'Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn'
Sony PlayStation 3 (PC)
$49.99 plus monthly fee
ESRB rating: Teen
Review rating: 4.0 stars
"Final Fantasy XIV" was one of the last MMOs that attempted to directly compete with "World of Warcraft," and it failed miserably. Just like the fabled phoenix, "Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn" has risen out of the ashes of its predecessor, and despite a few minor flaws, the result is surprisingly good.
Set five years after the events of the original, "FFXIV: A Realm Reborn" follows the player as they seek their fame and fortune in the land of Eorzea. Soon players find that they must fight to save the world from the Garlean Empire. As the convoluted plot ebbs and flows, players are given more and more incentive to continue their journey.
Five main classes are available for players to choose, but the cool thing is that it's possible to switch classes simply by switching weapons. This allows players to experiment with classes and make versatile characters. Experience gained in each class depends on the amount of time playing, and class skill trees offer cool new abilities as players progress. However, one caveat of this versatility is that fewer players will be extremely skilled at one class.
Instead of trying to reinvent MMO combat, this game uses traditional tab targeting for enemies and hotkeys to initiate attacks. It also incorporates a "Limit Break" system that will be familiar to fans of the series as well as the ability to call in Chocobos during combat. Players can spend points to customize their trusty feathered companion to deal damage, heal or tank.
A deep crafting system accompanies the robust quest system, and players can even choose to focus solely on crafting if they choose. Another great addition is FATE (Full Active Time Events), which are random quests that require effective participation to reap their rewards.
"Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn" has gotten off to a great start, and additional content could make it a true contender to "World of Warcraft."