Review by Nyteguy
"Beautiful and Fun - Needs some Polish"
After receiving this game in the mail on September 22nd... I was skeptical. I played open beta, read a bit about the game over the past year, watched some videos and such, but the huge amount of negativity on the forums was making me second-guess my purchase. I decided the only way I'd know for sure is to dive in and play!
Amazing. The only problem I find with them, is the PC requirements can be ridiculously high. I'm giving it lower marks simply for that fact.
Sound & Music
Awesome. Uematsu (composer of most Final Fantasy games) is the composer, and he doesn't disappoint. It's really brilliant.
The install process was relatively painless. One can use the torrent included with the patches if they're having trouble. Took about 30 minutes to get the game patched and ready to go.
Coming from an rather experienced MMORPG background, I kind of expect a lot from my character creation. I like to feel like my character is original, if not identifiable by my character's look in the game. Final Fantasy XIV did not leave me disappointed! There's probably 5,000 different ways to customize a single race subset. And there's 2-4 subsets for every race! Basically it will really be a rarity to run into a twin.
Beautiful and amazing. The voice work is pretty good too. Definitely some of the best cinematics I've seen.
According to Final Fantasy XIV's official website, there's 18 classes. There's 5 Dawn of War (melee/archery), 2 Dawn of Magic (spell casters), 3 gatherers, and 8 crafters. While I like the classes they offer, it would be nice to see more DoM casters, a pet class, and something like a gun class. These will be added in later expansions, but I'll give it my impression of a fair score.
Well let me start off by saying that combat is not exactly necessary in this game if you don't want it to be. Technically you can start off as a crafter (Dawn of the Land), or gatherer (Dawn of the Hand), and never pick up a sword to fight. You can hustle, trade, and make your way to the top as the richest guy on the server if that's what you want to do.
The actual combat in this game is pretty deep, even though it may come off as basic at first. For example: if you take a monster head on as a Lancer class, you might find yourself missing quite often. If you strafe around the monster while you're fighting though, and keep a little distance between you [every class has an optimum range], you'll find your damage and critical hits go way up.
There's a TON of customization here, because you can literally be every class on one character, and then mix and match other class skills to make your own super class.
I'd like to note that combat does feel a little slow, and there are times where it's really laggy and hard to get off your spells as a caster. The lag will be fixed in the coming weeks, but the combat will probably always feel slow. I find it relaxing, you may find it boring.
The game is obviously in its infant stages right now so the economy is still being melded by the entrepreneurs and crafters. One thing I think is cool is the ability to hire a retainer. It's free, and you get to make a little guy to sell your stuff for you in the market wards. There's a lot of huff & puff about the market wards right now, but one really great thing about them is that there are bargains and fortunes to be made from the unwary sellers. A little patience can net you a ton of Gil (FFXIV currency) to get started.
SE will be adding categorized market wards, so if you're selling swords, you can put your retainer in the sword area and get tax-free sales from it. There's no AH as of right now, but I think the market ward and player bazaars are pretty neat, even if can take a while to find what you're looking for.
The interface really needs some work. In fact it needs a lot of work. Hopefully SE will fix this, because there are times where it will take 5 seconds to sell or exchange one item. Compound this by a potential 80 items in your inventory, 10 items in your bazaar, 10 items in your retainer's bazaar (personal selling robot), and 80 inventory items in your bazaar... well you can see the problems.
Also, many of the UI names are unintuitive, such as knowing to select "return" when you die. There's some messages and stuff, but c'mon Square it's 2010 and we want highlighted tooltips, pop-ups, and a game that doesn't feel 15 years old in its usability. I hope they fix this, because it's the main fuel for the fire for a lot of the negativity around the fan sites.
If you're playing this game with a mouse and keyboard... I'd give the controls about a 6/10. It's a lot better since the implemented hardware mouse. If you're playing with a Playstation or Xbox 360 controller (or generic equivalent thereof), I'd say 7.5/10. I highly recommend the controller.
I was going to rate this as mediocre, until I hit the level 15 city quest in Ul'dah. This is a hard rating to give because there's 3 different stories, but based on my experience I think it's going to turn out to be pretty amazing!
Overall I think this game has a ton of potential. I'm not a Square-Enix fanboy, nor a fanboy of any company really. I truly feel this game will turn out to be really good, if not great. Square admittedly released it too early, and that's the reason we have the problems we have right now. They need to pick it up VERY fast, release some content, and turn this game into what it should be: a AAA game from a AAA company.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 10/01/10
Game Release: Final Fantasy XIV Online (Collector's Edition) (US, 09/22/10)
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