Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
Color me purple, because I forgot to do this in order with the FF series.
Were winding down, and in case you missed my last 5 reviews, they are as follows
Final Fantasy 7- A- Final Fantasy 8- A- Final Fantasy 9- B Final Fantasy 10- B- Final Fantasy X-2 - B- Final Fantasy Anthology- A-
With the time winding down until Final Fantasy XII and Dirge of Cerebrus, and with me doing 4 more games in the FF realm after XI, I think we better get this done quickly.
I have never done a MMORPG review before (funny, because ive played 5-6 of them now..thats the next series) so I will do this to the best of my abilities.
Final Fantasy XI is the first foray of a MMORPG for the legendary series, and this entry, like the others, is done with great care. It seems fitting to put a game like this in a realm of MMO's. Now mind you all, I have only played this for one day. So what I have got is also based on other sources and my own observations on my friends account.
Graphics- Graphically, the game is very fluid, nicely detailed, and holds a TON of info. From what I understand there are about 20 plus cities in the game, and a ton of regions for the heroes to test their mettle. The game also doesn't suffer to much from slowdown or framerate issues, a plague in other MMO's ive dabbled in in the past. Also, all of the character models are nicely detailed, and each of them easily show off their colors well, in terms of classes and various races. Not to bad, considering most MMO's need that deep customization now a days to achieve greatness.
Final Score- A-
Gameplay- Gameplay wise, we have the open ended structure of any MMO, plus a single player storyline for a person to follow. Kind of Elder Scrolls, but only online. It is a nice idea, considering this is on the PS2 hardware. But even the gameplay is not all that solid.
One problem I had was combat and leveling up. The reason for that mainly is combat is kind of stiff, reminds me of old school Everquest, and leveling up took a few hours to do. Other MMO's keep it simple, making the early level ups as quick as possible. FFXI took some time, giving you room to grow and get enough combat in. I think it is a weird trade-off, because action vs leveling up, leveling up wins easily.
I did like the "limit break" moments, when the combat meter filled to the brim and you unleash combo attacks. It's a nice throwback, and so are the monsters you fight. Ochus, Cactuburs, Tomberrys, all the favorites make a return. We also get the class system, which was introduced in FF1, used promiently in FF Tactics and Tactics Advance, and I had to say, it was nice to put that in there. But with so many classes to choose from, even after the starting group, it is hard to make a choice. I would either like to be a Samurai or a Black Mage in the game, because to me, both are the embodiement of power and strength in FF.
But if everyone was that, grouping would suck. Which is why a diverse team is important for some missions, because they take a LONG time to complete. Some of the special ones, like how to ride a chocobo, take days to do, Others are a few hours. Long missions are nice, but you don't want to over-extend it to the point of not caring anymore. Another little nitpick is the lack of PVP and the random server generator thing, which I find kind of stupid really.
In the end, enough is going for it, thats for sure.
Final Score- B+
Sound- Sounds good, with a lot of nice sound effects, weapon and spell sounds, monster cries, and the like. Nothing to complain about here really.
Final Score- B
Overall- If you want to pay 120 bucks like my friend did, be my guest. Either way, a majority of the people reading this review have probably played this, want to play it or have played it in the past, because it is Final Fantasy. Myself, I can't wait until I can afford a copy of it, along with the expansions and the like. The Fantasy goes strong, and now it is in your hands this time around.