I don't have much new to say this week, so let me just go on a random tangent. I love Dragoons. Kain, Freya, Estinien, Aranea, and even Cid and Fang count. Is there a job class that you love from the FF series? I know Dragoons pretty much just jump, but they also look cool. That's enough for me! Enough random Dragoon love, let's talk about games.
If you want to catch up on my prior pieces, here's a link to Issue 30 from last week.
Final Fantasy Dimensions (Android)
So far Final Fantasy Dimensions has not been as bad as I expected, but it also is far from being as good as it could be. I'm in the middle of chapter two right now, and I find myself baffled at the implementation of the job system in this game. From the start it seems like your standard FFV-style system, but you are restricted as to how high you can level each job. Initially the cap for job levels is three, but you are granted a handful of job points at certain parts in the story and then you have to decide where you want to spend them. It feels restrictive in a mobile monetization kind of way, as if the developers wanted you to be able to buy more points to be able to unlock more content. I honestly haven't looked into whether or not that's the case, but I don't get why the system is so limited otherwise. What if I want to grind and get every job as high as possible? You don't get them all at once, so it's not like it's a pacing issue. Whatever.
As for the game itself, it is definitely old school. Dimensions feels like it came right out of the SNES era, though not all of those things are positives these days. I don't mind challenging content, but I really dislike repeating things in RPGs. If I die to a boss, I don't mind fighting that boss again. If I die after walking through a long, boring dungeon, I do not want to go back through that same boring dungeon and find all the treasures that I already gathered once. It would not be a major dumbing down to take the Dragon Quest approach and allow you to keep items and such when you die. Wasting my time is not a challenge; it's just annoying. Dimensions doesn't scale back its difficulty even in random encounters. Nothing is extremely hard to beat, but standard enemies hit hard and encounters are pretty frequent. It's all of the bad design aspects from days past with too few of the improvements we've seen over the years. It's not getting as much time as before, but is nice to have on hand when I can't easily have a handheld system with me.
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood (PS4)
I finally finished the main story of Stormblood, and I have to say that it really grew on me. The initial areas that are really dull looking quickly give way to lush, colorful locales with lots to see and do. The main quest path is still lined with filler, but most of it is quickly accomplished to get you into the story-filled cutscenes where the real meat is. The NPCs, especially those met in the second half of the game, along with the villains are the real stars here. The characters you meet in the Eastern lands are amazing, rivaling Estinien and Ysayle from Heavensward. I imagine most of you reading this with no knowledge of FFXIV are going wondering who these people are, but believe me when I say that Estinien is awesome. Also, you should play Final Fantasy XIV.
As for wrapping up Stormblood, the final two dungeons and the last trial are some of the best main story content I've played in the game so far. The last dungeons are are well-paced; challenging, yet fair; and perfectly manageable with a decent group of random players. The end boss trial is something else, though. It's tough, possibly the hardest content within the casual main storyline quests, but at the same time it feels fair. Players need to not only perform their role well, but they need to be attentive and willing to listen and learn. Even then there are still going to be things that are up to the luck of the draw. My first group was willing to learn, but had a few people that just struggled to be able to keep up and we ran out of time right as we were getting the hang of things. The second group was filled with people who didn't want to be there, didn't want to learn, and didn't listen at all. This group quickly disbanded, thankfully. My final group must have been made up of veterans, because we floated through that battle with no real issues at all. It felt great to have learned from those other groups and to be able to apply that knowledge in a way that made me look semi-competent. Now I get to decide what to do next, as I still have a decent amount of time left on my subscription. For now, I don my Samurai gear once more.