The Game that Brought Me Back to MMORPGs

[Preface: This is not a full review, but rather, an expository on my reasons for choosing Final Fantasy XIV out of all the MMOs I could play as well as commentary on my experience so far. Enjoy!]

 

20150723225858Over a decade has passed since I last entered the addictive world of MMOs. I use to spend countless days, weeks, and months losing myself while exploring fantastical worlds and obsessing over builds, statistics, crafting, and color coordinating my costumes. I can’t even begin to imagine how much time I lost playing games like Everquest, City of Heroes, and World of Warcraft. Unfortunately, my college education, full-time job, and various other responsibilities quickly put an end to my MMO adventures, and so my alter egos slowly faded into the dark recesses of my ever-aging mind. Over the years, the MMO itch never disappeared, but I’ve just never had the time or money to commit to these games like I wanted to. Thankfully, I’ve finally found both the time and resources necessary to allow me the luxury of reentering the wonderful world of MMOs.

Since I began my search for a new adventure, I’d been courted by many intriguing games, but there was nothing that felt quite right. While exploring the halls of E3 this year, I had the opportunity to stop by Square Enix’s booth for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, and I finally found the spark that lit the MMO flame I had been searching for. With my unbridled passion for JRPGs and unconditional love for the Final Fantasy series, I am embarrassed to say that I had completely overlooked this title. “A Final Fantasy MMORPG? Looks fun, but no thanks. I’ll wait for XIV.” Oh, how foolish I was. In my defense, when I had originally looked at FFXIV: A Realm Reborn, I wasn’t yet in the market for an MMO, and the poor reception of the original PC release left me a bit uneasy. Nevertheless, I’m ashamed that I hadn’t thought of it sooner when the time was right. As soon as I returned home from my trip to E3, I immediately logged on to my PS4 to download it and get started.

FF14 Heavensward

From the first time I logged into A Realm Reborn, I was hooked. This game has everything that I’ve always wanted in an MMO; the setting, characters, classes, tone, and player freedom are all truly exceptional, but the story is what really sealed the deal for me. I’ve always enjoyed MMOs, but two things that were always lacking in these games were strong narratives and options for solo play. For many players like myself who love the social aspect of MMOs, it’s difficult to constantly coordinate schedules with friends, so many of these games lose their appeal when you’re the only one logged in. Final Fantasy XIV strikes a wonderful balance between group and solo play, and from what I’ve played so far, it delivers an entertaining and exciting story that keeps players absorbed whether there playing with others or by themselves.

For players who will be spending an equal amount of time playing alone and with others, Final Fantasy XIV is the perfect MMO to invest in. During my time so far, I’ve only had the opportunity to play through the single player aspects, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The Square Enix development team has taken the traditional JRPG narrative and gameplay format and successfully combined it with that of traditional MMOs. Between the main story missions and side quests spread throughout this massive world, there is a seemingly endless amount of content to be explored while playing alone. With all the cut-scenes, dialogue, and well-designed characters, even the most basic side quests can be a pleasure, and when a developer can make solo grinding an enjoyable experience, you know you’ve got something special. It really does feel like the perfect hybrid between a traditional Final Fantasy title and an MMO, which is exactly what I want in a game like this.

FF14

The setting and tone of A Realm Reborn are two other aspects that many MMOs never find a good balance for, especially for my personal preference, but Square Enix has delivered an exceptional world that is a pleasure to explore. Though it may sound trite, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is flat-out fun. This world and its characters keep me attentive, engrossed, and constantly smiling. Many other MMOs that I’ve tried had bland stories, uninteresting worlds, and generic NPC characters, but that is not the case with A Realm Reborn. The world created in XIV really is one that JRPG fans like myself will fall in love with.

After two weeks of playing through the initial story, I can honestly say that this is one of those games that will keep me coming back for a long time. A Realm Reborn and the follow up expansion, Heavensward, may not reinvent the MMO wheel, but what this game does, it does exceptionally. What’s even more exciting about this experience is that since I’m only at level 20, so my journey into FFXIV has only just begun. Hell, forget the tip of the iceberg; two weeks isn’t even enough time to chip an ice cube from the tip of the iceberg! There is still an unimaginable amount of sights to see, monsters to slay, abilities to unlock, and story to reveal. If you love JRPGs and are even remotely interested in MMOS, you definitely need to try Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Since you get a 15 day free trial, you’ve got nothing to lose! This is a game that you can’t miss out on.

Be sure to follow my adventures in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Heavensward here on Gamer Assault Weekly through my articles!

About The Author

Derrick D
Editorial/Reviews Writer

Derrick has been an avid gamer since before he even started kindergarten. He is a video games enthusiast first and foremost and has a unconditional love for the gaming industry. His fun-loving personality, wide array of experiences, as well as his background in gaming and the film industry have helped him to develop a unique perspective that is always thoughtful and invariably entertaining.