork of Venat, Emet-Selch, and Hythlodeus
  536. Elpis is in general fascinating, with some great visual storytelling
  537. The time travel twist is admittedly a good one
  538. Meteion is just adorable…
  539. …but even more interesting is her nature and how it affects her interactions
  540. Emet-Selch as narrator was an inspired choice
  541. Emet-Selch in past is given a great amount of additional characterization and moments…
  542. …earning a second positive despite everything for the continued nuance and construction of his character, visually, audibly, and in writing
  543. Hythlodeus was always a good character, but he is fleshed out even more in the past…
  544. …earning him, his presentation, his purpose in the narrative a second positive
  545. Hyth + Hades make for fantastic chemistry and are fantastic every moment they’re on screen together
  546. The wonderfully uncanny valley of the ancient’s culture and the fascination therewith…
  547. …as they perceive life, death, duty, other races… and their unique form of stagnation
  548. Hermes is a very well constructed example of someone who simply doesn’t quite fit with his surroundings, and so clearly struggles with it
  549. The brilliant external continuity of the chain of dominos that lead to time travel
  550. Theme of accepting past and moving through it
  551. Venat. Just… Venat….
  552. …who is fantastic for her relatively short period of screen time
  553. The first Despair Wave
  554. And the Meteion Report
  555. The ‘avengers assemble’ moment where Alphinaud calls on the connections we’ve made across the last 5 expansions…
  556. …really did some great stuff overall, showing the dominos where they lay
  557. 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…
  558. …and finally allowing himself to accept and embrace in turn, not just them, but himself, and those lost
  559. Erenville has only so much screen time, but is actually pretty awesome in every scene he’s in
  560. Montichaigne is a great example of a good reasonable authority figure, who is helpful and enjoyable despite
  561. Matsya has already had his moments to shine earlier but frankly deserves…
  562. …two positives for how brilliantly they portray a simple fisher and the significance thereof
  563. 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
  564. Nidhana is just fantastic in general, and delightful as utilized
  565. Lucia actually gets some good time to shine this time around
  566. Alphinaud is, as usual, awesome
  567. Alisae is… as usual… awesome
  568. Urianger in general actually manages to be even better than normal, this being one of his better …
  569. …earning a second positive
  570. Let’s go ahead and get some voice acting points out of the way. Alphinaud…
  571. …Alisae…
  572. Urianger…
  573. Emet-Selch…
  574. Hermes…
  575. Venat…
  576. G’raha…
  577. …and three…
  578. …general…
  579. …positives for NPCs and other characters
  580. The very concept of the Despair Wave is a wonderfully horrific idea on every level…
  581. …and the game uses it to very good effect across the game
  582. The loporrits in general are just a delight
  583. Tataru doesn’t get much screen time but she, similarly, shines each time she’s there
  584. The terrible burden of Venat
  585. Internal Continuity is fantastic in this one…
  586. …easily earning a second positive
  587. But it doesn’t end there, because it also acknowledges the previous expansions (and stuff you personally have done)…
  588. …thus a second positive for external continuity
  589. Wonderful visual storytelling in the Aitiascope…
  590. …and little callbacks and continuity moments
  591. The breaking of Venat cutscene is very well acted, presented, and showcased
  592. 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’
  593. The simplicity of sitting beside the sleeping G’raha and Alisae, and the friendly interactions with Krile
  594. Estinien and Alphinaud’s moment is great (especially when Estinien admits, albeit briefly, that they are family)
  595. Estinien being, as ever, the perfect person to cut through the crap and force the issue, to perfect musical cues
  596. The G’raha Tia ‘goodbye’ scene is actually really cool, mostly because G’raha is really himself and dorks out beautifully
  597. The Omicron quests about trying to understand connections between people are perfectly horrifying
  598. Alisae and Alphinaud’s ‘goodbye’ is actually quite well done, especially on the voice acting axis
  599. The End Walk
  600. Calling back Emet and Hythlodeus, the blooming of the flowers, the recalling of Hermes’ words, and the crack in Meteion’s despair…
  601. …is such a smile and tear inducing scene it deserves two positives
  602. And one last positive for the final send off of Emet-Selch
  603. Endsinger has great music, dialogue, visuals, presentation…
  604. …and is made even better by the hyperbeam moment of phase 2
  605. 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
  606. The Stigma Dreamscape visuals and storytelling are very nice
  607. And the quest chain surrounding the Stigma Dreamscape is further nice
  608. The visual and background world building and storytelling of the Dead Ends…
  609. …is really quite excellent, and gives us some great visual and audio flavor
  610. The Studium Gatherer quests are actually quite sweet and heartwarming…
  611. …but it gains a second positive for the world and culture building
  612. Smileton is honestly one of the better visually designed dungeons in the game on sheer quality of brickwork and design
  613. The Culinarian Studium quest is actually quite amusing in its absurdity
  614. 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
  615. 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
  616. Elpis sidequests mk. 2
  617. 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…
  618. …earning a second positive
  619. The dragon sidequests in Ultima Thule were legit, with good, personal stories and more background for the dragon people themselves
  620. Similarly the Ea sidequests in Ultima Thule were fascinating and horrifying in equal measure
  621. 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
  622. As usual, the Ea regional quests are terrifying in their alien’ness
  623. Aggregate: 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
  624. The 6.1 Tataru cutscene is wholesome and adorable
  625. 6.1; Estinian’s cutscene with the vendor, the kid, and us is great
  626. Dammit 6.1! G’raha is just… the best, really
  627. 6.1; Y’shtola waking up and being bonked isn’t just adorable and humorous, it’s also well directed and animated
  628. 6.1; General consequence storytelling in the re-establishment of trade, orphanage construction, and distribution of hoarded wealth
  629. 6.1; The simple yet powerful vows of support and encouragement for Vtra from his people
  630. 6.1; the final Role Quest acknowledging the mess and recovery operations of Garlemald

Story Negatives:

  1. Inconsistent / absent voice acting in main story stuff
  2. Empty text is a bit of a problem in the initial city-state quests
  3. Bad voice acting isn’t all over the place, but there are several performances in ARR which actively ruin their respective scenes
  4. Music direction is pretty problematic in ARR, with the same songs being played entirely too often
  5. …a common problem…
  6. …across entirely too much time
  7. 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
  8. There’s a general presentation problem persistent in ARR, which deflates scenes that otherwise should have impact, and detracts from story beats throughout
  9. The entire pre-Garuda arc is just straight up padding filler…
  10. …and, worse, we’re actively in a hurry and the quests literally waste our time (in lore!) while rubbing our faces in that fact
  11. Minfilia is a flat, bland, empty piece of cardboard…
  12. …which is made even worse by just how much camera presence she has, despite her bad VA, bad character, and absence of relevance
  13. This isn’t quite a negative for Minfilia so much as for her constant presence, which makes her worse
  14. The ARR MSQ has a serious repetition problem of having a serious repetition problem
  15. 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
  16. Pacing has serious issues throughout the MSQ
  17. The final escape sequence from the World of Darkness is silly on every level. Bad storyboarding and cutscene incompetence galore
  18. A whole lot of boring nothing drivel in the La Noscea side quests
  19. The Gridanian side quests are the worst of the lot by far…
  20. …with so little meat to them and so much bleh nonsense
  21. 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
  22. Excessive amounts of cutscene incompetence…
  23. …across all of the Beast Tribe quests, to the point where we quite literally might as well not have even been there
  24. Ninja 30-50 honestly takes far too long and is a bit cliche’d, plus Karasu is just irritating
  25. 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. 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
  27. Aggregate: WHM 30-50 is, at best, boring // BRD 30-50 is… you guessed it… boring
  28. 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
  29. Ilberd is just the worst. Screw him
  30. The absolutely ridiculous nonsense of us picking up and keeping the vial for evidence deserves
  31. There is a truly aggressive amount of cutscene incompetence going on with the main character in the Banquet scene
  32. 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!
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. There is an irritating amount of cutscene incompetence in the death of Hauchefant, which actively detracts from the entire sequence
  36. Charibert and the Knights of the Round are just… cheats, honestly
  37. Also there’s just general cutscene incompetence all around
  38. 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
  39. The undoing of Y’shtola’s ‘death’ for no real purpose or consequence
  40. Some pretty bad cutscene incompetence in the Alexander raids
  41. Honestly Mide’s ‘love story’ is honestly kind of… bad, and sort of ruins the overall arc
  42. Popping in and out and in and out of Alexander for no good reason (often times minutes apart from each other) is just stupid
  43. 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
  44. The PLD arc is boring, actively nonsensical, and ignores its own continuity in favor of dull plot points that go no where and mean nothing…
  45. …earning a second negative
  46. WAR 50-60 is bad, boring, after-school-special…
  47. …and, worse, is the same damn arc from the ARR one
  48. General Empty Text issues
  49. AST 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
  50. MCH 50-60’s hatesink Dzamael character was… not well done. Too overt, too sudden a turnaround at the last minute
  51. MIN 50-60 sucks. It’s dull as dishwater, predictable to its detriment, and doesn’t do anything with its cliches
  52. The Western Coerthas quest chains honestly kinda suck
  53. The majority of the Dravanian Hinterlands quests are boring to the point of detrimental, following hunters doing hunting things and also pluckiness woo
  54. The moogle quests. Just… what a waste of everything
  55. 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
  56. Aggregate: Emmanellain. ‘Nuff said. // 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 // The way the Warriors of Darkness get portrayed early on is unnecessarily (and narratively cheating) evil muwa ha ha
  57. Narrative cheating of the Griffin… again, sigh
  58. Cutscene incompetence with the Griffin… again, sigh
  59. The utter pointlessness of the reveal of Yda = Lyse and the total lack of follow through thereupon
  60. The usual repetition problem
  61. Zenos’ initial fight against us has him shrek us effortlessly which… I’m sorry, what?
  62. So by the time we hit the Ruby Sea we start to run into ‘because plot’ reasons for cutscenes
  63. The story sequencing of the early 4.0 arc is very, very disjointed
  64. The pacing of the entire Ruby Sea arc really suffers
  65. 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
  66. External continuity with Ilberd being ‘right’ despite everything…
  67. …and for the disjointed positioning of Stormblood relative to other expansions
  68. 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
  69. 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
  70. Gosetsu and Yotsuyu’s death scene is honestly really, really bad on every level. Pacing, storyboarding, incompetence…
  71. …a second negative for all of the above for three solid minutes
  72. Lyse is not a bad character, but the narrative has no idea how to utilize her properly, and it actively hurts the overall story
  73. The ‘ending’ to 4.0 is… weird. It’s misplaced, ignores consequence storytelling (we’re super free) and honestly just… tries too hard
  74. I like him, and I like where it goes, but Gosetsu and Yotsuyu surviving is total bullcrap on every level
  75. Ramza is an addlepated twit and literally called out in-universe for it
  76. The entire wine self-insert chain is pointless drivel with very little to redeem it (Hancock was cool)
  77. 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
  78. PLD 60-70 continues the heady trend of PLD quests… sucking
  79. SAM 60-70 was just straight up melodrama nonsense on top of cutscene incompetence
  80. LTW 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)
  81. ARM 60-70 is dull as dishwater
  82. CRP 60-70 has problems with both of its ‘tones’ (silly vs. serious) and mishandles both
  83. BSM 60-70 repeats the problems of ‘ha ha abusive dad is so silly’ and slants the whole story awfully
  84. Cutscene incompetence with Lakshmi
  85. 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
  86. Aggregate: Grynewaht really has no place in the Gosetsu v. Yotsuyu scene // Grynewaht continues to ruin scenes as he just sort of ‘theres’ in the Yotsuyu v. Zenos scene
  87. Aggregate: 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 // WVR 60-70 is… weird, tonally inconsistent, and leans a little too hard in its slanting towards tradition
  88. In hindsight, Tsuyu’s tragedy is really quite unnecessary, over-the-top, and done for its own sake
  89. Hien finally becomes the negative character I misfondly remember in the patch content
  90. Zenos’ arc conclusion (fourth thing)… which is utterly ruined by him being brought back from the dead…
  91. …and rather than doing anything good with it, they just repeat his stupid ‘hunt’ arc
  92. This is further compounded by the fake-out death itself
  93. And finally, the flandardization of what was, otherwise, a decent character
  94. Music utilization problem continues
  95. As much as I like what came of it, Gaius’ survival is, honestly, yet another fake-out undo death thing
  96. 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
  97. General repetition issues as per usual
  98. The time dilation problem remains, as it always did
  99. Time dilation reaction problem; Alisae edition
  100. Time dilation reaction problem; Alphinaud edition
  101. Time dilation reaction problem; Thancred edition
  102. Time dilation reaction problem; Uriangier edition
  103. 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
  104. 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
  105. 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
  106. Cutscene incompetence returns!
  107. Toupasa, Ran’jit, and the usual mary sue / incompetence issues
  108. As usual, fake-out deaths (Y’shtola) are a negative
  109. The Trolley sequence has some decent moments, but has some serious pacing and padding issues
  110. Ran’jit’s survival is… absolutely awful. Never explained, terrible even if it was explained, and the usual awfulness
  111. 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
  112. …as usual, fake-out deaths (Thancred)
  113. And finally, Ran’jit (sigh) fights us (sigh) again (sigh)
  114. 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
  115. The irritation and aggravation of Konogg and Anogg is way over the top
  116. There is entirely too much padding and empty text in the initial Nier quest chain
  117. Konogg’s 180 in character is the usual exaggerated nonsense
  118. An utterly unsatisfying, ridiculous conclusion to the Nier Raids
  119. 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
  120. 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
  121. Cutscene incompetence
  122. 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
  123. 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
  124. A bonus negative for fake drama
  125. A bonus for cutscene incompetence
  126. And then there’s Creepface (bad hatesink? Get off my screen? Objectively badly written one dimensional character?)
  127. There is such a cascade of idiocy in this entire chain it literally is idiot volleyball
  128. This is in addition to the flubber-levels of bouncing around the tone of the entire chain has
  129. The entire Emerald sequence of cutscenes… suck. Just… on every single level, across the board…
  130. …earning a second negative
  131. Creepface’s second cutscene is… entirely too creepy, uncomfortable, and arguably over-written
  132. 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…
  133. …up to and including Valens taking a Diamond Weapon beam to the face and surviving
  134. 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
  135. 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
  136. 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
  137. Cutscene incompetence in the tank role quest
  138. 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 but isn’t, and retroactively adds something that’s always never been an issue
  139. Gunbreaker quest chain cutscene incompetence ruins an otherwise good scene
  140. Some generally dull, boring quests in BRD, BLM, MCH at 80
  141. The repetition of the story is repetitively repetitive
  142. The SGE 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
  143. Breather episode of Sharlayan and subsequent pacing issues
  144. Breather episode of the Burrows and subsequent pacing issues
  145. Cutscene incompetence
  146. …more cutscene incompetence
  147. Weirdly unnecessary and lengthy repetition of all we already know with the Forum when many things could have accomplished it with far less waste
  148. The tank role quest is… bad. It’s dumb, meanders, and manages to be completely disinteresting…
  149. …which by itself is worthy of two negatives, but then it pushes into actual aggravation as it turns out to all be about…
  150. …the elementals, and how (frankly) awful they are and how we owe them everything and all that blegh
  151. The early Ranged Role quest honestly sucked, and was actively angrifying
  152. 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)
  153. The main theme of the game is… weak, as it is excessively repeated to the point of aggravation
  154. And further hampered by several thematic weaknesses which pull the plot down
  155. 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
  156. The final Zenos fight is mis-placed and unnecessary
  157. 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
  158. The inconsistent time travel problems, especially given how it’s using the same method
  159. The Studium Weaver chain is boring as sin…
  160. …and compounded by actively being insulting towards just about everyone
  161. The Studium Smithing/restoration chain is dull and is terribly paced
  162. The Labryinthos side quests are honestly drivel…
  163. …no world building, no fleshing out, no nothing
  164. Similar problem with Thavnair

Gameplay Positives:

  1. The ARR Miracle x1
  2. The ARR Miracle x2
  3. The ARR Miracle x3
  4. Character creation has a decent number of options and generally well designed structure to it
  5. The HUD customization allows for you to move just about any element to wherever, and scale them smaller or larger, which is awesome…
  6. …earning a second HUD customization positive
  7. MSQ and Class Quest indicators (always shows you what your next main quest or class quest is)
  8. Macros and malleability thereof
  9. Gameplay/Story Integration
  10. Lots and lots of gameplay options in the menus
  11. Autoloot on enemies
  12. The auction house is a bit clunky and awkward but there are a lot of options for how to search for what
  13. The player icons (idle, do not disturb, new player, returning player, in cutscene)
  14. Guildhests serve as a good (if not great) way to tutorialize people who are new to MMOs the concepts therein
  15. The city’s aethernet is a pretty well designed and helps to get around, with a surprisingly well done menu system
  16. Generally good fast travel system (find, warp to from anywhere) …
  17. …earning a second positive
  18. Housing in general is a nice system. Limited, but there are some good cosmetics and some actual functionality to them
  19. The gear set list and the ability to just hit a button and instantly swap classes and equipment on the fly is extraordinarily useful
  20. Smith tutorial quests and how they get players into baseline mechanics
  21. Chocobo bank storage (accessible on the fly) is a great QoL feature
  22. The chocobo companion system, giving another (customizable) tool to help soloing players
  23. Minions form a good type of personalization and customization…
  24. …as do mounts
  25. 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
  26. The Duty Finder is a great way to just zip to any dungeon / raid, queue for specifics, and go in certain ways
  27. 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…
  28. …earning a second…
  29. …and a third positive
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. Tam-Tara Hard is a reasonably well designed dungeon; nice minibosses, good trash layout, and reasonable boss design
  33. The new Praetorium is a substantially better dungeon than it used to be, with much truncated pulls and much better bosses
  34. Further, the Livia and Gaius fights are much improved
  35. 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)
  36. The ability to enjoy content at-level as an option is an awesome thing supported by in game systems and mechanics
  37. Ifrit Hard is a pretty good fight. Consistent mechanic usage, fun gimmicks, and built in recovery periods
  38. The Golden Saucer in general is surprisingly good fun, with lots of minigames and a good variety of rewards to them
  39. Triple Triad itself is fairly well fleshed out, to the point of being its own decent minigame
  40. 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
  41. Lost City of Ampador is surprisingly good, since it actually uses some fun trash gimmicks and has unique (if simple) boss designs
  42. 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.)
  43. The Nael fight, as frustrating as it is, actually has some really cool, well-woven mechanics
  44. The Bahamut fight is pretty legit, with good spacing and pacing of mechanics and variance, just… I can’t summarize it, it’s legit
  45. It’s so legit it actually gets a second positive
  46. Sastasha Hard has a couple issues (the first boss is just way too damage heavy) but the rest of it is a well designed, amusing, fun revamp of the dungeon
  47. Music is… honestly not that great, but there are some legitimately fun songs
  48. The Labryinth raid is actually quite well designed, with some fun fights and good trash layout
  49. Similarly the World of Darkness is pretty legit across the board, even the fights people have issues with are still good ones
  50. Wanderer’s Keep (hard) has some surprisingly well thought out trash design and some fun boss mechanics
  51. Ampador Keep (hard) is honestly pretty fun, with good trash layout and some unique boss designs
  52. The second Gilgamesh fight in Ampador is legit, with great layered mechanics and a lot of fun gimmicks to it
  53. The Phoenix fight in Coils is a really fun, well constructed dps race fight
  54. Crafting itself is a very well thought out, balanced, well designed, in-depth, fun system to craft things…
  55. …earning it a second positive
  56. 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…
  57. …earning a second…
  58. …and third positive
  59. 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
  60. 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…
  61. …plus its smooth weaving in between its three core combos, with plenty of utility on top of it, is great fun
  62. Warrior 1-50 is actually enjoyable to play, gets most of its core functionality, and has good utility
  63. Scholar 1-50 is substantially superior to WHM, with more utility, more mobility, and more variety in its design
  64. 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…
  65. …earning a second positive
  66. 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
  67. 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
  68. The Leviathan fight continues the trend of good Trial fights by having a reasonable number of mechanics that layer into each other nicely
  69. Try to be surprised, but the Ramuh fight is similarly pretty fun and well designed
  70. Shiva, naturally, is a good fight. Multiple phases with consistent layered mechanics
  71. 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…
  72. …earning a second positive overall
  73. 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
  74. Aggregate: 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)
  75. 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.)
  76. The revamped Ultima fight is an actual friggin’ fight, and it’s got actual mechanics and presentation and markers…
  77. …and has a phase 2 which is also an actual friggin’ fight
  78. 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
  79. As with many other Trials before it, Ravana is pretty legit
  80. Tioman is a pretty cool fight overall, with meteors, spread markers, etc.
  81. The music is substantially better constructed and, frankly, better quality than ARR’s
  82. The Vault is, blessedly, a well designed dungeon, with good escalation of trash and some fun boss encounters
  83. A special bonus for the Ser Charibert boss fight
  84. The Great Gubal Library in general is quite fun and well designed, with well placed and escalating trash…
  85. …plus some very inventive and fun bosses
  86. And a plus for the final boss of Gubal
  87. The Ascian Primal fight at the end of the Aetherochemical Research Facility is legit
  88. Alexander 5 is a pretty fun, complex fight with some neat gimmicks
  89. Alexander 7 is actually pretty legit, good complexity and good variety
  90. Alexander 8 is awesome. Lots of moves, tons of fun gimmicks, but best of all…
  91. …no binary difficulty. Failure can be recovered from even despite the frenetic pace thereof
  92. Despite requiring a dungeon journal to know what’s going on, Alexander 9 is a pretty cool fight
  93. Alexander 10 is a good, properly tutorialized-within-the-fight boss, with good escalation of mechanics
  94. With one notable exception, the music in Alexander rawks
  95. Alexander 12 is legit, easily one of the best fights in the expansion…
  96. …with lots of great, thematically appropriate, great mechanics and the awesome portals phase
  97. Sophia is a legit fight, with some fun layering and escalation throughout
  98. Zurvan, similarly, is a great fight, with only one niggling flaw in the whole bit
  99. Arachne Eve is, as usual, a fun and good fight with good manual teamwork and nice ‘use detriments to benefits’ gameplay
  100. Forgall is, surprisingly, another good example of a ‘use detriments to benefits’ concept with megadeath and the origination of the doritos
  101. Ozma is a very fun fight, lots of moving pieces and nice big telegraphs (if you know what they’re doing)
  102. WAR 50-60 is still a good tank (probably the best tank in the range), adding better spenders and self heals
  103. WHM 50-60 officially ‘gets good’, with the core lily mechanic coming into its own, and even more ogcds to keep healing interesting
  104. MNK 50-60 continues its excellence, adding Blitzes to the otherwise good combo loops
  105. BRD 50-60 actually becomes rather fun, with the added dot refresher, new song and subsequent proc, and a few other tidbits
  106. SUM 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
  107. Fractal Continuum is a good dungeon with good visuals, good music, good trash design…
  108. …and engaging and fun bosses
  109. Saint Mocianne’s Arboretum is actually quite fun, with legitimately fun visuals and audio and some enjoyable bosses
  110. Pharos Sirius (Hard) is actually pretty legit in its own right, with some fun mechanics and the music remains awesome
  111. NIN 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
  112. DRG 50-60 continues the trend of enjoyability, with a few extra extensions of combos and an additional ogcd
  113. Amdapora Hard has some fun and unique visuals and presentation, but really comes into its own…
  114. …in its boss design, with some fantastic and clever mechanics throughout
  115. Hullbreaker Hard is reasonable enough. It’s essentially a series of trash fights, but there’s thought and care put into them
  116. Gubal Library Hard has some fun stuff, but ultimately it’s the excellent boss design that really makes it work…
  117. …earning a second positive
  118. Sohm Al (Hard) continues the trend of decent HW dungeons
  119. The Antitower has good visuals, good music, good trash…
  120. …and good boss design throughout
  121. Continuing the trend, Sohr Khai is a good dungeon with some fun boss mechanics
  122. The final Nidhogg raid is probably one of the better fights in the expansion…
  123. …with the usual fantastic interweaving of mechanics, and a wonderful escalation of all three phases
  124. Baelsar’s Wall has fun (if simple) bosses, and good layered trash
  125. Music is, as usual, pretty legit
  126. A second music positive for general quality
  127. Sirensong Sea begins Stormblood’s dungeon catalog on a good note, with good barrier trash and simple but fun boss fights
  128. A weird but substantial positive for several QoL improvements added during Stormblood
  129. Susano is, let’s be honest, a pretty enjoyable fight, and starts to really push the ideas of universal markers and positioning
  130. Bardam’s Mettle is a good dungeon in general, with interesting trash and some very fun boss fights
  131. The second boss of Bardam’s Mettle, Bardam himself, is good enough…
  132. …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
  133. The Doma dungeon is fun, interesting, engaging…
  134. …but also has really fun, well tutorialized, properly complex boss design
  135. Lakshmi is another good boss fight, introducing mechanics with longer timers and showcases so you can be tutorialized before escalating properly
  136. Ala Mhigo is one of the best dungeons in the expansion, with great and proper trash design, bosses, and function…
  137. …earning a second positive
  138. Stormblood, finally, starts utilizing universal markers
  139. The Shinryu fight is, surprise surprise, good… mean, but good
  140. Alte Roite does the usual tutorialization, escalation, and is fun regardless
  141. Catastrophe
  142. Halicarnassus…
  143. …part two
  144. ExDeath is one of my favorite mage bosses ever…
  145. …easily earning a second positive
  146. Phantom Train is, similarly, a very fun fight
  147. Kefka is a legitimately enjoyable fight, simple in concept but ultimately fun in execution
  148. Kugane Castle is alright; simple, but fun, especially the Yojimbo fight at the end
  149. Consequently, the second Jim fight is actually quite fun, with only a few issues here and there
  150. Chaos 1
  151. Chaos 2
  152. Midgarsormr
  153. Omega music… the whole kit, really
  154. Much as I have issues with it, Omega 11 has a lot of nicely layered attacks and moves and is… well, Omega
  155. And then there’s the beauty that is Omega 12
  156. RDM at 70 is easily one of the better classes overall…
  157. …with good viscerality, good kit, and a nice complex rotation…
  158. …or two, which weaves nicely in and out of itself
  159. NIN gets even better at 70, with two nice spenders and Ten Chi Jin
  160. Byakko is a somewhat simple fight, but its big on spectacle and that it does well
  161. 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
  162. Suzaku has some really fun stuff in its design, especially the colored template thing
  163. Seiryu has good layers and complexity, marred a little by some RNG and some camera issues, but still fun
  164. AST at 70 has a huge variety of utility and nicely overlapping heals
  165. 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
  166. SCH 60-70 is only a little different than before, but different enough to add some variety and additional ‘battery’ utility to it
  167. Fractal Continuum (Hard) has some fun trash but ultimately leans on its music, visuals, and bosses
  168. Saint Mocianne’s Arboretum (Hard) is actually really fun, with multiple good trash tiering and fun and innovative bosses…
  169. …leading to a second positive
  170. Mateus is simple but fun
  171. General quality to the Rabanastre raid (trash design, some fun bosses)
  172. The Argath fight is legit, clever, and does some fun stuff with its lie/truth mechanics
  173. Belias and its time fun mechanics are really cool, mostly about paying attention and knowing in advance where to be
  174. Famfrit is a hectic fun fest of waaagh
  175. Construct 7 is, memes and jokes aside, really awesome. It’s a lot of fun gimmicks and mechanics on top of…
  176. …the math segment, which actually buffs you for doing it right
  177. Yiazmet is a good ‘chaotic’ fight, lots going on and lots to keep track of but essentially all dodgeable
  178. Mustadio is a very fun pay-attention-check fight, with lots of tracking
  179. Agrias, too, is a great fight that uses the Duty ability to good effect
  180. The Orlandeau fight is a bit much, but it’s quite well constructed, with a whole lot going on and nice layering thereto
  181. And big surprise, Ultima is fantastic. Multi layered, lots of different types of mechanics, and…
  182. …it’s effectively two fights in one, with a proper mid-mission checkpoint even
  183. General additional positive for trash design and visual fidelity…
  184. …of the two later Ivalice raids
  185. DRK 70’s quest is fun, interesting, appropriate, and thematic
  186. WAR continues its trend of excellence with several new useful moves to the kit and a great cooldown
  187. SAM has a little bit of a button bloat issue, but otherwise is fun, engaging, rewarding…
  188. …has great viscerality, and is a great build/spend class
  189. Blue Mage’s may be limited, but the Carnivale is a nice lengthy amount of puzzle mini-game content for them to enjoy
  190. And a plus for Blue Mages variety of spells and the uniqueness and fun thereof
  191. The Drowned City of Skalla is another example of a series of fun boss fights
  192. Tsukuyomi is a fantastic fight, with great mechanics and a great bridge and great layering and great everything…
  193. …easily worth a second positive
  194. As before, the Roleplay system is used and used well and is a good variant on Princess Peach segments
  195. The Burn (minus the last boss) has some very fun mechanics and good construction
  196. The Ghimlyt Dark continues the trend of excellent dungeons, some very fun boss fights…
  197. …and actual well done terrain and trash design with environmental hazards
  198. Aggregate: Chadarnook is simple but fun // Ditto for Guardian // Genbu is a pretty neat, fun fight // Great Hunt (monster hunter fight) is pretty fun overall, and unique besides
  199. Ocean Fishing is a nice, rewarding, lucrative little side mini game that is reasonably well constructed and reasonably enjoyable
  200. Trusts are a good method to ensure you can do the dungeons through the MSQ and…
  201. …the scenario mode allows people to continue to use it as an additional leveling tool
  202. Music! Music music music
  203. Holminster Switch has some good trash design (and some bad) and starts leaning into the tutorialized boss construct
  204. Dohn Mheg continues the trend of good dungeon design…
  205. …and gets a bonus for the final boss being especially good
  206. 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…
  207. …earning a second positive
  208. Have I mentioned the music? Even early on the music is legit in Shadow
  209. Music point number two
  210. 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…
  211. …in addition to the generally good, if simple, boss designs
  212. Malikah’s Well has a few issues, but it shines in its fun and layered boss designs
  213. Mt. Gulg has a few issues in boss design, but is overall quite fun
  214. 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
  215. Amaurot dungeon is a very well executed dungeon, with tutorialization in trash design, fun and engaging bosses…
  216. …and great music and visuals throughout
  217. The Dying Gasp is probably in the running for the best raid in the game on several levels…
  218. …not the least of which being how well constructed it is, how well it layers on itself…
  219. …and how it progresses
  220. Copied Factory has some issues with padding and telegraphs but is still fun at times and has some legit music
  221. Puppet’s Bunker honestly has some of the best trash in the entire game, earning its own unique positive
  222. A general Puppet’s Bunker positive
  223. And a bonus one for really clever bosses (especially the first and the last ones)
  224. General positive for quality of visuals, music, and encounters in Tower at Paradigm’s Breach
  225. Red Girl is a very creative, very fun ‘players in control’ fight with a lot going on but all of it manageable…
  226. …easily a two positive fight
  227. 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…
  228. …easily earning…
  229. …three positives for being just that good of a boss fight
  230. SCH at 80 has some great utility and a good spread of abilities…
  231. …further, SCH at 80 also has a good general mentality and variance to its healing from all other healers
  232. The Grand Cosmos languished a bit in several respects, but makes up for it with some creative and fun boss mechanics
  233. Aggregate: 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
  234. New Game + and the way it allows you to redo old content
  235. The Roleplay fight as Estinien is pretty legit
  236. BLM 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
  237. A rare quest positive for the Elidibus ‘gauntlet’
  238. 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
  239. BRD 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…
  240. …making it a pretty easy two positive class
  241. AST at 80 continues to have lots it can do, and well
  242. The Seat of Sacrifice is a fantastic fight, while not one of the best ever it’s definitely high tier…
  243. …especially given how it actually has a mid mission checkpoint! Oh and lots of very cool, well constructed mechanics
  244. DRK at 80 finally has a good overall rotation and presentation, with a decent amount of interweaving mechanics, making it a good… dps class
  245. Matoya’s Relict is weirdly generic for how unique many of its boss mechanics are, and is buoyed up by said mechanics almost entirely
  246. Music positive number three
  247. The Ruby Weapon fight has a few decent mechanics to it
  248. The Sapphire Weapon fight is a fun quest, with well designed mechanics and a fun fight with a neat song
  249. Emerald Weapon is a good, well designed, well layered, well tutorialized fight with breather periods, good music, good visuals…
  250. …earning a second positive
  251. MCH is still good, but barely different, at 80
  252. SAM really, truly comes into its own at 80, with the ‘follow ups’ to combos and more options and buttons to keep things interesting…
  253. …easily earning a second positive
  254. 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…
  255. …earning a second positive
  256. WHM 80 finally has a true loadout of both lily-using abilities and regulars, as well as really uping the viscerality of the class with Glare and Dia
  257. E1 is, shocker, a good fight. Relatively simple yet enjoyably frantic, with lots of leeway time on top of the hits
  258. 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…
  259. …easily earning a second positive, especially for sound design
  260. PLD 80 finally, finally became a full and complete tank class at 80, with good rotations and timing and utility
  261. RDM continues to be a good class, with good utility, and good fun, only hampered by being barely changed at 80
  262. E3 layers its mechanics very nicely, especially towards the latter half, though it fumbles a bit in several ways
  263. Yet another music positive (this time for Eden stuff)
  264. DRG 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…
  265. …earning it a second positive
  266. E4 has several issues with it, but where it shines (its frenetic pace and the layering of mechanics) it shines
  267. E5 has a few problems but is, as per usual, a good fight
  268. E6 does the usual good thing with layering and positioning, with only a few small issues
  269. E7 is exceptionally well tutorialized within the fight, with introduction of mechanics in a vacuum and safety before escalating and layering…
  270. …on top of being a very well constructed, unique fight to begin with
  271. DNC 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…
  272. …easily earning…
  273. …three positives
  274. NIN 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
  275. E8 is one of the better Eden fights in general, having multiple phases and the great bridge phase, as well as great music…
  276. …earning it a second positive
  277. E9 is pretty simple, but keeps things nicely varied, especially with the platforms mechanic
  278. GNB 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…
  279. …easily…
  280. …a three positive class
  281. E11, once you figure it out, has some good music and some good presentation to a reasonably well done, if simple, fight
  282. E12 first half…
  283. …and second half
  284. Akademia Anyder isn’t anything special, really, but it has some fun mechanics in its boss designs
  285. WAR continues its trend of being good
  286. Twinning has great visuals, great music, and fun bosses…
  287. …earning a second positive
  288. 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
  289. Similarly the Diadems are a good, if brutally direct, way to level your mining and botany
  290. The Varis fight is actually pretty legit
  291. Bozja is lucrative for both cosmetics and leveling…
  292. …and is a great way to ‘try out’ a class at 80 (provided you are already 71)
  293. Brionac is an interesting and fun fight, made even more so…
  294. …due to the other side of it, the lower Drill fight
  295. Adrammelch is pretty legit too
  296. 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
  297. And finally, the last fight of beast plus Lyon is a neat little challenge
  298. Delebrum generic quality boss positive
  299. The Bozjan Phantom fight is actually really fun, despite its simplicity
  300. The Trinity Avowed is, similarly, pretty awesome
  301. Paglth’an has good trash fights, good viscerality, good boss fights…
  302. …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
  303. 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)
  304. SGE tutorial quest actually properly tutorializes with an interesting and engaging mini dungeon
  305. The RPR tutorial quest, once again, tutorializes both the class… and positionals!
  306. The ‘party’ system and optional interactions system is a great way to add optional dialogue and flavor text
  307. 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
  308. Mindi boss has some great pay attention checks and layered mechanics
  309. Sindi has some really cool fake out mechanics and nice layering as well (a berserk right before a big hitting telegraph)
  310. And the final Magus Sister fight is fantastic, lots going on and great presentation and general fun
  311. The ‘everyone’s gathered’ scene actually changing and acknowledging what you’ve done to-date
  312. Metal Gear Thancred is rather basic at its core, but well executed and with gradient failstate
  313. The recurrent usage of the NPCs and party members adding extra dialogue at most quests in the MSQ is a good storytelling tool
  314. 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
  315. Greater attempt and work to create actual variety to quests
  316. Music
  317. Music x2
  318. The de-powered soldier stealth section is both brave and new, but more to the point is good when it’s good…
  319. Tower of Babil gets a generic quality positive…
  320. …on top of some fun and engaging bosses…
  321. …and the final boss, Anima, getting his own
  322. Zodiark is, surprise surprise, a rather fun boss, with fun ‘pay attention to changing scenario’ mechanics and excellent layering…
  323. …leading to a second positive
  324. Vanaspati isn’t super amazing, but still has some fun boss mechanics
  325. The Melee DPS Role Quest boss fight was actually pretty fun
  326. The Venat fight is surprisingly well constructed and mean
  327. Ktisis Hyperboreia is a generally well done dungeon across the board, visually and audibly
  328. Ktisis Hyperboreia’s bosses are great, some fantastic stuff, including the Hrothgar prototype…
  329. …the snake… thing…
  330. …and finally Hermes himself, all with some lovely and well done mechanics and gradient construction and tutorialization
  331. The victory lap fight at Garlemald as Alphinaud, Alisae, and ourselves is pretty fun
  332. The Livia boss in Aitiascope is a good’n
  333. The rest of Aitiascope is quite enjoyable, with a fun (if simple) second boss and a fun (if too long) third boss
  334. The Hydaelyn fight itself is a generally well constructed fight…
  335. …but further credit must be given not just for the Trust system itself, but for the ‘lives’ system they implement via stacks of ReRaise
  336. The ‘forced’ End Walk works exceptionally well
  337. Caustic Grebuloff (first boss of The Dead Ends) does some fantastic ‘blown exaflare’ mechanics on top of good sound design and general quality
  338. Peacekeeper (second boss of The Dead Ends) is an absolutely awesome fight, with tons of great mechanics that beautifully keep things frenetic
  339. 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
  340. Endsinger is honestly a fantastic fight, with great visual indicators (outside of telegraphs), wonderful mechanics, and awesome viscerality and music and everything…
  341. …easily earning a full…
  342. …three positives
  343. Stigma Dreamscape has some very cool and fun stuff…
  344. …earning two generic positives for general design…
  345. …but a singular positive for the final boss of Stigma-4
  346. Smileton has relatively simple boss fights, but all three are well executed and smooth…
  347. …earning a second positive
  348. Crystalline Conflict is frenetic, fast, fun, well interfaced…
  349. …and so easily earns two positives for its overall mode
  350. Alzadaal’s Legacy is in general good quality in music and design
  351. Armored Chariot gets a bonus positive for the fun and gimmicky mirrors mechanic
  352. The Looming Warden boss is similarly very cool and has a unique ‘driving’ mechanic on top of general fun factor
  353. 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…
  354. …a momentous feat which easily deserves…
  355. …three positives just on the face of it
  356. The final solo instance of the Tower of Babil as we deal with Nerva and crew

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. The launch of ARR, while understandable, was honestly unacceptably bad
  2. …good luck finding the option you want in the extensive, badly organized, sometimes badly labeled options menu
  3. There is an obtuseness to the auction house menu which really has to be experienced to understand
  4. Forced single player questing (especially MSQ)…
  5. …which is easily the worst aspect of the entire game
  6. Camera zoom out issue (especially on larger enemies and encounters)
  7. ARR specifically has long, empty stretches of no music at night time out in the zones
  8. …this is such a long term, irritating issue it gets a second negative
  9. The costs for fast travel are, frankly, unnecessary and needlessly punishing on lower level players
  10. 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
  11. 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”)
  12. The in game store is probably the most benign I’ve ever seen… but it’s still there, and it’s still microtransactions
  13. 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.)…
  14. …easily making this a second negative worthy
  15. The ARR Relic is so bad I literally cannot summarize it…
  16. …so instead I will just give it a second negative and move on
  17. …no, three negatives. Screw those quests
  18. 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.)
  19. 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
  20. The padding of the interaction bar
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. In general, the actual gameplay of the MSQuests in ARR are bland at best and actively time wasting at worse
  24. The Unending Journey is… really terribly laid out and actively aggravating to find the cutscenes you want
  25. Unskippable cutscenes… in the MSQQ
  26. Aurum Vale is visually disinteresting, has actively bad trash encounter design, and has boring (at best) bosses
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. The entire pre-Garuda quest arc has long, sloggy areas that are irritating to maneuver through with high level, difficult mobs to deal with
  30. The Sunken Temple of Qarn has multiple actually unexplained mechanics (bees, bosses) and does nothing to mitigate these issues
  31. 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.)
  32. 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
  33. 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…
  34. 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
  35. The Fifth Turn of First Coil of Bahamut can go to hell, between binary difficulty and bad callouts
  36. The First Turn of Second Coil has a bit of mechanic bloat with some inconsistent indicators which just makes it all a big mess
  37. As much as I enjoy it, the Nael fight has some very serious binary difficulty issues, and absolutely no margin for error
  38. As with WoW, the Coils is a form of locking mandatory, main story behind what is effectively ‘hard mode’
  39. Ampador Keep has several issues with it. Visually, lighting, boring bosses, knock-down-out-of-fight problem
  40. The (mandatory) unlock quests to access CT can go to hell. Entirely too much backtracking and no real gameplay
  41. 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
  42. The La Noscea side quests are, at absolute best, boring wastes of time
  43. The Thanalan side quests are no better
  44. The fact that the quest tracker can only track 5 quests at a time sucks on several levels
  45. The Gridanian quests just… suck, even more than the other zones…
  46. …to the point of being a second negative
  47. 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
  48. 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
  49. So while the inventory itself isn’t really that bad… the related itemization bloat problem is a serious problem
  50. 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
  51. The Ixal quests in particular deserve special mention for being just… bad daily quests…
  52. …being irritating, long, boring, and cumbersome to do
  53. There’s weird, awful, and awkward limitations with the 1-30 classes and doing NG+ with them and related issues
  54. 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
  55. 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)
  56. Casting pushback just… sucks. It can go on too long but, most importantly, too much damage while casting can literally just interrupt your cast
  57. The Archer 1-30… really sucks. Bad quest locations with irritating quest objectives making the whole thing awful to play through
  58. WHM 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
  59. MNK 30-50 has the same quest design problem WHM did (arguably worse)
  60. BRD 30-50 has the same issues but even worse, doing the ‘put quest objects behind high level, dangerous areas because screw you’ problem
  61. White Mage 1-50 starts bad and crawls its way up to mediocre
  62. 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
  63. Paladin 1-50 is serviceable, but suffers from two major flaws; It lacks viscerality and it is boooring
  64. 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…
  65. …equaling two negatives total
  66. WAR 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…
  67. …earning a second negative
  68. Ninja 30-50 has some of the usual issues and some real padding problems
  69. Snowcloak is not great dungeon. Simple mechanics with poor trash and irritating terrain problems with a bad, irritating, repetitive song
  70. 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
  71. The decision to lock substantial meat quests behind no marker or signifier whatsoever is honestly really bad design
  72. One…
  73. …two…
  74. …and three negatives for general quest padding design
  75. Aggregate: 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
  76. 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)…
  77. …and the interface and interactions therewith are clunky at best, especially with the nature of its ‘save’ system
  78. 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
  79. Coerthas West
  80. Seconds in minutes quest design
  81. Forced single player questing (especially MSQ)…
  82. …which is easily the worst aspect of the entire game
  83. The unlock problem continues (literally can’t go to certain zones, or find vendors…)
  84. 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
  85. 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
  86. Alexander 2 isn’t a great fight. Neat idea, awful execution, and worst of all it ends up just being boring
  87. 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
  88. Alexander 9 is unfortunately another victim of the ‘needs a dungeon journal’ type of boss
  89. 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
  90. The camera issue continues to show up periodically
  91. 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
  92. 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
  93. PLD 50-60 continues its trend of being the bland white bread of classes
  94. 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)
  95. 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)…
  96. …earning a second negative
  97. 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
  98. 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
  99. …a second negative for the Churning Mists endless chaining…
  100. …and the nonsense pattern of quest distribution
  101. 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…
  102. …leading to…
  103. …three negatives
  104. The ARM 50-60 quest is easily the worst of the already-bad crafter chains
  105. Crafter backtracking is ridiculous, and almost all of them do it…
  106. …leading to a full…
  107. …three negatives
  108. The backtracking in the Dravanian Hinterlands is honestly some of the worst it’s been in the entire game…
  109. …earning a second negative
  110. Neverreap has some serious issues, with irritating trash and aggravating boss design (including wasps, too much HP)
  111. The decision to lock substantial meat quests behind no marker or signifier whatsoever is honestly really bad design
  112. One…
  113. …two…
  114. …and three negatives for general quest padding design
  115. 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. Raubahn Extreme (bad launch issues)
  117. 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
  118. Aether Currents continue to be bad
  119. Low level ability removal issue
  120. 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)…
  121. …earning a second negative
  122. 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
  123. Second negative for Ruby Sea backtracking
  124. As usual, The Peaks sidequests have a truly egregious amount of backtracking (especially in the latter half)…
  125. …second negative to The Peaks
  126. The camera zoom out issue continues…
  127. …and, honestly, is a more persistent issue than before
  128. Aggregate: 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) // The ‘find the sheep’ quest, and ‘find in circle’ quests in general, can suck it
  129. Unlock issue as usual
  130. Forced single player questing (especially MSQ)…
  131. …as usual
  132. Padding issue of interaction bar
  133. Seconds in minutes issues periodically
  134. This is a weird one but locking the awesomeness and fun of the ExDeath and Kefka Savage fights behind… y’know, Savage difficulty
  135. New Game + and only having one save slot
  136. Larboard.
  137. PLD at 70… CONTINUES to suck, with barely different rotations and STILL lacking basic utility
  138. DRG 60-70 quests kinda… suck, lots of backtracking and little else across large swaths of irritation
  139. The BLM 60-70 quests
  140. BLM at 70 is noticeably absent several skills that it really should have and feels incomplete
  141. Heaven On High’s interface and interactions therewith are clunky at best, especially with the nature of its ‘save’ system
  142. AST at 70 really has too many buttons, and some… oddities to it
  143. The Doma Reconstruction weekly gating content sucketh
  144. The Ivalice quests’ needless, pointless backtracking for wine
  145. One…
  146. …two…
  147. …and three negatives for general quest padding design
  148. As per usual, the Steppes sidequests just kind of suck in backtracking and design
  149. Acquisition of Blue Magic sucks. Forced synching and related problems for bosses, and low percentage chance of learning, plus you have to be alive
  150. The MIN quests suck. Arduous and time sensitive
  151. The BTN quests suck. Arduous and time elongated
  152. The FIS quests suck! Gah!
  153. 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
  154. Several instances of problems with long solo sessions or lack of mid-mission checkpointing in solo instances
  155. The Roulette Problem gets worse…
  156. …and is actually probably one of the worst in the series…
  157. …given both Ivalice and Omega raids being in the bundle
  158. Only doing the MSQ will result in hitting level walls multiple times throughout the expansion
  159. 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)
  160. 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
  161. The first Ran’jit fight is also a supposed-to-lose fight… where, if you lose… you have to start it over
  162. Navigating the Crystarium honestly sucks with both verticality and the inability to jump off ledges at multiple points
  163. 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)
  164. New Game + has some… serious jank. Minimal save slots, a multitude of basic actions (like the Journal, or REPAIRING) that you can’t do while in it, and its… weird in how it’s implemented
  165. One…
  166. …two…
  167. …and three negatives for general quest padding design
  168. The Unlock Problem persists as usual
  169. The Ronkan ruins is… awful. No mid mission checkpointing and binary failstate
  170. The Trolley section is, being kind, boring padding quest design… some of the worst in Shadow
  171. Forced single player questing (especially MSQ)…
  172. …as usual
  173. The sidequests in Rak’tika greatwoods are very frustrating in navigation and quest layout
  174. 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
  175. Screw weekly turn ins (as usual)
  176. And finally, the final Ran’jit fight is pointless, dumb, padded, and boring
  177. Camera zoom out issue continues its tyrannical reign
  178. Low level ability removal issue
  179. 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
  180. …also they require you to walk through the entire area entirely too often, which is, yes, another backtracking issue
  181. SCH at 80 is really hampered by a lot of little but multitudinous issues that feel like artifacts of older, more out-dated game design
  182. Generic runback for bosses
  183. AST at 80 continues to have a button bloat problem
  184. The Roulette Problem gets worse with each expansion…
  185. …earning a second negative at this range
  186. The Ruby Weapon fight has a lot of issues. The tuning is a bit off, the visuals are actively detrimental, the music sucks
  187. 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. 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. …earning a second negative
  190. E11 has a bit too much trial and error with nothing really indicating what works how in… any of his mechanics really
  191. The Firmament’s interface issues are honestly pretty bad
  192. The Diadems, while useful, are dull as sin and exceptionally grindy
  193. The FSH Mean quests, uh… suck
  194. The physical dps role quest is literally bugged, the NPCs screwing up and failing the mission… more than once
  195. CLL’s inconsistent scaling made worse by inconsistent timing
  196. Dalriada’s inconsistent scaling made worse by inconsistent timing
  197. Delebrum’s sloggy nature and inconsistent scaling
  198. Unfortunately Bozja is still fairly limited, gives you hardly any Mettle (which is required to advance), and (like the Diadem) is grrrriiiiiindy
  199. 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
  200. While I’m at it, the health of the bosses is entirely too high, even accounting for lost actions and the echo buff
  201. 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
  202. Aggregate: The Thancred v. Ran’jit fight goes on just a little bit too long // E6 has a few minor issues which pull it a bit down // E7’s binary fail-state on several mechanics // Finally, E10 has a few issues which keep it from being… good, and not much to offset it
  203. Even though there’s not much they could really do about it, honestly the launch status was unacceptably bad
  204. The binary failstate of the ‘follow the girl’ quest along with other related padding issues
  205. 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
  206. Bestway Burrows is entirely too large with too few mechanisms in place to facilitate movement early on
  207. The tail Urianger mission is actually worse than the earlier one in Garlemald
  208. 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
  209. Forced single player questing (especially MSQ)…
  210. …as usual
  211. Camera zoom out issue
  212. Low level ability removal issue
  213. 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
  214. 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…
  215. …and earns a second negative for sheer duration
  216. The ‘Sage Council’ quest is actually terrible game design. Massive explorative area, vaguely labeled, with no pattern to layout, with fake-outs…
  217. …earning it a second negative for pure unadulterated padding in the worst way
  218. 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…
  219. …Thavnair…
  220. …Garlemald…
  221. …Zone 4…
  222. …and Zone 5 all share the same issue
  223. 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
  224. Zone 4 has some very bad pathing / terrain issues on foot
  225. The Unlock Issue continues
  226. Runback negative comes back
  227. The final Zenos fight is entirely too padded given its placement and purpose
  228. 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…
  229. …earning it two negatives
  230. 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
  231. 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)…
  232. …and frankly this is so aggravating that it puts me off doing them at all
  233. Crystalline content interface issues including can’t queue in a group
  234. Aggregate: Padding issues with the last SGE boss // Visibility issues with Ra-La in The Dead Ends