Final Fantasy is a name that's synonymous with "the best that JRPGs have to offer".
My personal feelings regarding Final Fantasy comes from two incredible games in the 1990s. First it was Final Fantasy 2 (aka 4 in Japan) for the Super Nintendo, which was one of my favorite games of all time, where me and my brother spent countless hours together, exploring a vivid world with Cecil and Tella and Rydia and the rest of the crew!
And then Final Fantasy 7 for the PlayStation 1, which was one of the most fun times gaming that I had in my teens. It was such a vibrant and massive world with so many stories and characters. Who can forget Cloud dressing up as a woman and having S.X with a fat old businessman who mistook him for a woman? Uhm, yikes, best that I move on from those traumatic memories, actually…
So when I discovered that there's a modern Final Fantasy MMORPG, I was very excited and ended up buying the game and all expansions on a sale.
I gave the game two months of playing for at least a few hours every day, to really evaluate it. I truly wanted it to be great…
Here are my conclusions after two months of doing my best to love the game…
The game is anime as butt. Everything is melodramatic. Everything is cliches. EVERYTHING. There isn't a single story or person in the game that isn't a generic cliche. The NPCs are bland and generic as butt. I wanted to like them, but just grew more and more fed up with their terrible stories and generic stereotypes.
All of them are super generic, whiny, pathetic, weak and completely incompetent idiots. ALL of their quest "plans" for solving various threats are braindead and would never work in real life. They'd die instantly.
But despite the NPCs being idiots, they have "plot armor" that keeps them alive regardless of their incompetence. The game is the personification of "1 tiny person vs 1 overhyped god, and the tiny person wins every time, over and over again, to noone's surprise". There's literally zero suspense.
And every NPC vomits words constantly. They repeat themselves endlessly. Heck, during one cutscene, the various NPCs spent like 10 minutes endlessly regurgitating the same cliched speech about "friendship and working together lets us do anything" in fourty different iterations of how to say such a sentence.
It's also full of freaking moronically dressed idiot NPCs; tons of guys wearing lingerie and hotpants and high heels. That may fit perfectly on a drag queen catwalk, but not for the freaking "scions; the strongest fighters in the world" gang.
Imagine if Frodo wore f'ing lingerie while walking through Mordor, and defeated Sauron by giving a long cliche-ridden monologue and then giving him a "cool stare" to death? That's exactly Final Fantasy 14 in a nutshell.
The story is also paced like absolute dogballs; an early example being the "oh no, a TITAN GOD is coming to DESTROY the WORLD RIGHT NOW… so… please spend 10 hours in real life doing 30 quests all over the world to get food and wine and cheese for a banquet so that the heroes will bother to drag their lazy bodies out to eat and perhaps also talk a bit about the end of the world"… Not to mention the actual battle against that titan, which amounted to "wait a minute… was that tiny, weak, generic NPC it?! That was the 'world-destroyer'!?"…
And to make matters worse, EVERY battle is a freaking Animu Monologu, with 3 minutes of grandstanding Animu "wuhahahah I'm so strong" talk, followed by an instant death for the evil NPC, followed by another "death speech monologue" by the NPC. And if you like brooding Animu stares from cartoony villains, then this game delivers it in droves.
What about the overarching story itself? Well… Holy butt, the story of this game is THE most uninteresting and unoriginal and generic garbage in ANY game I've EVER played in 30 years of gaming. The story and WRITING is so freaking bad, cliched, verbally diarrhetic and boring that I just zone out even though I really TRIED for a TWO MONTHS to read whatever the hell cliched anime garbage the NPCs were constantly verbally vomiting about. My eyes kept glazing over and the words just sort of faded on the screen, since they were so utterly boring to read. Every f'ing NPC word vomits endlessly, with zero exceptions. You think this paragraph I'm writing is long?! It's NOTHING compared to Final Fantasy 14's NPCs.
At first, I thought it was refreshing that there were so few "Kill 12 boars" quests, unlike other MMOs.
However… almost every quest is like an Anime "filler" episode; such as baking a cake, or delivering a cake to someone.
Most quests are idiotic delivery/fetch quests.
Sometimes NPCs ask you to help them kill something, but it's always something absolutely pathetic, such as helping some "strong warrior" kill some level 1 mosquito. Or rescuing some group of "elite knights" from some level 1 wolf.
They are all bumbling idiots.
You'll have ZERO respect for ANY of the useless freaking NPCs in this game if you follow the story and see their personalities.
You basically do everything important in this game while the useless NPCs just fail over and over again, despite them supposedly being great leaders and warriors.
And the FF14 quests are almost always a massive pain. Most quests send you to the other side of the world to talk to 1 NPC and then running back across the world to tell the first NPC what happened, over and over again.
Running back and forth like a freaking courier has no place in 2020.
And guess what? The mythical, "savior patch 5.3" that was gonna revamp the game and cut out so much garbage (due to the massive player hate against the game's bloated, boring quests), actually only ended up cutting a few dozen quests. The game's ARR (original pre-expansion game) quests are still absolute trash and an absolute braindraining slog.
Terrible. Even Nintendo 64 cutscenes had more life than these.
For the vast majority, NOTHING is voiced, apart from a tiiiiny fraction of "super important" cutscenes, which are of course voiced very poorly.
The animations are absolute garbage and just reuse scripted ingame emotes and static poses (like mannequins).
To make matters worse, the cutscenes consist of neverending drivel, with so much freaking verbal nonsense by all the NPCs monologuing together in chorus (if you didn't think that was possible, play FF14 to see it).
The NPCs in Final Fantasy 14 all have the worst case of verbal diarrhea of any game ever made. Everyone speaks in long, drawn-out monologues and cliches.
So despite them having ten thousand words to vomit at you, there's actually nothing interesting within their words whatsoever. Whatever you do manage to extract from their diarrhea is all generic fantasy tropes and cliches of the WORST kind.
It's practically impossible to care about any of the NPCs at all.
The best combat of any MMO I've ever seen or played. The combat gets really good around level 50+ when you have enough abilities to make the rotation interesting.
I was a level 60 bard (ranged archer DPS) and 50 marauder (tank). The skills are varied and you have to think and make decisions. Unlike most other MMOs, the combat here feels meaningful and skill-based.
Your abilities at max level take up 3 full bars (36 buttons), and you actually need to keep track of around 12+ primary, ACTIVELY used buttons, while also being aware of all the boss moves.
The high-end raid fights are also the most complicated and awesome of any MMO I've ever seen.
However, the constant, flashing "anime RGB effects" on every single attack do get a bit tiring after a while, since every boss fight becomes a screen full of RGB particle effects from the entire party, which looks a bit cheap when you've seen it so many times. Basically, since every attack has an epic RGB particle effect, there aren't any truly epic looking attacks since everything is already so fancy. So the combat lacks any dramatic "pacing difference" between normal moves and epic moves. It all looks the same. That would be my only criticism about the combat.
Ranges from very mediocre, generic fantasy nothingness, to absolutely great tracks. Lots of remixes of classic Final Fantasy music which are a joy to hear.
Mostly terrible. The audio effects are various lo-fi schwing schwong splish splash digital synth noises.
The players are super friendly, and you can always find people who want to talk, even in random dungeons.
People are happy to help you with almost anything. But they also secretly want to sneak you away into a dungeon and do dirty things with you, because EVERYONE in this game is an ERP creep.
And you basically cannot meet anyone who isn't an anime weirdo. You know, "the" kind.
After spending two months in the game and getting to know lots of people, I realized that almost all of them engage in ERP (sexual roleplaying). They even had discord channels for that, completely openly, within the freaking main guild (FC, "Free Company") on the server. That should tell you how prevalent it is…
In other words, people are super friendly and nice and helpful in this game, but MOST of them are actually super creepy. This is also reflected in how they dress their characters, with about half of all people wearing slutty clothes.
And if you ever want to see lots of 30+ year old men playing as sluttily dressed 12 year old looking girls (Lalafell race), this is the game for you! I do think Lalafells are ultra adorable little potatoes, but the way many players dress them is super creepy…
Very good for an MMO, but still feels outdated and "static world", just like all other MMOs.
It simply cannot compare to the dynamic realism of modern games.
MMOs seem perpetually stuck in 2005, while the games industry has moved on to 2020.
I understand that MMO games need to run on as many machines as possible to earn more subscription revenue, but still, it's very hard to enjoy such outdated game mechanics/visuals/animations after having played modern games.
They're all awesome. Except Elezen, the ultra-tall "elf" race, which look freaking stupid and should be deleted from the game.
Every time a main quest NPC is an Elezen, the whole scene is ruined and looks ridiculous due to their idiotic body proportions, which consists of of mostly legs, and a tiny head. They are so ugly…
And the Elezen race's "attitude" is that they're perpetually snotty and stuck-up and actual racial supremacists (the game calls them "prideful").
They are absolute balls and just drag down the atmosphere of the game since they look so stupid in every cutscene. Someone else in game pointed out how Elezen ruin the atmosphere of the game, and I agree completely.
Elezens are basically traffic cones. And have about as much personality as a traffic cone too.
It's not free to play. It's an actual subscription-based MMO, which is a rapidly dying genre…
The price is a whopping $12.99 / 10.95 euros a month to have 1 character, and $14.99 / 12.95 euros a month to have up to 8 characters (with a discount to $12.99/10.95 eur per month if you pre-pay 6 months at a time). Either way it's too freaking much.
The price is one of the biggest issues with the game. There is no freaking $13 / 11 euro per month value in it, unless you enjoy torturing yourself with one of the most worthless stories in videogame history, in an outdated game engine, with a community of friendly sexual deviants.
There are clearly a lot of people that love FF14. The vast majority of those people definitely LOVE grindy JRPGs and Anime. Period.
Whether they admit it or not, this game is the ULTIMATE generic low-quality anime cliche filler episode.
If you aren't a Japanophile with massive patience for awful JPRG stories and perhaps some heavy Final Fantasy fandom, then this game WON'T be for you, and you WILL sooner or later hate it.
But if you're fine with a low-quality, super basic, generic fantasy story being told slooowly with a ton of filler and pacing issues and terrible writing, then you'll LOVE it.
That is why the game is so polarizing.
And if you DO decide to try the game, just be aware that the game never gets better; the stories in the expansions are indeed a tiny bit better than the brutally bad core game, but even the expansions are still basic, cliched garbage.
So whether you like the turd sandwich or not is up to you, and you'll definitely know if it's for you by the time you've reached level 30 or so…
Perhaps you'll love it, and in that case, just disregard me and keep playing the game! I'm just one of the countless people who really gave it a really fair chance and really wanted to love it and TRIED to overlook its endless flaws, but finally ended up admitting that it's complete trash. :-/
This MMORPG has basically nothing to do with FF2's or FF7's greatness, apart from the name "Final Fantasy" being attached to it.
Unfortunately it was a total disappointment. I deleted my character, which had almost 200 hours played. I deleted it because there's no way that I'm ever coming back to this game, since it's so brutally poorly written and outdated, which is a core problem of the development team and is never going to be fixed…
The player community is still kinda cool, I guess… It was definitely the main highlight of the game. And I'd much rather take FF14's friendly sexual deviants, over World of Warcraft's depressive, toxic and mostly-quiet players.
If you love JRPG grinds, outdated games that fit better in 2005 than 2020, awful generic fantasy stories, terrible writing, and anime filler episodes, and you want to give Final Fantasy 14 a chance, they have a free trial which was recently expanded to let you level all the way up to 60 and play both the core ARR (A Real Reborn) and the first expansion (Heavensward), without any time limit. The trial only restricts social features such as ingame mail, trading, and joining a guild ("Free Company"). So those who aren't going to take my word for it are welcome to try out the game for themselves. But don't say I didn't warn you! 😉
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