Review by rholding2000

"The Game is just Very Slow and a sub par MMORPG to boot"

FFXI, you either love it or you hate it, is the simplest way to describe how you will feel about this game. Personally I find this game to be extremely slow, irritating and absolutely no fun at all..

The sheer fact that Final Fantasy is mentioned in the title, is its own selling point. We have all played a FF game in the past and most agree that they are really great games. Not true with the online version.

Levelling is ‘oh my god' slow and boring, which really is the driving point of all MMORPG's. Making money is again slow and very hard to do. Getting around and fighting is often risky business, which normally results in you dying and maybe having to travel miles before you get to your last spot again.

I've had the game on the PC since it was first released in the UK. I've played and reached a level 30 WAR (Warrior) and got all the standard classes to 15 with a special gained job of BST (Beast Master). I thought I was doing reasonably well in the game. It took me this long to realise. Why was I wasting all this time?

GamePlay

Levelling, as I said is slow, there are means to make your levelling faster but for the best part its really really slow. I wasn't racing the game but I was recently playing the beta with the 360 pad with no keyboard (which was a damn mistake) and it took me 15 hrs to get to level 9 as a WHM (White Mage). I knew what to expect, WHMs are hard to solo as they don't have much armour and don't hit as much. My choices for WHM were simply because with my WAR I found it hard to get into parties at later levels which is what this game solely concentrates on.

I wasted hours asking for groups and trying to make my own but on some days I didn't even get into one. Unless you are a really patient person the only thing you can do in these situations is solo or farm for gil (money) and materials, each as boring as each other as it plays so slow.

Staying on this party situation there were times where I wasn't allowed to join, or refused parties as my gear wasn't good enough. Yes its fair to say it was a little low but it took me at least a week of 4 hrs a day farming and selling to make just enough to replace the lower items of the set. This should give you an idea to the money gain of the game and the price at which this reasonable armour costs. I may have been playing the game all wrong but apart from in the AH (Auction House) I never saw any of these items drop, so I assumed they came as makings from the professions u could take up These again, were difficult, expensive and slow to level up.

“But that's the point!” I hear u shouting: “MMORPG's are supposed to be slow and keep the player playing for a long period of time”, “True”, I answer but a video game must be at least fun and rewarding to the player. I have a degree in games programming and have studied the subject thoroughly. I simply cannot see where the addiction in his particular MMORPG is when I can name three games off the bat, which were more fun in 20 minutes than this game has been in over a year now.

I understand people's opinions are different and I respect that. Genuinely people like this game but I'm confused as to why. The game is unreasonably slow and the makers have the nerve to put a lifestyle warning at the start of the game. You need to invest serious amounts of time into this game to get a to a ‘respected state'.

This game is absolutely in no way made for the casual gamer. If you're the kind of gamer that plays a few hrs a day tops, don't expect to hit past lvl 15 in the game for a good few weeks, and believe me, that's the level you must be to take part in the real party aspect of the game.

This party aspect again is of the most boring gaming experiences I've ever played. You get 6 members together, camp in a spot and pull the same damn enemy (possibly 2 different) for 4 or 5 hrs just to gain a few levels so you can move to a new area and do it again for even longer. At lvl30 I was levelling 1 level once every 4 hrs without a band for extra xp (I'm not entirely sure if they were available when I first got the game but don't worry they only last a short while and cant be activated after their time is spent for about a 3rd of a day).

The tactics of these parties never change, just make sure the healer and back up healer know what they re doing. You can make use of the TP system but unless you understand it or have a mic for the game (not included - 3rd party software needed) all the party just use their abilities when they hit a 300% state.

Extras and Community

Now lets get to the community. With the 360 beta, levelling and money making is even harder now as there are more people out there. If you find an enemy, you better make sure you get to it quick or some range attacker may steal it. This wont be so much of a problem however as the players will be distributed over servers, which is both a good and a bad thing, but either way the game will still play slow and it will be boring.

The bad bit of this is that fewer players on the servers means less chance to party. Also, the level of idiocy on the server depends on how much things sell for. For example, the two servers I could actually play on which never had more than 1300 people playing at a time had different sale prices for the same things. Crystals, which play a big aspect in some of the professions were going as little as 100g a stack (not at all a lot, a stack is 12) to 800g a stack. This presents the problem with people not being able to make money quick as selling crystals is the majority of your income.

Going back to the “We wont let you in this party as your gear is rubbish” comment. Full armour sets, later on in the game, can cost you 350,000g. I'm totally serious. I think that's how much I paid for the lvl30 armour on my server. The downside to this is to make money you sell things that later on you will need like the crystals I mentioned.

Getting back to the community, depending on the server there is so much spam in the channels its really difficult to see anything without modifying your text logs. FF fans will surely be disappointed with this game. I certainly was and I loved every second of all of the others, yes-even Crystal Chronicles was ok for a little while. The community as well never answer your questions. I continually saw people ask for help and not a single person answered them. They repeated the same message for at least an hour. I would have answered them but at the time of this review I was re-testing the game on the 360. My frustration with the game prompted this review in the hope to save some people a lot of time and money.

Other annoying aspects of the game are the bag slots and amount of stuff you can carry. Your character has 16 armour and weapon slots, which are included in your inventory as space, so really if ur kitted out you have 14 spots left. You do have another 30 slots or there about in your bank, which is again so out of the way in most cases it's a job and half to get to the bank. No wait! No its not you'll soon be dead and back to your home point. Just as long as you have your home point set to a capital city.

Going back to your personal inventory though, you soon realise that you haven't got much space for items. For example, there are a number of different crystal types that you may want to keep so these take a slot but stack in 12's. Wind, water, fire, lightning, earth and dark are the main types so that's an extra 6 slots gone. You may be on a mission or quest that requires you to collect items such as skins, meat or drops from animals, these take spaces as well. By the time you've hit level 8 you will be having serious bag trouble, which then means a long walk back to the bank or lose items that you cant carry. You could blood port, which is getting killed by a creature to go back to your home point, but this results in a loss of xp and you could have been killing or hunting for 20 mins for the xp you lose from dying. Absolutely atrocious, I know.

Some More game play

The fighting is also dull. Depending on your class you pretty much run up, press attack and watch. You can cast a few things if you are a caster or use some weapon abilities but basically the method of play is, see target, click on target, click on attack button, run close and watch. More time is wasted with the check target. You must before you attack anything in the game check it to see if you have even half of a chance against it. It's no fun getting killed by a rabbit. The checking of targets reveals how it is matched to you, and believe me as a WHM it's very deceiving. A ‘decent challenge' is pretty much what they mean by an ‘even match', where an even match is pretty much death if you go solo. Lets not get into ‘incredibly tough' and the ‘target cannot be determined'.

Classic FF games used various items to help with mana and life. In this game unless you are a very keen player you'll probably never have enough money to get the potions to help, but I've got to say as you gain level and hit the 20 mark money does come a little faster as u can kill most things with one hit reducing a bit of farming time. No experience gain though and no crystal drop for targets that are seen as no challenge at all, ”not worth your while”, the checker says.
I almost forgot, when you engage in battle and lose life, to recharge you must sit down. 100hp and 176 mana takes 60 seconds to recharge, doesn't sound like a lot but when you have to do this after every three fights or so, it really does bore the life out of you.

After a total time of 12 months of the game I never really had any fun. All the time it seemed I was too low to do anything and never had the money to buy anything and I'm one of those who will grind the same spot for hours and hours. I must have logged over 2 or 3 months of my life. I mostly made my cash from selling rabbit hides and meats which had a fairly healthy price on my server, but to get the money for really high level things you need to do this for a whole weekend or about 20 hrs, not much fun I tell you.

Even the missions and quests in FFXI are mundane and boring. The most exciting bit was fighting one of the first real bosses a dragon but I found it hard to get a reliable party that wouldn't constantly say BRB every 20 seconds and be gone for 10 minutes and/or not move to location or quit out. I disciplined myself to certain tasks and made sure I have 4hrs at least to play with no moving unless for toilet. The amount of time wanted to you by other players is a complete joke, as without them you cannot do anything in this game.

My girlfriend who plays WOW, would you believe, watched me now and again and enquired about what the hell I was doing: “you have been stood there all day long”, she would say, “killing rabbits” I would answer.

I knew the game was rubbish when I really couldn't tell her what the point of it all was. Where as with WOW you instance, get gear, fast money, fast gains, fighting, action and well, great game. I'm so frustrated with FF, a game I have bought entire consoles (waiting for ps3 stand alone game if there is to be one) for FF games alone.

It's a real shame for me because I so wanted this game to be good.

Extras and good points

When you take out the game play there are some good features in the game. The graphics, music and models are decent. However, a very limited selection of models and environments are very good and suit the game

There is a very clever universal talking mechanism, which makes talking to foreign players quite easy. Many players on my servers were Japanese and I made some excellent friends and could communicate adequately with the system Square-Enix had made there. Very good guys, good innovation, sadly I didn't like the rest of your game.

A big No

Golden rule. However tempting it may seem. DON'T BUY GIL!! Although with this game I agree 100% that it will make the gaming experience a lot better and not to mention easier.
Overall

A stupidly slow and boring game, with one of the most expensive monthly charges. To play this game and get to a decent level will indeed take you months and you probably will gain no satisfaction from it.

Setting up the game from straight out of the box will probably take you near 4hrs, as there are so many updates required.

Please. No matter what the urge, get another online game if you crave one, as this is just an absolute and total waste of anyone's time.





Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 03/09/06


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