Normally, we should start this review with a boring excursus on the first version of Final Fantasy XIV, on what was wrong and how it came to A Realm Reborn. In fact, we will not. Final Fantasy XIV is the past, Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn is the present, and in this case reviving the past would be how to make a mistake against Naoki Yoshida and his team who have literally done a miracle, revolting as a Sock a lost cause and turning it into one of the best MMORPGs we've played in the last few years. We will not even describe in detail every single mechanics and feature of the game. Let's take a bit of a look at our previous articles (like this and that) in which we talked about the first steps taken on Eorzea five years after the "Calamity" that closed the first version of the game. Here, then, we will talk about impressions matured after more than a month of gaming, after reaching the so-called "endgame". Always remember that Realm Reborn is a MMORPG, a game that can improve or worsen: the vote we have given it does however refer to what we played until the publication of this article.
"THE FINAL FANTASY THAT WE WANTED"
Until some time ago, when talking about Final Fantasy, it was usually about beautiful stories, emotions, characters that remain imprinted in memory.
In the last few years, however, the franchise has weakened, offering a cast nothing but memorable - apart from some "fulminant" exception - and too intricate plots, lost in a sea of pseudo-science fiction and philosophy spicciola. From this point of view, Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn, even between high and low, rewards all those fans who patiently waited for a return to the themes and atmospheres of a time, immersing them in a completely fantasy world where technology represents a strange body and Almost alien. The medium, however, is always that of an MMORPG, and you have to deal with its limits. Those who are expected to experience Star Wars: The Old Republic's experience may be disappointed: there are no choices that change the outcome of the story, dialogues are often rather prolific and those fewer dubbed, the main missions of history tend to To lengthen the broth, proposing a battle first with the terrible Garuda and the one after the meat harvest to prepare a stew. But overall, especially from level 30 on, the plot of A Realm Reborn is a steadily growing scene and epic situations, supported by perfect sound accompaniment in every situation, with spectacularly uninterrupted cutscenes and a cast Always interesting.
Unfortunately, a missed opportunity, unfortunately, there is: in addition to the above-mentioned rhythm cues and some unrealistic narrative, the superficiality with which some key characters have been treated is felt. Some good companions, such as the fantastic Biggs and Wedge or the gritty Y'shtola; Instead wasted the four "bad guys" of the Empire, who were eliminated without having had the opportunity to mature and blossom despite the promising introduction of their personalities. Behind the scenes move the Ascian, practically the Organization XIII of Eorzea, which promises to combine even more trouble into a post-credits cutscene with great potential. In the end, a Final Fantasy of the past, set in a world that is finally alive and rich, inspired strongly by the unforgettable Ivalice and Vana'diel: if you decided to dedicate the game only to the free month to end the main storyline, Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn It poses as a franchise of all respect to the franchise, despite the atypical kind of membership that makes the rhythm of the story somewhat swinging.
Progress in the main storyline of Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn alternates with the many "fetch quest" features of MMORPG theme parks: Kill a number of enemies, bring this object to Tizio, talk to Caio, collect this or that for Sempronio .. We have made the idea.
Fortunately, the number of actions required on Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn is always very limited and the sense of "grinding" often afflicting such productions is completely absent. The quests alternate with other ways to grow our character: levequest, guildhest, dungeon, fate, hunting log, there is really for all tastes. Unfortunately, not all of these systems are equally effective. The quests, in this case, sooner or later end: once completed, you can not repeat, and the growth of a secondary class, in a game that allows, anticipates and even encourages, is entrusted with the alternatives. Among these, the FATEs are unquestionably practical, convenient, and efficient, especially when you begin to feel a certain discrepancy between the experience required to increase level and the available queues, especially noticeable in the last ten levels. The FATE, virtually the Square Enix version of the dynamic events of Guild Wars 2, is the cross and the delight of A Realm Reborn. The idea is catchy, all in all it works, pays well in terms of experience points (less money) and makes every scenario much more alive. However, it is a mechanic that "kills" strategy and develops into a chaotic special effects sarabanda where one does not understand who is hitting what, when and why.
The technology that supports Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn often does not seem to endure the weight of all those dozens of players on the screen, and the "culling" system, fully revised, hides just those enemies waiting only for a false step to get us off: it's even It happened that the entire server collapsed under the weight of the hundreds of players gathered to face - unnecessarily - an invisible Odin or Behemot. FATE is, in short, a cowardly way of raising the level, especially recommended to those who want (or need) to grow another class in the shortest possible time, rarely fulfilling also because of a community that abuses it by turning into a swarm of locusts Ready to plow all the enemies on the field. Much better dungeons, in this sense, promote team play, strategy, precision, and perfect knowledge of their class. And this brings us to another A Realm Reborn chiaroscuro.
Just as with Final Fantasy XI, even in this new Square Enix MMORPG, the ability to change class is a winning feature that can make us overlook some structural and balancing issues.
Of course, a Warrior Level 50 who decides to embark on a Lancer career will simply have to hold a spear to change class, but will re-start from the beginning and face a growth phase without the quest already being completed to help it; On the other hand, you can rely on the equipment already collected, on accumulated cash, on the unlocked Chocobo transport or combat, on the borrowed skills ready to be put in the hotbar. It is an interlocking game that literally makes us want to start a new class without losing any advantage. Classes, in A Realm Reborn, are sufficiently diverse, despite some mediocrity: the peaks of excellence in Pugilist / Monk's gameplay with his dance around the enemy, and the Marauder / Warrior, with his regenerative abilities To activate strategically, alternate with the trivial rotations of Archer / Bard and Lancer / Dragoon, for example, but you never have the feeling of doing the same thing with only a different weapon. What's more, you feel strongly the feeling of a somewhat forced structure built on the anonymous base of the original Final Fantasy XIV to keep fans happy: everything works, but the same Job system as it "evolves" the default classes , Looks like a proverbial piece. Shuffling skills at will is not possible or practical, and the skill limit borrowed from other classes ends up transforming all players to level caps in clones of each other. The system on Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn, in short, works in the limit of the ability to change role and style of play at will, not in creating imaginative builds. The problems, however, are others. The whole combat system, surely fun and functional, is plagued by two techniques that Naoki Yoshida, in our view, must absolutely resolve if he wants his game to really stand out.
The first is the "global cooldown" (GCD) that characterizes the use of virtually any skill, preventing it from using another: if it makes the combat system a little more tactical and relaxed, on the other it makes Life infernal to roles of decisive importance and that are based on reflections like those of "tank" and healers. A GCD at the wrong time kills, there is little to do, and in the more hectic clashes you feel a bit like you were banging your head against a wall, pressing the keys repeatedly as if you were in a hysterical crisis. The other magna, however, concerns the absence of latency compensation. One of the most impressive mechanics in Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn is the early visualization of the area where the attack of an enemy will come down: the player can then move and dodge the attack, and be careful that that "can" Certainly it just becomes "must". Well, there is no movement at the last second: the move must occur well before the enemy completes the "loading" of the attack, and often this means that you have to move with a reactivity to the limit of precognition, worth a good bang in face. It is not easy to establish the identity of the problem. Is server side? Is it caused by the variable length of the animations? The code when establishing the interaction: at the end of the animation attack or at the end of the upload? In any case, it is a problem that needs to be resolved as soon as possible because in the most difficult fighting it is quite frustrating.
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