Welcome to Eorzea.
With millions of PlayStation 4 consoles in homes around the world, it’ll be a massively multiplayer online game which gives us the first look at a next-gen Final Fantasy. Square Enix invited us to check out the upcoming port of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn which brings the relaunched MMO to PS4 for both existing subscribers on PS3 and new players ready to adventure in the massive and varied land of Eorzea.
We’ve written quite a bit about FFXIV’s rocky start, its eventual reboot, and finally its release. You can read our full review of the game on PC and PS3 here. The game has even been reported as a surprising success despite the arduous process of releasing the product twice. Still, PlayStation 4 owners or fans of the MMO who’ve been holding out on launching their adventuring career until they could do it with DualShock 4 in hand have a lot to look forward to.
Notably, the PlayStation 4 release of FFXIV comes with quite a few control options, more than you could possibly hope for. You can play with the DualShock 4 controller, the PlayStation Vita via remote play, or with a mouse and keyboard of your choosing. All told, each presents some unique options for casting, buffing, hacking, slashing, zipping, and spiking your hair.
Perhaps surprisingy, I liked remote play with PlayStation Vita best. The game performed well on Vita and the controls mapped perfectly, allowing me to take a few monsters to task with a high-level archer. The controls feel much like they did when A Realm Reborn landed on PlayStation 3, but to refresh you, generally you use the shoulder buttons in conjunction with the face buttons. Pulling L1 would give you access to spells and attacks assigned to your D-pad and Square, Triangle, Circle, and X. The same is true of R1.
Control options are a top priority for the PS4 release as user interface changes have been made across Vita buttons, DualShock 4 controls, and any number of keyboard and mice combinations you might plug in via USB connection. I liked using the Vita via remote play because I can imagine a lot of gamers lounging around the house with the handheld. Further, it seems like a lot of people own both a Vita and a PS4. So I urge you to get as much use out of remote play as you can, so they improve the feature even further.
Still, the DualShock 4 controller offered some interesting options. Gameplay operates in the same way as it does on Vita or PS3, but you can use the controller’s central touchpad to move the mouse cursor as you would if you had a mouse connected to your PS4. This allowed me to select the chat box, the map, and interact with other menu-items and more while still running around the world with the left analog stick. It’ll make those across-map hikes a lot more bearable.
I didn’t get a chance to go hands-on with the keyboard and mouse options for PlayStation 4, but Producer Naoki Yoshida said that he prefers his PC gaming peripherals to the controller. He expressed his hardcore gaming tendencies in presenting the PS4 version to us and we also had an opportunity to interview the man behind Square Enix’s newly reborn MMO. Look for those details in future posts.