Review by Absinthe
"Remember when games were fun?"
Intro: Final Fantasy has quite a history, few other games have this kind of legacy, and while I myself have been disapointed with the series since FF7 I've decided to give this one a try, if for nothing else than FF1, FF3, FF4, and FF6 all rank among some of the best games I've played. Something that was a first for me here, however, was the world of MMOPRG's of which I had never played before, so this review might as much be about this game type in general as well as staight up being about FFXI.
Gameplay: Completly unlike any other FF, combat is, I suppose semi real time but sort of bland I think, find something, hack at it and hope it runs out of HP before you do, thats the general idea. What can really be problematic for combat is grouping or partying up with other players for the good of everyone.
This is one of the big flaws, even though it sort of isn't really with the game itself. In hours upon hours, that became days upon days of playing, out of dozens of groups I've been in, perhaps two of those were composed of people who were not morons. Now I realize that some younger kids play this, but it can get really frusterating when everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off calling one another 'noobs'. It gets old fast.
My second flaw with the gameplay is how hard it is to level, and I understand the concept here: The longer you take to level, the more monthly fee's you pay (in theory). I've heard that this is an issue with most if not all other MMORPG's so I guess there's no luck with that anywhere you go. What really kills me about this is that combat is so bland and reptitious that it (for me at least) starts to feel like work.
I could pick apart most aspects of the gameplay one at a time but for the sake of keeping this review to the point I'll make this my last note on gameplay: custimization, it isn't there. You can change the layout of your house and choose what furnature goes in it, but there isn't (currently) that much variety. If you are say a Paladin on levl 40, your probably exactly the same as every other level 40 Paldin in the game. Not to a point, you can change your sub job, (though only a few will really be worthwhile to any given main class) and you have your selction of race, but ultimatly, choosing a race that is handicapped in magic isn't going to be a good move. So your choices are rather limited.
Story: I haven't really found one yet, the basic backdrop is that evil is trying to destroy the world (how many times have we seen that before?) and only you and...well...thousands of other players can stop it.
Graphics/Sound: These can be lumped together, I don't find either remarkable really. The visuals seem uninspired to me, not like the sweeping worlds that we saw in FF8 or even in the now oldschool Chrono Trigger. Sounds are the same, good enough but not remarkable.
Play Time/Replay: It's endless, you could spend your whole life leveling up every class and doing every last item fetching quest. You could work every skill from fishing to blacksmithing (and at least half a dozen others) up to their max and even waste brain cells trying to role play with people who send you /tell messages that read like this: ''u r a noob, don't you C?''
Final Thoughts: To me, this game (or perhaps MMORPG's as a whole) simply isn't fun. It doesn't have anything that I've seen so far that makes me excited to play. It feels more like hard work, you have to put in hours upon hours to get anything done, quests are mostly just fetching things for NPC's...leveling takes endless patience and even so doesn't seem rewarding.
If this type of game is your cup of tea, then you may just need to disreguard everything I've said here, but then if you've played MMORPG's before and haven't liked them so far, FFXI isn't going to change your mind about them. I would suggest the game only to those who know what their getting into. I wouldn't even suggest it for die hard Final Fantasy fans, because the game really isn't like the rest of the series in any way, sure there are Red Mages and Dragoon's, but that's about the limit of the simularities.
Pro's: Lots to do, and will help you kill lots of time if that's what you need.
1. Low custimization
2. Uninspired Graphics
3. Unremarkable Sounds
4. Town Quests are mostly fetching tasks
5. Leveling is tedious and well boring.
6. Gives me a general feeling of *YAWN*
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 04/20/04
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