Well, I did it. I beat A Realm Reborn.
I know this because I saw the end credits. So I guess it’s time to uninstall? For those keeping track at home, it took me about two and a half months of casual play — and not just a little bit of sidetracking with alts — to get to this point.
The big 2.0 story finale actually started last week for me as I hit level 51. The evil Empire created an ultimate weapon (what made it “ultimate,” I have to wonder?) and the good guys spent a half-hour moping around a table contemplating surrender. That is, until Minfilia and her inspirational midriff came in, gave everyone a little pep talk, and suddenly we were all at war. So THAT’S what she’s for! I’ve been wondering for weeks, now. It’s not like she’s shown any actual leadership or abilities other than getting easily captured in her own home base.
The whole climax of the story took place as a multi-pronged offensive against the Empire in an attempt to penetrate its key fortress and take out the ultimate weapon — which hadn’t been used on anything, by the way. They just kept in the garage to polish it, but here they have a fantasy death star and didn’t go on a rampage with it. Truly a waste.
Let’s take a brief intermission for a Lalafell that’s undoubtedly two minutes away from his own demise:
Lalafell are cute and full of personality, but this game asks too much for us to take them seriously as warriors. My three-year-old could sit on one of these guys.
Anyway, eventually I was queuing up for the big story dungeons for the finale, which was kind of exciting. I might be a little snarky at Final Fantasy for it’s strange choices, but at least it focused down on this attack and kept the pace going well.
I’m calling this post “hollow victory” for a few reasons. One, the good guys’ success was far too easy — they never showed anyone getting killed and as far as I know, every single offensive action was perfectly executed. It didn’t feel like a war; it felt like a paint-by-the-numbers cartoon.
But even more than that was the fact that I didn’t get to participate in any of the major end fights. The issue was that both big groups I got put with had obviously done these dungeons before, so they were speeding through them. Meanwhile, I got bombarded by a nonstop series of cutscenes, some lasting several minutes. So as I’m watching them (with my team’s blessing), my team is racing ahead and beating bosses left and right. That created the hilarious situation in which I’d get a cutscene introducing a boss with a long monologue, during which the boss would be killed by my team, so the second that cutscene was done I’d get a second cutscene showing the boss falling over. From my character’s perspective, they were just dropping dead at her feet for no reason.
By the end, I’d destroyed the ultimate weapon, axed Gaius, blown up the fortress, and escaped — all without using a single combat skill. Then the game decided that it would just switch into full TV mode with long cutscenes after long cutscenes. It’s usually at this point in a Final Fantasy game where I start to disconnect from it, because Square Enix can’t help but take an interesting story that has two feet on the ground and eventually transition it into slightly silly, quasi-mystical nonsense featuring Large Crystals. But hey, we won the day, so there’s that.
Then, as the end credits rolled, the game had to eat up a lot of time, so I got treated to the leaders giving the most redundant, drawn-out speeches. Yes, it’s a new era. Yes, we’re all united. Yes, let’s cross our weapons and hope that pistol isn’t loaded as you’re pointing it at the other leader there, Admiral. Then… a SCARY ROAR!
“Start wearing battle-appropriate outfits? Perish the thought!”
I’m actually pretty happy to be moving into the 2.x content — feels like I’m making progress of a sort. I know it’ll be a while until I get into Heavensward, but at least I have forward momentum. It even looks like the Scions might be moving their HQ, finally, to a place that I can port to.
I have a lot to do — the main story quest, some side quests (need to start on those Hilde quests everyone seems to gush about), keeping up with job quests, unlocking dungeons, and figuring out what I should be doing to gear up. I felt a little embarrassed that I had forgotten to do my job quests for a while, because when I did them the other night, I got a ton of great gear upgrades at level 45 and 50 that I could’ve used. Pretty much doubled my HP, for starters.
I’m excited to see where the story goes from here. And who knows? By summer’s end, I might be caught up with the rest of the crowd.