Review by Dota2

"Final Fantasy at its finest."

Review in Brief
Game: Final Fantasy MMORPG based on Eorzea.
Good:Job System is phenomenal, and should be implemented in all MMOs; Hunting, Gathering, and Crafting are all fantastic; Questing is more or less standard; Beautiful aesthetically and sounds like Final Fantasy at it's core; Dungeons and Bosses are executed very well and interestingly; Story is very much Final Fantasy-esque; Combat plays like World of Warcraft.
Bad: PvP to release in 3 months from this time; Subscription Fee; Small limitations and things that are more inconvenient than bad.
Verdict: How MMOs should strive to be. Likely not the game to kill World of Warcraft, but a far better option for both new players and those who are burned out on the game.
Rating: 10/10
Recommendation: For those who want an MMORPG, there currently is no better game for such an experience. Buy for 30 days, subscribe if you fall in love.

We are graced this day by the presence of a hero to Ul'Dah.
For those of you who don't know, I'm one of the biggest Final Fantasy fans out there. My favorite game of all time is Final Fantasy 9, and Final Fantasy 6, 4, 5, and now FF14-2 are all up there with it. To get it out of the way first and foremost, there are indeed many server issues that are looking to be resolved this upcoming Monday or Tuesday. New servers are being added in addition to the old ones being fixed. Please get this out of your system that MMORPGs and games that are always online always have more players than expected. Yes, I am aware this hurts the game in some ways. No, that does not change the score of the game, as the issue itself is logging on during congested hours. Aside from that, and the first day of Early Access, there have been no issues I have found even in the slightest.

The best way I can describe FF14-2 to someone who has not played it yet would simply be "It plays like a Final Fantasy game". Every single part about this game looks and feels like Final Fantasy, and the execution is perfect. The way the game is presented, from the very first moment, to dungeons, and bosses, all give a Final Fantasy feel. And that's very impressive to me.

What this means to players and companies is that Square Enix is saying to them all, that we can still make Final Fantasy games. The games you loved for their compelling stories, and developed characters. The games you played for their beautiful visual design and heartwarming soundtracks. Final Fantasy XIV : A Realm Reborn has managed to encompass that once again, in Massively Multiplayer Online format.

The Game
Story: It's relevant, but optional. I have not finished it yet. I will only say that for the most part, it was interesting to me. Was it told well? Aside from one moment in mind, it actually brings nostalgia to my heart, because it reminds me of past titles in the series. But, I have many friends who said they don't care for the story, and love the game regardless. Basically, at the end of the day, watch the cutscenes if you care, otherwise, it's a skip.

Visuals: The game looks and breathes JRPG design. Ranging from classic monsters, to new ones, they all feel familiar and in place. Spell effects "Make you feel like you do more damage". And for a good reason. The point I want to bring up the most is that the three major cities are incredibly well designed. From the complex Limsa, to the peacful Grandia, to the modern city of refugees, Ul'dah.

Sound: The only song that is awful is the Chocobo Theme because you hear it so much. You can disable it in the options. Aside from the gigantic glaring flaw, the OST is phenomenal and very JRPG and very FInal Fantasy. It does wish they brought more songs from the series, but I do love many themes that play during many moments.

Combat: Combat feels very fluid. World of Warcraft as everyone, obviously, compares it to. I have nothing to say here, for the most part. Very familiar style.

Quests: I'm still not sure how to explain this one. There are still quests that are very simple and standard, such as go here to kill this and collect this. But as a person who hates those kinds with a burning passion, like in Guild Wars, and Maplestory specifically, I was always constantly entertained in Final Fantasy XIV. My theory is the way it's presented. I always felt like I was helping NPCs in FFXIV, instead of just trying to get rewards, which by the way, are surprisingly good in this game. I'm still not sure what it is, but questing is very fun, and getting a quest both accepted and completed is very satisfying.

Dungeons: By far my favorite part of this game so far. The dungeons in this game have been incredibly interesting experiences. You normally queue up for your role, and wait for people to join you, but it doesn't matter at all if you make your own party, and you can pick your own roles, as in, 4 DPS, instead of the standard queued Tank/DPS/DPS/Heal. These dungeons cover a wide variety of locations and settings, experiences, maps, and enemies, and they're all very fun to play through. Haukke Manor specifically stands out for being a Haunted House and I just really thought it captures that eery feeling very well. Loot in this game uses the Need/Greed/Pass system, and is very satisfying to get.

Bosses: Dungeon Bosses are really fun. There's usually 2-4 of them per dungeon early on, and there's much more in the harder dungeons. A lot of them have very interesting mechanics, for example, one Boss in the Mines dungeon specifically required using enemies to kill each other. Very smart and creative game design.

Job System: Probably the best part about the game. In any MMO ever, what's the first thing you do. You make your character, you pick your class, and for example you just Thief your way to the level cap and end game. Not Final Fantasy XIV. In this game, any character can be any class at Almost any time. Simply by going to the Guild Leader of a class, then equipping that class's weapon, you change into that class. That's already crazy cool to me. The only thing that matters at character creation is how cute you look, gender, and one of the 5 races. On top of that, Cross Class skills exist. For example, a THM(Black Mage) really wants the Archer skill Raging Strikes. So what he does is that he switches to Archer, plays Archer until he gets the ability, then goes back to THM. Now, he can hotbar or use Raging Strikes. Not all abilities are used for Cross Class, it depends on the ability itself. Secondly there is a limit to how many you can use. Something called Gear Sets is used to quickly swap classes without having to change gear. It basically saves your equipment to a slot, and then if you want, you just switch slots whenever you need to. This system is absolutely perfect in every sense of the word. I would do nothing here differently. Excellent execution.

Crafting and Gathering: Gonna go ahead and admit that I don't Craft or Gather much. I do know that it uses the same system as above. You want to craft? Equip a weavers needle, you're a weaver. Want to fish? Equip a fishing pole. Again, it works perfectly. Crafting is as simple as gathering the materials, using them, leveling up, and being able to gather higher level materials for higher level equipment.

FATE system: This is probably the last thing I want to talk about because it is somewhat of a big part of the game. From time to time, randomly, FATEs appear on the map. What these things are, are basically quests that happen instantly. The grant lots of EXP and lots of Gil. The catch is that usually there are tons and tons of people doing it at once. You all work together to kill lots of mobs and hordes, or one big bad. FATEs are always fun. The only issue I have with FATEs are that it's really easy to grind on them. They just nerfed it a few days ago, but people are still grinding most likely. The people who are level 50 now for the most part, are just people who sat around all day grinding FATEs.

The Complaints.
1. You can't do anything on a mount. Like, if you're on you're mount, you can't talk to NPCs, or teleport. Some people say this is because of the PS3 edition. I don't really know why it is like this, but it is a gripe having to get off every single time you get from destination to destination. I'm used to it, but it is, at the end of the day, a complaint.
2. The only thing I think Guild Wars 2 got right was the fact that going to a "sparkly" location and pressing R I believe it was, to use a key item, or interact with the area, was that it automatically did it. In Final Fantasy 14, you have to select the item you want to use on the area. A tiny, tiny issue, but I did like that about Guild Wars 2.
3. No NPC finder really sucks sometimes. This is one of the only things I think Maplestory got right. I haven't needed it too much at all, but I did notice it was there and I do have an issue with it.
4. The community as a whole, really sucks. Server has a lot to do with it, but the people on my server have had some ridiculous names. Everyone can talk to each other by using /shout. I disabled that chat though, but again, if you care about it, it's there. I really don't after blocking /shout, and stupid names are really funny anyway.
5. Chocobo theme. Already mentioned.
6. Similar to how you have to "use" an item on a key area, when you hand in a quest, that literally involves handing something in, you have to select the item and drag and drop. Not a major issue, but it's there.
7. Mapping can really suck. You better be zoomed in all the way if you're looking for a location. Otherwise, you can get lost very easily.

Additional Notes:
I have not beaten the main story line, only a few quests left. I am a level 46 Black Mage on the Ultros server. I can't really think of anything else I have to say about Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. I love this game a lot and I hope to play it for ages to come. This is my first review and I hope someone out there finds it helpful. PM me if you ever have any questions or anything. Much of this review was made at the time after one entire week of me playing had passed.

The Verdict
For fans of Final Fantasy, I don't think there's a game that's better than this if you love the series for what it is. It incorporates what fans love about Final Fantasy of every single generation into one perfectly executed MMORPG. If Final Fantasy XI was one of the best MMOs, and a great calling to Final Fantasy fans, I think that XIV does it with better execution in almost every way. A definite buy for all fans, or people looking for MMOs.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 09/09/13

Game Release: Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn (US, 08/27/13)

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