Final Fantasy XI


by Wencke Schuncken
author awarded score: 70/100

Final Fantasy XI Review
Published by: Square Enix
Developed by: Square Enix
Format Reviewed: PC
Review by: Wencke Schuncken

Yes, the first PC on-line version for Final Fantasy is now available in Europe. After previous releases on the playstation it’s now time to explore new adventures and meet lovely characters on-line.

What a package:
The game contains 7 CD’s and a 152 pages manual. When you’re going to install the game you need to have a hard disk space of 6 Gig which is quite a lot for a game. It’s necessary not only for the installation but also for saving your progress. The FFXI server will also save most of your progress, but it will store saved files on your hard disk. Besides the disk space, you also need to have patient as the installation will take up to 2/3 hours due to installation, reading and accepting of user agreements, creating an on-line user account and updating on-line the latest game files. It is very important to read and understand the user agreements as a monthly fee is involved which can be paid with a credit card. If you want to experience the game for free, you have 30 days left to decide if FFXI is worth the fee versus pleasure. But also for this 30 day trial you need to provide your credit card details. The fee involved after the trail is $12.95 per month and if you want to create more characters another $1,00 will be added for each character!After completing your first mission: a successfully installation, it’s time to explore the PlayOnline program. This program provides a lot of services like creating an e-mail account, read messages, change your profile, create a buddy list, chat box and of course starting the FFXI game.

Introduction:
The FFXI game is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game where you can meet other on-line gamers. Team up and explore the adventures in the world of Vana’diel.
Vana’diel is a world of magic, chivalry and technology. It’s a beautiful land and was once engulfed in a great war between armies of enlightened people and the dark hordes of the beastmen. It was a fight for survival from which the victor would emerge in control of the chrystals – physical manifestations of the primordial elements. The beastmen mercilessly destroyed city upon city, turning the land and water black with their foul presence. But the people united in solidarity and seized victory from the claws of the ravenous beastmen. At last peace had come to Vana’diel. More then 20 years have passed since the end of the war. But as memories of that conflict begins to fade, evil lurks in the shadows once again, biding it’s time… And it hungers for Crystals. This history is beautifully displayed in the intro of the game to get you into FFXI mood.

Character:
Create your own character out of 5 different races and choose your gender. If you would like to change your face, hair colour and / or body, it’s all possible. Also you need to decide what kind of job you would like to fulfil. What about being a monk, a warrior, a thief or a mage?
Create a name for you character and start playing in 1 of the 4 regions available. The game characters you’ll meet during the game are either on-line gamers characters or game characters. You can recognise them by the colour of their name right above their heads. For example the game characters have green coloured names and on-line characters have white coloured names. During the game it’s necessary to up-grade your character to defeat all monsters and missions. After up-grading in levels, you can take a second job to get more expanding opportunities.

Controls:
That’s a tough issue if you’re just start playing FFXI. The character controlling can be done by keyboard and mouse. Walking around, camera positions and communicating is quite simple but there are so many other possibilities. By typing some emotes commands, your character will react to it. For example if you type in /wave, your character starts waving. A lot of these commands can be used to boost up your conversations or to attract other gamers. In total there are 22 emotes commands. But that is fun stuff. To be able to do several actions, you need to type some action commands like /attack for example. 90 action commands can be used which is quite a lot. To make things easier, a flyer with all commands and controls comes along with the game. Stick it on your pc screen and start testing the commands. In about an hour you’ll get used to all controls and commands and you can start exploring the world of Vana’diel with all it’s features. Besides the controls and commands, there are also 2 menu’s with lots of stuff like checking the map, key items, buddy list, region information, etc.
It seems that the possibilities never run out.

Action Time:
What kind of activities are available in FFXI? It’s all about exploring characters and regions.
Travel and search for weapons, magic items, munitions, fishing rods, axes, sickles and so on.
In several shops, spread around the 4 regions, you can buy these items but money is needed (always the same …). By completing missions you up-grade your character and you also will receive cash (called “gil”). The missions are the red line through the game, but you also can do lots of other activities to gain cash like fishing, mining or harvesting. Sell your fish, stones or harvest to the shops to gain money. If you are more the social type you can try to communicate with other players and perhaps they want to give you some money. Communicating is very important, not only for the money, but also to discuss tactics, strategies, forming a team to conquer the monsters. Talking about monsters and attacking them, it’s all been done in Real Time Battle mode which means that you don’t have to wait for your turn to attack as we know from previous Final Fantasy games. Use your weapons or magic skills to defeat the monsters. If you teamed up with other players it wll be much easier to defeat them with all possible players skills involved. I suggest to start communicating in the beginning of the game with other players to get some hints, money or to show you the way to your first mission. I’ve got pretty good experiences with co- players which made me understand the success of MMORPG games: it’s fun, adventurous and there are always new things to discover either new missions, regions and meeting new characters.

Graphics:
While installing the game, you get the option to edit the graphics configuration to get the best results on your pc. The characters and environment are great designed and even in combat mode the graphics will stay in good shape. Each weapon has a unique look and other items are perfectly detailed designed. Especially the colourful effects while casting a spell are beautiful. The only minus point about graphics is when you’re running and in the end you’ll see mountains or trees building up in the screen. But the lovely created monsters, characters and landscape are so well done, that this minus point is just a little minus point.

Conclusion:
It was my first experience with a MMORPG game and I enjoyed the game. I loved to meet other players, especially those who wanted to teach me the best way of playing it and spending some money to start shopping and to equip myself for future missions. It’s a real pleasure to explore the world of Vana’diel with all of its facilities. It’s top and pure on-line entertainment and enjoyable to play as soon as you getting handy with the controls and can complete missions with a good result. The communication methods are very good, not only during the game but also in the PlayOnline mode. Hundreds of missions, tasks are available to be done to up-grade your character. So you won’t get bored! A little warning from the manufacturer and me: you can be swallowed by this game, not literally but regarding time. Time flies when you’re having fun and you easily forget the world around you. The game itself states that you can enjoy the game but don’t let it control your real life. Don’t forget your real friends, family and/or work!