I’m no stranger to MMORPGS.
I’ve done my time.
Having lost days in World of Warcraft, Secret Worlds, Guild Wars and more, I’ve always been hesitant to get back into the genre. I found myself feeling left behind and too far from the starting line to get back on the saddle again.
So when a friend recommended Final Fantasy’s latest addition, Shadowbringers and told me that I should jump into Final Fantasty XIV, I wasn’t exactly enthused to get into the game.
Having faced an awful reception when first launched in 2010, Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida went back to the drawing board, creating the atmospheric and innovative world of A Realm Reborn.
But can the game draw in a new player so late in its lifetime?
The worry I had about starting a new MMORPG was that I’d be on the back-foot. I’d tried to approach World of Warcraft again, for example, only to be bombarded with so many new mechanics, updates and changes that the world felt alien and unwelcoming.
Final Fantasy does a great job of welcoming new players whilst also encouraging you to feel at home in its world.
An interesting, well-written story places you at the forefront of your own adventure, with unique environments and dialogue immersing you in the lore of the world around you. Sure, you occasionally get a fetch quest or two, but the reward of a atmospheric cut-scene or character development allows you to feel fulfilled and pleasantly surprised rather than fatigued.
It can’t be denied that the game has some quests that feel forced, but they feel few and far between, with intriguing interactions and exciting battles always just around the corner.
I made my way through A Realm Reborn, the base game, before heading into Heavensward and Stormblood and as I fought and quested my way through, I could see the few issues from A Realm Reborn falling by the wayside. This is a labour of love and it shows. The expansions building on the base game with well devised plot points and new features, rather than wallowing in the original.
Something I have to take a special moment to mention when talking about this title is the musical score.
A wide range of different musical choices help to make the world feel alive and epic. You’re the hero of this tale and there’s no denying that when facing down a huge tank-like boss, choirs echoing around you and your teammates before the booming drums signal the charge towards a gruelling and exciting battle. I can honestly say, this is some of the best music I’ve heard from a title in a long, long time.
Dungeons are innovative and thoughtfully designed, each with their own feel and mechanics, meaning that from the get-go, you’re learning the mechanics of the game whilst also feeling engaged and useful to your team. It’s a far cry from the rush to max level I’m used to.
Now, with my sword facing towards the latest expansion, Shadowbringers, I’m feeling ready to start the next adventure.
If you haven’t played Final Fantasy XIV yet and you’re feeling the itch to get back into the MMORPG world, then why not give it a try, I know you won’t be disappointed