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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Square Enix
Developed By: Square Enix
Genre: Persistent Online RPG
Players: 1-??
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: September 30, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Anthony Cara

September 18, 2010 - Still recovering from the pain of Final Fantasy XIII, I decided to trust in Square Enix once again and dive into the lately hum-drum Final Fantasy IP. The Final Fantasy XIV Beta turned out to be an incredibly bitter experience- but donít lose hope fans, Iíve been told the game will become miraculously better when it comes time for the real deal!

Apparently, the Final Fantasy Beta was less than 10 percent of the actual retail game. This was very relieving to hear because, truth be told, there is almost nothing worth doing in this game. First and foremost- the graphics are stunning. This is the first game to really push my Alienware to its limits and even on medium-high settings, it looks better than any other MMO on the market right now. The shadows, the dust effects, and the insane resolution Ė itís all fantastic. It puts running around in a desert and smacking moles into epic proportions!

The custom characters are also very gorgeous. For the first time, I broke my cardinal rule of only playing male characters in online game. Iíve never been a fan of false advertising, but I enjoy female avatars. Commander Shepherd has always been a female to me, but my MMORPG avatars are all man. This changed the moment I saw those adorable cat women. The Miqoíte are elegant, adorable, and irresistible. Actually, it seems like every race in this game is! Oddly enough, the developers put gender restrictions on certain toons. The Miqoíte are female exclusive and the Roegadyn are all men. Itís almost like they are trying to stop players from creating anything ugly. WoW on the other hand, lets players create female Dwarves orÖany horde character besides Blood Elves.

Right now, the only thing you can really do in the game is the Levequests. Fans of WoW might refer to these as ďDailies.Ē These quests are contained on cards obtained at the Guild house. When you reach the appropriate destination, you activate your Levequest and you are given your own mini instance out in the world. No one else can see or interact with your quest objectives, so for all intents and purposes it looks like you are running around batting at thin air. One of the coolest features FFXIV offers in these Levequests is the highly adjustable difficulty. Instead of just normal and hard mode, there is a different difficulty setting for each additional party member up to 5 stars. The difficulty and rewards scale nicely. After you are done with your Levequests, all you can really do is pick a different class and do their Levequests until you hit your limit. With the fatigue system and the limits placed on virtually everything you can do, it seems this game really doesnít want you to play it. Still, all things considered, I never found this to be too troublesome. In my entire experience I have yet to use up all of my fatigue.

Now, I admit, I canít fairly judge a lack of content on such a small preview, but one weakness I can fairly address is the UI. I donít know a single player who doesnít absolutely abhor it, and Iíve seen only a few fanboys desperately try to defend it. Itís very sloppy and counterintuitive. You canít just interact with anything in the world with a simple right click, you have to open up a menu and select the object. This makes opening treasure chests a little weird, but you get used to it. The targeting system is a mess, and if you rely on the ďtargeting buttonĒ you will likely keep targeting yourself and be unable to execute any commands. Itís my understanding that the terrible UI is a result of making the game playable on the ps3. Iím not entirely sure I believe this, since Final Fantasy XI worked just fine.

Luckily, I hear talk that the UI will eventually change as well!

I understand my assessment of this game sounds quite negative, and it seems I am telling players to avoid it at all costs. In reality, I still canít wait for my Collectorís Edition pre-order to come in. Despite everything Iíve said, the game is an online MMORPG at its earliest stages, and no game like this is ever perfect from the beginning. Still, given the sophistication of some current free to play MMORPGs, and my long history in the genre, I can honestly say I expected more from one of the biggest developers in the world. Maybe Iím just in denial, but I have a feeling Square will blow us all away come September 23 (30th if you didnít pre order).

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