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Final Fantasy XIV : A Realm Reborn. (An early review)

Final Fantasy XIV was an online MMO first released by Square Enix in 2010, but it had too many major issues for the game to be successful. Instead of scraping the whole project Square Enix took another look at it and revamped it into FF XIV: A Realm Reborn. However, this game is a continuation of the first edition, and the players who did enjoy the original are now deemed “Legacy Characters” in A Realm Reborn.  They get several perks for playing through the previous game.  To ensure the success of the latest installment of FFXIV they had several phases of beta testing. The concluding tests for this game was an open beta. All you needed was to sign up for a free Square Enix account on their website and download the game. YES PLEASE!

They also gave the choice of whether you wanted to play on Ps3 or on your home computer.If you chose Ps3 they sent out a code that you used in the PlayStation Store. This was particularly exciting for me, because with it being a cross platform game it meant that if I wanted I could play on my laptop, while my boyfriend played on the Ps3. I, unfortunately, had to work the first night of open beta. As such, I asked for updates while Chris played, and he delivered. He also tried to download it on his laptop, but it didn’t play as well as on the system. Since my laptop is on it’s last leg, we thought it best to stick to the Ps3.

The images sent to my crappy Samsung phone were beautiful. I had trouble focusing at work because I could not wait to start playing. Once I got off work at 7am I started to build a character of my own. There are 20 slots available for characters on the Ps3. It’s a very nice detailed character building, right down to what type of voice you’d like them to have. (That part they could have left out, but it didn’t bother me) When I finished I stuck her into the world entitled “Fairie”, because I couldn’t resist myself.

First, I want to say, the graphics for this game are absolutely beautiful. Square Enix used a new graphics engine called the Luminous engine. I knew when the photos were impressive on my phone that I’d love the graphics for the game, but really!

Aside from the visual appeal of the game the actual gameplay is super easy to navigate. The game gives you a walk-through of new things that happen throughout the game. It’s a tutorial for those who aren’t aware of what to do, but it also give you the option to turn it off. At first I read through it, but I turned it off fairly soon after the first cutscene. Once you get into the actual game and start exploring you can see how much effort was put into this game.
FFXIV also has an event system called FATES, that sporadically appear on the map. These events are sort of like small battles, or quests to accomplish. There are different Fates for various levels, and they have different objectives. You may be protecting a village from a large group of small beasts, or there could be one large mini boss to conquer. Either way, this event helps you gain XP, and Gil without having to take on numerous quests. The Fates appear on your map and you can jump in at any time.
Unlike other MMO games, A Realm Reborn gives you the option to switch back and forth between all classes. All it requires is that you talk to the Guildmaster of that class, and from that point on you can change at a whim. It’s as simple as switching the weapon in your hand. You do have to wait until you’re around level 10 to start this option, but after that you can be any class offered. If you’re tired of being a Arcanist simply switch to Gladiator.

The game also takes your skills and classes as separate identities. When you’re ready to start mining for instance you take on that role completely. You’re no longer and Archer or a Gladiator, you’re a miner at level 1. From there you work to level up your mining skills by simply mining. Big surprise. You also have the option to change to different skills, but once again you’ll change into a level 1 of the chosen skill and work from there. You can always change back to your Archer though, so no worries.
So not only is this already an impressively massive game, but you can do any class or skill at any given time. (Well after you hit level 10 that is…)

Unfortunately although this game is amazing in it’s many aspect it does have some failures. During open beta some users experience an error code 3102. This code will be known for awhile as the worst thing to have happened to players during open beta, and I’ve read it even happened during early access as well. There are several other errors that players experienced as well. As far as I can tell it appears to be mainly on the NA/EU servers (North America, Europe), as the servers in Japan seemed to be holding pretty well.

During open beta there was a certain time when they had to do maintenance on all the servers. This was slightly frustrating because we had a time limit on how long we were allowed to play. (Only until 4am on central time zone) We fortunately didn’t experience any of the error codes first hand, although we did experience the NA servers going down for awhile. Frustrated, I jumped over to the severs based in Japan and quickly made a character. I had a great time on that server too, and joined several other characters in fighting a few fates.

Overall, even with the few hiccups reported to Square Enix, I would definitely say this game is worth your time if you enjoy MMORPGs. There is definitely a feel of World of Warcraft in this game, but it really makes a place of it’s own by allowing you to switch between classes. The game released on the 27th of this month so I’m sure that there is even more to uncover before I fully know how much I love this game, but based off of open beta and early release I would say I’m already addicted. I can’t wait to see what happens next!


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