Final Fantasy XIV released in 2010 to absolute dire reviews. Square Enix made a public apology, pulled the game and re-released it last year in September for PC and PS3. Ahead of the PS4 beta this week, I have decided to review the PS3 version of the game as that is the only version I have. It is the first paid-for MMO I have ever played..
Final Fantasy 14 has had a torrid history. From making Sqaure Enix lose millions, many wondered whether the re-release would see the light of day. It did happen and it even managed to traverse across to the PS3 also. As an avid Final Fantasy fan, I never managed to play Final Fantasy XI which was also an MMO so XIV is the first. Its an interesting MMO and not one in which people should dismiss so quickly. After all, it runs on the PS3 which is something.
You begin by choosing a character and its class. I choose a human-like breed as a Gladiator because getting in close and wielding swords is the way RPG’s are meant to be played. The options available are quite expansive to begin with which is nice for those with multiple playing styles. Depending on your class and race, you start in different areas. I started in Thanalan and the city is quite nicely designed. It looks quite alright on the PS3.
If you have played either Final Fantasy XII, Dragon Age: Origins or Sacred, the gameplay here is similar. You issue commands to your character to carry out rather than actively hack and slash your way to success. The targeting system isn’t always great especially when you are trying to deselect an enemy and select another-on the PS3 controller it is hard work. But to its credit, the game does handle very well on the controller and the triggers are expertly assigned as hot-keys which is always good.
Graphically, the game does take a hit on the PS3. There is a lot of jarring and I doubt the game hits 30 frames per second. The draw distance is also very poor. I have to be within a specific distance to see other characters or enemies which is slightly annoying. But it runs on the console and that is no mean feat. There is also very little lag. I have experienced no network errors or anything out of place as of yet.
There is so much to do in this game whether joining others in forming a company to raid dungeons or to just plod along do the main scenario and the tonne of side quests along the way. It has an interesting random time event feature in which an event will appear on your map in which it calls out all players to take down a beast. These are called FATE’s and they are generally challenging especially if attempted alone.
There is much love and fandom to the FF series here. A lot of touches are brought from the quite simply fantastic Final Fantasy 12 as the devs behind that also developed this. Everything one expects from an FF game can find it here and for the most part it sings. The PS3 version is the inferior version but those that purchase this version will get the other 2 for free on PC and PS4. Subscriptions can last for 2 or so months which can cost in the region of £17 which is much better than the Elder Scrolls deal of £10 per month.
The login process for the game especially on console is as bad as the setup for when Metal Gear Online was around for MGS4. It takes too long and the initial download took nearly 4 hours to complete. You have to go through various sites in order to renew your membership which is also annoying. Also, because players of each platform play together, that means membership is tied online rather than to the PSN. After the setup though, the game can be enjoyed and it is a great experience to be had.
So for about £10 and then however many times you wish to subscribe, Final Fantasy 14 packs so much content and is updated regularly which can see players dedicate hundreds of hours to the game. So far, I have put in roughly 30 and I still have so much to do. I look forward to seeing the game grow and seeing more interesting content fall its way.
What is Good?
+So much content even by MMO standards.
+Gameplay is solid and mostly fun.
+Cross platform play between PS3, PS4 and PC gamers.
+Quests and things to do are added regularly.
+Decent price for an MMO and cheaper than the upcoming Elder Scrolls.
+When the PS4 version hits, existing players can upgrade to the PS4 version for free.
What is Bad?
-Though to its credit it runs on the PS3, it isn’t pretty.
-Long winded sign up process.
-Some minor flaws with quests and battling.
Final Fantasy XIV is an excellent game one in which where the devs of the game truly care about and devote much effort to. Its regularly updated with new quests and alterations to what is an accomplished game. The PS3 version of the game is the weaker version due to its graphical capability. That being said, the game works on the PS3 and that should be applauded. The game is bigger than any RPG I have played. Even the likes of Skyrim are no match in scale.
The score I am going to give isn’t necessarily proper representation of the game. The devs work hard on this game updating it every week or other week. It could be a different beast entirely later this year or next. For now, it is a game that if you can stump up the cash, you will be repaid with hours of solid fun. 8/10