Review by Saiyu

"I think it's just below an 8, but as there are no fractions allowed,I rounded up!"

I’ve been playing FFXI for around a month now, and I have had mixed feelings on the game. This review is my opinion, so many will probably disagree with some of the things I will say in it. First off, I’ll admit I love FF’s, but for this review I won’t let that alter what I think of the game (i.e. no automatic 10).

Here’s some background info, in case some people don’t already know:

FFXI is set in Vana Diel, a world infested with varying monsters and contains many interesting places. There are 5 races, which are Hume, Galka (male gender only), Mithra (female gender only), Elvaan and Taru Taru. In the beginning you are asked to chose your home town out of 3 choices: San D’oria, Windurst and Bastok, each one being totally unique. The core of the game is lvling up to fight increasingly difficult monsters and bosses, but there are many more other elements to the game, including missions and a guild system. Of course this is a very brief intro to the world of FFXI, but I don’t want to go into too much detail in this review.

GAMEPLAY – To me the most defining aspect of a game. This is where FFXI either succeeds or fails, depending on your viewpoint. At first I couldn’t wait to lvl up and get into PT’s. Soloing after around 6 got a bit dull, but it had to be done to enable me to PT with others, so I persevered until 11, where the fun really begun. Before 11, when someone asked me to PT, I usually took it as just me and that person, going around killing some things together and exploring some areas. But at 11, the game took a dramatic turn. For the first time I was getting into big PTs, ones with 6 people in them, and ones that involved strategies and careful planning. The new areas and new monsters were fascinating, and every minute was enjoyable (even resting after a fight!).

However, this excitement was to change. After a few days in Jeuno, you realise this is what it’s gonna be most of the time. Waiting for a PT (which could take 5 minutes to 2 hours depending on the situation), then going out to fight the same monsters for around 70-200 exp. The problem was how long it took to get up to a lvl. At lvl 28, it takes 5600 exp to lvl up (I think). Just imagine how long that would take…

Money making is extremely tedious, and I believe the whole idea needs to be re-assessed by Square, as it is just plain dull. You may find it enjoyable, and you could try the guild systems, but they could turn out to be a little profit, or no profit at all…

Missions aren’t too varied enough for me, and I know there are harder ones later on, but essentially they are “postman” missions; get this, go there, kill that, go back, go somewhere else and so on.

In addition, many of the games dynamics need a serious re-think, as I discovered many flaws from one of my friends in the game, and also from my experiences.

All in all, the gameplay could potentially be great if you like this type of thing (which I know a lot of people do), or it could be quite low. Personally, I would give it a 7.

GAMEPLAY verdict: 7

STORY – For an MMORPG, I believe this has a very good story. Even compared with other games of different genres, FFXI’s story still remains good. The main story progresses through Missions, which show cut-scenes detailing the story and explaining why you are doing this particular task in a Mission.

As this is a MMORPG, you essentially “make” your own story, by living out in this world through your character. You experience different things and explore many areas, making friends throughout the world. Many memories will be unforgettable, and as FFXI also has a decent storyline as well as your own “life”, I would give it a 9.

STORY verdict: 9

LOOKS – The detail is usually amazing, and the monsters look great, as do the character models with the varying equipment. Magic spells look OK, but not too special. Some areas do look bland, but the towns more than make up for it.

LOOKS verdict: 9

SOUND – I don’t really think the music is anything special, and the sound effects are what you would expect from this type of game – groans when you slash and take hits, magic sound effects, etc. None of the music really stays with me, like many other games like FF8 and MoH.

SOUND verdict: 7

LENGTH – MMORPGs are meant to last, and I believe this is no exception. There are many things to do in the game, with tonnes of lvls to get, but you could become easily bored with the game, depending on what you look for in a game.

LENGTH verdict: 9

Overall I like FFXI, but it really doesn’t capture me as much I was expecting. It’s a good game, but I wouldn’t call it an absolutely great game, as I don’t like a game where you need a LOT of patience, and virtually no skill.

I give it a 7.8!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 10/11/02, Updated 10/11/02

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