Note : Since Final Fantasy XIV is an online game, the content of the game is always changing. With that said, there may be some pros and cons mentioned here that may change as patches, updates, and expansions come about. This review is based on when the game was launched for the Collector’s Edition which was, September 22nd, 2010. The regular edition for PC released September 30th, 2010. The PS3 version is not planned to be released until March 31st, 2011. This game is in its very early stages and may or may not change at a later date.
Secondly, this is the first MMO I have ever played at launch so my complaints may be something standard to other MMOs. (Then again, they may not be.)
My Initial Excitement
I was completely excited for Final Fantasy XIV Online. So excited in fact, that I pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition. On top of getting the Collector’s Edition, I also played the Beta that came out three weeks before the release.
I played Final Fantasy XI Online for a year, and enjoyed it for the time I had it. I stopped playing only because I got World of Warcraft and that was the game all my friends played instead. Not wanting to pay for two MMOs at a time, I canceled FFXI and continued with WoW for about three to four years.
Eventually, I canceled WoW and swore off all other MMOs until FFXIV was to come out.
The day the Collector’s Edition released, I picked it up quickly so I could play.
Installation and Registration
The installation of the game was not too hard. It is one disk and you just let it run its course. It takes a little while, but it’s not too bad.
The tedious part was registering and getting an account going. You need a Square-Enix account and another 3rd party account so you can pay for it. All the websites and pages to go through seemed like a royal pain. But I put up with it, because I just wanted to play!
After getting an account going, playing around with the game for a while, and getting into my friend’s linkshell I realized I didn’t have my Onion Knight Helm (which is one of the Collector’s Edition in game items you get). My friend then told me that you have to put in the Onion Knight Helm code BEFORE you create your character.
So I had to delete my character, redeem the code, then recreate my character. Good thing the game saves you character creation data. And also, good thing I hadn’t leveled up a bunch.
Now onto the actual game part of my review.
The keyboard controls are pretty basic when running around. Just like FFXI, there is no jumping. You can use the mouse to click on things but this isn’t always that easy, especially when it comes to clicking on mobs or allies.
Some people say using a PC controller is best, which I haven’t tried yet.
What has bothered me the most about the controls is that I have yet to find a hot key that allows me to sift through my party members to heal. I chose “Conjurer” which is kind of like the White Mage class.
I always enjoy being a healer so it’s important to for me to have good hot keys to roll through the party to heal.
So far, none of the buttons I have tried worked with this method. I have even tried clicking on my party member’s health bar on the side and it won’t select them. This has resorted me to having to click on them manually with the mouse or using Tab to scroll through random targets (which includes the monsters). I hope someone reading this can shed some light on this, or perhaps there is no other way.
When your other party members are moving around quickly or being pushed back by enemies it is extremely hard to click on them while they’re running all over, to cast a heal. Especially when you aren’t running the game on a good computer with bad frame rate. I can’t imagine trying to heal multiple people running around!
Moving around and selecting your skills is standard. Selecting your skills list is easy as hitting 1,2,3.
However, it has a high learning curve to understand the UI and all of the options. This is a lot of clunkiness to it still.
Most people will tell you that the game is absolutely gorgeous. I have seen the game on a computer that was basically built to run the game beautifully. But sadly, that wasn’t my computer. Yes, my computer is new. It actually was a new model Sony Vaio that hit the shelves one month prior to the game release.
And though my computer exceeded the minimum requirements to run the game, the game looks really bad for me. If you want the full beauty of this game, you need a really good graphics card which I do not have. So for now I play the game with pretty terrible graphics that is almost hard to stomach which I am not happy with but it is not a deal breaker for me. When cutscenes load, they actually look pretty nice.
If you have a really awesome computer, then you can look forward to a great looking game!
The music is very classic Final Fantasy. Just hearing the music alone makes you feel like you are in a Final Fantasy world. Nobuo Uematsu has done it again! I can’t complain at all here. I can’t wait to hear more musical scores as I explore more of the game.
Like promised, Final Fantasy XIV is more casual gamer friendly. After acquiring a quest you are given an option as to how hard of the difficulty you want that quest to be. You get more experience and reward the higher you go. This is nice so you can either play alone, or with others.
What I don’t like about the quest system so far is that I have really only seen one guy that gives out battle quests (ones where you kill X amount of mobs to complete it). And if there were more, it will take me a long time to figure out. Not only do NPCs load very slow for me, but I would have to select all of them to see who else would give out a quest. There is no special quest giver indicator. Which is fine, but as far as I can tell….there are not many quests to be given out at a time.
I literally can do all my quests allotted within an hours time tops, and be done with the game until the quests reset. Then all I can find to do is either craft, or random grinding.
With FFXIV, you level basically one character. That character can switch between jobs, just by simply changing the weapon that is in your hand. Be a blacksmith one minute, and a healer a next. Be warned about this. Each time you do this, if it’s important to leveling or switching up to better a party you have to reassign your skill points that you are awarded. I have not done this myself, but from what I hear, you can’t do all the points at once..
The other thing that bothers me is simple party functions. Not only do you have to be RIGHT NEXT to the person you want to invite to your party, but you can’t even see your party member on the map. The only time you will see your friend icon on the map is if they happen to be close enough to you, to be part of your mini-map.
Final Fantasy XI allowed you to search for party members, and add them. For those of you who have played, remember waiting for your party members to run their way through the Dunes to get to you? Not with this game, so far. You have to all be next to each other to send a party invite. And you have to be next to each other to see their blue dot on the map.
Little things like this make me know this game was heavily rushed. For now, it’s okay. But patches to fix problems need to be coming out in the next week or two, or people are going to get worried about what direction this game is heading.
+Has the basic structure to be a game for both hardcore, and casual gamer
+Top end graphics (may be a con for some if their computer can’t handle it)
+So far a very interesting story line (hoping for more to come)
+Beautiful music scores
+Feels like a Final Fantasy game (putting flaws aside)
+Detailed crafting system
+So far, very stable servers.
+Slow UI (possibly server side)
+Seem to have to select so many options, just to do one thing
+Need more keyboard controls for parties
+You have to be right next to someone, just to invite them to a party
+No Auction House
+No inventory sort ability (all you get is a Retainer [hired NPC] and 80 slot bag)
+Painful registration and set up
+Annoying chat system. (I have yet to find a way to sort my chats from each other with separate tabs for different types of chat. Everything is bunched into one, so I get heavy spam)
From this review it certainly seems like the Cons outweigh the Pros. And if you are to read other reviews out there, you will probably see a lot of negative reviews. I really wanted to love this game. I thought this game was going to take over all my evenings and be the reason why my Xbox and PS3 collected dust. But so far I can’t see that happening.
In the future, if things change for the better in which entice me to keep playing, I plan on writing an updated game review. But for now, this is a review on the launch week of Final Fantasy XIV.
Undecided on whether to buy it or not?
If you are unsure, then buy the regular version and not the Collector’s Edition. If you think poor graphics and slow loading will bother you, then buy it once you get a new computer or when the PS3 version comes out. Really, this game is a graphic hog.
If you still are not sure, then I would wait for a while for all the bugs to get figured out and see what direction this game goes in the next six months. If redeeming reviews haven’t shown up by then, perhaps skip this title. Your best bet is to look for reviews closest to the date you plan to purchase since MMOs always change.
Perhaps this game will grow on me. Only time will tell.