Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has had a difficult start – the servers suffered tremendous pressure in the early access stages for everyone. This meant large scale disruption to begin with (and even had our beloved director Yoshi-P crying on stage at one point!) and many people struggled to get online.

But it is important not to focus on this, the servers are now stable and the real adventure has begun.

Its highly recommended to just pick a direction and go for a wander; the sight-seeing is worth any danger you face.

Not many games get a second change in recent times. One wrong move can really make or break your place in gaming history. A prime example is Final Fantasy XIV. A very shaky start way back in 2010 with a rushed release and barely any content pretty much throttled them from the beginning. Dedicated gamers stuck it out until the servers officially closed in Winter 2012 in order to deliver the game it should have been in the first place. The outcome was to remove the original development team and add new faces to ensure the revamp was nothing short of perfect. No pressure there then.

Final Fantasy XIV: ARR is essentially a sequel – the non playable characters from the ‘first’ game reappear five years in the future with hazy memories of you, along with your achievements and conquests. The world is still being rebuilt after the release of Bahamut and the destruction he caused, whilst the Empire is dedicating its forces to bring down Eorzea. So once more it’s time to don weapons and select jobs/classes to bring them down.

There is no requirement for you to have played the first release in order to understand what is happening; this is a stand alone storyline that brings the past via flashbacks. Different cutscenes will play depending on your account – Legacy players returning from first release will be shown different scenes to that of a new player.

The open world is simply beautiful. The graphics are a marked improvement from the previous installment. Movement around the areas can be done on foot, via several different mounts (which can be earned in game), or by airship. It’s highly recommended to just pick a direction and go for a wander; the sight-seeing is worth any danger you face.

Character creation was greatly revamped, with additional genders to the Roegadyn and Miqo’te races and a boat-load of additional features: odd eye colours, tattoos, voices, etc. It is very easy to lose an hour simply making your character how you want it.

Partying has been drastically redesigned with the introduction of the Duty Finder – a cross server party building tool that matches you up with other players dependent on your job. There are several dungeon instances in which only a party can enter, so this becomes a vital part of the game’s structure. Another feature is the FATE system – mini battles that happen out in the field, dependent on your level and participation, which can be extremely rewarding both in experience points and in money making.

The battle system has been overhauled and is far more user friendly. As a pad player (save your boos and hisses, cos I dun care) I find this new system a joy to use, with easy to customise menus and bars and optimal screen placement for the user interface. It really lets the player feel more comfortable Another big improvement is the targeting system, especially with mouse/keyboard, which makes things much easier when in the heat of battle.

The music has been completely rewritten from the original, bar the Primal fights for Ifrit and Garuda. Little hints to the previous game shine through and blend in beautifully with the surroundings.

I was pretty excited to get back into the game after its hiatus and so far it has not been a disappointment. Decision to remain on a Legacy server (meaning a lot of returning players will have all jobs capped to the maximum level 50, weapons, armour and a vast amount of currency) has meant that encouraging new players to join us has not been easy, but with great support from guilds and dedicated teams for dungeon runs, new players have been made to feel welcome.

The storyline is really well written and executed, if only tarnished by the stale voice acting, but that is easily forgiven. The Garlean Forces actually come across as genuinely intimidating, making it highly rewarding when you take them down… if you can take them down.







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