Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Review, Part 2

Ragar fights through dungeons and login errors in this second half of his review


So after all of the beta weekends and all of the articles I’ve written about the game, what do I think of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn? Personally I love the game. The art design is excellent, the classes each feel distinct with quest lines that fit with the roles those players should be filling in the world, and the dungeons (with the exception of Thousand Maws) all feel like well-made versions of dungeons I would see in a console Final Fantasy-style RPG. Above all else there’s the story; the only MMO story I can think of that I’d rate higher than what I’ve seen here in ARR is The Secret World, and honestly a good chunk of that is because I have a special place in my heart for Cthulhu, myths, and secret society stuff.

That’s not to say the game’s perfect for everyone though. If you’re not a fan of WoW-style GCD combat, then this game’s combat isn’t for you especially since ARR’s GCD is a full 2.5 seconds. If you’re not a fan of JRPGs or Japanese art styles, then you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. ARR may incorporate some newer MMO mechanics like open world FATE events and the Duty Finder for instances, but at its heart this is an old-school, tab-targeting, GCD-combat MMO and some players just aren’t into that any more.

For me though, I’m both an MMO lover and a Final Fantasy fan. I wanted to love Final Fantasy XI when I bought it almost eleven years ago, but just couldn’t get into their combat, crafting or game design. I played the beta of v1.0 of FFXIV three years ago hoping that this time would be different and was disappointed with nearly everything about the game. With Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn I finally have the FF MMO I wanted. I have a game where I can level all of these different classes on one character and I can solo or group to make progress however I wish. I have a game where crafting and gathering classes are actual professions with real progression paths and abilities rather than tacked on systems to provide gold sinks and pre-raid gear. There’s still a lot of game I’ve yet to see, so it’s possible that by the time I reach endgame I’ll have a list of things to complain about. In the meantime though, I’ve got a FF MMO that I’m actually having fun playing and considering the stream of swearing I had going while playing the beta for v1.0, that’s a task I would have called impossible three years ago.

Michael “Ragar” Branham

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