Welcome to this ‘review in progress’ for Final Fantasy 14 on the Playstation 4. This review marks something new for the Strand, the review process for most games is quite simple, play the game for x number of hours and then write up the review. This method is perfectly acceptable and works brilliantly for the most part – but when you consider the scope and time investment associated with an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) this method doesn’t quite work as well. So the idea for this review is that over the course of a couple of weeks, this review in progress will be updated with my thoughts and opinions on various topics as I play through the game – once I feel like I have had enough time with the game and had a chance to try all (or most) of what the game has to offer, I will then update this article with a numbered score, still following me? Great! now onto the review proper.
Please note – The latest installment of this review in progress will always appear first
Update 3 – Value for money
In my 40 or so hours of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, there has never been a moment where I felt that there was nothing for me to do. With the rich lore and deep story line that spans the entire of Eorzea, to the multitude of crafting professions – there was never a dull moment. The majority of you time initially in FF14 will be spent progressing through the main story, as well as the side-quests that accompany it. If you fancy something a little more laid back then you can always go fishing, or try your hand at gold smithing. For those of you who fancy swapping your bow for a lance, you can do that too. Final Fantasy is a game brimming with choice, so much choice that you aren’t even locked into your initial chosen class – simply change your weapon to that of a different class and hey presto you become that class.
I really like the approach that Final Fantasy 14 has taken over other MMOs, while many of it’s contemporaries only let you have one combat class and the one or two gathering/ crafting classes – Final Fantasy lets you switch between any and all of them. The main argument against this of course is that you only really need to create one character in order to see everything, you might miss out playing as a different race or starting in a different area. While I can see the issues that may arise from this, I think that the benefits from this system far outweigh the disadvantages.
In addition to completing story quests and crafting professions, FF 14 also offers ‘Levequests’ and ‘F.A.T.Es’ the former being the game’s version of daily quests and the latter being dynamic combat events that occur randomly in the world. as well as being good ways to make money, these two optional endeavors also serve to solve the problem of how you level up a new class when you have completed all the side quests. I had a lot of fun taking part in F.A.T.Es, especially when I joined a large group of players – the fact that they occur randomly and don’t require you to search explicitly for a group to join is a nice touch and it does a good job of promoting on the fly group play. As for Levequests, I have completed a few but I haven’t progressed far enough through the game to really see the benefit of them yet – I imagine as I get into the higher levels of mining, they will become invaluable for leveling up.
So how does FF14 stack up against it’s competitors? Well I have to say that I have had a lot of fun. The mechanics in the game a fun and rewarding, I rarely felt like I was simply grinding through the levels, this is really a testament to the excellent pacing and execution of the main story line. Playing on PS4 isn’t without it’s annoyances, sometimes the control scheme can’t help but feel a little confusing and fiddly. Overall though I believe that A realm Reborn is well worth the monthly fee (in a world where subscription MMOs are becoming a thing of the past) and would definitely recommend Final Fantasy 14 to anyone who enjoys playing traditional MMOs, fans of the Final Fantasy series as a whole will get a kick out of the fan service – but this is an MMO first and foremost, so players wanting a ‘traditional’ Final Fantasy experience may be disappointed.
Final Fantasy 14 is a great MMO that doesn't break the mold rather that adopt and adapt a tried and tested formula. What it does offer is a huge amount of content and a freedom of choice not seen in most MMOs. For those who don't mind paying a subscription fee, this is one of the best MMOs available at the moment.