Hey Champs! We know some of you guys are PC gamers and we like to review console based games mostly, but I want you to know that we are not ignoring you! Especially with this new special trial going on right now for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. I know PC gaming can be expensive when it comes to subscriptions and the like but this one is sooooo worth it! Plus, the entire month of December they’re offering a trial version for download to NEW accounts (those of us that know how this works will obviously be making new emails). Even so, the subscription is only $12.99 monthly for 6 month or $13.99 for 3 months. So, you don’t have to freak out about gaps in play because it’s totally affordable and the plans are awesome, fitting 8 characters per server at a max of 40 characters. Best part is, you don’t HAVE to have an amazing PC to play, as there is a console version for the rest of you (yes YOU, I have the PC version too lol).
First let me tell you, I have been a huge fan of Final Fantasy ever since I was very young. It was one of the first video games I ever owned and one of the reasons I decided I wanted to go to college to learn about them. I was at that age where everyone was asking what I wanted to do when I grow up, and I said, “make video games”. It may seem cute now but I had plenty of doubters and funny looks (I was a ten year old girl in the 90’s who didn’t want to play with makeup lol) but most people saw the potential and cheered me on. Now, here I majoring in 3D Environments, gaming like I already get paid to do it, and writing reviews for an awesome website that actually appreciates my opinions! Aside from the nostalgia of it causing my life choices, I really followed the strong stories. They made me pay attention to things like the safety of our planet, the strength of true friendships, how the bad guy isn’t always so bad, and that the final fight is never final because evil will always be around for good to fight. Ah, sweet memories. Ok! Enough of that, read on.
On to your story, after creating a character in the intro (similar to the Crystal Bearing heroes of times long past), you are travelling across the landscape by chocobo carriage with some interesting riders. You get stopped by chocobo mounted border patrol guards taking inventory and attempting plenty of holier-than-thou trouble making. However, some heavy duty baddies come out of the woodworks and attack, so they run off to fight and you and your temporary acquaintances speed off to the city! I particularly enjoy this non-playable cinematic because a lot of these games start you off in the middle of nowhere with basic boring gear and you have to go FIND a hub to get the good stuff from. FFXIV puts you right in it and has you join the adventurers guild even for plenty of quests right from the start! Also, since this is a subscription service, you can purchase or level up to some gear right then and there, with the freedom of running right back into the city to upgrade (although I am usually against the warrior in mini skirt, FFXIV makes it look so damned good) and heal. This is my personal play style because I absolutely have to be at least 10 levels higher than the first boss in all RPGs, ever.
The quest system is super simple to navigate and bounty boards always refresh for extra experience points and rewards. You even get a navigator to help you find your way to the quest to complete it, if you choose (some people think this take away from the gameplay) but you can turn it off in the options. Also, you can connect a PC, XBox, or even PlayStation controller to it very easily, but this is actually very nice and fluid to use with regular keyboard and mouse controls. You can actually JUMP (you’d be surprised, not every game lets you choose when or where to jump) and take damage from a fall if you’re in too big a hurry to go around that rocky cliff. Interaction by chat is nice and smooth as well with the classic lower left chat box that can be concealed if you don’t feel like conversating. There are also plenty of emotes to choose from if you’re trying to keep it simple, or just bored enough to dance in the fountain all day.
The graphics are phenomenal! For my current system specs are an Intel Core i5 processor, with 1GB dedicated NVidia graphics, and 12GB RAM. This is a laptop setup and I have yet to have any cooling issues as the game honestly does not take a heavy toll on my system and so far not a single freeze up (aside from my own internet issues). The landscapes of course can be lowered in sharpness and depth through the settings to increase the output but even still, I have yet to see it go down to PS2 level graphics. Everything is clearly visible right down to your character’s belt buckle! Your gear ACTUALLY changes when equipped, not one of those games where you stay in the same outfit the entire time (unless you choose to do so). Special outfits can be purchased or you can set a particular piece of gear in a slot to keep the look without loosing the power. Eventually, the higher the level, the better the gear, so of course you’re going to want to change it and I promise, a full suit of armor here is going to blow your mind (Ooh, shiny).
With Final Fantasy being such a long running series, there are staple sounds we are used to hearing. The meticulously fine tuned orchestral music composed by Nobuo Uematsu, who has been with us since day 1 of the original Final Fantasy game on Nintendo, is nothing short of heavenly. Our favorite and most memorable sounds come from the themes for the moogle (save point and mognet messages) and the chocobo (giant, rideable, usually yellow, flightless bird). Don’t believe me? Google “Samba de Chocobo remix” and see how many hits you get. There is YEARS of experience behind the audio in the series, and they did not let us down. No matter what system you play any of the 17 games on, you will hear Uematsu and KNOW that this is Final Fantasy. Not too many games can be recognized by music alone, especially when the game is not music-based like PaRappa or Lammy.
If you’ve been avoiding playing this game because you didn’t think it would be good, or because you didn’t want to cough up the cash for a subscription, just trust in me and give this trial a shot. You will be astounded as how well it plays. Even if you are on a console, if you are a true RPG fan, you absolutely have to. No buts. There’s nothing to lose either! They don’t force you into any type of auto renewal so you can play the free trial and pay as you go if you like. An awesome deal for an amazing game. Based on the history and success of the series, you can’t go wrong here. Not at all.
Worth every cent of the subscription fees.10
Gameplay score 10
Graphics score 10
Music & SFX score 10