Released in September 2010, this massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is also known as Final Fantasy XIV Online. Developed and published by Square Enix, this game has lived up to the hype.

The Nobuaki Komoto designed game is available in the latest version, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood. The game, which is built around a compelling story, grips the player from the onset. The game starts with an aesthetically pleasing Kimono clad female asking Othardian peasants to rise and represent the Garlean Empire. Only one man heeds the call, but instead of things going as planned, he suffers unprecedented loss, some, at his own hand.

In the Final Fantasy XIV series, Stormblood is perhaps Square Enix’s best creation to date. Given that the backstory is a relatable tragedy, it reels in audiences from all walks of life. The cruelest points of the story shape are out as one of the finest creations whilst appealing to players who are more aligned with gothic themes and surprising peace loving players. With one of the best gaming graphics, Stormblood does not shy away from showing poverty stricken villagers in distress. As the film unapologetically zooms into places where gory fights are bound to erupt, I can’t help but marvel at the developer’s boldness in exploring scenes that other games usually brush under the carpet.

One of the most striking features that come with Stormblood is perhaps the exploration of new lands. There are also two new classes that are gradually introduced to the gamers as the explicit tale unravels over a sequence of dungeons, quests, and trials. I must say, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is fierce and not for the faint hearted. The version goes into detail showing Ala Mhigo with its sandy battlefields, and the landscape is shown in a manner never seen before, not even in the Final Fantasy XIV’s 2013 relaunch. The besieged Ala Mhigo battlefields are the highlight of levels 60 to 70, thus making this zone easily the most enjoyable to maneuver.

The certifiably excellent graphic in Stormblood easily blends in with the clear view of Asian culture that accompanies the new culture and settings. Final Fantasy XIV seems to improve with each new version. This observation is augmented by the show of high-end scenes in Stormblood. Here, at this point, the story easily comes across from every battle scene. The port of Kagane (which has a Japanese-inspired setting) which is the only port that openly welcomes foreigners has unprecedented scenes a game could possibly possess. Also, when playing over the wild plains of the Azim Steppe tells the story of epic proportions that have never been seen before in an action game, when the Au Ra tribes fight to select their next leader in Naadam, a Mongolian-inspired area.

Matter-of-factly, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood tends to be more realistic than it is fantasy. Due to the fact that the game is based on a seemingly-actual story, with settings that are inspired by real life settings, this game can easily manipulate with and play around gamers’ feelings. When the peasants get manipulated, abused and trampled on by the imperial soldiers and other authoritative figures in the game, it is quite easy for a player to find their emotions well up.

However, one thing is always certain when playing this game. And that is the quick changes that come with each level. When playing underwater quests, there are new characters there that easily hook a player into a completely new setting. The characters under water include ninja turtle lookalike denizens as well as different fishes. As the levels increase, so does the surprises. Frankly, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is worth investing one’s time and emotions into. The game is set up in such a way that the highly dangerous and challenging combinations are at higher levels. Thus, by the time the player gets to the top levels, they would have earned their stripes and be worthy of such creativity. In Stormblood, the Samurai is one damage-oriented melee class that is easily accepted and loved by dedicated players who have always yearned for the ‘X-factor’ within the game.

Always set in a high fantasy setting, Final Fantasy XIV takes place on planet Hydaelyn which is an upgrade and huge gap from previous releases of the Final Fantasy franchise. Due to the existence of three distinct terrains (desert-based Ul’dah sultanate, the thalassocracy of Limsa Lominsa, as well as the forest nation of Gridania) in the Eorzea planet, Final Fantasy XIV has a lot of room to play around and indicate the highest level of creativity in a manner never seen before. Of course, just like any other excellent game, you might easily be annoyed with the Final Fantasy XIV’s side quests. However, the undeniably enticing storyline, beautifully contrasted combat classes, as well as full-fledged battles, are what keeps this game ahead of other RPGs of the present era.

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