Developed by:Square Enix Published by:Square Enix Genre(s):
  • Platform:
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$29.99 ESRB Rating:TEEN Players:Many Online Release date:August 27, 2013 Reviewed on:PC

    Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

    What do you do when your game doesn’t meet gamers’ expectations? Why, you re-release it years later of course. At least, that was the case with Square Enix and Final Fantasy XIV.

    After the original servers when down last November, Square started testing A Realm Reborn. Their plan was basically to rebuild the game using what they learned during the first go around, resulting in a major overhaul; everything from the servers and gameplay mechanics to the content and graphics were improved upon. And after playing for some time now, I can safely say that Square nailed it this time around!

    A Realm Reborn, though a remake, does follow the story originally presented. The heroes were sent five years into the future, landing in the time of reconstruction in Eorzea. Of course, their memories aren’t intact…honestly, all you need to know about the story is that it can take you from level one to cap (more on that later). The most important thing to talk about is the gameplay itself and how it stands up to other MMOs.

    The first step in playing any MMO is creating a character to play as. When it came to the
    creation systems, Square managed to give gamers a decent amount of options without being overwhelming in nature. Things like the race, height, facial features, muscle tone, and more can be tweaked without having to spend ages in submenus. That holds true to the more intricate details like the size of your characters irises (which is actually noticeable when using a decent PC). One of the things I really loved was the ability to see my character perform different actions in different environments once I was happy with my main attributes. Basically, I was given a preview of how my character would look in-game before I actually got there. After that you can choose your nameday (birthday), deity, and finally class. There are eight classes to choose from that fulfill different roles in parties. They also determines which of the three starting areas you’ll being the game in.

    There are five disciples of war and three disciples of magic. The only problem I see with the classes is that the game doesn’t really explain their roles upfront; you’ll have to do a little research to find out who’s a healer, tank, etc. That way you won’t have to make another character after being disappointed with your choice. Like most MMO’s, as you progress though the game you have the opportunity to upgrade your class to a more specialized job. For example if you choose the gladiator, after hitting a level requirement and completing a quest, you can upgrade to a paladin and new exclusive abilities.

    Speaking of leveling, one of the best improvements I’ve seen was in the mission/quest structure. For the gamers who enjoy playing through the main story, its quests were designed to get you from level one to level fifty (the current cap). There aren’t too many points where you’d have to grind to complete the game’s narrative. If you want to take your time with the story there’s also hundreds of side quests, most of which actually give you worthwhile rewards when completed at the appropriate level. This usually means a piece of gear along with some Gil (the currency in Eorzea) and experience points. Most of the quests are varied, though I didn’t like the emote ones. There are a couple of quests where you have to perform different actions, like dancing, for people. I kind of wish I could skip those and get right back in to the action featured in the story. A minor grip at best; at least it’s something different and they do teach you a lot of the possible actions you can do. Besides, you’re still rewarded for completing them.

    For me the dungeons seem to be where A Realm Reborn really shines. The dungeons are usually filled with unique gameplay mechanics and are just pure eye candy. Every dungeon just seems to have a beautiful atmosphere and epic theme songs. Which is somewhat a contrast to the increasingly difficult to kill enemies, puzzles and dungeon hazards. It’s easy to get sucked in as you explore these rich environments; it’s like a mini adventure squeezed into the main narrative.  If new to dungeons and don’t what exactly your roll is, then there are mini dungeons called Guildhest that are meant to teach you some of mechanics utilized in real dungeons while rewarding you with a healthy amount of experience points the first time you complete them.

    In the event you’re playing alone you can still conquer dungeons with a feature called Duty Finder. Similar to Rift’s party system, the game will group you up with other people that are interested in completing the same dungeon you’re about to tackle. The same goes if you’re already in a party as it’ll fill in the remaining open spots. Going a step further, the duty finder also keeps party structure in mind. If you’re searching for people to complete a four man dungeon you won’t end up with three healers. It will always try to balance the party, filling in whatever roles are missing.

    When the time comes where you’ve advanced through the story yet grow tired of running dungeons or doing side quest, you’ll be happy to know that there are still other options. An enjoyable alternative to normal questing are FATES (Full Active Time Event). FATES are random events that take place in the open world where anyone can jump in at any time. Such as a fighting off a Beastmen attack, thwarting an extremely powerful boss or even infiltrating a base and collecting an item. FATES usually take a large number of people to complete, granting an insanely large amount of experience points compared to other options in the game. Along with the experience points they also grant Gil and sometimes items such as minions – a little pet that just follows you around, nothing special though they look pretty cool. The reward amount is based on your contribution to the FATE. The more damage you do to enemies or items you deliver the higher your rank resulting in a better reward. To ease the pressure of doing well you can start a party with up to eight other players and the contribution will be measured as a whole group rather than one person.

    FATES do come with a recommended level. If you are below the level your contribution isn’t weighed as heavily even if you’re in a party. Which means you won’t get the full amount of experience or Gil from the FATE. It also works the other way around. If you are more than five levels above the recommended level you won’t be able to participate unless you choose to sync your level for the FATE. As soon as the FATE is over you will be reverted back to your normal level.

    An MMO wouldn’t be complete without crafting. Here it falls under two main categories: disciples of the hand and disciples of the land. Disciples of the hand are crafters such as Blacksmithing, Armorer, Weaver, etc. while disciples of the land are made up of Miners, Botanists and more. Each crafter obviously specialized in a different field. By working with others you can make some pretty good stuff. Though it can be tricky; crafting is actually a mini-game. Advancing your progress on an item lowers its durability. Halting your advancement early would allow you to increase its quality without degrading it further (like making an upgraded version of a normal quality item as opposed to making a brand new item). So there is a push and pull as you decided what it is you’re trying to make. The more items you craft the more experience points you earn. As you level up you’ll earn extra abilities that help you keep the durability of your items up. It’s hard to explain, but it isn’t as confusing as it sounds. Still, crafting and gathering isn’t for everyone though it can be a nice change of pace from the constant fighting.

    Since this is a Final Fantasy game there is one aspect where no one is ever disappointed and that’s in the visuals and sound departments. Graphically, this game is nothing short of amazing. Everything is highly detailed. From the moment you start at the main city to the point where you feel like you’ve seen everything a million times, the scenery always looks great and never gets old. The changes in environments throughout the continent of Eorzea are refreshing with a mixture of beaches, jungles, snowy plans, tropical paradises, and more. Character models are amazing, where zooming in will net you even more details to gawk at. The ability animations look good as well and don’t seem to be overused at all. The abilities are a little on the flashy side though. While I actually like the way they look (I’m a fan of the all the vibrant colors), I can understand someone wanting to tone them down via the options menu. Especially if your PC can’t handle all of the onscreen action.

    The game’s soundtrack is great too. Again, we expect that from Final Fantasy titles. Nobuo Uematsu is back as the composer and he hasn’t missed a step. He’s created some memorable tunes to go along with what’s happening onscreen. In a dungeon or a boss fight you can expect to hear an upbeat track whereas in a sanctuary, you’ll be treated to a mellowed out relaxing tune. Most MMO’s with a lot of things going on in a small area tend to sound like a bunch of car crashes. This game somehow manages to avoid that. Between the visuals and music, you could enjoy yourself by just taking a second to admire the surroundings.

    With there being so much content (and I only hit the tip of the iceberg), beautiful visuals and music, A Realm Reborn was made for fans of Square’s previous MMO. It is a subscription based MMO though. So if you want to play it you’re going to have to give about $15 a month. You do have multiple options on how you want to pay with some of them actually taking a bit off the price. With just the pure quality of the game I can say it’s a fair price and worthy of your time. And with the features added you don’t need to play the game forever to feel like you’re getting somewhere. Of all the things I could think of that has to be the best quality of all. Whether you have a bunch of free time or you have two jobs and only maybe 30 minutes a day to play, you can always feel like you accomplished something.



    There is so much content and so many different ways to spend your time in Eorzea. Whether you’re a hardcore MMO player or a casual player there’s something for you.



    With the right PC it’s mesmerizing. Everything is flawless in appearance, keeping up with what we come to expect in a Final Fantasy tittle.



    As a part of the Final Fantasy series this game delivers in the sound department.

    What's New:


    The Duty Finder is an amazing addition. The fact that you can still do side quests or other things while the Duty Finder finds a party for you to raid a dungeon is great.

    Replay Value:


    There is just too much to explore in the land of Eorzea to not keep coming back for more!

    Final Score:


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