Review by baweted

"Great MMORPG game"

Final Fantasy. Not many games can say they have a title more famous. But with fame comes expectations, which are usually obscenely high. When any famous name tries to do something that detours from the their standard it always makes those who like their original ideas wonder, “can they make a good game for this genre, as they did for the others?” All I can say is yes, yes they can.

FFXI being my first foray into MMORPG’s I was a little skeptical as to whether I would even like the genre. I figured if I was going to try something new I should at least do it with a name that I trust, and let me tell you I have no regrets.

GRAPHICS – The graphics in FFXI are far better then I imagined. I have a g-force 4 64mb graphics card and they are great. I expected a game with this many people on it to have poor graphics and slowdown, but slowdown really isn’t an issue. Well I should clarify, it helps a lot to have a high speed internet connection, but it isn’t necessary. The game caps everyone’s connection at around the speed of a 64k modem. While this may sound like a bad thing it actually works quit well. The cap makes it so everyone is running at close to the same speed, so no one seems to lag when compared to others next to them. This is extremely important because you will be working in groups the vast majority of this huge game. Also it helps very much to turn the weather effects off. The occasional fog and sand storm really tax your comp, and cause lag no matter what hardware you are using.

SOUND – The music, while not extremely great, does serve its purpose, it is very nice background music. Nothing really note worthy, but nothing annoying either. The sound effects are good also, although a bit generic. Also you will hear the same sound effects over and over again. All in all the sound doesn’t hurt the game, but it doesn’t help it any either.

STORY – Believe it or not there is actually a story in this game. While the majority of your time will probably be spent leveling and making money, there is a story and it is good. There are plot twists and character development that really help to make you feel you’re apart of another world. The only complaint I can make about the story is, while there are a huge amount of side quests you can do to get some little individual stories, the main missions that you undertake to advance the main story are spread out quit far. You can do the first two ranks worth of missions at around level 10 or so, but the mission to get the third rank is doable at around level 25. The time it takes to get from level 10 to 25 varies with everyone but it will be a good amount of time, usually a week if you play fairly often. It’s hard to keep a story going if it only progresses every few weeks. And the plot developments only get farther apart from there.

GAMEPLAY – This is where the game can be a godsend for some, and a nightmare for others. THIS GAME TAKES A HUGE AMOUNT OF TIME COMMITMENT. If you are a very casual gamer and only have an hour or so a day to play, this very likely is not the game for you. Almost everything in the game will take a lot of time to do, the highest on the list being leveling and making money. Leveling after about level 15 is near impossible, save a few exceptions. You will have to find a group and level with them. Just finding a group can take some time, and it gets increasingly longer the higher your level becomes, because there are less people. This can very greatly depending on your job because there is more demand for certain positions in a party, i.e. bards get invites very fast, and fighter classes usually wait longer. You will also need money to buy new equipment every so often, and when your level starts getting up there, it ain’t cheap. So the average player spends around 60% time leveling, 35% time making money somehow (there are many different ways), and the other 5% doing quests and missions. If, however, you have some time to play then the possibilities are limitless on things you can do. In all seriousness there is far too much to do in this game for any one person to do in years worth of time. The Japanese have had this game for around two years already and while they may have leveled one or more jobs to level 75 (the current limit), I assure you they are far from experiencing everything this game has to offer. While you most likely not enjoy all the different things that you can do in this game, there are so many of them it doesn’t matter. At first it may all seem rather overwhelming, but if you just keep playing and trying new things, you will find something you really like to do. Unlike many other MMORPGs you can change your job at any time, at a mog house (in every major city). This means that if you start as a white mage and you find you don’t like being the healer in battles, all you have to do is change your job to something else. Your jobs always stay at the levels you left them at, so you wont be playing all that time for nothing. I don’t know one person playing who has stayed with their first job for most of their playtime. This also helps everyone to understand what others roles are in a party. The warrior you’re fighting with could have a black mage at level 68, so he knows what you need to do and can help from experience.

The world is huge and there is so much to explore, it will take you awhile to travel from place to place, but that is one of the things that make the in game world seem even more realistic.

The only negative to the game play would be the fact that the battles you fight while trying to gain levels can get very repetitive. You will often be doing the exact same tactics, with the exact same jobs, on the exact same type of monsters for most of the time.

DIFFICULTY – This game is not so much difficult as it is time consuming. Nothing you do will be extremely skill dependant. Even when you are a beginner, all you have to do is ask for help, most people are glad to help someone else out (just don’t be a jerk). The other way most learn is to listen to the advice of others. When you are in your first party your not going to know the best way to do things, but it’s very likely that someone in your party has been playing for a while. They will offer you tips on what to do and tell you what’s important, all you have to do is listen and obey. The only complaint veterans usually have about newbs is that they don’t listen.

REPLAYABILITY – Playing a MMORPG is all about replayability. You will not do everything in this game inside of a few YEARS of constant playing. Also Square-Enix is constant

CONCLUSION – In the end from what I have seem of other MMORPGs FFXI is the best. If you like MMORPGs or have been wanting to try one out, I highly recommend FFXI. I would give this game a 9 of 10, and it keeps getting better.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/01/04

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