Okay, so i'm a VI fanboy but i have been wanting this since the Doomtrain comments back in ARR's quests in Thanalan. Final Fantasy VI might tie with IX for my favourite but personal tastes aside Doomtrain/Phantom Train was one of those bosses i see like Ruby Weapon in the upcoming FFVII remake. You just think "how do they even make that in a modern 3D Final Fantasy game?" and i'm pleased to see Doomtrain looks like what i expected from the XIV fight team. Yes i know its probably the Phantom Train but either one is good and i'm a sucker for a spooky old Ghost Train!
Now ghost train boss aside what else do we see here? It looks like Gosetsu might be coming into conflict with the Prince over the amnesiac Yotsuyu in his charge. Is she the same monster waiting to happen again? or was her traumatic past what made her who she was and this is a chance at a fresh start? Should she even be given the chance after all she did? or do those crimes even apply to this girl who shows no sign of being the person who ordered them to be committed?
Its a bit of a tropey story hook for a jrpg but its a nice change on the old potential redemption arc. Is this a case of the good guys getting too bloodthirsty in the name of revenge? is it right to stand by as the warrior of light when we are teaming up with Nero to fight Omega when he has probably done far worse things in his time as one of the Legions commanders?
Its more of a shade of grey than the usual stuff and that tends to be when Final Fantasy is at its best. I look forward to the story developments quite a bit.
Next up we have an envoy from Garland leading us into the new 'four devas' Primal hunting storyline. The maps have shown 4 figures on the map based on summons from the earlier games and sure enough Byakko, the White Tiger Lord is first on the hit list. Considering the line about the Garlean Emperor wanting to work with us maybe its a case of pragmatism and after beating Zenos he considers us the best men and women for the job? which when you think about it says something. Does this mean we have taken down the strongest forces of the empire already? or are they distracted dealing with some greater threat, something worse than a raging Primal?
Along with this we see Krile meeting a new character, an older Lalafell woman who might be a family member or mentor based on her reaction in the trailer. More interestingly it cuts to a new location with signs of chaotic violence around a town with a seaside dock and its own aetheryte. Unless thats the first use of a town crystal in a cosmetic function perhaps this is out first example of a new open area added in a patch beyond the 2.0 beast tribe areas in places like La Noscea?
Sharlayan, Kriles home, has been on the new world map since 4.0 but its far too small to be an expansion destination. Perhaps its been a post patch zone in the making? Unlikely of course but with FFXIV you never know. Nobody expected stuff like Lords of Verminion to show up after all.
Finally we have the Sigmascape. Lots of nods to FFVI including sprites right from the game but most significantly an ending shot of a man in clown make up with a very familiar laugh...
So overall first impressions are good. So far the post launch content of Stormblood has left me a bit cold. Its not been bad but its also not been terribly interesting to me personally. This on the other hand has me very excited. Maybe as much as the patch where we fought Alexander or Nidhogg. Lately i've let levelling my combat classes fall behind. I got RDM and NIN to lvl.70 and im slowly chipping away at DRK and AST but everything else has lagged behind. SAM in particular for me is still in the mid 50's!
After spending the time getting all gatherer and crafters levelled and geared and in the yellow scrip farming/money making stage this is a patch coming at the right time (if Monster Hunter World doesn't steal all my attention) to get me back into PVE content in a big way, so roll on 4.2!