Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – our first impressions
Hendy Wijaya | On October 3, 2013 at 10:18 am
It has been around a month since Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was released to the world. Given that it was riddled with launch issues such as full servers and outrageous waiting times for party finders, we decided to purchase the game three weeks later in the hopes that things had been repaired. It hasn’t been long since we started playing, but we’ve already realized how big the game is, and so we’ve decided to split the review into three parts, which will be released as our adventures in Eorzea (the name of the world of Final Fantasy XIV) continue. With that said, here’s our first look at Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is the sequel to the highly disappointing MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV. The original Final Fantasy XIV was launched on September 22, 2010 after a 3 month beta. It garnered terrible reviews across the board and was even awarded “The Most Disappointing Game of The Year” and inducted to the “Top Ten Worst Game Sequels” on GameTrailers.
Two months after the launch date, Yoichi Wada, president of Square Enix announced a major shift in the development team, which resulted in resignation of Hiromichi Tanaka, the producer of Final Fantasy XIV. It should be noted that Hiromichi Tanaka was also the producer of Final Fantasy XI, the only other MMORPG in Final Fantasy series, which garnered much more success. Nevertheless, in less than one year after Final Fantasy XIV_’s release, Square Enix announced its plan to relaunch the game as _Final Fantasy XIV 2.0, which was later renamed Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The servers for the original game were shut down on November 11, 2012, with the alpha test for A Realm Reborn starting shortly after. They definitely nailed the remake, as the new game has received much more favorable scores and attracted a lot of new players.
Class and race
There are a range of classes and races to pick from Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. There are five main races in the game:
- Hyur: Humans with fancier name.
- Elezen: Tall and slender humanoids that are very reminiscent of Elves.
- Lalafell: Short and extremely cute gnome-looking things.
- Roegadyn: Huge muscular humanoids with unnatural skin colors.
- Miqo’te: Cute humans with tails and furry ears.
The game offers a very broad range of classes. However, these classes are further divided into four kinds of disciples: disciples of War, Magic, Land, and Hand. Note that Disciples of Land and Hand can only be unlocked later when players have progressed through enough of the game.
Disciples of War includes the physical-based combat classes, which are:
- Gladiator: Sword, shield, tank. Enough said.
- Pugilist: Claw wielding fighter with unique chain combos.
- Marauder: Powerful, massive axe-wielding warrior.
- Lancer: Spear specialist with many position-based skills.
- Archer: The only real ranged physical warrior.
Disciples of Magic consists of magical-based combat classes, which are:
- Conjurer: The healer class in the game
- Thaumaturge: The ultimate destructive spellcaster
- Arcanist: The debuffer class, with the ability to summon cute foxes that aid them in combat
Disciples of Land includes classes that specializes in gathering materials for the Disciples of Hand to use: miner, botanist, and fisher. Disciples of Hand are the crafters in the game, using materials gained from hunting and gathering to produce various kinds of equipments and consumables: carpenter, blacksmith, armorer, goldsmith, leatherworker, weaver, alchemist, and culinarian.
Gameplay: Sticking to the basics
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn definitely doesn’t leap over the shoulders of MMORPGs that have come before. Its gameplay is reminiscent to popular western MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, Lord of The Rings Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
In the game, you help various characters that have a mystical exclamation mark above their heads by doing things like gathering various ingredients for them to cook, or slaying critters by right clicking them and tapping your keyboard until they die. It is definitely not innovative, yet Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn uses the tested and proven mechanics of MMORPGs really well.
The most outstanding feature of the game is the ability to change classes just by equipping their weapon (after unlocking them of course). This system makes every character capable of becoming an omnipotent superhero that can heal, tank, and deal damage. This feature cannot be used in the middle of dungeons or battles though.
Another feature that makes the game slightly more fun is its FATE system. The system makes every map a living battle zone, where instant raids will pop up at random intervals. Any player can participate in the quest as long he or she is within the area marked on the map. The rewards (such as experience and gold) are dependant on the amount of damage contributed by each player.
You can control your character using both a gamepad or the keyboard/mouse if you are playing it on PC. It follows the standard game control most MMOs have. You slot in your skills on hotkeys and press them to cast or use. You can also slot in two skills on the same hotkey to cast them as combo, which is pretty convenient.
Graphics: Just simply awesome
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has absolutely gorgeous graphics. In my opinion, it is in fact even better than TERA, the game that I recently proclaimed that has the best graphics in MMORPG. Well, at least that was true before Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is out. Every place I visit in FFXIV captivates me, even the barren desert.
It also helps being able to customize your character at every level from outfit to eye color, ear shape, hairstyle, mouth shape, tattoos, and more. It gives every gamer a channel to be uniquely themselves in the game. My FFXIV character is the coolest MMORPG character that I’ve ever made.
Fans of the Final Fantasy series will definitely appreciate the return of the old monsters to the game such as bombers and ifrit, and they now have better and newer models. Each characters you meet in the main quests also looks nice and is very memorable. Know how you never remember the guys you meet in quests when playing MMORPGs? That won’t happen here.
One other thing that is very noteworthy is the graphical effects of skills and spells. Final Fantasy has been known to use excessive amounts of beautiful effects in their game, and the same goes here. Every time you cast a fire spell, you will notice a circular aura of some sort spinning out from the land you step on, and then another green circle spins in towards the wand, and finally the epic fireball is summoned. This happens even for physical skills that usually have little to no graphical effects in other MMORPGs. While it doesn’t make any sense, I personally appreciate it and am very grateful that it stays true to the franchise. Besides, it makes even the weakest skills and spells feels epic.
Sound: Final Fantasy classic tracks
Final Fantasy games have always had cool soundtracks, even from the very first title. And the same goes for this game. A Realm Reborn boasts a score of amazing tunes that sounds very Final Fantasy-ish. Just log in to the game and you will be welcomed by the extremely familiar Final Fantasy start screen theme. Then try to get your hands on a chocobo and be amused by the playful Final Fantasy chocobo theme. Obviously, they’re not just recycling the old music, though. This game definitely improves on the past with a distinct soundtrack that is becoming one of the vital aspects of the Final Fantasy series.
The sound effect are also very nice. You will appreciate the distinct sound of your weapons sticking in all kinds of different objects, the epic sound of a fireball flinging towards enemies or the soft sound of cure spells healing your wounds. I personally was amazed during a fight with one of the bosses when it cast a ton of meteors upon the land. It wasn’t the fear of my character’s or my party members’ death that made me freeze and stare at the sky. It was the spectacular sight of the meteors spawning from hell itself, accompanied by the bombastic sounds of meteors raining down and scorching the earth.
Our sign-up rant
Perhaps the only disappointing thing to us is the difficulty we had with logging into the game. After paying $30 for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and having it downloaded, it is a frustrating process to actually log on. Square Enix has made many gamers confused by prompting users to register for the Square Enix website. But that registration doesn’t get you into the world of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn . Rather it is just for fans to comment on forums, nothing more. It took me some help from friends before I figured this out. The “real registration” to get started with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn can be found here.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn isn’t an innovative piece of work, it is simply following the footsteps of the successful MMORPGs. But it does so better than most of the competition out there right now. It has awesome graphics, all the classic elements Final Fantasy fans want, and new (but still familiar) soundtrack. The ability to switch classes allows hardcore players to be awarded with a repertoire of class choices in battle while not punishing players with less time, since they can just focus on one class and still perform well. Having played the game up to level 20 now, we think this game is worth every penny so far. We will be working on more Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn pieces as our characters progress in the game. Join us in our next A Realm Reborn review as we delve in-depth into the storyline, gameplay features, and more.