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Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn review

On September 8, 2013 by Aaron Meehan

SG Gaming Info takes a look at Square Enix MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and sees how it compared to the original Final Fantasy XIV from 2010.

Well to settle any worries. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (FFXIV: ARR) is a lot better than its 2010 counterpart. The game feels a lot smoother and far more enjoyable in terms of the world and story. With that said my experience of the original release was limited only to the beta version.

Now let’s talk about FFXIV: ARR. Since the first aspect of the game you will encounter is the character creation, let’s talk about it. You have a choice of five races in the game: Hyur, Miqo’te, Elezen, Roegadyn and Lalafell. All five races have male and female options. In the original release there were some gender restrictions. In terms of creating your character you have the basic options: height sliders, skin colour etc. While at first glance there might not be a lot of choice, there are some options available that can make your character seem different. Two of these options are the eye colour and hair colour options. With the eye colour you can each eye a different colour and with hair colour you can add highlights. This might not sound like much, but if you want to make your character unique this is definitely the best option. If you want to make your character look more unique you can dye clothes when in game. I recommend dying your clothes ice blue.

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Now what about classes? Well FFXIV: ARR has a large selection of classes, 19 in total. Good news for all you altoholics you can play as all 19 classes on one character. The 19 classes are broken up into 4 disciples: Disciples of War, Magic, Hand and Land. War and Magic are your combat disciples the classes in these two disciples include: Gladiator, Pugilist, Marauder, Lancer, Archer, Conjurer, Thaumaturge and Arcanist. Hand and Land are both crafting and gathering classes. These include: Alchemist, Armourer, Blacksmith, Carpenter, Culinary, Goldsmith, Leatherworker, Weaver, Botanist, Fisher and Miner. At the start of the game you can only pick one of the war or magic classes, but when you hit level 10 you can learn all the other classes.

There are reasons behind having all 19 classes available to one person. The primary reason is for creating jobs. Jobs are created when you get one war or magic class to level 30. At this level you are given a quest to turn your class into a job, but to be able to undertake the quest you must have a second war or magic class at a certain level. For example: when you get to level 30 as a Thaumaturge you can become a Black Mage, but to qualify for the quest you have to get the archer class to at least level 15. There is also another advantage to having more than one class on your character and that’s the fact that some class abilities can be shared with other classes. For example when I levelled up my Arcanist, it healing spell (Physick) became available to all my other classes. This is handy because this meant I would have a fall back in battle if my healing potion were on cooldown in battle. There is a limit to the number of additional abilities one can use.

Before touching on the combat on I want to talk about the story in the game. Personally I’m not a fan of a story driven experience in an MMO as I feel that the actions you do in the story are lost when you realise that thousands of other have done the exact same thing. I mean in the story quests you are congratulated for defeating one of the four Primals, one of the main enemies in the game, but the victory is kind of hollow when you realize at least three other people defeated him (you have to fight him in a group encounter). But enough negativity regarding the story, what is the story about? The story takes place after the calamity which signalled the end of the original game. The world is in disarray and the Garlean Empire still wants to control the city states of Eorzea. The Garlean Empire isn’t the only issue. There are the four Primals which the beast tribes are trying to summon and a mysterious masked man who wishes to see the crystal bearers defeated. Even though you are an adventurer, you are not alone as you have “The Scions of the Seventh Dawn” on your side, a powerful order which transcends political boundaries. I think that is enough to say about the story, as I don’t want to spoil too much.

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Now let’s talk combat. Combat is alright. It is your traditional hotkey based combat, but there is an element of movement required. By element of movement I mean that the majority of enemies have a powerful attack which is indicated by a red circle or cone. When this red cone/circle appears you have a few seconds to move out of the way. This addition really helps the combat because honestly without this element the combat would be boring. There are other attempts to make it a bit more exciting with how some classes are setup for combat. For example: the Thaumaturge gains buffs when using fire and ice attacks. Players have to manage these buffs as the fire buff uses more mana and does increased damage, while the ice buff regenerates mana in combat and does reduced damage. Lastly at level 30 your Chocobo (which you gain as a mount at level 20) can be used in combat. The Chocobo can work as a damage dealer, healer or tank.

Like any MMO, crafting is an essential part of the game. Since there are no class limitations you can pick every crafting class. This is a lot different from other MMOs which only lets players pick at least three crafting skills. Due to this crafting isn’t as tough compared to other MMO. Crafting is relatively easy to level as the necessary materials are easy to get. With nearly every piece of material needed being available in the local NPC market section of each of the three main cities and the ones that might not be available can be found by simply killing monsters. Although if saving money is your thing. You can use the three gathering classes and other crafting class to your advantage. The only downside to this is you have to level multiple crafting and gather classes.

I should mention the act of crafting itself. Crafting is done in a step by step process. When you start crafting an item you have the choice of doing a basic synthesis which fills your progress bar, but reduces your durability (this means you have between 4-6 attempts to create the item). When crafting you also have the option to increase its quality and to restore some lost durability to give you more time to create the item. I really enjoy this system as it makes you feel more involved in the creation of an item.

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With the ability to level 19 classes on one character, levelling all 19 classes may seem like daunting task especially when you factor in the fact that once you complete a story quest or normal mission on one class, none of the other classes can perform these quests. FFXIV: ARR has a great way of fixing the issue, and the fix is called “Levequest”. Levequests are quick repeatable missions for combat, crafting and gathering classes. You can perform up to 16 levequests at once and have an allowance of up to 100. The levequest allowance does increase overtime, so there is no need to worry about running out of quests.

Honestly, I really like the levequest system, because it makes sense in the world. Your character is supposed to be an adventurer and as an adventurer and member of the adventurer’s guild you should technically have access to a large number of quests anyway.

When going into the game you might have concerns about levelling multiple classes, do not worry as FFXIV: ARR does a good job of making the levelling experience feel as grind free as possible.

Since FFXIV: ARR is an MMO group play is a very important aspect of the game. My overall impression of the group play is very good especially with the “duty finder” helping you gain access to group focused aspects of the game including dungeons and guildhests (small dungeons with only one boss). The duty finder also eliminates the issue with shouting in game hoping to find three other players to run a dungeon. Because with the duty finder you pick when dungeon you wish to do and while you wait you can level, craft or do whatever you need to do while you wait.

Dungeons in FFXIV: ARR are rather easy with dungeons up to level 30 providing very little difficulty (this is from the perspective of a DPS player). In dungeons all you really have to remember is avoid the red markings on the ground and the possibility of a unique ability from a boss i.e. summon monsters or randomly freezing players.

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If closed off instanced group play isn’t your thing. The game has random events in the world called “Full Active Time Event” (FATE). These events happen at random times and to take part in them you just need to be in the right place at the right time. What makes FATE really stand out is the fact you don’t need to party up because when the FATE ends you receive experience, gil and seals(special currency for grand companies) depending on how much damage you contributed to the battle.

The music in FFXIV: ARR is simply amazing. The music which was composed by both Masayoshi Soken and Nobuo Uematsu does an amazing job of putting you into the world. With song that really suits the area you are in, be it a desert wasteland or a lush forest. My personal favourite is the song played when riding a Chocobo.

While, FFXIV: ARR is a great game there are some issues with it. The main issue until recently was getting into the game with the constant array of errors either kicking you from the game or stopping you from logging in. Thankfully these particular issues have been resolved as of September 4th. However there is still one minor issue and that is the ability to easily report people. This might not seem like an issue at first glance, but like all new MMOs the game has a large number of gold sellers and while you can ignore them, the ability to report their action quickly. A good idea to fix this could be a report button when you right click on the person’s name.

Before I give my final conclusion I just want to say that there is more to this game than what I just said. Some aspects omitted is the fact there is cross-platform support between PC and PlayStation 3, a good number of transport options, grand company and others. But I feel what I have covered in this review is enough to give you an idea of what the game is like.

According to Square Enix future content for FFXIV: ARR includes: PVP, Chocobo raising, The crystal tower raid dungeon and housing.

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Conclusion

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is an enjoyable game with an easy to use combat system, multiple class options per character, numerous leveling options and an easy to enter open world group events. FFXIV: ARR is huge improvement over the original.

SCORE: 90%

*This game was reviewed on the PC.*

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Information

Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: MMORPG
Rating: Teen
Platform: PC and PlayStation 3 (coming soon to PlayStation 4)
Release date: out now, coming soon to PlayStation 4
Website: http://www.finalfantasyxiv.com/

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.


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