Final Fantasy XI
Squares first shot at a multiplayer online RPG arrived too close to deadline for us to give it the full review it deserves, so expect that next month. Sniff. Fortunately, we have some experience with the Japanese PS2 version (out for nearly two years now) and loads of stick time with the PC version (out here since last fall), so until FFXI gets the complete review treatment next month, heres a basic idea of what to expect.
Set in the sprawling world of Vanadiel, FFXI is at once just like Final Fantasy and nothing like it at all. You begin by choosing your characters class and race (everybody loves the hobbit-like tarutaru, trust us), and after that, youre really on your own free to explore the countryside, level up, change jobs Final Fantasy V-style, level up, die horrible deaths at the hands of powerful monsters, and level up some more.
Like Everquest Online Adventures and other online RPGs, FFXI suffers from treadmill syndrome it takes literally hours of doggedly building your characters attributes before you can do anything really cool. Unlike EQOA, though, this process is actually fun, as the emphasis is on story and exploration rather than mundane rat extermination and finding devious ways to work the system. The audiovisuals are pure Square quality, too not as high-res as the PC version, of course, but still among the best in the genre.
Download Final Fantasy XI
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.
Final Fantasy Series
- Dark Cloud 2
- Earth and Beyond
- Enchanted Arms
- Front Mission 3
- Grandia Xtreme
- Lords of EverQuest
- Mega Man Battle Network
- Phantasy Star Online
- Pokemon: Sapphire Version
- RPG Maker 3
- Tales of Destiny
- Tales of Legendia
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- The Granstream Saga
- Wild Arms 3
- Ys: The Ark of Napishtim