Final Fantasy XIV is the latest addition to the long line of final fantasy games. Like its predecessor, Final Fantasy XI, it too is an online RPG. Its release date isn’t until the Sept. 22, or Sept. 30 for people who don’t buy the collectors edition of the game to get early access. While a fully functioning version of the game is not currently up and running, people have gotten a chance to get a glance of the new game thanks to the open beta that allows players to experience a sliver of what they can expect.
The game play for Final Fantasy XIV is pretty bare bones, as is expected with anything that is a beta. It’s missing all the bells and whistles as far as story is concerned, but it still has plenty to give for the game mechanics, such as combat and the class system. The combat system is a hybrid of Final Fantasy XI and an entirely new setup. It still has things like a tactical point gauge, also known as TP. Unlike Final Fantasy XI, TP is not required for all special moves. Instead, there is an action gauge. The action gauge builds constantly and at a certain point it allows players to initiate certain moves and actions. Along with those two gauges are the standard health and magic, or mana, bar.
The armory system is a very innovative and new class system, allowing players to switch between classes more or less on a whim, allowing for more dynamic party play. The armory system is exciting because it allows for players to fill in roles that the party needs when they need it. Certain parts of a dungeon may be more geared to a magic user heavy party, and the next section might require melee type classes. The armory system also includes skill type classes such as blacksmith, miner, botanist, fisher and much more. These classes can be vital to party play, as well as a backup healer, creating potions and various other things from dropped loot.
Final Fantasy XIV sports seamless transitions from one region to another with no load screen and no, waiting. This is pretty standard for most sandbox console games and a few PC ones, but it is impressive for an online rpg with a massive and extremely detailed world.
The new class system works wonderfully well, allowing not only for better party play, but also for soloing, which, in Final Fantasy XI, was nearly impossible once characters leveled enough. Even on the lowest settings the graphics are still impressive, easily comparable to any of the other large, massively multiplayer games out there. On a high note, the graphics are far superior to just about anything on the market currently. Music is what one has come to expect out of a Final Fantasy game with a number of very good songs setting the feeling for the environment.
The updates for the beta literally took days to download. Square Enix went with torrenting as a means to download and apply updates, which for them might be less resource demanding, but provides for very unstable and sluggish download rates for everyone else.
This is certainly a game which people are looking forward to, and it is easy to see why. Though final opinions will be held until the full release, the beta shows what should be, at the very least, some very solid game mechanics with very few technical hiccups.
Whim Rating: N/A
Photo from Creative Commons