Developer: Square Enix Product Development Division 3
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PC, PS3 (in the future PS4)
Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn – Review
After all the bad reviews and critics Square Enix received about FFXIV, they decided to tear down the game and build it again from scratch, keeping the elements that people did like from what some called a disaster. And thus FFXIV: A Realm Reborn was born. This time the MMO was so much better received by the audience, that the predicted amount of servers needed to run the game wasn’t nearly enough at all. There were days the servers were so full that it was impossible to log in. They had to add servers to keep the game run smoothly and to allow everybody to log in. But now all those launch problems seem to be resolved. Square Enix really outdid themselves on the relaunch of their MMO, sparing no costs at all. And it seems it’s finally paying off.
The story of the game takes place several years after the story of FFXIV (the critically acclaimed bad first version of the game). Your character, the protagonist of the story, is somehow connected to what happened back then. You arrive at Eorza and then they explain you what an adventurer can do. After you’ve helped some people and slayed some beasts, some people will start to recognize you and your abilities and will approach you to ask for help. This is how the ball starts rolling and you’re caught up in the greatest adventure of your life. One fact about the game that is really cool, is that during the main story you’ll get flashbacks of things that happened in v1.0 of the game. This allows new players to better understand the story. The story is really a big part of the game, unlike in some other MMO’s where it is less important.
The game looks absolutely stunning, there aren’t many MMO games out there with these kind of graphics. They reworked their entire graphics engine and the result is definitely showing. The movies are as to be expected of a Final Fantasy game.
They also added a night and day cycle which adds a lot of atmosphere to the game. The weather system is one of the best I have ever seen in a game. One moment the sun is shining, then it gets all cloudy and it starts to rain. Even lightning strikes once in a while. The only minor point was that you didn’t leave footprints in the snow.
Although this is all true for the PC version of the game. The PS3 version looks a lot less smooth but that is to be expected from a console which is much more limited than a PC.
The music of the game deserves a perfect score. I do not know how they manage it, but they have the perfect piece of music for every aspect of the game. Nobuo Uematsu really outdid himself as main composer for this game. If you bought the Collector’s Edition you surely will be very happy with the soundtrack that is included, so you can listen to the music wherever and whenever you want.
The special effects sounds, for the skills, spells, character noises, weather etc. are also extremely well done. In other games they can be irritating after a while and then you use the option to turn them off. In this game however I have never had that idea cross my mind.
You start out with creating your character. Which can take some time as there are more than enough options to choose from. First you have to choose your race and gender. Then there are a million options to change your appearance. It took me a while to change the appearance of my character to perfection. You also have to choose your first class. But once you get through that, you can finally start with the game. You’ll get a nice intro movie, followed with some explaining. After this you can begin the game by fulfilling quests. Once you’ve reached a certain level, you can undertake your first class quest. Upon completing these class quests you get better gear as a reward. There is a new class quest every five levels. If you can’t choose which class your character has to be, don’t worry. This game allows you to be all classes with one single character. You do not have to start a new character like in other MMO’s to play as another class. This makes this game so brilliant. To change class you just have to equip the right gear and you are ready to go. And to make it even more easy you can create gear sets, so just choose the right set with one click and off you go.
Another positive point about one character with all classes is that you can use a number of skills from another class with your current class. So combining the right set of skills really can save your life or someone else’s at dangerous times.
But playing as another class certainly is not repetitive as each class has its own unique way of working. But this is all very well explained in the game, so that even players who are new to the MMO genre are able to fully understand the way it works.
The game can be played solo as well as with others. If you’re playing solo then sometimes you’ll be forced to play with strangers as there are quests that can only be completed in groups of 4 or larger. But with the use of the Duty Finder you’ll find the other players you need in no time. Guildhess, dungeons and bosses usually require a party as well. But you’ll probably end up in a free company, this is a group of people you play a lot with and eventually will always form a party with to do certain quests and events.
When running around the map, you’ll regularly encounter fates. These are a kind of quest everyone can participate in if they are in the area when the fate spawns. These fates are a fun addition to the game and also a nice way to earn XP.
What is also really great is that PC players and PS3 players are on the same server, so they can play together.
The controls for the keyboard are spot on. Square Enix has created a brilliant way to play an MMO with a keyboard. The controls for the controller are also well designed but I found them a bit uncomfortable at times, for example targeting an enemy with the d-pad did not work that great. Sometimes you are almost dead before you could target the enemy that was attacking you. But all together I was surprised that they could make such a great interface for a controller, I never thought an MMO could actually be played like this.
I will conclude my review here as I can go on and on about this game, but I want you to explore the game itself and experience its greatness yourself.
This game has it all, great story, great soundtrack, great graphics and a great gameplay. And on top of that a great community, I seldom encountered people who started raging when somebody else was not doing his job right. Instead they explained the person what to do and then the quest went a hundred times better. Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn is one of the best MMO’s I’ve seen in the last years. It has the potential to become one of the greatest, if not the greatest MMO of the moment. So my advice to you is try it out, you’ll love it!