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My Favorite Control Method For Final Fantasy XIV on PS4 Is...

Posted on Thursday, February 13 @ 16:18:37 Eastern by


I am neither deep into massively-multiplayer online games, nor am I the world's foremost Final Fantasy scholar, but I am really, really good at figuring out controls really, really fast.

It's more than just "What does the X button do? Oh, it lets me jump, just like every other game ever made." It's more than just "check the information booklet for a button map." It's like a sixth-sense where I can immediately pick up and play any game and still kick some ass.

Unfortunately, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn isn't exactly an action game. It's neither a strategy game nor a sports game. It's an MMO and because of the cumbersome number of different actions MMO players need at their disposal (including /laugh and /dance) it kind of complicates the genre for console players.

Naturally, Square Enix has ensured that almost any control scheme will allow you to enjoy the land of Eorzea on your shiny next-gen PlayStation 4. Between PlayStation Vita remote-play, the DualShock 4, and support for USB keyboards and mice, you might have a hard time choosing on a control method for your grand adventure.

I didn't.

My favorite control scheme for Final Fantasy XIV on PS4 is without a doubt the DualShock 4 controller. I'd be all over attaching a mouse and keyboard to my PlayStation 4, but the DualShock 4 has some excellent features that make it the best choice in my opinion.
  • Using the shoulder buttons to select between two sets of eight abilities (four on the D-pad and four on the face buttons, with one set of eight powers accessed with L1 and the other set accessed by holding R1) works very well. This is the current system on PlayStation 3's DualShock 3 controller, so if you've been enjoying A Realm Reborn on your console, you already know what to expect.
  • You can use the right analog stick to scroll around the map, all while running around the world with L1. I know this is another feature on PlayStation 3 currently and that PC players can very easily access the map while running, but with the DualShock 4 in hand each stick made a lot of sense to me.
  • The DualShock 4's comfortable grips and always-accessible buttons and sticks make it extremely easy to hold for long hours at a time. The controller was designed with shooters in mind, but even hardcore MMO players will benefit from the ergonomic improvements in the DualShock 4.

Still, one feature has me fawning all over the PS4 port of FFXIV. It's one feature that neither PlayStation 3 nor PC gamers have been able to use in-game so far: DualShock 4's touch-pad.

  • With the touch-pad, I could move a mouse cursor around on screen as if I had an actual mouse connected to the PlayStation 4.
  • The touch-pad could be used to access the map, the chat box, quests and dialog boxes. You can even use it to shop in-game.
  • The touch-pad could be used to select specific monsters on the field or to activate certain powers on the ability bar.
  • The touch-pad can be operated with a light tap of your thumb or finger, not unlike a laptop touch-pad.
Essentially, the touch-pad unlocked a lot more functionality than you'd expect with the controller which all that goes a long way in proving the viability of Massively Multiplayer Online games on consoles.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is the first game I've played that makes meaningful use of the DualShock 4 controller's most obvious new addition. Other games have allowed you to move the map or select different weapons, but none have made it into something I actually want to move my thumb for. I can see a lot of hardcore players getting more use out of the touch-pad for case-by-case cursor usage than they would from a full-blown mouse attached to PS4.

Now if only Final Fantasy XIV could come up with a use for the DualShock 4's power sucking light bar! FFXIV: A Realm Reborn will launch in April. Read our full hands-on preview and don't forget to check out our interview with Producer/Director Naoki Yoshida.
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