Review by Zethcarn22
"Gameplay is always more important than eye-candy"
I would call myself somewhat of a MMORPG veteran and in my sincere honest opinion this game is lacking in many areas. Lets begin shall we.
Sounds/Visuals - As to always be expected from Final Fantasy titles they certainly know how to make it look and sound nice, no complaints at all in this department.
I cannot say whether or not the trade skill system in this game is good, I didn't dabble enough with it before I ended up quiting after only playing for a week and now to explain why.
Servers - First of all you are placed on a random server when starting the game, this is to obviously balance out the number of players per server. I'm sure this has already made alot of ''Real life friends'' mad as they have to go out of their way to spend 1000-something Gil to purchase a World pass for their friends to play on the same server as them. Furthermore, the servers are not divided between the Japanese players and the English, so you can very well expect that you will not be able to communicate with half or so of your server, this in turn makes it even harder to get hunting parties going and to also get general help from other players when you first start out.
Controls - As most of you know the game is multi-platform, Computer and PS2. So basically the actions had to be simplified for PS2 controller use. They did not seem to take the extra time to make more practical controls for PC use. This would be lengthy for me to explain, but the controls are just overall horrid, the default ones anyway. Plus I was not even able to reconfigure it the way I wanted to.
Gameplay - The core, the meat, the purpose of any game and this is where I believe it fails most.
First of all lets talk about the Jobs. FFXI is the only game I've seen where not all of the classes or ''jobs'' are available to you from the beginning. You must first play a ''basic job'' up to level 30 before any ''extra jobs'' are even available to you. And If you chose an extra job you must all over again at level 1. Furthermore you must do a quest before you can even select the extra job, and word from a few Japanese players is that you can't even solo the quest until you around level 50 or maybe higher and even then they recommend veteran help.
Next, combat and advancement. From the very beginning its relatively easy to solo and gain some levels. The experience you get per kills seems to stay the same no matter what level you are. For example you get 120 or more exp for tough challenge, 100 for even con, 50-75 for decent challenge, and 10-49 for easy prey. At level 1 you need only about 500 exp to level up, this number progressively gets higher and higher and higher etc. By the time you are level 10 you need about 3500 exp to level and you are still getting the same 25-100 exp per mob and don't forget it also gets progressively harder to solo unless maybe you always keep top notch gear. So sooner or later you will be looking to get into some hunting parties to make it easier for you right? Well sadly and very stupidly there is absolutely NO party exp bonus, This means whatever mobs you are killing they exp is simply sliced in half or thirds, etc. So the only incentive to group is merely to survive and hopefully a bit of fun if your group knows how to play. Don't forget around half the players speak Japanese anyway.
Also when you die the amount of exp you lose is huge and you can also lose your job level. Furthermore hunting is made even harder by making the spawns at most given locations very few and far inbetween. I can go most newbie hunting grounds and alot of the time turn a full 360 degrees and not see a single creature to slay. So basically they try to drag out your exp grinds even more by making you constantly hunt for your prey.
Now I know this review can be seen as vague in alot of ways, as I said I only played for one week before deciding it was total trash. I played EQ for around 3 years and was hoping this would be better. Sorry to say in most honest opinion this game is not worth the effort. At this point I'm looking forward to Horizons and EQ2
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 11/06/03
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