Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Review – A Phoenix Rises


By Zoe Hawkins on Thursday, May 8, 2014
"Unlike so many other new MMORPGs, the world feels alive"

Having played FFXIV: A Realm Reborn in Beta on the PS3, I wasn’t really too sure what to expect on the new generation console. Would it be the same thing, just made a bit more pretty? Or would it make a decent game into a fantastic experience? Square Enix has made an excellent contribution to the MMORPG genre, perhaps the best MMO that I’ve played to date. Most of their awful UI and account management issues seem to be resolved on the new console, which means I could focus on playing the game instead of the chore of its admin.

Characters

Character creation in FFXIV offers a ton of variety. To begin, there are five races to choose from: Hyur, the stylistically human race; Elezen, an elf-like race; Lalafell, a tiny humanoid race; Roegadyn, the large, muscular and vaguely orc-ish race; and Miqo’te, the cat people. Each race allows for a variety of customization – not only can you choose your eyes and mouth, you can also adjust the size of your ears or the length of your tail if applicable. The characters are definitely Final Fantasy-esque, with enough customization to make it feel like your own.

Ffxiv group

After picking a race, you will need to give your character a class. Players can choose between being a Disciple of War or a Disciple of Magic. Disciples of War can become Archers, Lancers, Pugilists, Gladiators or Marauders while Disciples of Magic can choose between Arcanist, Conjurer or Thaumaturge. Most interestingly, once players reach level 10 in their beginning discipline, they can actually change and take up other new jobs. This includes new disciplines. Disciples of Hand includes all the crafting classes in the game: Alchemist, Armorer, Blacksmith, Carpenter, Culinarian, Goldsmith, Leatherworker and Weaver; Disciples of Land is all about gathering careers: Botanist, Fisher and Miner. Changing class is a simple as changing your main hand equipment. This means, that players can actually learn each and every class or discipline if they’re so inclined. As such, players will end up with a variety of equipment sets – each class gets its own.

What I found surprising was how much I enjoyed playing characters that I didn’t think I’d like – my favorite character that I created wasn’t my awesome Miqo’te archer, but rather my Lalafell Thaumaturge. Starting as a Thaumaturge, I then took on alchemy as I thought it would be useful to make potions. However, I later realized that I could craft my own staves if I did goldsmithing – this led me into a career of mining as well. Each class is leveled separately, featuring its own quest lines and activities. Players who tire of combat can easily spend hours exploring the countryside, gathering resources and crafting them into items for sale on the marketplace or to NPCs.

Ffxiv goggle

Characters of course start the game in specific areas complete with low level quests. However, rather than grouping characters by race, this is actually done by starting class. There is only one Archer’s Guild – if you want to play with a bow and arrow, you will start the game in Gridania. This leads to more racially diverse cities and environments, making starting areas feel more varied.

The World

To say the world is stunningly beautiful just doesn’t seem to do it justice. Running on PS4, the environments are truly impressive. Fans of the Final Fantasy franchise will appreciate the various area types. Of course there are cities and outposts to run around in, but I was most happy running around the desert landscape of Thanalan and the wooded lands of The Shroud. Perhaps that’s because I also enjoyed their main cities, Gridania and Ul’dah the most.

Ffxiv thanalan

Unlike so many other new MMORPGs, the world feels alive. Wandering around, there were plenty of things to interact with, discover and observe. It was a delight just watching the sun set over some craggy rocks, or finding hidden areas behind waterfalls.

To further bring the world to life, FFXIV uses the FATE (Full Active Time Event) system. These are timed quests taking place in specific areas and include defending outposts or killing a mutated enemy. They are set within specific levels, so if your character is over the level point you will have to sync down if you want to participate. Alternatively, if your character isn’t high enough level yet, you will gain bonus XP for your contribution. If you needed any proof that the worlds were alive and busy, just watch as a FATE pops up on the map – I often hardly even had time to start attacking an enemy before a whole bunch of heroes had joined me, working together for a common good. XP is shared based on contribution, so it never feels like a kill steal and you don’t need to fight over loot.

Speaking of not fighting with your fellow heroes, resource gathering is actually instanced on the world map. Unlike other MMOs which would see resources get depleted by one enthusiastic miner, everyone can mine the same nodes because they are specific to each character. This means that gathering is a much more enjoyable experience – it is strangely addictive and soothing, and ate up more of my time than I’d care to admit.

Ffxiv shroud

Travelling around the vast world can take a few forms. Upon attuning to your first crystal, players learn the Return spell which can bring them to that home crystal. You can change your home, as well as set other crystals as favored destinations. There are also Chocobo porters which you can use to ride a Chocobo from one town or outpost to another for a small fee. Alternatively, you can choose to teleport to crystals you’ve attuned to in the past. This is a more expensive option, but can be worth the hassle-free travel. There are also airships between continents, and later you can get your very own Chocobo mount. That said, my character’s run wasn’t all that slow – it was actually nice to journey from one area to the next on foot, especially when initially exploring. Unlike other MMOs I’ve played, traversing the terrain never felt slow or laggy.

For the most part, the mini-map is workable, although it does sometimes glitch out and give quest markers in the wrong places. The world map requires some sort of super eyesight – I can barely read the location marker names no matter how much I zoom in, meaning that I usually rely on my memory of the layout rather than referring back to my mini-map. This can get frustrating, and I sincerely hope they patch it in the next update to be more user friendly.

Combat and Multiplayer

Ffxiv fight

Combat in FFXIV is very fast paced. As expected, there are auto-attacks, special spells or actions, all of which can be mapped to your hot bar. However, enemies will attack normally, or with special attacks that can have areas of effect. These are highlighted so that players can dodge out of the way, keeping combat active and filled with movement. Of course, my internet connection wasn’t always the greatest (at the best of times I only have a 1 Mbps line) – often I would dodge out of the way, only to still be hit by lagging attacks. When my internet flowed smoothly the combat was fantastic and organic.

For the most part, I don’t play with others in MMOs. I like to explore on my own, only teaming up with real life friends if I want some social interaction. However, the game does push you into some multiplayer experiences – as you reach higher levels, you will need to complete multiplayer dungeons in order to progress through the plot. These are instanced dungeons – you can sign up to do one, and then carry on with other quests. Once the dungeon has the necessary team, players will be teleported to their dungeon crawling event and upon completion, they are returned to their previous location.

So yes, you will need to play with other people. That said, I found the FFXIV community to be ridiculously nice. During one dungeon, our healer accidentally changed hot bars in the middle of a boss battle, resulting in our tank (and eventually the whole party) getting killed. No stress, we all just restarted the battle, told him it was no problem, and owned it on the second try. There wasn’t drama or trolling, just everyone being supportive and enjoying playing the game. I’m sure there will be some bad apples in the game, but I have yet to encounter any of them.

Final Fantasy XIV was reviewed by on the 8th of May , 2014 at 3:30 PM on PlayStation 4

GAMEPLAY
9.0
Fluid and varied, the game offers something for everyone. With plenty to do, it's never boring or repetitive.
DESIGN
8.5
Despite some map issues, the game is beautifully designed with tons to explore. Each area is unique and offers spectacular visuals thanks to the PS4's processing capabilities.
VALUE
9.0
Despite being a subscription game, the game offers excellent value for that price. There is also a tiered subscription system including a cheaper entry level version with character restrictions, or discounts for buying a few months up front.
TOTAL
8.5
FFXIV: A Realm Reborn is truly a new and improved MMORPG. It takes all the best features from MMOs and Final Fantasy games and combines them in this fantastic package. The PS4 is its ideal platform - this is the Final Fantasy game that I've been waiting for.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

[rpuplugin]

Author:Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!
  • Admiral Chief in Space

    8.5? Hmmm, I can already see the FF guys doing the SQUUEEEEEE

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      You can probably hear Umar already ;)

      • Rincethis

        I could 0-o

  • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

    “resource gathering is actually instanced on the world map.”
    This^ makes a lot of sense in an MMO. Angry Joe complained about this in TESO
    Fantastic Review!! I are smaaking this game stukkend……Really wondering if I should get this. 150 ain’t bad per month

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      it really is awesome. i will carry on playing – saying something considering the awesome games in my backlog begging to be played.

      • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

        Nice that is quite something!Maybe I should dive into this…man so undecided

    • Rincethis

      WTF? It’s R150 a MONTH?

      • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

        Yeah, it’s a subscription based MMO

        • Rincethis

          And I raged at ESO…

          • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

            ESO is the same lol

          • Hammersteyn

            I didn’t read anything about subs, Impulse buying at it’s finest :/

      • Jedi JJ

        I would honestly rather spend R150 a month on this than R15 a month on TESO.

        • Rincethis

          I’d rather buy a game I can play when my fucking internet connection drops. Not into spending like this for an always online game. Never will be.

          • Jedi JJ

            Agreed. Absolutely. But you’re going to have a tough time playing your MMO with no internet ;P
            I just don’t support the monthly subscription bull.

    • Hammersteyn

      Wait what? I bought the game but haven’t paid any subscriptions thus far?

      • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

        I thought it’s paid??

        • Hammersteyn

          I’m confused. How’s it work? I read online you pay subs for extra stuff.

        • Hammersteyn

          Don’t worry, I might stop playing for a while seeing how I don’t read the details about subscriptions before buying. I’m such a fucking idiot

      • Kakashi Dono

        For buying the game, you get 30 days free unlimited game time. Same as TESO, but does not require you to subscribe BEFORE you get free game time. I am playing this game on Ragnarok (EU Legacy) server and it is amazing. I paid for a 6 month sub, don’t regret it for a second. Its all I play anymore. There are alot of updates and patches coming out frequently, adding more and more content. There are seasonal events, etc.

        I could go on and on praising this game, I am a die hard FFF. I would recommend this game to anyone!

        • Hammersteyn

          Agreed, I still feel silly for not reading before buying but if I have to pay a monthly sub for any game I am glad it’s this one.

          • Kakashi Dono

            If you do decide to play, come over to Ragnarok server. You can join our Free Company (it’s a player driven guild, anyone can make one and join). We’re about to buy a house, we have a website for events and we talk over Team Speak as a medium of communication when playing. Most guild mates are from the US and EU.

          • Charl van der Merwe

            LOL, what you paid for a game AND you are now going to pay for a sub! My god the game must be designed to “RAPE YOUR WALLET:”

            Man I hope you feel like the silly prick you are for being such a hypocrite ;)

            Give me your wittiest reply, I dare you ;)

          • Hammersteyn

            I can’t give you a reply, I haven’t renewed the subs since and now I have no choice but to pay if I want to play. Still not happy about it but I’m still glad that it was this instead of TESO. I still feel it isn’t right but I have no choice now. Guess I am a silly prick now.

          • Charl van der Merwe

            haha man, what I was trying to explain last time is that it’s just a different model, and if you are engrossed in FF14 and it’s all you play, then a sub is worth it(R150 a month is totally worth 100-200 hours of game play per month). If you are not engrossed then it’s not worth it.

            regardless which game.

            I like ESO because it has a whole world of PVP that FF14 doesn’t.

            That’s all i was trying to prove , But ja you still a prick! hahah j/k :P

          • Hammersteyn

            You’re the second guy to call me a prick on this site so it must be true. I will need some drug to engross me then. So much so that I play nothing else but FF14 for the month I pay.

  • Mark Treloar

    Reading about your resource gathering made me thing of Pac-Man and how soothing those pills must be.

  • Jedi JJ

    Take that TESO

    • Kromas

      My ESO sub is already on its way back to FF:ARR. And as Zoe mentions the community is really astoundingly awesome.

  • Hammersteyn

    Playing this at the moment, so much fun. The map is horrible though. Finding your way in the beginning is a horrible experience. But it’s so much fun joining a random FATE and fighting alongside people bringing a tough monster down.

    • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

      PS 3/4?

      • Hammersteyn

        PS 4

        • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

          F**K :(

          • Kromas

            Refer to my bottom statement and you should be fine.

          • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

            Yeah saw now, thought it was restricted. No cross play

      • Kromas

        Does not matter. All shards are together. Even PC.

        • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

          REALLY???????AWESOME

          • Kromas

            My Grand Company leader plays PS3 and I play pc yet she tanks and I heal in dungeons together. Have not confirmed PS4 players but I was busy with ESO and it would be dumb to segregate PS$ from the rest.

          • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

            This pleases me so much….And you’d be surprised how many games don’t allow cross play

          • Kromas

            Cause PC owns all. :P

          • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

            Yeah well stuff you! but thanx for giving me the happy news :P

          • Kromas

            If you ever find yourselves needing an excellent healer just call.

          • Her Highness the Hipster

            we must all play together! lazygamer guild in our future!!

          • Kromas

            Set one up and Ill join in a heartbeat.

            Edit: Then again I might be afk while I play Wildstar for a month :P

          • Her Highness the Hipster

            haha, MMO slut :P

          • Kromas

            Did I mention I have an active EvE online account as well? :P

      • Hammersteyn

        I just remember our conversation a while back. We were gonna play together :(

        • https://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX Umar Returns

          YOU BETRAYED MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

          • Hammersteyn

            FML WWWWWWWWHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!

  • Mossel

    My favourite thing about certain RPGs.

  • Mossel

    Also, speaking of MMOs. I found him!!

    • Hammersteyn

      LOL!!!!!

  • Hammersteyn

    FML serioulsy FF14

    This bundle entitles you to:
    Game Client
    Plus FREE subscription for 30 days*

    That will fucking teach me
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1ZUAYX6bvK0/TbkKjMbgOnI/AAAAAAAABic/yGvN4yfw1yw/s1600/itunes-terms-human-centipad-south-park-apple.png

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      but honestly, you know it’s worth it, now don’t you…

      • Hammersteyn

        It is :) Played it again last night. It was just a bit of a shock. Both at the fact that it has a monthly sub and my ineptitude when it comes to reading before buying.

        • Kromas

          We should have a dungeon run evening.

          • Hammersteyn

            If my sub hasn’t expired yet, send me an invite anyways.

          • Her Highness the Hipster

            totally!! must play together so you can see my adorable tiny thaumaturge

          • Hammersteyn

            hahaha, they remind me of children. How can they possibly be effective in melee combat?

          • Decembermaloy

            Server?

  • Kensei Seraph

    The thing I enjoyed most about the game was the fishing.

    It really sucks that I couldn’t transfer my character from the legacy server I was forced to start on and that I don’t have enough free time to make the sub worthwhile.

    Also I can honestly say that on after discovering the keyboard shortcuts for PC the game is easier to play.

  • Decembermaloy

    It is the best MMO out there right now. The horrible side-effect is that my backlog of games keeps growing.

  • Charl van der Merwe

    I’m glad the game is finally in a playable state, it had to be relaunched as FF14: A realm reborn after the utterly dismal initial release in 2010 as FF 14.

    I played it till lvl 30 when i released there is no real pvp I lost interest, it’s a great game and I wish it had better pvp options.

Must Read

Kim Kardashian Hollywood review: Look Ma I’m famous!

We make our intern review Kim Kardashian Hollywood, a mobile game all ...

Razer Atrox Review – The Stick’s fighting game cousin

We put the Razer Atrox arcade fighting stick through its fighting paces. ...

Yu Gi Oh! Zexal World Duel Carnival Review – It’s a trap…card

You remember when Yu Gi Oh! 5D’s entire premise of card games ...

Steelseries Sensei Wireless mouse reviewed

We've taken the brand new Wireless Sensei mouse for a long test ...

Dark Souls 2: Crown Of The Sunken King DLC Review Round-Up

The reviews for Dark Souls 2’s Crown Of The Sunken King DLC ...

Razer Deathstalker review

The Razer Deathstalker isn't just a pretty keyboard, it also feels good. ...