E3 2013: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Preview

June 15, 2013

In the latter half of 2010 Square Enix launched what was then their next big adventure into the world of MMORPGs. It was called Final Fantasy XIV, and it was generally considered to be pretty awful. Awful enough for the directors and producers to admit as much during interviews, expressing disappointment at how the project ended up. But they also drove home the desire to improve. After several beta tests (including one ongoing) we’ll be seeing the fruits of that labour, in the form of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Reworked, rejigged, and redesigned MMORPGing for PC, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4. E3 2013 we got to see how the latest build was coming along.

Firstly, bringing Final Fantasy XIV to consoles required reworking the controls. The PS3/PS4 version will naturally support the console gamepad, and the PC version will have gamepad support too. Controls are generally pretty similar to what fans have come to expect from Final Fantasy, here the shoulder buttons used for modifiers and selecting different attacks.

We got to go hands-on with a demo with a bunch of other players facing the menacing Ifrit, a fire elemental summon. As with many other summons in the game, defeating him unlocks him as a usable summon during other fights. For our battle we were playing as a conjurer, a mage who has both offensive magic and healing magic. Showing his strength in mobility, Ifrit moved around the map frequently, putting pressure on the entire team to not get too close. As a conjurer mage, we was using our healing spells more than anything else, a necessity as our fellow party members kept taking heavy damage. The team was actually doing pretty well, until Ifrit managed to unleash his signature hellfire attack, conjuring a huge fireball that wiped out the entire team.

Really, the main point Square wanted to drive home with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is that the game has been completely overhauled. They’ve implemented ideas from other Final Fantasy games, like Cloud’s omnislash, and added new features like the armoury which allows you to change your fighting style at any time. You’ve got recruitable AI Chocobos, a HUD systems that wouldn’t be out of place in the likes of World of Warcraft, and a level of presentation, right down to very detailed character models, that makes it one of the best looking MMOs we’ve seen. They hope these changes and revisions, along with many more, will make for a far better product, and that players are willing to give the new and improved game a chance.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is currently in a closed beta for PC, and is slated for a formal release on PC and PlayStation 3 in August of this year. The PlayStation 4 build will come at a later date.

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