Final Fantasy XI

a game by SCEA
Platform: Playstation 2
Editor Rating: 9/10, based on 1 review
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See also: Final Fantasy Series

For those who love RPGs, there are few titles that cause as much anticipation as a Final Fantasy release. You can generally count on an in-depth well-developed story, dynamic gameplay elements, and high quality graphics and audio aspects. What makes this latest addition, Final Fantasy XI, different from previous releases however is substantial. Although many of the elements are still reasonably represented, a number have been drastically changed and effect the game on many different levels, both good and bad.

For starters, Final Fantasy XI is a MMORPG and the first one released on the Playstation 2. This has a number of implications starting with requiring a hard disk drive, network connector, and keyboard if you plan on communication with other players. If you don't have these items (HDD comes with game), you're looking at $170 to get started plus monthly access bills. In addition, MMORPGs generally don't have well-developed plots and usually require a ton of free time to do well.

That may be rather depressing, especially if you don't like MMORPGs but for those that do, Final Fantasy XI won't disappoint. The general gameplay fits with what you would expect from an online RPG starting with character customization. The customization allows you to select from five different races, a number of different job classes such as warrior or white mage, and three unique regions. These options should be enough to satisfy most expectations and start the game off on the right foot.

Once you're off and running, which is no simple task, Final Fantasy XI falls in line with other MMORPGs. The battle system for instance is simple and fairly standard as you just target your enemy and wait for someone emerge victorious. You can however learn more power moves depending on the weapon selection and execute them once the tactical meter increases past 100. Attacks can also be chained together with other players for increased damage adding another dimension to the battle system.

Final Fantasy XI should keep you engrossed with a number of other features such as learning specific skills or selling at the bazaar. In addition, the graphics and audio follow suit with graphics that are slightly dated but still perform adequately and audio that fits in with most expectations for a MMORPG.

As long as you realize Final Fantasy XI has veered off significantly from the classic RPG standard to a MMORPG you shouldn't find yourself with buyer's remorse. As a MMORPG, Final Fantasy XI is definitely one of the best around and for those who enjoy them prepare for hours upon hours of fun. If however that isn't your thing but you're a die hard Final Fantasy fan, maybe try the PC version as you're initial cost will be much smaller.

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