|System: PC*, PS3|
|Dev: Square Enix|
|Pub: Square Enix|
|Release: August 27, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Language, Mild Blood, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence|
These are rare innovations in a game that mostly sticks to the modern MMO formula, though. Pretty much everything else is drawn straight from other games--from the cooldown timers that spaces out your attacks, to the basic combat mechanics (with the exception of some attacks that give you a chance to get out of the way), to the obnoxious fact that you can end up booted to a land far away when you die. (I found this especially frustrating when I was fighting a boss alone in an instanced scene. Why can't I just try again when I fail?) Even the FATEs are just a copy of the "dynamic events" in RIFT and Guild Wars 2.
A Realm Reborn does break new ground by being a cross-platform release, however. I played on PC, where the controls are exactly what you'd expect--WASD movement, number keys for attacks, and so on. But the game also appears on PS3, where face- and trigger-button combinations set off the attacks. This is a handy solution for the problem of cramming so many moves onto a single controller.
The game also features some PvP content. There's an arena that allows four-on-four and eight-on-eight battles, though for reasons I cannot understand, it's restricted to characters of Level 30 and higher, which means you'll be investing many hours before you can try it. Reportedly, there will also be areas in the world where PvP is allowed, but these won't be revealed until the first patch.
So, if you want some PvP as an occasional diversion, A Realm Reborn will provide that, but it remains to be seen whether there will be much more. I'd have preferred a separate leveling system for PvP, so that all players could compete on an even playing field, as some other MMOs are doing today.
Of course, every MMO review has to come with a disclaimer: These are just my thoughts after logging some hours with the game. I still have a long way to go in my own adventure, and the game itself will change as Square Enix updates it and adds content.
But it's beyond clear that Final Fantasy XIV has, in fact, been reborn. This is everything players wanted the original game to be--it might avoid pushing the boundaries, but it provides hours upon hours of well-designed quest sequences, breathtaking graphics, and a gripping plot. At last, we have a modern MMO worthy of the Final Fantasy name.
Date: August 29, 2013