Final Fantasy XiV: A Realm Reborn Part 1

July 25, 2014 in Console, Other, PC, PlayStation, Reviews, Tech and Game News

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.

 ARR_FFXIV_Logo

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!

Eorzea-map

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?

 1366916796-2 wow-subscriber-counts-drops-considerably

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.

 FFXIV_ARR_B3_CharacterCreation_Races1-1024x574 ffxiv2013-06-2214-04-04-44

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.

Edda PChYChm

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.

 FFXIV-Sastasha-Dungeon-Guide (4) sastasha-seagrot

Don’t get me wrong, not all dungeons are dark. this is one of the latest additions, Hull Breaker Isle

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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.

 garuda ifrit ramuh titan

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.

bindingcoil

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.

Sparx Out

12 responses to Final Fantasy XiV: A Realm Reborn Part 1

  1. That is one hell of a post… Holy shit I now want the game soo much! I never really got to look at it at all so this post explaining how it actually is really sparked up my flame for it 🙂 I love RPG’s but this just sounds fantastic!

    • its only worth it if you like paying for a sub to their services, and I played the game and found it not worth the sub.

      • it depends what you look for in a game. i like games that no matter what i do i can’t beat it, so the sub is spot on for me, £20 for 2 months is a steal in modern MMO’s and they are constantly adding content month to month so theres never a shortage of content, get in the right FC and you’re laughing. me and my other half just paid to move servers to join up with a few of our in game friends, joined the FC they’re part of and in a day and a half, we’ve been in more end game raids and end game content in the last 24 hours than we have in the past 2 months on our old server.

  2. Sparx this part of a review wasn’t as long as I was expecting – however it was a good read. Do you think the game will last a long time, not like WOW length – but more than a year?

    • its almost a year old at this point, i think october is the year anniversary and i’ve got tickets to the fan fest for me and Minx, they’re always adding content, at least every other month so there is always plenty to do, the first expansion is being unveiled at the fan fest as well. so thats going to be interesting to see first hand. they have a plan all the way up to 4.0 the game is currently in patch 2.3, with 2.4 due out in september, 3.0 sometime next year so they have a 4 year plan set for the game, and the amount of content so far is overwhelming, there is still content in the game i haven’t seen yet, but that could just be down to my laziness of not doing pre-requisites. but they have plans for a lot more in the coming months, finishing up story lines adding more primals, and more beast tribes before we finish with this particular part of Eorzea, the first expansion is rumoured to be in ishgard, which is part of a storyline that starts at level 40 continues in the latest patch and will continue through. they’re adding parts into the game that long time FF fans will appreciate, like the Gold Saucer from FFVII and Crystal Tower which is from FFIII which we’re nearing the end of the story for, which will appear in 2.5, the big rumour at the moment is that the final main battle will appear in 2.4 with the third coil of bahamut, where we’re expecting to fight Bahamut himself. which will be interesting to see how that plays out. but they never stop with teases and updates on what they’re doing, at least every 2 weeks theres another update from the dev team, they are insanely vocal about what they’re doing and listen to the feedback well. there’s too much to delve into in one post, so there’s going to be a fair number going into the different aspects of the game. how classes work, the dungeons and their stories, etc. the game is full of story. and its awesome. well worth the sub fee.

      • also the weird gif is part of a storyline that starts at level 16 and ‘ends’ in the latest patch, but they’ve said they aren’t finished with it yet, so theres still more to come from that. what i’m going to do is get some videos of the final bosses in each dungeon, as i level up my archer, so you can see how a boss fight plays out. especially with the later fights which i may have to bring out my dragoon or healer for, as it won’t be nearly geared high enough to be any good in them.

  3. I was on the fence about this game when you mentioned it in one of your earlier posts this year and i kinda am still doubting but i really like the look of it and the fact that it is so open world. The only thing that stops me always, after experiencing this with EVE online is the fact that it takes up all my time. I noticed that these games are always on my mind when i start playing them and i feel i neglect TLN, now that is not acceptable so…..i really like your review and it does get me pumped up BUT….i just can’t bring myself to buy it.

    for your enjoyment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_4ZXgOZuhs

  4. Freakin awesome post DJSparx, tons and tons of info in here.. Wow.. Great job..

    • there’s more to come with it. classes and jobs are next, then i’ll get primal battles from 1 or 2 perspectives if i can. to sure if i can heal my way through the extreme mode ones yet, but i can definitely do the damage side.

  5. After playing this game since beta phase 3 till about two weeks ago, I can say this game isn’t rly worth the sub fee you pay for it £8.99 a month. Once you reach lvl 50 everything becomes a lot easier now thanks to the new hunt system, everything is handed to you on a plate , which if your a hardcore player kinda makes you bored after a while. I cleared all the new content even turn 9, I even have a second lvl 50 char who is a blackmage. There isn’t anything challenging in the game IMO it would prolly keep you occupied for maybe two or three months, they add new progressive content every 3 months which is usually lasts about a week or two. But that’s my opinion I been playing the game a year so seen it all and paid the ridiculus fee’a each month. I went back to ffxi just cos it’s cheaper and has a lot more content that makes you feel like you’ve achieved something.

    • Also the game is pretty much a copy and paste design of ffxii, though the world in ffxii was a lot bigger than ffxiv which is a shame as ffxiv is a mmo and ffxii is just a single player.

      That aside good review of the game dude

      • Also yoshi p never worked on any previous final fantasy except for rise of the xi last expansion for ffxi, this is his first major final fantasy that he has worked on since joining square enix in 2004

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