Final Fantasy XIV launched in 2010 and was active until 2012. The game got quite a bit of negative criticism and Square Enix decided to completely remake the game as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. With A Realm Reborn scheduled to release in just under two months, what does its beta have to offer?
When you start Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn you are greeted with one of Square’s traditional high production CG intros where you are introduced to its world. The story takes place five years after the events of the original game. This time around you must stop the Garlean Empire which is currently preparing its troops for an invasion.
After the initial intro you are forwarded to the character creation screen. Here you can customize your character’s race, gender, clan, look, guardian deity, class and starting location. There are five races to choose from. Hyur is the race that resembles humans the most. Elezen is a race of slender tall nomadic elves. Lalafell are short race that look like the Tarutaru from Final Fantasy XI. Migo’te are a cat race. Finally you have Roegadyn which is a maritime people. As you can tell, all the races are based on those from Final Fantasy XI. After you pick a race you can also pick a race specific clan. Clans influence your starting attributes. The clans you can then chose from depend on the race you selected. Your Guardian deity, on the other hand, gives you a different elemental attributes.
After that you can pick how your character looks, starting from things such as hair style, hair color and bust size, to small details such as scars, make-up and tattoos. Once you are satisfied with how your character looks you can save that look, so you can quickly have a template from which you can work for making future characters.
Finally you get to pick your class, which starts you off at a specific city. The starting classes you get to choose from are: Gladiator, Pugilist, Marauder, Lancer, Archer, Conjurer and Thaumaturge.
After you are satisfied with everything you chose your server, which will bind your character to that specific server. If you want to play with friends you will have to pick the correct server, since you won’t be able to change this later on.
I decided to go with a red head nekomimi (Migo’te) archer. Being an archer I started my tale in a wagon on my way to my starting town of Gridania. This town is one huge place and is divided into New Gridania where you can find the guild and Old Gridania where the shops are located.
Here I was acquainted with all the important NPCs in the town and basic interactions in the game. Most of these beginning quests were essentially fetch quests, but they served their purpose well since I learned the layout of the city. Your starting quests, NPCs and city depend on the class you picked at the beginning with there being a total of three starting locations.
This introductory section took quite a while to clear. I played the game for over two hours before I had a single battle. Then again this might be my OCD acting up and forcing me to playthrough every single side quest in town I come across.
While most quests do follow the order of kill 6 X and collect 3 Y, there is also a number of interesting quests. Notable ones have you hunting for archery targets littered throughout the town, stopping a bandit who is hitting on a local girl and locating idling members of an army and sending them back to their camp.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn features full keyboard support, allowing you play the game using a keyboard and mouse. Even if you prefer playing on a gamepad it’s still recommended having a keyboard plugged in for chat.
I played this game on the PS3 and it has quite impressive visuals for a MMO title. The locales are beautiful and really give you the feeling you are in a fantasy world. Forests are very detailed and the draw distance for the environment is equally as good. Trees cast a shadow on your character and water looks really realistic. The game also has a day and night cycle as well as different weather conditions.
The game boasts an equally impressive sound track, which really reminds me how much I love the music in Square Enix games.Everything you have equipped is visible on your character, making my nekomimi look like the protagonist of ICO by the time I finished equipping all the most powerful items she could wear.
This game also has a first person mode. While you probably won’t ever use it, it’s still great being given the possibility of witnessing land of Eorzea in first person.
Being still in beta I did encounter a few technical issues such as missing sound from a cut scene, my character holding a bow while it’s still holstered on her back and periodic frame rate drops. Hopefully all these will be patched by the time the games comes out.
I couldn’t possibly fit everything I saw in a single article so tune in for next week where, aside from further exploring the world of Gridania with my Migo’te character, I will be explaining the combat system and trying out the Thaumaturge class.