Final Fantasy XIV‘s initial release in late 2010 left a bad taste in many players’ mouths, but none so much as Square Enix themselves, who pulled game into a massive redevelopment after a year of dissatisfied players and critics. After almost two years of hard labor, Final Fantasy XIV returns as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Right off the bat, the game’s UI is far more sleek and much less inconsequential looking than before – in fact, the game as a whole is probably one of the better looking MMOs to date. Environments are lush and are styled in a “Japanese fantasy” style that reminds me more of Final Fantasy XII or IX than any of the series’ more recent iterations.
Playable races have been expanded to include male and female versions as the Miqo’te, Roegadyn, and Hyur Highlanders were originally genderlocked on initial release. Classes remain unchanged aside from balance fixes and the addition of the Arcanist and Summoner. Players can still switch classes on the fly simply by equipping a different weapon and level it immediately, though a major goal is to unlock the use of specialized jobs by filling specific level requirements with certain classes i.e. to play a Paladin, a player would have to reach level 30 as a gladiator and level 15 as a conjurer.
A new dynamic event system called FATE (Full Active Time Event) has been added and is evocative of Guild Wars 2‘s dynamic event system, where players in an area may suddenly be called upon to defend a small village from beastmen or fight an enormous monster as a group. Completing these events grants participating players money and experience, as well as offering a break in the monotony that is leveling in MMOs.
When you get knocked down, it’s generally a good idea to get back up and dust yourself off. Square Enix has done so in force. MMO maniacs and Final Fantasy fanboys looking for their fix of either may find the cure in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn when it relaunches on August 27 on PC and PS3.
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