Review by BlackRagnarok

"An MMORPG worthy to be in line with today's MMORPGs."

There is no way to put this game into words, and if there were ever a game that left you speechless, this would be it. Well, maybe that is going a bit far, but you get the point. Square/Square-Enix has always gone above and beyond on most of their products. After having played 6 MMORPGs (Ragnarok Online, Dark Age of Camalot, Runescape, Everquest: Online Adventures, Everquest, and Star Wars: Galaxies) before, this is defiantly the best. It has combined everything good about every MMORPG, and taken away most of everything bad, to make a near-flawless game. This review may be a bit long, but even this is not enough to describe this massive game. If you see a review that is less than a 6 for this game, they don’t like MMORPGs (and/or they are a fan boy of another game and want to see FFXI fail so that people will come back to their old game), I can guarantee it.

First let me give you a small introduction. There are three types of gamers for this game. There are those that can play for countless hours and get somewhere because they have people they can trust. The next type is that that doesn’t have a lot of free time. This person won’t get very far very fast and may be left in the dust for leveling unless they have friends that will always PT with them. But remember, it isn’t a race. The last person is the one who will almost no matter what hate MMORPGs. A person who likes a linear game or one where there will be no people to annoy them and they can take as long as they want. Okay, I know there are more types, but most people fit into one of these three types if they even considered looking at this review.

Story (10.0) In any MMORPG you make your own story. This is no exception. Although you make your own story, this game also gives you a story to follow. The story comes in the form of missions that you do for your country. Just don’t expect FFXI to you your average FF story or an average RPG story for that matter. But that still doesn’t make it bad, just something to get used to if you are new to the MMO universe. Most MMOPRG have little or no storyline, so be lucky that you are getting a game with one. The story actually goes really deep later on, but mostly has to do with NPCs. The story is very NPC driven. It is also separated in long gaps so don’t expect to see a ton of cut-scenes like in other Final Fantasy games.

Graphics (10.0) Okay, you really can’t make an above perfect score but whatever. If you really want to compare it to something, compare it to FFX. It is just a bit worse than that. If you haven’t played FFX than you have missed a pretty good game IMO. But to continue, the graphics are superb. It looks like a really good PC MMORPG. If you are playing this on the PS2 then some of the characters will look somewhat “blurry”, but not really. Your character looks near real. All the character models look real unless you get really close, and you find out they are fake. A bit of an exaggeration but oh well. Most pieces of armor and weapons look different. This also game has quite a bit of cut scenes and they look great. The first CG scene you see will make you hate any other CG scene. In short, it is very good. Magic looks like a spectacular fireworks show like any FF. This game has better magic effects than any MMORPG ever created. The scenery looks great and you can see almost every type of geographic feature that exists on Earth. This game has day to night changes in the environment and random weather (rain, thunderstorms, snow, wind) like most MMORPGs. I could go on and on how FFXI has great graphics but I don’t have enough time. I will just say that you will never hate the graphic, ever.

Sound (8.0) The themes in this game are great. They completely fit the mood of the setting. There are like 60 tracks and 58 of them sound awesome IMO. Then again some of the songs I have only heard on a soundtrack and might sound better if you knew the environment you were at. The sounds are perfectly made out. One thing that also improves upon this rating is the bard job. The bard's songs sound like heaven on earth. They are music to my ears. Whenever you hear one it just makes you want to be a bard so you could listen to a bard song whenever you wanted, provided you had enough money. The bad thing about this is that the Bard song has few variation of how it sounds…but whatever. The footsteps can be heard and change depending where you are. If you are on sand you can actually hear you foot touching the ground and if you have your eyes closed you can actually tell that is sand you are walking on generally. Overall, everything is perfect except that some places have no music.

Control (7.0) Nothing really wrong here. Everything is easy to do and has no problems or glitches (at least I haven’t found any yet). Spell casting and using ranged attacks are easy to execute most of the time. However if you are casting magic than there is a chance the spell will fail. This might happen because if an enemy notices you are casting a spell, the enemy might go up and attack you, thus causing you to end your spell casting until you decide to cast a spell again. This doesn’t always happen to you though. The only problem I have in this category is that it may take a couple of days to get used to. And I recommend, I mean really recommend, buying a keyboard if you don’t have one already. You do not want to have to use the in-game keyboard. It makes typing much slower. If you are reading this from a PC standpoint, then you do not want to go without a PS2 controller ironically. The controller was made for this game (no duh).

Game play (10.0) VERY ADDICTING. HUGE WORLD. AMAZING. Well let me elaborate. First, let me say that there is no possible way for me to fit everything that can be done in FFXI into one review, but let me continue the best I can. If you, like me, played any MMO then you know what I am talking about. First of all this game is very addicting. I have stocked up 34 days, 15 hours as my time as of this review. Okay, that is not entirely true. There were points when I had to go to the bathroom or eat but that is about it. But overall this is like *insert very VERY addictive drug here*. There is so much content in this game, it will keep you going for a long time. Hey, some people I know have played this game for 2500 hrs in less than a year. How is that for an addiction? Or, they have no life. But same thing…

Huge world. The world also has very little lag (unless you go into a major city with a LOT of people in it). You can play on a 56k modem as with broadband and experience little to no lag. The player communication in this game is also perfect. There are many options that you can do to talk to people. You can talk to all the people in the area, people near you, people in your party, people in your linkshell (I will get to that soon) etc. Obviously they designed this game for playing with thousands of other people (duhhh MMO). The party grouping is not only a must after lv 10-15, but it is also very fun traveling and talking to people. This game is literally a “real” world like any MMO should be. The only complaint is that it sometimes takes a bit of time finding a party. However, if you go onto your Linkshell (your clan in FFXI) messages, you can say you are in need of a party and someone will probably go to you and join. You may make new friends. Who knows? Just don’t go shouting everywhere, a lot of people will get mad at you.

It also takes countless hours leveling up. This may be good or may be bad. It all depends on your opinion. However if you have played any real MMORPG, you know how hard it can be to level up. Imagine this. You have 8000 exp. to the next lv. But then take this into consideration. You take 30 minutes to find a party good enough, and then you battle a couple of creatures and only get 1000-3000 experience after 2 hrs. However, it if get in a great PT (usually a Japanese one) you can probably make 4000+ in an hour at high lvs. This may be a long time for some people and not a long time for others. Mind you that is on average so, ya know. Each job has a separate lv and there are 15 jobs currently. This game will allow each job to lv up to lv 75. However one neat aspect FFXI has done is use the ability to change jobs. This means that you can switch jobs anytime you want in FFXI at your moghouse. Lets say you are a thief and you were getting a bit bored of being a thief at that point in time. You could switch to being another job, still retaining your thief lvs. The possibilities are endless. Just remember that you need to attain lv30 to obtain 9 of the jobs. -_-

Not only with your job levels, but there are other lvs too. There are things known as tradeskills. Tradeskills are in most MMORPS and allow you to get or create things to sell or trade. In FFXI you can train your tradeskills to get them stronger. You can also get weapon/magic skills stronger but they aren’t as hard to lv as your character lv. These skills have a cap per level, do don’t expect to use a high-level weapon skill at lv1, or even lv10.

The battle system is also a complaint in most MMORPGs. While it may not be an action-RPG, this game’s battle system rivals most other online RPGs. The battles happen in real time. Meaning that if you aren’t alert then you will find the battle may be lost. When you enter a battle, you go into auto-attack. In reality, auto-attack is just a way that means you don’t have to constantly click “attack” over and over again. You will get used to it. Then in a battle, you can also attack enemies with Weapon Skills (much like limit breaks in the respect that you have to get a meter to 100+%), abilities, items, or magic. However, a fighting class is not all that fun.

Mage classes are the real deal. Instead of just sitting back and relaxing the whole battle, you actually have to pay attention. You have to cast spells when appropriate, and know when someone is in danger. It is only as a mage when you get to have the most fun IMO. While you may like to be a power-hungry-sword-crazy person, there are already too much of those. And the people that are p-h-s-c are the ones that will quit faster. The reason – those classes are boring.

FFXI is only for the diehard gamer if you want to get everything. I cant express it enough how great this game is and how fun it is. This game will stay with you through the next couple of years of your life if you give it enough time. Just knowing that these are people sitting at their couch in front their TV or chair for their PC might bewilder you if you are new to MMORPGs.

Replayability (10.0) You could keep making new characters and having a great time with each. However that is not recommended as it costs money ($1.00) for each new character you make. Since you can switch jobs at anytime you don’t need to really make any new characters. To really play the game to the fullest in this aspect you just need to make a new character with every one of the races. 1 Galka, 1 Hume, 1 Mithra, 1 Tarutaru, and 1 Elvann. Anywho, you could be playing FFXI for 10 years straight, heh.

Overall (10.0+) This game is the real deal. It will become a part of your life. You might make new friends you never knew existed or might become one of the most famous people in your sever. You will start a new life in this world of Vana'deil. Your life could become consumed by it. That doesn’t mean it will, but most of your free hours will probably be spent on this game. The game may be a bit confusing and boring at first but after about the first 50 hours or after lv18 (either, or), you will love this game from head to toe. Age shouldn’t hinder your decision and doesn’t make a difference. I am only in eighth grade but even my 22-year old cousin and my 39-year old dad love the game. But, this is not the ultimate end-all MMORPG. It is like most other ones, just with a Final Fantasy name on it. If you are enjoying an MMORPG right now, then just enjoy it. But, if you are getting bored, I say all-systems-go in getting this.

Remember, it is you who makes the decision to like the game. If you play it wrong (fighting 24/7 or playing a warrior 24/7) it may become a not-so-fun experience. So have a good time with this game. The more, the merrier.

Buy or Rent - The only reason you would ever rent this game is if you hated RPGs or MMORPGs but I don’t think you can rent this game. Maybe if a friend or cousin has this game, try it out. (don’t just watch them play it because watching a game of this type is very, very boring) Otherwise buy. Although I will warn you that this game costs an overload of cash to even purchase it so you better know what you are getting into. Either way, you will not be disappointed.

It may cause you couple hundred dollars (PS2) or about $50 (PC) to get everything and then pay the $13 fee every month, but every dollar is very well spent. Overall, nothing can get you ready for the experience of FFXI. Now, I got to go back to playing. See ya later in Vana'diel.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 02/03/04

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