Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Review, Part 2

Ragar fights through dungeons and login errors in this second half of his review

Almost three years after the release of the original version of the game, Square Enix released Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn last week. I started this review yesterday, talking about my experiences with Marauders and tanking, unlocking Job classes, and the way FFXIV: ARR handles Story Quests. In Part 2 I jump back into Duty Finder for more of ARR's dungeon offerings, fight the epic struggle called "Logging Into the Game", and finally wrap everything up and say what I think about SE's second attempt at bringing Eorzea to life.

Adventures in Duty Finder

Since we’ve been talking about features unlocked through story quest progress, let’s shift over to the dungeons I unlocked while playing the last week or so. I already talked about the first three dungeons and the Ifrit trial in my dungeon preview articles; those fights are for the most part identical to what I experienced in the beta (aside from me tanking this time instead of healing), so we’ll move on to the new content. So far I’ve unlocked two additional dungeons in ARR: Halatali, a former Lalafell holy place and training grounds for the Pugilists Guild, and the Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak, a cave system formerly used as a Gridanian prison.

Halatali was a good follow-up to the three starter dungeons—the scenery was beautiful, there was good variety in the trash mobs as you progressed through the instance, the two early bosses introduced new mechanics that weren’t seen in the first three instances (particularly “kill adds before they get somewhere and explode” and “don’t fight the electric monster while standing in a pool of water”), and the final boss meshed these new mechanics together to show new players that from now on bosses won’t be restricted to a single trick they have to watch for. All told, an excellent follow-up to the starter dungeon trio. Thousand Maws on the other hand…

The best way I can really think of to describe The Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak is that it’s ARR’s sewer level. Not just aesthetically, but in terms of design and feel. There’s only one real boss at the end of the instance, so prior to that it’s just one long corridor crawl through stone walls with goo on the floor as you fight things like blobs of goo called Prison Pudding and a ton of little spider/mite mobs. There are some mini-bosses, but it’s the same monster for both and it just feels like a slightly tougher trash mob. The second fight is slightly more difficult because adds start to spawn and the poison does give your healer something to focus on as a new mechanic but, in general, the beginning of the instance is somewhat of a letdown. Things do pick up at the end though; I won’t spoil the story stuff with the pre- and post-boss cutscenes at the end, but they do help make up for a somewhat lackluster instance and the final boss himself is a decent fight. He does incorporate a new mechanic for those who’ve only done dungeon runs through the Duty Finder, but if you’ve been keeping up with your Guildhests, you’ll already be used to the idea of a monster dropping poison fields to maneuver around and moving the boss while picking up adds that spawn.

There are still plenty more dungeons available for players in ARR to explore and pillage, but there are quite a few story quests between Thousand Maws and whatever’s next, so those will have to wait for another time.

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