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    Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker review



    Need to know

    What is it? The MMO’s latest expansion closes out a long-running story arc.

    Expect to pay £30/$40

    Developer Square Enix

    Publisher Square Enix

    Release date Out now

    Reviewed on AMD Ryzen 7 1700X, Gigabyte RTX 2080 Super, 32GB RAM

    Multiplayer? Yes

    Link Official site  (opens in new tab)

    Check Amazon (opens in new tab)

    The word ‘expansion’ feels almost too small for what Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker is. Not only is it a full-length JRPG that’ll easily take at least 50 hours to beat, it’s also the culmination of a storyline that’s been running for over 10 years, which myself and millions of other players have been following that whole time through updates and expansions. Rather than simply an add-on, it feels more like the final book in a long-running fantasy series.

    So, to get to the big questions—yes, Endwalker is a fantastic send-off to the Hydaelyn/Zodiark saga (two ancient beings locked in a light versus dark conflict involving many crystals—Final Fantasy fans know the drill) that celebrates all that came before; and yes, it leaves the door wide open for new adventures that we know are on the way.

    Listen to my story

    (Image credit: Square Enix)

    Singleplayer duties also return, giving you set-piece moments to play through all by yourself, sometimes as your own character and other times allowing you to step into the shoes of an ally (and now offering easier difficulties if you fail once). These feel less spectacular than they did in Shadowbringers, but offer some surprisingly effective changes of pace and unique storytelling tricks while allowing you to stay in control of the action. Thancred’s stealth mission is no Metal Gear Solid, but better than it has any right to be, and another forces you to play as a much weaker character than usual which really makes you consider which fights to take on, and which to avoid.

    Some of this inventiveness carries through into main quests, with more emphasis placed on keeping you present in the moment rather than always arbitrarily bouncing between quest markers. Allies will now sometimes join you as you walk around, and there are places where you can take a break for some optional chats (not dissimilar to, though much more limited than, the Tales series’ skit system). Less successful are tailing missions which, while thankfully few and far between, are as annoying as any tailing system ever.

    It’s impressive that the team is still able to take FF14’s trappings and crystalise them into new forms even so many years on, from the way jobs and dungeons feel like the best they’ve ever been, to their confidence when it comes to experimenting with the relationship between gameplay and storytelling. But while there are some stunning vistas and lighting effects, and the detailing on new armour designs are enchanting, the age of the core game can’t help but show, smooth as it is to play. This is a great final chapter to a story that’ll stick with me, and I’m excited to see the team tell a new one—but I’m eager for some bigger changes to shake up Eorzea when they do.

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