Filled to the brim with fan service, the latest Final Fantasy XIV patch, Reflections in Crystal, attempts to please any and all players.This includes NieR fans who may have picked up the game solely based on the inclusion of the YoRHa Dark Apocalypse raids. And it works to some success.
The Puppet’s Bunker is arguably the most fun I’ve personally had in a raid in quite some time. While it isn’t the most challenging content Final Fantasy XIV has to offer, it was a nice way to ease myself back into the game. The mechanics are, at times, reminiscent of those found in previous raids—specifically The Weeping City of Mach—while still adding a nice variety of new things for players to figure out. Additionally, the music in the raid is some of the best by far, as it samples from the NieR: Automata original soundtrack like the previous YoRHa Dark Apocalypse raid. Naturally, there is a lot of fan service in this raid, some more subtle than other obvious references, and NieR fans will no doubt enjoy the inclusion of these elements.
Personally, my favorite part of this new update was experiencing new content with other players, especially friends. Figuring out the new EX Trial and The Puppet’s Bunker mechanics were so much fun that I ended up running these duties long after I had already reaped their rewards. Like The Puppet’s Bunker, the new EX Trial is marginally easier than those previously released. This makes it a lot more convenient for those who may have taken an extended break from the game a much better time at playing catch up.
Additional quality of life changes have been added to the game as well, such as the ability to upgrade the crafted Neo-Ishgardian gear sets with the right amount of Tomes of Phantasmagoria. This makes crafted gear just as viable as gear that can be obtained through the new raid and new Tome turn-ins. This was great to return to, since I had come back in sore need of gear with higher item levels to even participate in the new content.
Dwarf Tribe quests have also been added with this update, and with it the chance to get a new mount. However, these quests are restricted to Disciple of the Hand classes. Either way, similar to previous crafting-based Beast Tribe quests, this will give players an opportunity to level their desired Disciple of the Hand quest with some amount of ease through quest completion.
The most important update, however, has to be the adjustment to Main Scenario Quests for A Realm Reborn. As someone who slogged through the game shortly after its re-release, this has been a much needed update. More than a handful of quests have been removed, making progression through A Realm Reborn much shorter and, honestly, a lot less tedious. (And I say this as someone who had three max level alts after the release of Heavensward.) Other updates to A Realm Reborn areas include the ability to fly in these areas. However, this is only available to new characters after the completion of “The Ultimate Weapon” Main Scenario Quest. Either way it is a welcome addition.
Speaking of the Main Scenario Quests, Final Fantasy XIV 5.3 Reflections in Crystal ties up loose ends of narratives that had been established in A Realm Reborn. As mentioned in previous press releases, Reflections in Crystal ties up the Ascian storyline. I won’t delve too deeply into spoilers for those that haven’t yet gotten to go through the new story content. The quality is what you can expect from the Shadowbringers expansion, which can mean several different things. If you enjoyed the story in Shadowbringers, you will probably enjoy this story update. And if you were indifferent to a majority of the story in Shadowbringers, or the Ascian storyline in general, this probably won’t be very interesting or fulfilling for you. However, this patch gives nods to the Crystal Tower raids that are exciting to see recognized, and even draws back to the first Final Fantasy game in an homage to the first installment of the series.
Either way, Reflections in Crystal has a little something for everyone. If you’re looking for some truly enjoyable raid or EX Trial content this patch will no doubt scratch that itch. And if you are someone that is deeply invested in the story Final Fantasy XIV has to offer, your heartstrings will be tugged with the oddly bittersweet ending of this patch. I am excited to see what future content Final Fantasy XIV will have for the remainder of Shadowbringers, if only for the future raids and trials my friends and myself will be able to experience together.
Final Fantasy XIV is immediately available on the PlayStation 4 and PC.