Review by Lucied1
"Welcome to Vana'diel. You'll enjoy your stay."
Final Fantasy XI, the first in the series to ever go online. Square's decision to make this an MMORPG will enthrall some, and greatly disappoint others.
Final Fantasy XI is an online-only game. Meaning no offline mode at all, unless you enjoy the login screen. You can choose between 5 different races, and a variety of different jobs (classes for all you avid MMORPG players). The jobs play all their roles similar to other online games. You have healing jobs, melee jobs, magic jobs and various support jobs to keep you busy for a long time.
Players also have a place called a ''mog house'' in their starting town that lets them store items, change jobs and even send items to friends across Vana'diel. And, as the name implies, the house has a little Mog right in the middle.
You're probably thinking ''How can you give the story a perfect 10 if the game is online only?'' The answer is, MMORPGs aren't really meant to shine in the story department, but Square-Enix went an extra step and gave us all a nice little plot.
The main idea of the story is it is now the crystal era in Vana'diel, and chaos is striking the land. Monsters have been appearing out of nowhere, courtesy of the evil ''Shadow Lord''. The five races of Vana'diel, all hailing from the three towns known as Bastok, Windurst, and San'Doria, must form an alliance to defeat the Shadow Lord and his minions to return piece to the land.
The races include the Elvaan, a tall, slender race with pointy ears, who have made their home in the Kingdom of San'Doria and specialize in fighting skills.
Mithra, the half-human half-cat race that is mostly female, with the exception of a few males lurking around. They tend to live in the federation of Windurst, and they specialize in attacking quick and being sneaky.
Galka, a huge brute-like race that consists of only males. They live in the republic of Bastok and specialize in fighting head-on.
Taru-Taru, the little dudes. They stand 2 feet from the ground and can deal some major damage. They tend to live in the federation of Windurst, and they specialize in magical attacks and healing.
Hume, just as the name sounds, they are humans. There's nothing extra special about them, theey are average in every skill department so they don't excel at anything, but they aren't bad at anything either. They tend to live in the republic of Bastok.
All I can say is, wow. The graphics for this game are simply amazing, especially for an MMORPG. They are pretty much on par with Final Fantasy X, and there is barely any polygon spikes at all. I give them a 9/10 however because i think they could do a little more work on detaling the character faces.
Ahh yes, gameplay. The category that makes or breaks a game. It also happens to be the area Final Fantasy XI excels in the most.
One of the core aspects of FFXI is leveling up. Yes, it is like other MMORPGs in the sense that it takes a long long time to level up, but they've made it a bit more fun and challenging. Thanks to some very well composed music tracks, leveling can be very fun if you play right. During the higher levels, you will need to group with other players to level up, this group is called a ''PT''. Most of your time will probably be spent leveling up, I'll admit it. However, there are various other things you can do.
Tradeskills make an appearance in this game, and they can be very interesting or just very boring, depending on how you look at it. If your kingdom is in the lead of the reagion (explained later) you can find various crystals on monsters. These crystals can then be used to create weapons, potions, clothes, you name it. There are so many possibilites with tradeskills it would take a looong time to make everything.
Conquest is also another interesting feature in this game. Your character starts out in one of the three kingdoms. If more people from your kingdom have killed monsters in a certain region than any other kingdom, your nation will be in the lead of that region, allowing you to get crystals from the monsters. You will need to get ''signet'' cast on you to gain conquest points. these points can also be traded for various weapons and armor.
Missions and quests are here, like many other MMORPGs. the difference between the two, however, is this. Quests are like little assignments you can get from various NPCs (Non player characters) and you get rewarded with a few items. Missions, on the other hand, are very important quests that raise your rank, which then allows you to get more luxury such as riding an airship.
Once your job hits the 18th level, you get a thing called a sub-job. An example is if you make it to level 18 with a black mage, you could sub a white mage to level 9 and you would have the abilities of an 18 black mage and a 9 white mage.
Combat isn't very advanced or complex. For casters, you select your target, go to the spell list, and can then cast the spell. Melee classes go up to the enemy, turn on auto attack, and pretty much wait while selecting various commands like skills, etc.
Being an MMORPG, the game never ends, so it's kind of hard to replay it, but there are so many things for you to do, you'll never run out of stuff to do. And with Square adding more expansions, there's even more things for you to do.
Overall, I award Final Fantasy XI a 10/10. If you are a hardcore MMORPG fan, or just a normal fan of the series, get this game, you'll love it. Don't be turned off by the monthly fee or the fact that it's onlne-only, these features only make it better.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/15/03
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