Published on October 18th, 2013 | by SharnOfTheDEAD0
Final Fantasy 14 Review
Summary: An MMO for PlayStation 3 which bit off more than a Chocobo can chew
The MMO Final Fantasy 14 for PlayStation 3 is a game that you will sink many hours into, however within those hours you might have a variety of feelings towards the game, it’s a mixed bag and sometimes misses the mark where it should have hit it.
I haven’t played many MMO’s in my time; in fact i’ve only played Defiance and Star Wars the Old Republic. So when I jumped into Final fantasy 14 things were pretty new to me. After spending around two hours of setting things up, signing up and installing the game I finally got to spend time editing my character, yes this is the moment where you spend another hour deciding who you want to be, then deciding how you want to look.
The character creation section is actually quite easy to navigate through and works in a step by step basis. There’s great variation with different races to choose from, you can then customise your chosen character to your liking with a handful of design choices, once done you can then choose what type of warrior you want to be, if it’s a Lancer, Archer, Spell caster etc. Once you’re happy with your character selection, you will have an introduction cut scene before you start playing. Now I’ve seen a few of these opening scenes, and I have to say they aren’t very interesting, they don’t exactly wow you like the beautiful CGI sequence at the beginning, they’re pretty poor really.
Once you take control, you’re immediately hit with several tutorial help boxes and a few quests to complete. I found it all a little over whelming as what to do first and then trying to understand the controls. It will take newcomers some time to get to grips with what does what. After a short while of trial and error it gets easier, however the controls can get a little bit confusing during combat. Selecting and enemy to attack can be frustrating it’s not so bad when it’s 1v1 but when their multiple enemies it’s hard to select who you want to attack, it gets very frustrating after you try and select an enemy while your being attacked and can’t do anything!
The visuals in Final Fantasy 14 are pretty good, it’s genuinely pretty with some nice locals to explore, you can explore them in either 1st person or 3rd person. The game looks practically impressive when the suns out and it’s rays break through the trees in the forests. However when it gets dark, some places can be a bit hard to see what’s going on and there’s not many ways to illuminate the area around you as you venture off into the night. There’s rarely any pop in and the frame rate also stays strong even with plenty going on in hectic battles. The art direction is fairly good, there’s a huge variety of enemies from ladybirds to huge creatures, they all look incredible. For the player there’s some pretty cool armor and weapons to collect as you progress. Eventually it all becomes about your conquests as an adventurer, slaying the most mighty beasts within the realm.
There is a story to ‘experience’ but any chance of immersion or enjoyment is instantly shattered with the terrible voice acting and static cut scenes. I never felt like I was made to care about what was going on around me. Disappointingly there are a many issues with in game cut scenes and voice acting. To start off with, some of the in games cut scenes are incredibly static and uninteresting to watch, most of them leaving you to read long text boxes of information, It just gets tiresome as you pick up various quests. When receiving a quest there’s usually several paragraphs of conversation to read/skip through to just get on with things, and sometimes it’s for the most trivial things too. Usually Final Fantasy games have pretty deep and intense stories that keep you playing. Sadly a decent story is absent here which is disappointing, however on the flip side it’s all about creating your own with the people you meet within the expansive realm, if it be going on raids, slaying mighty beasts, riding Chocobos or just dancing!
After a while of playing I almost came to the conclusion that there was no voice acting in game, then it happened, one scene where you meet a few certain characters leaves you in disbelief in two ways, the first, that there actually are voiced characters and the second, that it’s so awful you literally skipping the scene after hearing their voices of shrill. It’s possibly the worst voice acting i’ve heard in a video game for a long time, it’s not something I expected from a FF game either. Voice acting aside the soundtrack is fantastic, as you go from place to place there’s always music accompanying different areas and like in all FF games the music is very well done.
The meat of the game is completing a variety of quests; sadly I use the term “variety” loosely. In the beginning you will be doing fetch quests, ‘go talk to this guy’ quests and ‘kill some monsters’ quests. It all gets repetitive very quickly; you don’t exactly feel like anything you’re doing is important, it’s just a way to level up and gain xp.
It’s not all bad though; the sense of progression is done really well, which is to be expected in a MMO. You soon start leveling up, completing quests, learning new attacks and finding new equipment. As you progress further into the game, it’s when things get more interesting, you fight more powerful foes and can even join other online players in battle. In fact what’s really done well is how it feels like a living breathing world to explore, it’s populated with AI and human players and yes, you will see some characters running around in nothing but their underwear. Streakers aside the online community is good fun if it be fighting alongside them or just talking to a random player. Sadly the chat box isn’t useful unless you have a keyboard on hand; trying to type a message using the Duel Shock 3 can get tedious.
The largest gripe is the Pay to play subscription service, yes, you will need to fork out for a monthly subscription and to be honest I’m not fond of it, It didn’t work well for Old Republic and it’s kind of off putting. I understand if they want to give a good service, but I’d rather buy chunks of DLC or expansions rather than paying monthly fee. I already have enough direct debits coming out my bank account! Of course this does help make the service better, there are many other MMO games out there that don’t require it.
Final Fantasy 14 isn’t a brilliant game, but nor is it a terrible game either, it could have done with more polish for controls, a more friendly tutorial and better voice acting for sure, (I guess I’m a bit spoiled after playing the old republic.) You can pick up Final Fantasy 14 new for £25 and it’s worth keeping in mind that after your 30 day free trial it will require a monthly fee. Despite FF14’S short comings I think there are many who will be playing it in the months ahead. There’s a huge world to explore, monsters to slay and adventures to go on.