This is going to seem delayed, considering, but if we've learned anything it's that a) I am a slacker and in general b) time means absolutely nothing to me. Perhaps I was simply waiting for my opinion to be justified, but it's more likely that I simply tried to block the experience out to the best of my ability. Because honestly, playing it was a lot like witnessing a horrible crime.
With the news recently that worlds (servers) are being forcibly merged
due to population deficiency, I felt it was about due. Maybe because my
harsh review seemed more justified now than it did before? I don't know.
I'll preface this by saying, I could only stomach the game for roughly a
week during beta. Mind you it was the final build in beta, only several
days prior to retail launch so Square should've had their shit
together. I presumed they would take what they had with FFXI and
build/improve from there. That is not however what they did at all. It
seems that for some reason or another they decided instead to start from
scratch, rush, and then leave everything half-assed.
Let's begin with character creation. First things first -- this shit's
weird. The arrow keys will filter through your menu options and do
nothing to control the camera. For that you need to awkwardly use J, K,
L, and I. Why? I don't have any flipping idea. But there you go. You're
welcome. I probably just saved you a good three minutes of, "wtf???"
You have five races to choose from in FFXIV: Hyur (human), Miqo'te
(cat-girl), Lalafell (elf-gnome-thing), Elzen (elves), and Roegaydn
(man-beast). Each of those has two additional clan options with slight
variances such skintone and starting attributes, but ultimately it
doesn't seem to particularly matter a whole lot. Also some clans don't
allow you to be certain genders so the whole thing feels a little last
minute to me and I can't be assed to get into it in any amount of
Selecting individual features is pretty lackluster, with no color wheels
or true sliders to speak of. At the time in which I played there were,
for example: five height options, three voice options, anywhere between
seven and sixteen skin tones, between six and nine hair styles, and an
impressive thrty-two hair color options -- though most are nearly
identical to each other honestly, so you could probably half that. You
can further customize your hair by selecting a highlight color on top of
the base color, but honestly the lightning makes this process moot much
of the time.
For faces you can choose the basic shape of the face and then further
refine it by selectine eyebrows, eye color, nose size/shape, and so
forth. Unfortunately for some reason your face shape is directly
connected to your bust size if you're a woman, so you may choose the
soft innocent looking face only to get in game and realize for some
reason you now have a D-cup. The individual options aren't magnificent,
but at least they're there.
There are four starting classes referred to as Disciples of War,
Disciples of Magic, Disciples of The Land and Disciples of The Hand.
Which probably means squat to you if you don't know wtf that crap means.
Disiciples of War are fighters who can choose between Pugilist, who
fight with their fists and knuckle weapons; Gladiator, who specializes
in sword and shield; Marauder, who wields giant two-handed axes; Archer,
who clearly uses bows and arrows; and Lancer, who makes use of a lance.
Disciples of Magic are mages who can choose between Conjurer, who wields
elemental magic; and the Thaumaturge, who wields spiritual magic.
Disciples of The Land are gatherers who can choose between Miner,
Botanist, and Fisher. What those three classes do should be really quite
Disciples of The Hand are crafters who can choose between Alchemist,
Armorer, Blacksmith, Carpenter, Culinarian, Goldsmith, Leatherworker,
and Weaver. All of which should also be really quite obvious as to what
they do in the scheme of things.
Incidentally, you can change what you are at any given time by
purchasing a new weapon, so none of these choices seem to carry any
significant weight behind them, cheapening your need to even make a
After you've done all of this you can choose your character's birthday
and patron deity. I still have very little idea what precisely these
options did, as they had no discernible effect on my questing or
storyline. But you can choose them, so I'd assume they intended to do
something with the system.
After all of this, you choose your starting location, of which there are
three, which I'm to understand is the key factor in deciding what
storyline your character progresses through. Despite being able to
travel freely, you can only witness the storyline of the city you
started in, so I guess this is truly the only real option you've been
given that matters. So I guess if you're really intent on hammering your
way through this game, means you should choose wisely.
On to the rest of the game, then. The game is quite pretty, as expected
of a Final Fantasy game these days, however from what I saw the story is
sorely lacking (also kind of expected these days I guess?). The quests I
did were very run-of-the-mill and left me feeling bored, even when
faced with impending doom. Go kill obscene amounts of ______. Go collect
absurd numbers of ______. And so on. The music left a lot to be
desired, particularly for a Square title, and left me feeling outside of
the world rather than a part of it.
The lag was a frightening experience itself, which strangely added more
excitement to the game than anything in the actual game on purpose. To
clarify, the issue was with the game servers themselves, not my
internet. I'm fully aware of the difference.
Monsters were never where they showed up in the world, and since most
were aggressive, this meant while slowly trudging along from one great
distance to another, you'd get attacked by something you didn't even
realize was actually in your path. Sometimes, the monster model wouldn't
even show up, leaving you standing there trying to fight something
invisible. Targeting was a nightmare and it had more to do with the
targeting box-size (tiny) compared to the creature you were targeting
(huge) than anything else. Though the choice to rely on software mouse
rather than hardware mouse certainly did not help matters.
In fact, without a third-party modification for that game to enable
hardware mouse, the game was effectively unplayable due to the effect
lag has on software mouse. The fact that Square so adamantly refused to
include hardware mouse as an option, forcing some random nobody to
create the mod on their own speaks volumes as to what's wrong with
FFXIV. Which, I suppose is a good place to end the review since just
thinking about the game just disappoints me all over again.
P.S. I know it's Square Enix, and many of you would like very much to
blame the last half of that equation for the woes here, but honestly old
Square could've put more polish on a turd and sold it, with half the
time. I mean, they know it's bad. Which implies they knew it was bad! They've sent at least two official apologies to fans, recognizing the poor quality of the product.
Edit: It should be noted at the very least, in an effort to make up for
the extreme failure, FFXIV is free-to-play and there are numerous
patches in development meant to correct many of the glaring flaws that
have existed to this date. I would say, however, that these efforts are
simply not enough and the release of this game no where near
completion is the rock-bottom to the recent decline of the Square
empire. At least there's no where to go but up from here?