Continuing off of a great rebound from the disastrous first version of Final Fantasy XIV version 1.0, Director Naoki Yoshida or known as Yoshi-P, has taken Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn into the

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much anticipated Heavensward. For those of you who have already played A Realm Reborn, and are ready for Heavensward, I’ll talk about that in my Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward review. For those of you who have not jumped on board with Final Fantasy XIV, you may find that you are behind in terms of story and you will be prevented from entering the new expansion areas, however I’ll explain why that is not a bad thing at all and why people like us with busy lives can still enjoy this game.

Can I play this game and still have a family life?

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Between the balance of your home life and family, why should you jump into Final Fantasy XIV and invest into an MMO in the first place? Where is the time? I will say that if you were a veteran from Final Fantasy XI back in your 20s when I was, you would never pick up a game like that again with your busy lifestyle. I remember having to wait 20 or so minutes for an airship to land or an hour plus to form a party. Final Fantasy XIV removes all of that excess waiting, and places significant processes so you can properly control your time management. I found that while I cannot get through the game as fast as let’s say a person who doesn’t have a family to take care of or a less than busy work schedule, I still find that I can enjoy this game just like any other single player Final Fantasy game. Waiting in Bastok – Jeuno airship to take The pace of the game feels just right between solo questing off…20 minutes later…
and party requirements.

Is this a story that I can get into if I am a Final Fantasy veteran or new to the franchise?

Like most of you interested in Final Fantasy, you want to make sure you have a solid story platform, side quests, Espers (cause I love Final Fantasy VI, I call the summon creatures by this name) (Primals as they are called in Final Fantasy XIV), love, hatred, and an enemy who is willing to destroy the world, but has a deep twisted reason why they do it. In Final Fantasy XIV, you will find all of these elements. This game arguably has the most detailed story of any single player Final Fantasy game and MMO. This is a story where you are truly the hero of the land. The game has your usual “fetching” quests, but most of them are enjoyable and tie into the story well. If you are new to the franchise, I think you will still appreciate the story, but you may miss out on a lot of Final Fantasy love, hidden “Easter Eggs” and nods to other Final Fantasy games. Not to say that you wouldn’t enjoy the game, but you may not get the smaller jokes and throwback details.

Do I need to play Final Fantasy XIV Version 1 before a Realm Reborn?

No, the story does a great job in filling you in on what happened after Final Fantasy XIV version 1. You can play and enjoy the game without it.

So, I can figure out where to begin, how long will it take me to get through?

First off, the exp within the first 10 to 15 levels can be easily managed through soloing monsters, side quests, Full Active Time Events (FATE) or accessing levequests at each city-state. Following level 15 or in some cases level 20 depending if this is your first time in Final Fantasy XIV, this is where you may want to start making sure that you start working on dungeons in parties and progressing through the main story. I found that unless you move throughout the story, there is no way you can reach the level cap. Unlike other MMOs when you played in your 20s, where you constantly wait for a party via chats or requests, Final Fantasy XIV has incorporated a Duty Finder feature, which makes forming a party for a particular mission a breeze. Depending on what class/job you have, you may need to wait for a party to form, however even when I was leveling up my second job (Ninja), I was waiting a maximum time of 30 minutes to start a dungeon. For MMO standards, this is not too bad of a wait, and even if real life happened, I always had the option to back out before the start. Not to discuss much in Heavensward, the Final Fantasy XIV team has increased the number of exp you receive, allowing you to get from level 1 to level 50 much quicker than how it was before the patch.

Let’s talk about mechanics

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Learning the mechanics of your class/job (or called Disciple of War/Magic) is also very easy to grasp, especially for a console gamer like myself, controls are simply hitting the L2/R2 triggers and then selecting the corresponding button to execute a command. When you start doing your class/job quests, you will continue to gain more of an understanding on how your job functions and how each command relates to each other and how you can combo for maximum damage, heals, or enmity. At a base level, Final Fantasy XIV really sticks with the Tank, DPS, and Healer triad that most MMOs have gone. While this may not give you as much flexibility as Final Fantasy XI was with their jobs or other MMOs, most jobs have enough differences that they are still enjoyable and will have more favorable stats in certain areas than others. If you are PC player, you will most likely have the advantage of showcasing more actions on the screen then your PS3/PS4 player as you learn more moves, but for console players, Square-Enix has allowed eight slots for all your moves, so it becomes how you manage those slots with each move and combo.

What else can I do in Final Fantasy XIV?

If you don’t like the idea of grinding through every single level for hours on end or you are getting board with questing, Final Fantasy XIV give you an opportunity to craft or gather(known as Discipline of the Hand and Discipline of the Land respectively) various items for your hero or sell those items on the market. You want to go explore and gather items? Final Fantasy XIV provides this avenue for you as well. While crafting at first may be easy to learn, how you go about mastering an item or making it a higher quality is up to you. Within crafting, you are even able to augment Materia (for you Final Fantasy VII fans, you will remember this) to plus up your stats. I recommend even if you are not a fan of crafting that you level up a craft and gatherer job that will support your main class/job. When I played through A Realm Reborn, I did not bother to level up my craft or gathering and I paid the price for a long time by having lower level gear than my fellow Warriors.

Once you start moving through Eorzea, you will also be allowed access to Golden Saucer. Final Fantasy Vets will remember this from Final Fantasy VII, but if you don’t know what I am talking about, it’s basically the Las Vegas of Final Fantasy. Full of mini games, chocobo races, and finally Triple Triad made popular in Final Fantasy VIII. There is so much to do and I never feel like I am wasting my time.

Eventually, at level 30, 40, and 50, you will be able to access PvP content. This will allow you a chance to battle it out against your fellow players for additional pvp exp, equipment funds called wolf marks, and extra currency called Tomes. I don’t want to spoil what that means, but when you go through the game, this will become apparent to you.

I really like the content from the latest screenshots for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, Do I need to complete A Realm Reborn?

Unlike other MMOs that allow you to enter new areas right off the bat from purchasing an expansion, Final Fantasy XIV makes you run though all of the main story and subsequent patches from a Realm Reborn. While I have heard from various other reviewers that this is not a good way to start an expansion, I tend to disagree. Playing through a Realm Reborn is not a chore, it is a wonderful journey to enjoy and without adding spoilers to this review, you need to understand a Realm Reborn before going to Heavensward.

Should I buy this game?

I’ve broken this down on different platforms since Final Fantasy XIV can be played on your PS4, PS3, PC, and Mac. Before you look into the table, if you are completely against MMOs, monthly subscriptions, or you believe that Final Fantasy is a single player experience only, then I recommend that you not purchase this game. Otherwise, take a read below:

PS4:
Buy Now!, the PS4 meets all requirements to play this game and works/looks very well. Plenty of time for soloing and partying that can fit into your daily lifestyle (Can be said with regards to content for each platform). Excluding high end PC gamers, this is the version of the game you want.

PS3:
Wait for a sale, the PS3 can handle some of the graphical layouts of Final Fantasy XIV, but struggles to keep up with the patch’s latest visuals and added content. You will need to make sure to turn down some of the graphical displays in order to play this game. If you are ok with not having the best graphics or seeing every single move without some form of lag, yet want to enjoy Final Fantasy XIV, then purchase if you do not have a PS4. If history has shown us through Final Fantasy XI, I can imagine that support for PS3 will eventually drain either by the next expansion or the following.

PC:
Buy Now!, however you know your computer better than me. I run on a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M with an Intel Core i7 processor and Final Fantasy runs great. Very minor lag with a 50 MBps connection and with the limitations of my computer. With better graphics cards on the market today, you should be able to run this game. The game also now runs off of Direct 11x with the latest 3.0 patch, which provides continued graphical improvements.

Mac:
Not worth your time, the Mac version is currently a mess. Yoshi-P on his latest forum post has apologized for the issues that has plagued this version and issuing out refunds until the Mac version is corrected. You have to admit, most broken games would just let you keep it until a “new patch”, However the folks over in Square-Enix decided that you can refund it. Good public relations move on their part. You can read the message here on what the team plans on doing by clicking here.

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I hope you come on board and enjoy the fun in Eorzea. If you are interested and looking for a Free Company, send me a private message. Rage Lionheart on the Adamantoise server. Next time, we will discuss Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward!