A Preview of: Final Fantasy 14 A Realm Reborn
Final Fantasy A Realm Reborn is a remake of the 14th installment of the Final Fantasy franchise in addition to being the 2nd MMO that Square Enix has released (the other one being 11). The original 14 ended up flopping due to major service issues (the game not being available to play for large amounts of time,major bugs,etc). This resulted in the team that was in charge of the game resigning and a new team being put in charge. 14 was shut down and the game was completely redone under the title (you guessed it) A Realm Reborn. The game is currently in closed beta with people having to apply for a chance to "test" the game. Anyone that is interested can apply for it here. Open beta testing is expected to start within the next few weeks with the official release being August 27, 2013.
As I had purchased the original 14 I was given a beta key for A Realm Reborn which I will from this point forward refer to as ARR because the actual title is a pain to type each and every time. This is my impression of the game going into the beta as well as what I think about it after actually playing in the test.
Let me start off by saying I am a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series, I have played almost all of the titles that were released in the US and with the exception of 12 and 13 have loved all of them. When 11 released in 2002 I was more excited than...Kristen Stewart?
|She must have won the lotto or something|
But really, I was counting down days until the release,at least I was until I realized that my computer wasn't good enough to play it. (Apparently being able to run Runescape tier games does not mean that you can play Final Fantasy) Needless to say I was crushed, but I eventually got over it (mainly by forgetting it through other games). When I heard about Square Enix releasing a second,(supposedly) better online game set within the Final Fantasy multiverse all of my childhood want came back with a vengeance. I had just bought a new computer that would run the game no question about it, I bought the game and rushed home to play. After a few hours I was sorely disappointed: the interface was clumsy at best, the sheer number of bugs made playing feel like a chore to me, and the game was down more often than it was up once again I was disappointed as well as a little bit angry at having wasted money not to mention the fact that I was charged to play a game that should have still been in beta testing to fix those problems.
I actually wasn't planning on giving ARR a chance, but after reading up on the things that they were fixing as well as Ritter (one of the other authors on techometer) wanting to play I decided to use the beta key I had been given and give it a second chance. I tried to keep my expectations low but I'll admit I was still excited despite past experience, I had hope that most of the major issues that had sunk it's predecessor had been fixed and I could finally have an online Final Fantasy game. Square Enix in their infinite wisdom, makes applying for the Beta extremely easy. There is a giant button on the right side of the main site for the game that says Beta sign-up.
forums after making a Square Enix account). They just expect people to magically have this knowledge and it took me a good twenty frustrating minutes to finally figure it out (because why Google the problem BEFORE trying to figure it out first lol).
The intro movie was what I expect in a Final Fantasy title: stunning visuals, epic battles, and some of the most spectacular monsters and unexpected entrances I have seen in a game such as Bahamut (a giant dragon that has been a main boss/ summon throughout the series) blasting out of a moon to wreck havoc and destruction across the land. The character selection is extremely in depth you can change everything from the standard race and gender right down to highlights in your hair and eye color (mi'qote can even have two different eye colors). Each physical feature has dozens of options making the chances of finding an identical character close to zero. As someone who spends close to an hour making a new character so that it is unique I love ARR's character creation. Naming a character in ARR is unlike other MMOs in that you get a first name and a last name. This adds to immersion but more importantly allows you to name your character without having to use periods or underscores or (heaven forbid) x's to separate different parts due to the fact that very few games allow spaces. Unlike many MMO's today ARR doesn't have a locked class system, instead you can switch between any of the basic classes which include both combat and crafting classes and level them up. Leveling up the basic classes unlocks a special quest that allows you to use a more advanced class known as a job. Jobs are basically a more specialized version of the normal classes that get skills to help the player fulfill their role easier. Leveling is quest based but there are party instances that you can do, mounts also allow for faster travel and there is a teleportation system via magical crystals. So far ARR seems like a game that I would be willing to invest time in.
Who would like it:
Fans of the Final Fantasy franchise, those looking for a new MMO to play, People who like a more realistic looking MMO, or people who liked the original 14 but were turned off by its problems are all people that i would recommend this game to.
Although ARR is still in closed beta, it is shaping up to be the game that 14 should have been. ARR is game that I will be keeping an eye on as it nears it's official release.