Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Box Art(http://www.finalfantasyxiv.com)  Rated T for Teen by the ESRB.  Final Fantasy has always been a forerunner in the JRPG genre and is one of the most popular series of all time.  It has been known for its gripping stories and the fact that each numbered iteration is a separate story in a different universe.  This makes for the perfect MMORPG recipe.  In Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, you are an adventurer who is swept up in a war to save the city states of Eorzea from the evil Garlean Empire and the Primal gods of the world.  This takes you on a journey that covers vast continents and has you meet some interesting people.  FFXIV: ARR has learned a plethora of things from failures and fans.  They have implemented a lot of things from previous Final Fantasy games which makes this stand out, not only as a good game, but a nostalgic one.  Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a world that is just waiting for you to jump in and explore.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Box ArtFinal Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Logo(http://www.finalfantasyxiv.com)  Rated T for Teen by the ESRB.  Final Fantasy has always been a forerunner in the JRPG genre and is one of the most popular series of all time.  It has been known for its gripping stories and the fact that each numbered iteration is a separate story in a different universe.  This makes for the perfect MMORPG recipe.  In Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, you are an adventurer who is swept up in a war to save the city states of Eorzea from the evil Garlean Empire and the Primal gods of the world.  This takes you on a journey that covers vast continents and has you meet some interesting people.  FFXIV: ARR has learned a plethora of things from failures and fans.  They have implemented a lot of things from previous Final Fantasy games which makes this stand out, not only as a good game, but a nostalgic one.  Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a world that is just waiting for you to jump in and explore. 



Graphics:
Graphically Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is hands down one of the most beautiful MMORPG out to date. Even the PS3 version looks better than almost every other MMORPG on PC.  The character models are extremely nice and look on par with games like Final Fantasy XIII.  It also really looks like a Final Fantasy game with its unique art style that has become a trademark of the series. The lighting is also impressive for an MMORPG.  The shadows look good and match the character, beast, or object that cast them.  The spells look very nice and are all spectacle light shows and extremely visually appealing.  Square Enix has been known for delivering beautiful looking games and FFXIV: ARR is no different.  They have established  a firm graphical capability in making a gorgeous MMORPG with FFXI and have taken what they learned from their success.  No wonder FFXIV: ARR is drop dead gorgeous on both PC and PS3. 

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots   Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots   Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots

Sound :
This is a mixed bag because the sounds and music of the game  is amazing, but is not always present.  There was a lot of detail put into the sound.  The music is outstanding which is what you expect from a Final Fantasy game, and from the battle music to the Chocobo music you will feel like you are playing one.  One really nice touch was the sound of you walking.  This may sound like a little detail, but everywhere you walk has a unique sound.  If you walk on grass is makes a different sound then when you walk on cement or metal.  Although most of the sound is amazing, voice acting is something that stands out as a little lack luster.  The voice acting only really happens during story missions and then only sometimes. Also, your main character does not speak during the cut-scenes. This can be extremely annoying to some because sometimes you get a full voiced cut-scene and sometimes you don’t.  During a fully voice acted cut-scene, the NPC would talk to you and your main character would only get mouth movement with no sound. This takes you out of the experience because you never know what to expect. 

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots   Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots   Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots

Gameplay:
First it should be known that Square Enix already released FFXIV and it did awful. They knew it had potential and decided to redo the entire game from the ground up and even implemented a new engine.   Not only did they use a new engine, but they decided to go with a nostalgic approach which ended up being a great decision.   They have turned a complete failure into a winning MMORPG with a lot of hard work and a good amount of ingenuity.

The nostalgia they built into FFXIV: ARR is an amazing touch and it makes the game both unique and also familiar.  They have implemented the Materia from FFVII, which in FFXIV: ARR lets you turn old gear into Materia and infuse it into other gear. This greatly changes the economy system and the value of old and dated items.  There is also the Limit Break system from many other Final Fantasy games and this works just as you expect.  In a party, once the gauge is filled up you can let out a devastating attack or support ability.  The Magetik armor system from FFVI is also in play although in a different manor then in its original game.  These and a few more things make this game feel familiar and somehow easy to get a handle on.

When you create your character you are given a choose of race.  These races range from a Human race called the Hyur to the big bear like people called the Roegadyn.  There are a total of five races and 2 sub races per each.  These sub races are usually broken down into one that is better at being a mage and one that is better at melee.  All the races, besides looking drastically different, offer only a slightly different experience.  Once you pick your race and sub race, you have to pick a class, which is broken between mages and melee classes.  The class you choose also affects which of the three major cities you will begin at.  The starting classes for melee are Archer, Pugilist, Gladiator, Marauder, and Lancer.  The starting classes for magic are Conjuror, Thaumaturge, and Arcanist.  Different advanced classes are created by getting one class to level 30 and a second to 15.  An example of this is Summoner, to get Summoner you must level Arcanist to 30 and Thaumaturge to 15 and then complete the Summoner quest.  This class leveling system is similar to that of Final Fantasy Tactics, which is another nostalgic moment.

The gameplay itself is solid and has been greatly improved from both FFXI and the original FFXIV.   The game is one of the faster paced MMORPGs when it comes to combat, but it is on the slow end when it comes to quests.  The combat is fluid and diverse and really keeps the game fresh and fun.  The fast paced combat breaks up the monotony of the long winded and fetch quests.   When you start, the quests are one of the best ways to level up, but this changes after a few levels.  Quests are always good to do because they offer decent experience and also sometimes good equipment.  Once you get to around level 15 FATE (Full Active Time Events) start becoming the way to level up.  These random mass player events offer gratuitous amounts of experience to those who are of a close level and participate.  These are a good addition and always give you something to do, well rewarding you greatly.  To top it all off, there are a slew of crafting jobs.  From being an Armorer that make great armor to a Fisherman who runs around looking for water to fish, you will not find a wider range of jobs and crafting then FFXIV:ARR.  These crafting jobs will aid the gameplay through and in game economy system and special gears for your character.  These are but a few of the great things in FFXIV: AAR.  Don’t forget about the Chocobo riding, Grand Company Quest, Guildhest, Levequest, etc.

Even though FFXIV: ARR is overall a high quality MMORPG, it does have some things that some people may consider flaws or just not like.  The quest heaviness may turn you off even though it does tapper off the higher level you get.  The maps are expansive and it sometimes is a burden to traverse them.  Introducing the ability to teleport anywhere you been helps with this, but if you haven’t been somewhere you will spend a lot of time exploring.  This is made worse by one of the worst map systems in an MMORPG.  The biggest potential downside would be the monthly fee.  Many games have tried this and failed, and although FFXIV: ARR looks like it could succeed, it is early in its life and anything could happen. 

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots   Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots   Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots

Longevity :
FFXIV: ARR is an MMORPG if a lot to offer in all aspects of an MMORPG.  Compared to other MMORPGs, it is off to a good start. In the end, only time will tell how good the post-game is. It definitely has the potential to keep you busy for months as it sits right now.  There are also a lot of exploration and  trophies to acquire, but since it’s a MMORPG it will take a long time to try them all.  FFXIV: ARR is a large game and if you enjoy it and won’t see the light of day for a long time.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots   Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots   Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC, PS3, PS4) Screenshots

Conclusion:
Square Enix learned from its first stab at FFXIV and with A Realm Reborn fixed almost all the problems it had.  This has led to a game that is outstanding.   The nostalgia and improvements really make this a game that both MMORPG and Final Fantasy fans shouldn’t miss.  Although it does have some flaws, it is one of the most solid MMORPG experiences out there disregarding the platform you are playing on.  Hopefully a few new races and classes are released later in expansion packs.  The game is good without them now, but diversity always the key to the survival and expansion of any MMORPGS to do well.   We will have to wait and see if FFXIV: ARR will have the longevity and post-game support to compete with the big dogs like World of Warcraft. But if the rest of the expansions and game are anything like this, then this will be the next big MMORPG to play. 

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