Players are less than two weeks away from the re-launch of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and until recently, this seemed to be a title that was flying under the radar with MMORPG players. However, this is a big launch in the genre, and a real attempt by Square-Enix to not only improve the initial product, but to try to own some of the MMO space. Can they do it? Time will tell, but so far, it seems A Realm Reborn is going to be a solid foray back into the genre.
A Realm Reborn takes place five years after the initial release. Originally, Final Fantasy XIV culminated with a storyline where Bahamut escaped from the prison of an artificial moon and destroyed the world. This starts the “Seventh Umbral Era,” where players escape the apocalypse with the grace of the gods, and time travel into the future – one where the world has recovered from the destruction. Now, Eorzea is under attack by the northern based Garlean Empire and players will help in the efforts to thwart the invasion again, as their time travelling brings them to the beggining of A Realm Reborn.
From what we’ve seen in previews and the beta community, A Realm Reborn is Square-Enix’s best shot at turning the franchise around. The initial release in 2010 was panned by most as a broken, unfinished title. After two years of running the servers, Square ran through the endgame scenario, and shut down the world of Ezorea. That being said, the development team is trying to make things right. A few public apologies ontop of a brand new set of features and a new engine, this is a new game, hands down. New server structure, user interface, forty zones (up from eight in the original), new male/female race options, and FATE (Full Active Time Event) missions. FATE works much like Rift or Guild Wars 2′s organic missions that appear in the world and players can opt to participate in them. There are five different races to pick from (all with male/female options) and sixteen character classes (combat and crafting specific) that will provide options to all types of players. Nine specialist “jobs” are available for those who max out their classes.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn launches on PC and PS3 August 27th. The final beta phase starts on August 16th, and early start is a few days prior to launch. We will have a post-launch review of the game in September. Check the video below for some great Square-Enix CG as Bahamut lays waste to the world at the end of the original Final Fantasy XIV.