Review: Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Patch 6.2 Buried Memory
After being one of our top 5 reviews of last year, Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker continues to have opportunities to show why it made that list as it releases another major update for the game.
With Patch 6.2 Buried Memory, FFXIV continues its newest narrative that delves into the world that players have come to know as the Void. How does the latest patch stack up against it’s predecessor? Let’s find out!
This review was conducted by the four hosts of our Final Fantasy XIV Podcast Aetheryte Radio. Let’s see what they had to say! If you would rather hear what they had to say, make sure to check out this episode!
Warning: This review contains spoilers for Patch 6.2.
Fusionx: With the new patch, we got a brand new character in Zero. One part of me loves the inclusion of a new character to help guide us through the history of the Void. However, there’s another, much louder, part of me, that absolutely despises when Zero mentions Zenos. I strongly hope that we’ll leave that part of her history behind as we move forward. I would hate to have this new character repeatedly be used as a vehicle in an attempt to explain the motives of one of my least favorite characters in the Final Fantasy series. I absolutely, without a doubt, do not care to learn more about Zenos. He’s dead. Let’s move on.
Our time in the Void hits the ground running. What is this castle? We run through it multiple times! Why not drop at least a couple of clickable bits of lore. Before we know it, we’ve dispatched half of the Four Fiends. Who even are these characters within the FFXIV story? I feel like we rushed through them. There is an optional quest that opens up after completing the MSQ that gives some background on them which is nice. But it’s disappointing that this content wasn’t put in the MSQ proper and is something players could easily not see.
Pandaemonium was… OK. There were some reveals that we didn’t know, and another reveal that, let’s be honest, we saw coming a malm away. The ending of this tier’s story was quite unexpected so I’m curious to see how that will play into the finale in 6.4.
Xenedra: The MSQ brought so much joy to my curious little lore-fiend heart! Finally, tasty, confirmed tidbits about what happened to the Void and its people! Not to mention, the long awaited arrival of the Four Fiends! Final Fantasy IV has always been one of my favorites and I’ve been waiting to take a crack at these suckers. All this to say: my trip through a dead world was very enjoyable and I would go again.
While my interest was high throughout MSQ, I felt a bit more of a drag when it came to the raid storyline. We did get some juicy info about Lahabrea and Athena toward the end, but the beginning felt like a slog to me. They did however, leave us with quite the cliffhanger!
Aldianaux: Our introduction to the Void was full of fun, new lore. They gave us a good look at the fundamental rules and denizens of the world, but we still have a lot to figure out. By the end of the MSQ we have a good feel of the players that will finish out this set of patches but there’s not much in the way of concrete details. There are a few pacing issues with some routine questing and a weird decision to keep some of the villain’s backstory in an optional side quest (watch out for a quest near you after you finish the MSQ!) but it was an interesting and thought-provoking entry on our way to 7.0. Meanwhile, Pandaemonium’s story takes a fun turn and keeps us guessing at where this all ends.
Rook: With a ten year story culmination having just occurred in the game, you wouldn’t expect the ensuing arc to take off with as much momentum and excitement as Patch 6.2 has achieved. Buried Memory delivers new characters, a tantalizing look into a hostile world, and thrilling action that propels the narrative forward at a heart pounding rate. Both the story and content contained within left me feeling like we weren’t merely getting our usual patch content, but the start to an expansion worthy narrative that I can’t wait to experience more of.
Realize Your Vision
Fusionx: The biggest part of this initial 6.2 patch is, without a doubt, the inclusion of Island Sanctuary. Simply put, I’m addicted. I loved exploring the island, coming across rare animals (although there are issues with the spawns of them at the moment), and building up my home base. I certainly wasn’t expecting a stock market mini game, but I understand how it’s designed to make players come back to the island even after they’ve maxed our their rank and built all the things. I’m not crazy about the two different currencies, and feel like one is largely useless. The other is used for… absolutely everything. Want to upgrade something? Use Seafairers Cowries. Want to send mammets out to gather things? Seafairers Cowries. Want to buy a Mandragora mount? You guessed it. Seafairers Cowries.
We also had a new trial with Barbariccia and… wow. If you had told me years ago when A Realm Reborn had just come out and people were having issues with latencies during the Titan fight that we’d have a fight that was this fast paced, my jaw would have hit the floor. I think it’s really cool to see a fight that feels this chaotic and I can’t wait to see what the team does with the next trial.
Xenedra: To start, I will say I had a lot of fun in the Barbariccia fight. We saw some new, interesting mechanics and though it was punishing in places, it was recoverable, which also made it pretty satisfying.
When it comes to the new dungeon, I’m of two minds. The first boss fight was creative and relevant to the setting, but I’ve never been a fan of trash mob gauntlets. I thought this particular one was more creative than most, but that only barely saved it for me. The second and third boss fights was pretty par for the course with a smattering of fun, surprising mechanics. The actual dungeon format, though, is as simple as it gets: 2 trash pulls, boss, 2 trash pulls, boss, 2 trash pulls, boss.
Island Sanctuary… is not for me. I see how enjoyable it is for the majority of people I see talking about it and I’m glad they added it. I’m even going to finish my island, albeit very slowly. But I’m as neutral as neutral can be. Sorry, Tataru, I don’t mean to be ungrateful!
Aldianaux: The new extreme trial is certainly the best so far in the Endwalker cycle. The speed of mechanics, the focus on solving some mechanics in pairs and the sheer amount of AoEs in later phases combine to give you a good workout. The Fell Court of Troia dungeon is… boring- but quick, so at least the expert roulette will be merciful. The bosses are unique, but the average gear level of players might be a little too high for this one, I’ve yet to see a group not blast through it with ease. The normal raid fights are fun and play around with some new twists on old mechanics. The final fight is a little lackluster on normal but proved to be a nice challenge for those tackling the savage difficulty for the world race.
Rook: The combat content in 6.2 offers a wide range of mechanics and challenges. Heavensward dungeon reworks and Duty Support capabilities breathe new life into older content. As for the new content itself, the new extreme trial introduces a chaotic challenge that shakes up FFXIV’s usually methodically scripted dances. The next tier of Pandaemonium features unique challenges from boss to boss that keep progression fresh and culminates in a final fight that put even world first raiders through their paces in the Savage mode. While the new dungeon was perhaps one of the most forgiving in recent history, I enjoyed the otherwise memorable experience.
Meanwhile, Island Sanctuary has introduced an impressive new set of simulator mechanics to the game and offers a promising start for future development of this delightful new game mode.
Fusionx: I think the new track, Scream, that’s used during two of the fights in this patch’s installment of Pandaemonium is in my top 5 lists of FFXIV music. Maybe it’s the inner high-schooler that used to listen to a lot of Evanesceance back in the day, but man… this song is absolutely, 100%, my jam. The music added with Island Sanctuary matches the chill island vibes perfectly, and gives me some FFXI Naoshi Mizuta vibes.
Also as a quick audio note- one of my biggest issues with the game has finally gotten some attention. You know the beginning or end of an instanced fight, where the enemy has subtitled text but doesn’t talk? Even though they have voiced lines during the fight? That bugged the heck out of me. Finally with this patch, we get an immersive, fully voiced intro for some of these fights! Yes!
On the visual side of things, we have some new effects on the raid armor. Leading up to the patch, I think everyone was excited about the flaming shoulders, and the big glowing circle on the backs of some of these new pieces. After having some time with it though… I feel like I’m already over it. While the fiery shoulders feel cool, the big giant glowing circle on my DRG/RPR armor just feels.. uninspired. Anytime I wear it in a cutscene, it looks like my character is coming out of some Dr. Strange portal. It’s weird. Also when talking about visuals, I have to make a brief mention to the new thing in Ultima Thule’s skybox. There’s a new, bright object that kind of looks like a planet is forming. I have no idea what it is, or what it will be used for. But it gives me Dalamud and Void Ark vibes and I love it.
Xenedra: Walking through Troia was amazing. Starting in that dungeon with the twisted floors and walls really got me into the mindset that I was in a weird, warped world, where I ought to be wary. The thought and care put into this environment really shows. I was happy to see they went with more Amano-esque designs for the Four Fiends, as well.
Aldianaux: How does Soken keep doing this?! Scream, one of several new songs from the raid this time around, is a certified banger. Mixing Persona-esque driving guitars with a strong Evanescence-like female vocal, it is going to be easy to listen to it for far too long during raid prog. We also get one of the most wish-listed songs from Final Fantasy IV this time around, which proves to be a nice variation of the classic tune.
The new areas are a joy to explore, even if we end up running back and forth through them in the MSQ a bit too much. Lastly, the raid gear is a standout with new VFX that is very hit or miss. I’m a fan of the Caster gear, especially as the top and bottom of the robe are separate and give some opportunity for more diverse glamours. I’d like to see them continue to experiment though, that’s for sure.
Rook: The overall presentation of Buried Memory is phenomenally done. In the 8-man raids and beyond, the new music is of the highest quality and sure to be on loop for most players once it’s released. The small, new area in the Void gave us the feeling of going to new lands without needing an expansion to deliver them in fully realized zones. Meanwhile, additional details such as fresh dialogue that can be found if you’ve done the void quests from Shadowbringers as well as mysteries appearing in the sky of Ultima Thule enhance 6.2’s initial impression further.
There were some issues regarding instancing problems with Island Sanctuary and a bug involving rare animal spawns, but overall the polish and presentation of Buried Memory was incredibly strong.
Now out of Beta
Fusionx: Adventurer plates are now out of beta and fully released. However, many of the issues I had with their design are still present. Mirroring where your image shows up will still cover up other elements. Certain other graphical elements layer oddly when choosing the various elements. Other than adding some new visuals, including ones for Ultimate clears, this still feels unfinished. The gameplay section with the weird little tic-tacs also still feels odd, like they didn’t know what else to put there.
We also saw the next step in the Tataru questline. It wasn’t earth shattering by any means, but it was a fun little romp that let you revisit with some characters that didn’t have as big of a role to play in the larger narrative of Endwalker.
Xenedra: I said I’d reserve my judgement for the Pandaemonium gear until I could see it on my model… and I did: I actually like the aiming set. I didn’t expect to because that’s normally not my jam, but there aren’t any complaints from me. The crafted gear is nice, if very reminiscent of gear we’ve already seen. When it comes to the new dungeon gear, I’m not terribly fond of it. The aiming set here seems to be the worst, it looks like I’m wearing a trash bag- no thanks.
I love that crafters can, once again, fix gear for their friends! Now I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping that one day we can change jobs in dungeons to complete the rest of those 1.0 quality of life inclusions.
Aldianaux: We get solid additions to the glamour horde and a decent number of extra slots in our dresser. Though… doing the math, if you picked up every piece of gear added in this patch and stuffed it in there you’d run out of space again- so maybe don’t do that.
I tend to lump job balance into this final section as it doesn’t really matter for most of the content in the game. This patch added the awaited crit/direct hit buff changes that lift the majority of DPS Jobs up in damage output. It is early in the patch, but there is a sentiment in the community that a few jobs and maybe even a whole role are a little under tuned. I confess to feeling this myself as one of these unlucky jobs. This is a relatively minor concern and gear will smooth this over for less high-end raiders. Though, I am holding out hope for some adjustments along with 6.25 and the inclusion of variant dungeons,
Rook: The rest of the inclusions with 6.2 weren’t game changing, but they did successfully round out a very solid patch. A variety of completely new gearsets, furnishings, cosmetics, Ultimate portrait rewards, special effect Primal weapons, and mounts have given the player base plenty of rewards to acquire. The Tataru sidequest offers a fun diversion and reminder of NPCs from expansions past. Lastly, the inclusion of being able to repair others’ gear is a welcome quality of life change.
Patch 6.2 does a great job of showing how Final Fantasy XIV can evolve with the addition of Island Sanctuary, and one of the fastest paced fights we’ve seen. With the addition of a new dungeons system coming with 6.25, the game is doing a great job of creating content for all types of players.
Images courtesy of Square Enix.