Final Fantasy XiV: A Realm Reborn Part 1
What’s going on Talon’s and welcome to a lengthy series starting with a review of Square Enix’s latest MMO outing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Before we get into the review, a little backstory on the game. Originally the game came out nearly 3 years ago, under the title of Final Fantasy XIV, however the community were not happy with the title, deeming the quests too short and too few, the story sub par and the gameplay somewhat boring and not fun, 3 things that will kill an MMO before it starts. Fast-forward a year. The game is taken down (in a glittering Spectacle no less, the grand Primal Bahamut, well, desimates the entire world, kills ALL the characters, and breaks the core server (they ended the game with something they knew would destroy a server. That is pretty cool), the old Producer is fired and enter Yoshi P. For those of you who don’t know who Yoshi P is, he is the man behind Final Fantasy’s 7, 8, 10 and 11, Maybe not always in a producer role, but always as part of the dev team. So he knows his customers. A Year after the game was taken down, Square announced something that no-one was expecting, FFXIV was coming back, met with obvious skepticism they also announced that there would be a fully functioning Beta, and they were sending keys out, now. I checked my inbox, and I had a key, I had never played FFXIV before, I wasn’t in the original game, so why do I get a key? Who cares, new MMO? On my PS3? Sign me up. The beta was fun, if I remember correctly they had the areas up until level 20 open. So there was plenty to do. The beta ended and in my mind, FFXIV faded into the darkness.
Move forward to February, I’m sat gaming, bored of whatever game I want to play, I check my bank account to see how much I have the day before pay day, £60 enough to buy a new game, so I go to the PS store, sift through the hundreds of crap or already purchased games, and stumble across a price drop that intrigues me, £25 Final Fantasy XIV with 30 days game time. To me £25 for a game that will last a month is a bargain, so I get it. Download it, download a bit more, and a bit more, 4 hours later I’ve signed up, made a character (at this point a conjurer Elezen [Elf]) and jumped head first into the world of Eorzea. July rolls in, I may not be playing that Elezen anymore, but I’m still in the game, and I’m still not bored, and there is still 150 days of sub time left on my account.
Now for the review, this will be lengthy, its an MMO, I can’t review it in a couple of paragraphs. So I hope you’re comfortable, grab a bottle of Gatorade or can of red bull, because I’m about to take you to Eorzea!
Now the first thing to remember is that Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn is an MMO, so I will try my best to explain terms that don’t come up in other games. But until now, the MMO market has had one game that everyone knows, and has possibly tried (especially since it has free to play to level 20 now) and that of course is World Of Warcraft, it is now the standard, there is no single game that has been as successful, sold that many copies, and garnered as many play hours as WoW, I was one of those people back in its release. Played for about 3 years. So how does FFXIV compare to WoW?
If you look at the graphical quality of both games, you instantly see that FF is more mature, it looks more grown up, and looks less like a cartoon. WoW however went with the graphics that will stand the test of time, Cel Shaded looks cool now, and will look cool in 20 years, FF may lose its good looks in a few years time, in some cases, its starting now, but we’ll get to that later on.
Gameplay, its an MMO, you quest, learn the story, fight things, rinse repeat. Standard formula, no changes needed.
Music, honestly, an MMO could ship without music, or any voice acting and I simply would not notice, MMO’s are my escape to a new world, so the music is my own music, I only have sound effects on.
So that’s the little comparison done. Now onto FF on its own, but first, a little story.
When you first enter Eorzea, you’re either on a boat or a carriage being taken to your city state, either Uld’ah, Limsa Lominsa or Gridania. These cities will be your central hub for the entirety of your game time, there are other settlements one of which is very important later in the game, but that’s for another time.
You arrive in your chosen class which range from Gladiator to Conjurer, and everything in between. You’re given your first quests, usually attune to the Aetheryte (magical stones that allow you to transport between areas) in the area and find the market. Nothing too silly. And then you’re on your way. Through a twisting storyline that will see you meet famous adventurers, famous metalworkers and unfortunate groups who will not only shape your journey, but in one case, form a very strange obsession with you.
Throughout the journey you’ll come across a few staples of MMO Quests, kill X amount of Y enemy, but it never feels boring, you’ll always feel like you’re working towards something big, and the quest names (if you know final fantasy) will give you clues as to what’s coming. You’ll also do quests within your class, these teach you new skills you won’t come across otherwise, and form an integral part of the class system in the game. The world feels very much alive, every NPC has something to say, even the unnamed soldiers will talk to you, you wont be able to respond, but still it’s a very nice touch.
Throughout your journey you’ll come across Dungeons, these are instances where you and a party of other adventurers (the title your character is given in the game you can have your own name but its used sparingly and only in scenes where there is no voice acting) and you fight through a linear area with strict objectives to kill bosses, and clear parts of the dungeon before coming face to face with the dungeons main boss. Some of which have very clever mechanics.
Don’t get me wrong, not all dungeons are dark. this is one of the latest additions, Hull Breaker Isle
You’ll also come across the Primals. These are harder bosses who don’t have dungeons before them, and are summoned by the beast tribes, the amalj’aa the Ixali, the U’ghomoro’s and more recently the Sylph’s who summon Ifrit, Garuda, Titan and Ramuh respectively, these fights have 2 or three versions of themselves, the story versions, which are relatively simple to do, the hard mode versions which require a little more thought but can be done easily, and the extreme mode versions, which are some of the hardest fights in the game, and require everybody to be working in sync to overcome their nasty mechanics.
When you hit level 30 with your main class, you are given the opportunity to progress to your job class, which is a more powerful version of your main class, or in one case a completely different role. To do this you must have your main class at level 30 and your sub class at level 15 (for dragoon you need Lancer at level 30 and Marauder at level 15 I’ll go over them all later on). This will allow you to learn more powerful abilities, in time allow you to acquire the best gear in the game, which can generally only be used on a specific job.
On top of all this, there are other things to keep you going, you have your daily quests for the beast tribes. Which will allow you to earn their trust, and at the end acquire a mount from them, a relic questline that allows you to earn your Zodiac weapon, a powerful weapon that is modeled on the warriors of light’s weapons. And Raids, depending on your take on raiding, there are two kinds, there are 24 man raids, of which there are 2 at the moment, which form the first two parts of the Crystal Tower storyline, Labyrinth of the Ancients, and Syrcus Tower, there is also The Binding Coil of Bahamut, a series of 9 raids for 8 players to play, and with the inclusion of a hard mode of the Second Coil of Bahamut (raids 6-9) gives those who wish to participate a very big scope to play through.
In the game there is no overworld PvP, everyone who’s played on a WoW PvP server knows how annoying it is to be leaving the starter area and be killed by some level cap player who’s there to make you feel bad about yourself. That can’t happen in FFXIV, there is PvP but it is in a separate playlist you can enter in the same way you enter dungeons.
In PvP there are 2 main options, Wolves Den a 4v4 arena style combat system that allows 2 teams to fight to the death, and Frontlines, a conquest style game type where you fight with your Grand Company (again more later) against the other two GC’s to win in massive 72 player battles.
I mentioned Grand Companies in the PvP section, so I’ll take a moment to explain those, these are the ‘Factions’ of which there are three (each with their own in game nicknames lovingly given by players), The Order Of The Twin Adder or the snakes, the Immortal Flames or the city folk, or the Maelstrom or the boaties (they’re pirates). These will give you quests which open more dungeons for you to play through and also allow you to purchase exclusive gear to that faction. Aside from those there’s not much these guys do at the moment.
You also have ‘Free Companies’ which are essentially the guilds of the game. A group who want to play together and group up to play through dungeons or in some cases raid together.
There is no good or bad when it comes to FFXIV everyone is fighting for the same thing. So you wont see shouts of ‘For the Alliance’ or ‘For the Horde’ which makes me happy, as it got old very quickly.
In terms of playability, you will NEVER be bored in FFXIV every class can be put on one character, so you’ll never have to make another character. Servers are populated and you’ll easily find a group to play with within the game. But even if you choose to play solo, you will never be short of something to do. If you get bored of fighting, you can choose to craft, if that doesn’t float your boat, you can gather resources to sell, if you’re not feeling that, you will always find something interesting to do, even if its explore. Finding all the small parts of the map is fun, and you never know what you may come across.
Now for the killer, there is a subscription fee, £20 for 2 months, which I don’t mind paying. So before you rush out to buy the game keep that in mind. You can add multiple game cards to your account so you don’t need to keep track of which month you need to add to it, you can buy a couple of them and add more as and when you wish (personally I buy 2 months every month, add it to my account so I’m always at least a month ahead of where I think my subscription will end.)
If I had to give this game a score as the game stands now 9/10 there’s still room for improvement, but they’re constantly working on the game to make it the best it can be. With constant updates as to their progress, new patches at least every month some content filled, some just fixes. They are not stopping with this game, and I’m very happy about that.
one last thing i will leave you with is a video from a you tuber i have grown to not only enjoy but need his content to progress through the harder content in the game, Mr Happy. Here is his video on the last major fight i completed, The Second Coil of Bahamut Turn 1, also known as The Binding Coil of Bahamut Turn 6 click the link and it’ll take you to the video (it won’t let me embed the video)
Stay tuned for more information coming your way about Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, where we will dive into classes next.
Until Next Time Talons.