Should you subscribe to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn?
Madden NFL 25 wasn’t the only big name game to get a release this week. Square Enix has shipped their awaited re-launch of Final Fantasy XIV to much fanfare. But this isn’t some game we’ll just pick up, play, and forget about it; it’s an MMO. Those take commitments of time and money. So the question then becomes should you subscribe to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn?
Why You Should – It’s Damn Fun
I’m not going to lie: I was disappointed upon finding out the game didn’t feature real-time combat. Yet there’s something about it that’s beyond wonderful. There’s serious enjoyment from chaining mobs together for bonus XP as my pugilist rotates quick cooldowns and dodges attacks. Is it TERA? No, but it’s still enjoyable.
Equally enjoyable is the sheer amount of questing you’ll do. That’s right: I’m enjoying questing in an MMO. While old school in its design, there are a couple of modern concessions to be found as well. FATEs are the game’s public quests, filled with frantic action and (sometimes) mass confusion. They’re also highly enjoyable and pretty varied, avoiding the sort of grind I feel with the public quests of Guild Wars 2. Such a grind is also alleviated by the fact that there are also traditional MMO quests to be found, but the biggest thing about them is there’s no constant looting of bodies or killing an obscene amount of enemies. The generic quests are never a chore and are always quick and painless.
Add in the levequests, duty finder, and instances and you’ve got yourself a plethora of content to enjoy.
Why You Shouldn’t – It’s Launch and I Can’t Play
While it’s great to be able to play an MMO on day one, it’s also a nightmare. While A Realm Reborn’s servers are currently up and running, they’re also full, and since there’s no real queue, I have to keep logging in and out. This is due to the fact that AFK players don’t get automatically kicked. Instead, they’re taking up server spots and forcing players like myself to keep trying to login. Is the launch a full-blown technical disaster? Not quite, but it’s still frustrating.
Why You Should – It’s a Final Fantasy Game First and an MMO Second
I sure hope you like---
Wait, I’m in! I get to... Nope, Square just trolled me. Server is still full.
I sure hope you like dialogue, because there’s going to be a lot of it. While you can skip the reasoning for killing five NPCs, the game’s story is essentially forced down your throat for the first fifteen or so minutes of your existence. Don’t worry, this turns out to be a good thing: Square put a lot of emphasis on creating a traditional Final Fantasy experience. The result pays off in spades.
Between the music, characters, visuals, and narrative focus, I feel like I’m playing a JRPG that happens to take place in a living, breathing world. I’m not the only chosen one, but damnit, I’m going to be a better chosen one than “Nyan Cat” or “Khal Drogo.”
Why You Shouldn’t – You’re Going to Read a Lot of Text
Again, there’s nothing wrong with the game’s narrative focus. Unless you’re against reading, that is. The game doesn’t take a page out of Star Wars: The Old Republic’s ample voice acting and has you reading most of the dialogue during quests. There is the occasional voiced cutscene, but it’s not enough to ignore the fact that you’re going to be doing a lot of reading in this game.
Lots of it.
Should You Subscribe?
Make no mistake; Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn isn’t the MMO to change the genre. Instead, it’s a love letter to everything we enjoy about MMOs that happens to be packaged as a Final Fantasy game. Your emotions will stir as you log in and hear the franchise’s music. You’ll get a sense of wonder as you explore the world. You may get frustrated from the game’s somewhat dated combat and questing. Yet, at the end of the day, I’m pleasantly surprised by A Realm Reborn.
It’s not going to move the genre forward. Instead, it’s looking to make it more enjoyable. That’s why I’m planning on subscribing.