“Final Fantasy XIV” has had an interesting journey from the original 1.0 release to the launch of “A Realm Reborn” on the Playstation 4. The result is possibly the most definitive version of the MMORPG thanks in large part to the amount of options that are available to the console.
The visuals of “FFXIV: A Realm Reborn” are the first to make an impression with an impressive color palette void of any dullness and improved visuals over the PS3 version. The textures for both characters and the world are more detailed while the draw distance manages to cover more space as well. However, it’s the control options and content that makes the most lasting impression in the long run.
Players who choose to wield the DualShock 4 controller will have easy access to 32 different hotkey commands through clever combinations of triggers, buttons and the D-pad plus a well-organized layout. The touchpad is put to good use as a mouse replacement and is actually a godsend for when players might get lost in the somewhat cluttered menu options.
For those that prefer a more traditional experience, a mouse and keyboard works even better. Even with the improved DualShock 4 controls, this is still the best option for players.
PS Vita owners are in for a special treat thanks to the Remote Play option that the PS4 offers. The handheld does a wonderful job of giving a more portable option for “A Realm Reborn.” Now feel free to play an MMORPG in the comfort of your bed or the toil…or anywhere else you might feel like taking it around the house.
Thankfully, Square Enix did provide the ability to customize the HUD layout in FFXIV. You’ll be able change the position and size of the hotbars and other elements to best meet your play style as well as the device you are playing and on the control options you use.
No MMORPG would be complete without compelling content, however. The initial couple of dozen levels are admittedly a grind, especially when done alone. A consistent stream of playing fetch and “go kill X number of Y enemies” can get old after a while. Grouping with others is definitely the way to go to not only level up faster but make the time more enjoyable as well.
The payoff comes toward the latter levels though and shines through with the end-game content at level 50. It will be hard to not find something to do starting with a Relic weapon to kick off your questing with plenty of hour-eating content. Not everything was experienced in time for this review but the amount of latter content left untouched looked daunting and, frankly, more fun and challenging than during the first 30 levels.
Keep in mind though that “A Realm Reborn” is very much geared towards a PVE experience. PVP can be done via Arena battles but the driving force behind that is more for exclusive loot and personal pride than anything that will change the endgame for you.
Square Enix did put in a nice hook though by allowing players to experience the different classes with the same character. Simply switching the equipped weapon or device will allow you to try out classes from the different Disciplines – War, Magic, Hand Land. Eventually, you’ll be able to specialize in different jobs at level 30 with the ability to combo abilities of certain classes for added bonuses.
Despite all of this, “Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn” still suffers from the same problems that most modern MMORPGs suffer through and that’s a large degree of sameness. Yes, there’s a lot of content but it’s largely content that experienced MMORPG players have already encountered in one form or another. Fortunately, the “Final Fantasy” style keeps a certain magic resonating throughout “A Realm Reborn” and Square Enix appears dedicated to releasing updates with new content regularly.
- Loads of content to take on
- Visually pleasing with plenty of “Final Fantasy” flair
- Control options plentiful to suit your preference
- Expect lots of grind
- Doesn't tread much new ground for a MMORPG
- Light on PVP content
Title: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Platform(s): Playstation 4
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Price: $39.99 plus $12.95 a month (free transfer from PS3/PC to PS4)
Release Date: April 14, 2014
A review code for the Playstation 4 was provided by Square Enix for the purposes of this review.