"Don't Buy this game, Square-enix is just trying to market it off with the FF name. Save yourself the time and the money."

Allow me to address this game as a step down in MMOG (massive multiplayer online gaming) advancement. It's more of the same like any other MMORPG of today. You WILL NOT find anything new with this, and infact like I said, you will find less then you would in other MMORPGS, regardless of the fact most of them aren't all that good to begin with.

But why would a big company like Square care anymore if their games are mediocre or below? They have a huge enough fanbase these days to pull in loads of cash regardless of what next game they release. Their fanbase will mindlessly jump on it, one game after the other.

When veteran gaming companies do horrible cash-wise, they tend to produce some phenomenal work. But when they're rolling in dough, they'll continue to produce horrible quality products as long as they know people are still willing to buy them because people have faith in a once great company or also as I stated, it's an invasion of a rabid fanbase that only cares about a game having a specific name in its title. So as it is, we won't be seeing anything 'ground breaking' comming from our beloved Square anytime soon as long as the current trend keeps up. Wars don't end in a few days you know.

Anyways, Shall I get on with the review? I'll be explaining everything that's involved with this game from set-up to the initial game itself, as best to my memory.

I guess I'll begin with the basics, you'll need a pretty decent computer/graphics card/internet connection to get as much as possible out of this game.

You'll start with a first month free to play and the monthly fee is about $13-15 I believe, and an additional $1 for every other character you make, or an added $1 if you choose to play tetra master which also has a free month to play I believe. ( a separate game from FFXI ) A card game from FF9.

Installing of this game might take a while depending on your computer, it could be from 30 mins to a few hours. It does take up about 6 GB after all. Playonline registration should go smoothly and once you're done registering you'll have to download a patch which takes a while on highspeed internet and probably takes overnight to a day on dial up. But well, as least you'll get this little chocobo mouse icon to stare at and music to listen to while you wait I think. (You can change the music later in the playonline options, they have some decent tracks if you enjoy game music)

(Gameplay "The Important Stuff" 2/10)
Once you've finished all that up, and you begin FFXI, here's what to expect. You'll be creating a character to play this game with, you don't have many character customization choices, since it's next to nil. About the only difference between characters is their races/stats and hair. You can't really customize hair all that much, and it usually gets covered by a hat anyways. And armor/equipment to make your character look original doesn't really work since you're mostly stuck with 'level-requirement' equipment, and you can't dye them colors or anything, so around level 12 expect all the warriors to look the same, it goes on like this for a long long time.

Also, your character will be placed at random on one of the FFXI servers, it's not that big of a deal if you can get a worldpass to the server you desire which isn't relatively hard to get I believe you can try asking nicely for one on a well known FFXI message board, or if you have friends on a server already and they can pick one up for you.

Something I feel should be addressed though is people ARE picky about what you choose to play this game with. Chances are they'll want YOU to be playing the class that THEY think is the best suited for YOUR character's race. Sure it makes some sense logically since someone would be best suited for what they excel at, but. This game practically requires the advancement of your character to solely depend on grouping for hours a day with 4-5 other people to get further in this game after you've reached about level 12. Doesn't sound too bad does it? Well, if they don't like what your characters class is, they don't have to let you group with them. (This tends to happen very often with the Monk class, regardless of what race you are). And some groups are horrible, (this is the internet after all) expect immature kiddies at times, or rude elitists and even the japanese players almost all the time WILL NOT group with you if you're not a japanese speaking player, because well it's hard I suppose to try playing a game with language barriers and such. One way though to get in japanese groups sometimes or have japanese players help you if you don't speak japanese is to be playing a semi-attractive or attractive girl character. But sadly, when hasn't that worked in mmogs? Well also regardless, in peak hours you should be able to find a group to join up with. At higher levels though, the game really won't be much different or get much better then it was from the time you began grouping, except well, trying to find a group will probably take longer, hours at a time sometimes.

As well, gaining exp in groups is tedious. As soon as you join a group, expect to be doing that for practically the rest of your ffxi life. You could sit around for hours waiting for a group. And most of the monsters you're killing aren't all that exciting. For one you'll be fighting these blue crab monsters from the time you begin the game till the time you stop playing. Sure there's other monsters around, but there's like 3 crabs per every other monster or something.

The rewards of advancing in levels is basically just learning better versions of spells you already know or attacks that look different but don't really change all that much, it takes a long time to get anything remotely different and it's not worth the time in my opinion since you're still using them to do the same thing over and over, which is kill npc monsters. Even if you moved on to a new hunting area, it's still the same thing, trying to find a group and killing monsters one at a time. On average it takes a while to produce a level. Exp tends to be slow even with a decent group, so expect really dull huge level grinds for the entire course of the game. It might take about an hour-45mins to gain one level in a decent group. And if you die, you could lose an hours worth of exp, or even go down a previous level.

There's really not much to roleplay with, reason why I call it a MMOG and often people don't talk that much. Most people are busy level grinding and such. Also, if you plan to group with friends in this game, you'll all have to be about 3 levels apart, otherwise you can't really do much together gameplay-wise.

There is crafting though, and material collecting but those usually tend to make you spend more cash then you're earning and they become really dull after a day or two, for reasons such as, you could spend all your money on crafting useless trinkets that no one buys to gain skills in or you hardly accomplish anything with crafting due to npc shops being closed in the game (due to night and day ingame time change) or because all the resources are being camped and picked clean before you can get to them, since there are only a few places to collect resources in any given area.

Combat is basically, front line fighters enter autocombat, back line mages cast spells, and healers heal, etc. Followed by downtime to rest. Nothing new at all.

Also if you're wondering about PVP, I believe this game has PVP thrown in as a added option. Where as the main point of the game is still PVE (fighting npcs). Of course PVP in a game is usually for the purpose of using that character you've played with for so long to actually do something interesting (if that's your cup of tea). I've heard PVP takes place in some separate area designed specifically for PVP, I havn't heard of any rewards for taking place in PVP here though. And there's not much to say about PVP in a game with 'auto-fight'. There's really no skill involved when all you do is enter auto-combat or press a few hotkeys etc. In a level based game like this it's usually a higher level determines who's better then who and gameplay-skill doesn't play a part in it. Rather internet connection speed plays a bigger part in a game like this, and it's just battling one character stat/equipment sheet against another.

(Graphics 5/10)
I suppose they put some time into the graphics, which delayed the game about a year for initial release, to add improvements, but. Graphics really didn't help the game much. You can't make a horrible game any better by trying to make it shiny and pretty.

(Sound 3/10)
Some sound effects for spells were a little nice, but hardly made the game any better.

(Music 2/10)
I found that there wasn't really much music at times or it really didn't set the atmosphere for me and seemed out of place.

(Control 4/10)
You'll get the hang of the buttons and how to set up hotkeys eventually, there's not much to say about a game that doesn't allow you to do much.

(Overall 2/10)
Don't buy this game, regardless if you're a square fan or not, don't waste your time. This game IS a MMORPG like any other one. Most of them are the same game, just horrible remakes of each other. And this one falls right in line with the rest. It's your money and your choice to decide whether or not you want big companies to keep producing terrible games like this if they see they're even remotely successful. Don't settle for less because we as gamers deserve better. There have been games in the past that remain unsurpassed even by games of today. I hope this review helped give anyone reading this some insight on what this game has to offer, thank you and take it easy.

Reviewer's Rating:   1.0 - Terrible

Originally Posted: 06/05/04

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