Review by vgmaster88

"A really good game definatly worth playing."

As of now, I've been playing FF XI for one week, and from what I've seen it's a very excellent game. I'm not going to turn this review into something that reviews each little section and gives individual scores for things like graphics, storyline, controls, gameplay, and etc. I'm going to try to keep this review on the game as a whole, but I will talk about individual parts a little bit.

Moving on, when you first join the game, you have a huge variety of choices of things to make your character. For starters, you can choose your race, which you can pick between a male/female hume, male/female elvaan, male/female tarutaru, male galka, and female mithra. Each race excels at some things others do not, and each look quite different too. For example, elvaans are really good at having high vitality, strength, and HP, while tarutarus are good at having high Mind, Intelligence, and MP. These add a lot of variety to your characters. You can then add other features to your character, such as character size, the way you want your head to look, and your hair. This makes your character very unique, so you won't have to worry about finding too many clones of you running around. You then get to choose which starting class you want to be. You can choose between a Warrior, Thief, Monk, Red Mage, White Mage, and Black Mage. As most of you will know from playing previous RPGs, the warrior, thief, and monk are basically different kinds of fighters, and the red mage, black mage, and white mages are all different kinds of magic casters. Later on, when you reach level 18, you can also have a subclass. Basically what this does is in addition to your main class, you can have a subclass of another class besides your main one (for example if your main class is warrior you cannot have warrior as your subclass at the same time). This adds even more variety to your character as well. Then, once you reach level 30, you have access to over 10 ''advanced'' classes. When you become an advanced class, you have to start back at level 1, and although advanced classes aren't more powerful than basic classes, they can become very useful later on. With all these different things you can make your character be, you can create EXTREMELY unique characters and offers a ton of variety for people who don't want to be like everybody else and still be strong.

The overall gameplay of this game is very fun, but very challenging. Basically for the first few levels, you go around by yourself killing regular weak enemies to gain levels. Once you reach level 10, though, it becomes increasingly harder to kill monsters by yourself. This forces you to party because weaker monsters will no longer give you any experience whatsoever. This means that you have to find a group of people to party with. This makes the game a lot more challenging, but at the same time more fun because you will find yourself partying and having fun with other people a lot. However, there is some annoyingness to this, will I will explain at the end of this review. In battles, each person has their own little job. The white mages heal people, the warriors attack and provoke to keep the monsters off the mages, and the black mages cast spells on the monsters, and everybody else just attacks with whatever they have, that's how most fights will go. Black mages are constantly casting spells, which they usually find to be pretty fun, and fighters won't be bored with just the same old attack attack attack over again, because they get weapon skills and other skills they get just for being the job they are. These skills make fighting all the more fun, especially since you as a class have a certain job you must fulfill in the fight, which usually involves using as many of your skills as you can to the best of your ability. Some battles can become very fun and intense. The only real boring part is when you solo (leveling by yourself)....but even that isn't so bad, but partying is a LOT more fun.

You also have several other things to do besides fight monsters. You can take part in quests, where you have to fulfill a task for somebody and they will reward you. Sometimes the reward will be small things like gil, while others will open up advanced classes or the ability to use your subclass. You can also take part in conquests, which basically is just where you go around killing monsters, and it helps out your kingdom and allows you to collect crystals which are items greatly needed, and I will explain how in just a minute. Basically the way the conquest helps the kingdom is as you kill monsters, you collect points for your kingdom in that area, and if you get enough points, your kingdom takes over that area in a way. When this happens, merchants around the town will be able to start selling more things at cheaper prices, thus it makes the economy of your kingdom a whole lot better. You also get points for participating in the conquest that allow you to trade them for certain items or equipment which will prove to be VERY useful to you. The crystals you obtain from it are used for item synthesis. This adds a whole set of other things you can do in the world of FF XI besides fight and kill monsters. You can learn to do arts which allow you to create armor made from clothes, metal, and other things. You can also learn to fish, cook, and do other things. As you do these more and more often, you become better at it, and succeed at it more often. This can make you really good money later on to better equip you. The other major events you can take place in besides the conquest and the quests, are missions. These basically advance the story of FF XI in your point of view. Everybody in your particular kingdom will all get the same missions, and in the same order as well. As you do missions, the storyline advances and your rank in society which can determine prices that NPCs sell you items will increase. Your rank in society is also just a nice thing to raise. You will come across many challenging missions, some requiring you to fight all powerful bosses, which can be extremely challenging, and you will definitely need a party for most of them. There's so many things to do in FF XI besides leveling up, that makes it a very interactive game, and not just mindless hacking and slashing.

The graphics of this game are VERY nicely done for an MMORPG. There is so much eye candy in this game that it's probably the best out of any MMORPG I've played thus far. This is about as high quality as it gets in the MMORPG world. The world of FF XI is huge too, there is so much to explore, and so much scenery to view, so many dungeons to conquer, and etc. This isn't the type of game where you'll play it for a few days, and know your way around the whole world, it takes a very long time of active playing to start to know your way around, and even then you probably won't have seen every area there is to see. The music and sounds in this game are above average. I have heard better from final fantasy, but it's not bad by any means, way above the standard, and I find the battle music to be really nice. It's also pretty easy to control the scenes and everything for the most part. Although getting into battles involves hitting the enter button on your keyboard a few times, clicking your mouse a few times, or hitting a button on your game pad a few times, instead of once or twice, there isn't anything that needs to be complained out. There are a ton of macros you can set to allow you to set ''hotkeys'' for skills, so you don't have to select them from the menu whenever you want to use it. You can just hit ctrl/alt + whatever number you set it to, and you'll use the skill. It's very simple, and doesn't take long to figure out. There are a few little quirks in the controls, but overall it is very easy and not as confusing as some of the other games I have played, by any means.

One of the last things I have to say about FF XI before I finish the review, is the one most annoying thing about FF XI I have noticed so far, and it's pretty darn annoying. Unless you party with people within a level of you, or at your level, the experience points will be distributed very poorly and the lower level people in the party will get VERY bad experience points. You cannot help a friend level up if they are more than a few levels below you, and although there isn't a level range for partying, this makes sharing with friends very hard, unless you always stay around the same level, which can be pretty tough sometimes. Other than that though, the other flaws are all pretty minor and none outweigh the overall greatness of this game. Wrapping this up, I'll have to say although this game isn't perfect, no game is, and every game will have it's flaws, the important thing is that this game's flaws don't outweigh it's overall greatness. I would recommend this game to anybody who can afford to play online games, has a decent amount of free time, patience, and is a fun of anything RPG/adventure/fantasy related. You will find yourself occupied for hours on end enjoying this game, and as far as I'm concerned, it is definitely one of the better MMORPGs out there at the moment.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/08/03

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