ARR, FFXIV, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy XIV, Final Fantasy XIV:ARR, Final Fantasy XIV:ARR Review, Final Fantasy:A Realm Reborn, Gaming, MMO, MMO-RPG, MMORPG, multiplayer, pc game, PC games, PC Gaming, Square Enix
The final part of the review will talk about my experience while playing this game (for about 8 months+). So let’s get started!
What I don’t like
Final Fantasy XIV : A Realm Reborn is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, or MMO-RPG in short. Being a RPG genre, there is a short of character specialization, build diversity and lack of exploration. FFXIV:ARR doesn’t encourage you to try and find a build suits your play-style. Every class or job is going to be end up the same with other people. If you play as a tank, you just need to tank, that’s it! There is no hybrid, you can’t tank while being a sub-dps at the same time. If you want to be a dps, you have to roll in as other class/job and you can’t dps while being a tank or even a secondary tank. Although it has been confirmed that hybrid classes will be introduced in the future. Generally speaking, a RPG should feel like Diablo II, where one class have different skill trees or paths to choose from. You can be a very powerful glass-cannon fire wizard or be able to adapt to every situation by being a hybrid fire-ice wizard for example.
In FFXIV:ARR, skills and traits are unlocked at certain levels so all you need to do is just level up your character! Despite being said that, there are a minority of skills, especially job skills which are only unlocked by progressing through job-specific quests. And there is no depth to the skill, there is no level 5 “Cure”. There are only “Cure”, “Cure II” and “Cure III” which all three of them are three different skills. Again there is no skill tree, no skill points, so you are given all the skills once you hit the maximum level. Well some may argue that it’s a good thing, no need to try and see which build works. But hey, it’s a RPG! A RPG game is supposed to give people choices on how they want to play their character. Although there is a thing called “Cross-Class”–where you get to use certain skills you have unlocked from other classes–it doesn’t really make a huge difference.
One of the fun while playing a RPG game is about exploration. Travelling all around the realm to find rare items, unique bosses, hidden passage, etc. In FFXIV:ARR, the only time you need to explore the realm is when you need to reach someplace your first time. After you have unlocked it, you can teleport there for a small amount of gil. There is no hidden passage, no extra incentive for people to explore the world as it is. Unlike Guild Wars 2, there is a thing called “Jumping Puzzle” where as the name suggests, it is a puzzle but there is a catch to it. You have to jump–yes literally jump–to reach the destination. The incentive? You will get to see something you don’t see very often in other games. Either it will let you see how beautifully crafted the world is, or a hidden area. Sometimes It could be even mean a hidden quest that again, you have to use your jumping skill to solve it. Simple yet fun! This let your mind goes “Oh, is this another puzzle?” and spend the next an hour or two just to find out it is not a puzzle. But when it is, it’s a rewarding feeling.
Currently there are only 2 hidden (or not really) bosses in the realm where it has some sort of timer every time they spawn. What I expect is that to unlock the hidden boss, you have to unlock a series of event that eventually will lead to the hidden passage to fight the hidden boss. And make it server-wide, imagine how immersive it will get!
What I like
As a Final Fantasy fan, it’s more than just the game itself that I love about. The artwork, the background music, complicated mechanics, story-lines are just a few of the things that really keep me on playing the games, I mean in general. And that is to be expected when playing a Final Fantasy title, except now it’s gone MMO-ed. At the beginning I was skeptical that they would be able to pull it off given the fact that the original FFXIV was a complete failure. But seeing my friend played the game during beta-weekend last year, my mind was blown away! At that moment, I decided to pre-ordered before it launched to gain one full week of early access before the official launch date. I played with character creation benchmark during the wait and I was loving every minute of it! Just take a look at the promotional trailer video below and feel what I feel.
FFXIV:ARR promised a balanced game-play between hardcore players and casual players. Meaning that the majority of the content can be consumed by all players. Leaving the hardcore stuff for the hardcore players. But it doesn’t mean that the casual players are totally kept out of it, casual players still have access to it but probably much later than the hardcore players. What does it mean? My definition casual players are the type of players who have about 2-4 hours of game time everyday due to real-life commitment like school, work or others. Hardcore players, well, are just hardcore, they have > 4 hours of game time EVERYDAY. Some may even have >12 hours of game time. Me myself sits in between, I have about 1-2 hours of game time on weekdays and about 6 hours on holidays or weekends (or not, depends on the situation).
Do I get to enjoy the game? Of course! Do I get left behind? Not really. Can I still play with other people who progressed much further than me? Sure! The thing is that FFXIV:ARR has been carefully thought about the content they wanted to give to players. Fulfilling the needs of hardcore players while maintaining the fun for casual players. But of course, nothing is perfect in this world, there are still time where both hardcore and casual players complain about how easy or hard the game is. For example, there are still many people couldn’t clear the first Binding Coil of Bahamut despite all the adjustments, while there are few people who have cleared the second Binding Coil of Bahamut, the hardest content available at the time of this writing.
Which one suits you the best? A lone-ranger? Or a wolf-pack? Either will work for you in this game. The introduction of Duty Finder and Party Finder really gives you an option on how you want to enjoy the game. You want every fight is a challenge? Go ahead. You want every fight to be completely random? No problem. Or is it that you want to band with your packs and defeat all the nasty monsters out there together? It’s also possible. And it’s not just that, remember some other games require to you enter the dungeons or instances by knocking the front gates each and every time? You don’t need to do that anymore in FFIXV:ARR, once the Duty Finder has prepared the instance for you, you just get to the dungeon immediately, saving the time and cost just to reach the end of the map to enter the dungeon.
In every MMO-RPG, end game content is the main attraction. And to most online games, it means grinding. FFXIV:ARR is the same, but grinding in FFXIV:ARR feels less tedious because it’s a choice. The best weapon is always only obtainable through the hardest content. But that doesn’t mean casual players are unable to get their hands on end-game items. Square Enix designed it so well that casual players are still be able to match the hardcore players–in terms of stats and equipments–just by grinding. Just cap the weekly tomes and you will be able to exchange them for end-game items. Stat-wise might be not 100% the same, but still on-par. Don’t want to grind? It doesn’t matter as well. Just do the daily roulette and you will gather enough tomes eventually.
Final Fantasy XIV : A Realm Reborn does exceed everybody’s expectation. Square Enix claimed now they have 1.8 million players worldwide. Nobody could expect that they managed to pull it off. Many many positive reviews everywhere, some gives 4 or 5 starts but never I see a 3 stars. So the last question remains, is it worth it?
The game comes with a price tag of $29.99 Standard Digital Download edition for Windows PC and standard $12.99 monthly fee. Some may prefer free-to-play, but my experiences tell me that you actually spend more on free-to-play type of online games. Why? Because if you don’t spend, you will surely be left behind, or you might not really enjoy the whole game. Pay-to-play ensures a stable income for the game developers and publishers to properly plan the game’s direction. Otherwise, free-to-play will just throw in a huge discount in one period just to tell you go ahead and gambling on the gacha boxes.
And you don’t have to worry if you are just a newcomer to this game, the community will help you one way or another. There is no kill-stealing or bots or something like that to ruin your gaming experience, you will get to enjoy the game that you have paid for.
My verdict? 4.5 out of 5. Truly a masterpiece!
So what do you think? Will you buy the game? Share your thought below!