Review by ConejoMonstruo

"Final Fantasy XI, although not similar to other Final Fantasy game, is still an amazing game."

Introduction:
First of all I want to tell you readers something about me. I have tried many games that were hyped up to be more addicting than crack. This list includes World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Monster Hunter, Everquest, Runescape, and a bunch of other MMO's or "addicting games." The only game that I have been addicted to out of these has been Oblivion. So you can tell that I don't get addicted to many video games. This all changed when i entered the world of Vana'diel.

Audio:
I'm sorry to say that the Final Fantasy XI soundtrack does not match up to other Final Fantasy games. The tracks aren't annoying but they are repetitive. There isn't really much to say about the Audio in this game because the sound doesn't matter as much as the gameplay.
Score: 6/10

Graphics:
This category really depends on what you're basing the graphics on. If you're looking for a game with next gen graphics to show off to all your friends on your new 360, this game is NOT the game for you. In fact these are by far the worst graphics on the Xbox 360. The environments and textures are somewhat bland. With this said, you may have skipped ahead and saw the high score that I gave this category. Here is why. I'm grading this category based on the fact that this game IS a PC and PS2 game that came out many years ago. With this said, read the next paragraph as if you were reading it 3 years ago.

Wow! This game is amazing in the graphics department! Square has once again blessed us with beautiful eye candy. The environments are breath taking. The water and the ripple effects when walking through it are jaw dropping. The character models are detailed, but character customization is limited so you will see many characters that look alike. Enemy sprites are also reused a lot. For example, you might become accustomed to how a Wild Rabbit looks like but upon further adventuring you will see a forest hare that looks exactly the same as the Wild Rabbit. I sure wish I could be able to play this game in high definition in the future. That would make the graphics even prettier!
Score: 9/10

Gameplay:
I'm going to take a page out of Nintendo's book and say, "Playing = Believing." I've heard a lot of negative things about Final Fantasy XI but I love it. The gameplay is the only thing that matters. First let me get the negatives out of the way.

This is hard to explain but this game is not a Xbox 360 game. It is a PC/PS2 game played on the Xbox 360 system. There are very few differences between the Xbox 360 version and the PC version. Unlike every other Xbox 360 game, Final Fantasy XI does not have any achievements. This may turn off some gamers. Also it will take you almost 2 hours before you actually get to play. You will have to go through a long process of a series of installations, registrations, and updates. Another negative is the fact that you have to pay for Xbox Live (Xbox Live Silver AND Xbox Live Gold both work) and the monthly fees of the game. The game is $12.95 a month plus an extra dollar for every extra Content ID you purchase (which you use to create extra characters.)

I will not count any of the last paragraph against the game because, in my opinion, it does not take away from the actual playing experience. The actual playing experience is a fantastic one. As I mentioned earlier, I rarely become addicted to one specific video game. This is not the case for Final Fantasy XI. I have only (that's right, I said only) played this game for about 40 hours. The phrase, "I haven't even scratched the surface," doesn't even apply here. In my case, it's more like, "I still have dozens of hours of playing before I come close to even touching the surface." In your case, it's more like, "I haven't even come close to reading the surface of the gameplay category of this review."

There are 5 races that your character can be. The Humes (humans) are average at everything. They're not the worst at any job but they're not the best either. The Elvaans (elves) are good at swordsmanship and thus are great for warriors. The Tarutarus look like kids. They are very short, have the facial features of a 5 year old, and can be described as cabbage patch dolls with a lot of MP. The Galka are big and ape-like. They have high health and defensive and are great for tanking. They can only be male. The female-only Mithra are cat-like creatures.

There are 6 jobs that you start with. You can get more by completing quests later in the game. (Since you'll be playing on the Xbox 360 version of the game, it will come with all 3 expansion packs.) The starting jobs are Warriors, Monks, White Mages, Black Mages, Red Mages, and Thieves. Unlike many MMORPG's you can switch jobs anytime you want. When you level up in the game, you level up that job. For example you can level up your Warrior to level 23, then switch to your monk job and still be level 1.

The battles are obviously different than other Final Fantasy games. They are still slow and to a certain point, turn based. You'll start a battle by targeting an enemy and choosing attack. Then the battle will start. You can control the movement of your character to an extent. You can walk up to the monster after choosing attack but the attacking works differently. Based on a stat on your weapon called delay, you will attack differently. For example, with a great axe you will automatically attack the enemy every 3-5 seconds.

Now to address some other issues. This game has been criticized for its difficulty. This is true. The game is hard, IMO, because of two reasons. One, you can see a rabbit and think you can easily kill it but then get your ass handed to you. Two, as I mentioned enemy sprites are reused. So you will need to remember the names of the monsters and remember they're difficulty. Or you can use the check command and see how tough the monster is before engaging in battle. Another thing that others don't like is how team oriented the game is. In the beginning, you can solo, but later, you will NEED a party to defeat some of the harder monsters. Because of this, you should definitely buy a USB keyboard to communicate with others because the in-game keyboard takes too long.

Besides grinding for experience and gaining money, you can do quests and missions. Quests have a small reward and raise your fame. The game's story progresses through missions. Don't look for an amazing storyline like other Final Fantasy games though. I don't want to spoil much but I can tell you that the story isn't very exciting.

The heart of this game, like any MMORPG, is grinding. You will spend most of your time searching for a party and fighting monsters for experience. But there is so much more than that. You can wander around, exploring the world. You can try to get a bargain at the nearest auction house. Or you can just sit back and have fun with the kind online community. Obviously, many of these things are in any old MMORPG. But Final Fantasy XI, just does it so much better.
Score: 10/10

Conclusion:
This game is so massive that it will consume hundreds of hours of your life. Besides a few things here and there, this is one amazing game and although it's not similar to other Final Fantasy games and isn't a next gen game, do yourself a favor and buy the game.

Overall Score: 10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/18/06


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