Let me start off as saying this, I had no shortage of bad things to say about this game when it first launched. I think Aion had kept my attention better than XIV did, and it really didn't help matters that I preordered the expensive Collector's Edition. FFXIV may very well be the first game I ever played that literally made me want to buy a plane ticket to Japan just so I could stuff a brick in it's fancy giant box and throw it through a window at Square-Enix's headquarters. I would be fooling you if I did not express some certain amount of sadistic joy in hearing that they were taking down the servers and letting a giant dragon have its way with the game in the end. Hell, to this day I can't really count the number of FFXIII sequels that have come and gone since I deactivated my XIV account and silently watched as every patch was "Going to save the game."
Times change though, and so do MMORPGs. I distinctly remember my interest being piqued when I heard that a new production crew was being brought on-board for this game and a completely new engine being made. Academically speaking, this kind of thing just never happens for MMO games. The amount of money, research and man hours needed to get an MMORPG up for launch day is COLOSSAL. The fact that Square-Enix was willing to do this at all seemed like a challenge worthy of immortals. Of course, it was also going to be pretty fun to watch fail miserably. I won't lie, that possibility didn't necessarily upset me so much as give me a dry smile. So, that fateful week where the ending FMV was blasted out to the four corners of the gaming universe, I decided that I would at the very least keep an eye on this inevitably reborn zombie failure monster of a game. I was so, undeniably, fantastically and stupendously wrong!
As of three weeks ago, I checked my mail and received my beta pass. Now, I've heard a few good murmurings about the changes, but if the original launch of FFXIV and subsequent XIII spinoffs selling in the millions has taught me a dang thing it's that sometimes the Final Fantasy fanbase is too loyal even for its own good. I HAD to try this game for myself to see if it was true. It truly deserves to be said, you guys might possibly not be gushing about this game enough! The control scheme is tighter than a Ferrari gearbox (that is, without the flappy paddles, of course), the storyline is contiguous and engaging and the only thing more brilliant and fluid than the drop dead gorgeous graphics and animation is the pacing of the quests as well as the ability to develop your character. Whereas before, the entire game hinged and fell flat on its face depending on the leve system, now there is a meaty chain of quests to go on as well as an exhilarating dash of FATE battles to really keep the blood flowing! I am praying that I'm not driving a monster truck through the NDA on this beta by saying these things, but DAMN!
Square Enix didn't just take on a difficult task and do well. They didn't just take on a thankless challenge of resurrecting a game with a bit of a bad taste in people's mouths and do excellently. No, that wasn't good enough. They tore the stars from the sky bare-handed whilst charging on a chariot of hand-wrought brass, waving their mighty banner and drove the heavens into the ocean with a thunderous crash! This beta proves to me that somewhere inside SE still beats the heart and wields the soul of that fateful group that once took a small developer that was about to close its doors and made one game that changed the way the gaming world looked at RPGs. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is so good, it may just possibly change the way people look at MMORPGs. This game is a masterpiece stand alone of its genre or its name! I can't wait to log in on launch day!