Here’s another post I wrote a long time ago but never published because I forgot that I wrote it.
Previously I gave a high-level summary of the Stormblood story, but now I want to dive deeper into more detail. There will be huge, massive, unbelievable, mind-shattering spoilers here that go far beyond anything that was in the previous post, so you’ve been warned.
The biggest plot problem I remember: There was one point in the story when our heroes had to watch while Yotsuyu terrorized some villagers. Gosetsu was going to charge into the fray to help the villagers, but of course Lyse and Alisaie objected because it would be suicide (allegedly). That made sense. But then a minute later Alisaie said, “Wait, no that sounds like a great plan, Gosetsu, you go get captured and try not to die as a diversion.” That was a terrible plan! The worst plan ever! How does it help anyone to let Gosetsu be captured or killed? It would have been far better to keep him with the group! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing there.
Another thing I chuckled about over and over (which I’m sure is just a technical limitation of the game engine): This was a story about nations at war, but we never actually saw more than about ten or twelve people on-screen fighting at a time for these nations. There was one scene when the Alliance fought it out with the Garlean Empire over I think Castrum Abanyia, and you saw like ten people charging at each other with swords. There was never anything like the Helm’s Deep scene in Two Towers, is what I’m saying. Every nation’s army apparently has no more than a dozen people in it.
You also never see more than like ten people in a town or village, even counting the NPCs you can’t click on. It seems like that would be an unsustainable population. One day I’d love to see an MMORPG with more realistic town populations as big as what you see in a typical Assassin’s Creed game, where you have to push your way through the crowds.
Okay let’s talk about the principle characters.
Lyse: As I said before, I liked her, and often found her dialog quite funny. The biggest problem I had with her is that I never felt like she was necessary to the plot. Even when she became the leader of the resistence, I felt like that position should have gone to M’naago, who had seemingly done more to earn it. (I always viewed M’naago as second-in-command after Conrad.) Lyse apparently had a rich history with the Ala Mhigan resistence but I never saw it developed “on screen” so to speak, so it was hard to buy into it.
Alphinaud and Alisaie: Not much to say. Alphinaud is still Alphinaud, and had no character development. What is going on with Alisaie and Lyse, though? There were some … hints. I also did not miss Krile whispering, “I knew you’d come for me,” when Alphinaud rescued her. (That started back in Heavensward. I can’t let that go without saying that anything involving lalfells is ultra-creepy to me.)
Krile: Her kidnapping turned out to be a big old nothing-burger, to use the political vernacular. Just a way to increase the stakes a little bit. It worked for a short time, when they first brought her before Zenos, but then they quickly shoved her onto the back burner in the story so I figured she would be fine. (I don’t think it would have raised any stakes for anyone who skipped over Heavensward, because Krile wasn’t seen much at the start of Stormblood.)
Thancred: Offscreen for most of the expansion, except when we conveniently needed him to tell us where to find Krile. I feel like they started to set up some kind of personal crisis for him somwhere in Heavensward, but seemingly abandoned it.
Y’shtola: Also offscreen for most of the expansion. Her dramatic life-threatening injury near the beginning turned out to be meaningless. At first I worried it was going to turn out that Lyse’s voiceovers were directed at Y’shtola’s grave. Then I realized she was probably talking to Papalymo. Then when Krile was kidnapped I briefly wondered if maybe Lyse was talking to Krile’s grave. Then I reverted back to Papalymo again. I expected to see a scene of Lyse standing over Papalymo’s grave, though. :) Anyway … not much else to say about Y’shtola. I would have bet money Y’shtola and Suda were the same voice actor, but it turned out not to be the case.
Scions: Is it my imagination, or are the Scions of the Seventh Dawn still leader-less? I recall some talk about selecting a new leader back in Heavensward but I don’t think anything ever came of it. Alphinaud acts like the leader, but sometimes Y’shtola does, too.
Estinien: I expected to see more from him. When I saw him standing over Nidhogg’s eyes after the credits I fully expected him to take them and turn into a bad guy again. I was like, “Nooooooooooooo!” Huge relief that he destroyed them instead. It would be nice to see him again in the patches but we don’t really need him anymore.
Raubahn and Pipin: Just out of curiosity, are we not supposed to notice that Raubahn’s kid is a lalafell? Did they ever explain that? Anyway I suspect Raubahn might be leaving for the great hereafter in one of the patches. I mean, he gave his prized sword to Pipin. That seems like a major red flag, and a big warning sign for someone about to commit suicide.
F’lhaminn: That’s Minfilia’s mother, if you don’t recognize the name (I wouldn’t have). Why did she leave her place behind the Rising Stones’ bar where she’s been forever?? I noticed that right away at the beginning of the expansion. I found her sitting quietly at a table upstairs over Rowena’s place at the back of Revenant’s Toll. Also, again, are we just not supposed to notice that she’s a Miqo’te and Minfilia is (was) human? [I now know this was explained in FFXIV 1.0.]
Conrad: I wasn’t surprised at his death at all, considering how much they made of him asking Lyse to be leader.
M’naago: Fun character, and I thought she was more deserving to take over leadership of the resistence.
Meffrid: The first casualty of the expansion, I was surprised that he died. He was a minor character, but we followed him around doing quests for quite a while so it stung a little.
Yugiri: Overall I felt like her character didn’t get enough attention, except around the one part when she went out to rescue those captured townspeople. I thought that scene was brilliant, and the following scene with her on the beach. The realization that the townsfolk might not want to be rescued was a powerful moment for her, but I don’t think they followed up on it. Sadly Yugiri largely disappeared from the story after that, replaced by Hein.
Gosetsu: One of my favorite characters, I was devastated when he died. Though I suspected he was going to die, considering he talked about wanting to die to balance things out. Shortly after his death, there was a passing mention of a possibility that the floor had collapsed into a river, so I figured we would see him again, along with Yotsuyu. I thought it would be in a later patch, though.
Hein: I never really liked him. I never felt he was a good leader, and I would have prefered to see Yugiri in that position. Other than a few moments here and there, Hein seemed to have a kind of flippant attitude toward the whole thing, as if he wasn’t taking it seriously. (Sort of like a Brett Favre kind of quarterback, instead of a Troy Aikman kind of quarterback, if you know what I mean.) It seemed very strange that both Yugiri and Gosetsu deferred to him. I did find his voice fascinating, though. I could never figure out what kind of accent it was. I think it was perhaps a native Japanese/Asian speaker affecting a British accent?
Isse: I thought this kid from Namai did a great job of conveying the plight of the oppressed Doma population under the Garlean Empire rule. Wish I could remember the exact quotes but it was something like, “When you [Yugiri] come in here telling us we can overthrow the Empire it … it doesn’t help.” And then later that old man among the captured villagers explained it even better. “It is as salt in our wounds.” That was one of the best scenes in the whole expansion for me.
Cirina: The woman whose name I continuously mispronounced as Serena. She was a docile little flower, even when she talked about entrails and butchering meat and bloodthirsty combat. Her reaction to Magnai’s advances was hilarious.
Sadu: The leader of the Undying Ones, and probably the most memorable character of the Azim Steppe for me. If she is not Magnai’s “moon” I will eat my hat. Great voice acting for this character, especially when she was flying around blasting the Garlean floaty sky laser thingys.
Magnai: I didn’t really like him. It seemed like he was spouting some kind of sexist nonsense at every turn, which was a little surprising to see in a Final Fantasy title. Of course it was all a big setup for the audience because it was pretty clear to me that he learned Sadu was his “moon” when he saw her in action, and she is the complete opposite of what he was expecting from his moon. Seems like there should be more to that story.
Zenos: Good riddance. Never liked him. As I mentioned before, they didn’t develop this character at all, and he was just a generic cardboard cut-out crazy evil villian.
Yotsuyu: At first I thought she was a generic villian as well, but I applaud them for at least trying to give her a backstory, unlike Zenos. At least we got a little insight into how she got to be the person she is. I thought she was a far better villian than Zenos. Even the voice acting was better. Still, she’s a horrible person who has done horrible things, and I’m not convinced she is redeemable, but we’ll see. I had a feeling she would survive, but I didn’t expect in my wildest dreams to see her and Gosetsu stuck on a deserted island together. I cackled when the camera pulled back. I’m a big fan of “put people into the worst possible situations and see what happens” and I can’t think of any worse situation for either Yotsuyu or Gosetsu.
Big Empire Bad Guy And Ascian At The End: I didn’t understand that scene at all. The Ascian revealed himself to be … somebody. I could’t even guess who. At first I assumed the Ascians had infiltrated the Scions yet again, but how would Big Empire Bad Guy know any of the Scions? Aywren seems to think the Ascian revealed himself to be Zenos. Apparently Zenos’s body disappeared? I missed that. I hope that’s not the case because we don’t need to see him again.
People I thought they were setting up to die at various times but didn’t: Yugiri, Y’shtolla, Krile, Alisaie, and Lyse.
Alisaie often said something like: “Don’t go doing any noble sacrifices or anything,” so I thought for sure she would end up doing a noble sacrifice herself during the story. In fact she
unintentionally did so during that fight against Fordola, but they did another “fake character death” where someone gets hit and falls down looking dead, only to come back a scene later with the explanation, “Oh it was just a small wound.”
Yugiri also tried to make a noble sacrifice, but failed (with another fake character death). I suppose it’s possible the noble sacrifices could come later in the patches.
With Lyse I wondered the whole time if at the end they were going to show her delivering her monologue to somebody’s grave, then show her charging into some battle and dying. (A classic misdirection, because we the audience would think, “Oh she can’t die because of that running flash-forward monologue thing.”)
By the way, if I didn’t mention someone you knew from before Stormblood.. it’s probably because they died a long time ago. I warned you about spoilers!