For the few of us who even dared to play it, the original Final Fantasy XIV, released in September 2010, was one of gaming's most crushing recent disappointments. Touted by Square Enix as a vibrant, online expansion of the cherished Final Fantasy universe, it was instead met with almost universally negative reviews, citing its buggy, restrictive nature as indicating a game that clearly wasn't ready to be shipped to the public. Square Enix held their hands up and acknowledged that they had let gamers down, and so soon enough got to work on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, a second take that is nothing if not a vast improvement upon the original title. It's been out in the public domain for a little over two weeks now, and it's safe to say that we've firmly got to grips with what the game has to offer. Here are 10 ways it rules...
10. Sales Aren't Driving The Game
Though Square Enix obviously hopes that A Realm Reborn does well financially - and going by the fact that heavy demand caused SE to temporarily halt digital sales of the game - they have made it very clear that this concern is secondary to restoring the good name of the Final Fantasy franchise, which they feel was severely diminished by the previous effort. Though most fans of the series will admit that it has been in a steady decline ever since the PS2 days, the near-unplayable nature of the original FFXIV was something else altogether, a phoned-in mess of a game that, to their credit, they have made extreme pains to fix. The fact that this is a game driven by a passionate desire to win gamers' hearts back is the most encouraging thing I can think of; it's not really about money (though that would be nice), and really, the key here is in making the game as purely great as it can be. A superb mission statement, then.
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.