Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.55 adds more to the main scenario and to the Save the Queen Relic Weapon questline. This patch offers a bit for players to cut their teeth on, with Save the Queen providing the most content this update. Final Fantasy XIV falls back into tedium with this patch though, having little to offer than an extensive grind and a handful of main scenario quests and cutscenes. While it provides a significant lead-up to Endwalker, it leaves me walking away feeling tired. And not for the reasons I expected.
With breaks between patch releases, I noticed that my feelings towards Final Fantasy XIV began to change. While I had initially been extremely enthusiastic about the prospect of new content fresh out of Heavensward, this excitement began to die down significantly with the release of Stormblood. And now with post-game Shadowbringers content, it has otherwise completely extinguished.
Grinding through content with friends is simply not enough to keep me interested in a lukewarm story that continues to entertain the idea of sympathizing with imperialists. The Save the Queen Relic Weapon scenario quests reaffirmed this. When the game offered me the choice of offering clemency to someone that willingly turned against a resistance movement fighting back against occupation under an imperial power, for the purpose of founding another empire, I was unsatisfied with the story’s lack of a hard stance on the issue. The idea of this somehow being presented as a “both sides” argument soured me on content I had already felt impartial towards, despite my deep love for the Ivalice Alliance games within the Final Fantasy series.
With this I walk away feeling unsatisfied with Final Fantasy XIV and its messages. While Heavensward provided commentary and a grim reminder of how history revisionism clouds our interactions with vulnerable people, Stormblood and Shadowbringers have time and time again asked us to sympathize with those who choose to side with the Garlean Empire. And this is something I am not willing to entertain.
I’m not sure if it’s the slog of tedious content that turned me away or the story itself. Throwing myself back into Bozja and the expanded area of Zadnor felt like a chore as I pushed myself to finish the most recent story content available there. Due to this installment of the story containing heavy spoilers, I will avoid elaboration on these events. There is a modicum of player choice available in the Relic Weapon questline, which will determine how events will play out. However, the main scenario quest ties up major events while leading up to the eventual journey to the moon in Endwalker. Again, to avoid major spoilers I will not discuss what happens in any great detail. It feels like a sufficient lead up, but I found it somewhat lacking. I suppose that’s to be expected in an ever evolving storyline, so I can’t fault Final Fantasy XIV for it.
The latest relic weapon upgrades are available. While the start of the Bozja quest offered a very simple way to upgrade them, the latest patch returns players to the long, drawn out grind. It immediately sucked the desire to continue upgrading my weapon out of me. I had already done something very similar for my A Realm Reborn and Heavensward relic weapons, and I was not interested in doing this again in any capacity. That said, those looking for a way to sink more time into Final Fantasy XIV may enjoy the opportunity. Especially if they enjoyed the Light grind from previous steps.
Maybe I’m tired of the repetition for new gear and items in a mostly unengaging way. Perhaps I’m exhausted with what the story has tried to present to me over and over again. I’m not interested in what Final Fantasy XIV is attempting to sell me, I suppose. Maybe Endwalker will revitalize my interest in the game with a more satisfying storyline that actively bucks the idea of redeeming imperialists. For now, I’m content with setting the game down and potentially revisiting it in the far future.
Final Fantasy XIV is immediately available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC. Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.55 is immediately available.