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Role Playing (Games) Games

Final Fantasy XIV Launches To Scathing Reviews 401

RogueyWon writes "Now that the massively-multiplayer Final Fantasy XIV has been on the shelves for a couple of weeks, the reviews are starting to arrive; and it appears that the game is the subject of a critical battering unprecedented in the history of the main Final Fantasy series. First it was the Amazon user reviews, then Gamespot weighed in, describing the game as a 'step backwards for the genre,' and now IGN has described it as 'an arduous experience that, in its current state, isn't worth playing.' Given the general dissatisfaction that surrounded the release of the (offline) Final Fantasy XIII earlier in the year, many long-time fans of the series must now be wondering whether the magic hasn't departed."
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Final Fantasy XIV Launches To Scathing Reviews

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  • Well shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @09:47AM (#33868928)
    I guess I'll have to turn to one of about 10,000 other spikey-haired-hermaphrodites-on-the-rails-rpgs if I want my Japanese game fix.
  • by koreaman ( 835838 ) <> on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @09:56AM (#33869042)

    Come on, 9 is still fun :)

  • A step back? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:01AM (#33869100)
    I heard from a friend in the beta, that it was basically Final Fantasy 11 with a fresh coat of paint-- and this was a guy who enjoyed Final Fantasy 11. Given that 11 launched during the Everquest era, when players were treated with total contempt by devs, soloing was a grind almost as agonizing as waiting for a group, and it was easy to lose days' worth of progress in an encounter gone bad, it's not surprising that something in a similar vein would go over very poorly today.
  • Re:Well shit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) < minus caffeine> on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:03AM (#33869148) Homepage

    This is the second one. As I understand, the first one was pretty crappy too.

  • by dominion ( 3153 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:04AM (#33869150) Homepage

    What happened to Final Fantasy? I grew up with it, the original Final Fantasy was my first RPG, and then Final Fantasy 2, and then, what I believe to be the greatest RPG of all time, Final Fantasy 3/6 came out. Final Fantasy VII was great, and breathtaking, but since then, it's been downhill. Nine was a quick breath of fresh air, but VIII is the only Final Fantasy I've never played past the first hour. Ten was super linear (geez, *another* cutscene?), and X-2 was a joke (please stop making intrepid adventurers act like tween girls, it's insulting to everyone except tween girls). XII seemed to be on the right track, but that's because they used an established world and mythos from the Tactics series, and the biggest problem was it's abrupt ending and auto-gameplay, but at least there were some compelling characters and power struggles, although it fell short in that area. And then XIII I haven't played yet, because I took one look at the map, and lost all interest (hint, it's a straight line), and nothing I read said that the story made up for that lack of exploration.

    It seems to me that the problem, more than anything, is the failure to dream up a really compelling setting, characters, and plot, and then let the player loose in it. Earlier games had those, but it seems that lately all that they're interested in is new systems of combat and leveling up. There are no villains like Kefka, no tragedies like Rosa's attempted suicide, no big reveals like Cloud's backstory, no tortured protagonists like Cecil.

    In a lot of ways, it's as if they've substituted "cool" for "good". They want a cool story, a cool main character, a cool setting, not good ones, not well developed ones. The potential for storytelling in videogames, from a technological standpoint, it's all there. There's nothing really holding anyone back, but instead, we get flashy graphics and a new battle system, instead of characters we care about. When I was 14 years old, watching Rosa throw herself off a cliff, or Terra almost decide against saving the world, or even the NPC orphan teenage couple obliquely considering an abortion because Kefka had turned the world into a wasteland, that was good storytelling, and I expected it to only get better as technology improved, and it really didn't, at least not for the Final Fantasy series.

    It's a shame, and maybe this is harsh, but I consider the Final Fantasy series to be like M. Night Shyamalan movies. Sure, "Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable" were epic, and "Signs" was pretty decent, but at some point you have to give up on things and count yourself as no longer a fan, but a harsh critic.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:05AM (#33869168) Journal
    Every time a new MMO launches, I've got this baggage of playing WoW for 2-3 years. I expect the game that comes out to be as polished and as good as WoW. It's unfair but my logic just ends at "why don't I just play WoW instead." I hope other people are different but that's what I keep thinking and what leads to my termination of game play. I don't go back to WoW until an expansion comes out and then I just level max my characters and drop it after a month.

    I played Darkfall and it was very unpolished. I've played a lot of MMOs like it. It gets into development and then it feels like the source of funding forces an early release and the thing falls apart. If I think back before WoW to my first MMO which was Star Wars Galaxies, I can recall the complete lack of a tutorial, the completely unpolished game play and the glitches right off the bat. But I stuck with it for a long time right up until the combat upgrade because I didn't know that there was a World of Warcraft. FFXIV lacks any tutorial or basic guide. It lacks polish. And I scrutinize it unfairly and don't give it a chance. I was in the beta and the lag killed me. I'm told that got better but I wasn't giving up another $50-$60 for a month of a game. I don't think that's a bad deal, I just have had it with unpolished games.

    I have given up on FFXIV unless my friends inform me otherwise in the future and I now away The Old Republic. For me, it's just looking for that next MMO to sweep me off my feet like SWG and WoW did. Unfortunately, it's going to need the interesting and immense world of SWG with the refined and polished combat of WoW before I dive into it forty hours a week for over a year. So far, there's been three or four candidates that have fallen short. FFXIV is just the latest. I'm starting to feel like it will never end. Please, game publishers, do not release an MMO before it's ready just to make some quick bank only to drop it like a prom night dumpster baby on the pavement. You are killing your developing team's vision.

    Side Note: FFXIII was terrible. What a linear game! Have they forgotten how much players like to customize their characters to their own desires and goals?! I think there was maybe one dimension of that game that allowed me to customize my characters through their skill spheres and even that was a no-brainer-everybody-has-to-take-this-path style of game play. I gave up after five levels of "now you must go here, you cannot grind, you cannot do anything interesting, you cannot explore, you can not investigate." What a stark departure from a franchise I have loved!
  • Re:Well shit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TriezGamer ( 861238 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:11AM (#33869258)

    Final Fantasy XI initially launched in a pretty dismal state, but has improved vastly over the years, and is still getting fairly solid content updates.

    But Final Fantasy XIV certainly is not ready to compete in today's MMORPG market. I'm not about to pay money to continue a beta test. I would guess it needs about 6 more months of development, at a minimum, before it's really ready to compete. Furthermore, Square-Enix needs to do some serious market research and learn what players actually want from a game.

  • by kenp2002 ( 545495 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:25AM (#33869482) Homepage Journal

    The Video game industry followed the movie industry down the rabbit hole. They are dependent now on blockbusters and are always one bad game or expansion away from bankruptcy it seems. Bad release? Time to lay off half the studio.

    The EA\Sony\Activision nonsense of the uber publishing house has run its course. Eve Online continues its slow lumbering growth by rejecting the contemporary model. Minecraft outsold SC2 for a couple of weeks, with 1 guy as a developer. Dwarf Fortress soliders on and grows. Indie games are making a comeback and all that the big 3 (here in the US at least) can do is more reboots and sequels... just like Hollywood and we know how well that worked out for them for quality... blegh....

  • Re:A step back? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:45AM (#33869776)

    It isn't like XI. XI is better is every way except graphics.

    The interface is a step backwards, the gameplay is a step backwards, the world is a step backwards.

    I always complained that each zone in FFXI was a monotone single-color area - well, FFXIV does this TOO, but the zones are fewer and even larger. So instead of being stuck in a single boring zone for brief periods of time, you're stuck in a boring zone PERMANENTLY.

    There's nothing to see. There's nothing to do. You can't group with other players, because that's broken. Leveling up (er, "ranking" up) is broken. Crafting is broken. There's no auction house, so there's no player economy, so even if crafting worked, there's no reason to do it.

    The game's been out for less than a month, and there's already absolutely nothing to do in it, and Square Enix has already made it clear that they don't give a shit about player complaints.

    No forums, no community feedback, no answers from developers, no acknowledgment of bugs, nothing.

    Thank God the open beta was free, otherwise I might have wasted money on this turd.

  • by c-reus ( 852386 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:51AM (#33869866) Homepage

    If it doesn't have a character called Cid, it's not Final Fantasy game. As simple as that.

  • Re:long time vet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yosho ( 135835 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:53AM (#33869902)

    Premature? If it's ready for a price tag, then it's ready for a review. If I'm going to pay for a game, I expect it to actually be fun. If I wanted to help somebody test something, there are plenty of free games and beta tests out there. Maybe I'll give FFXIV another chance after a year or two, if it's still around.

    By the way, there's more against the game other than the terrible UI and learning curve. There's also the terrible player economy, the lack of anything to do other than grinding, the needlessly complex crafting system, the poor graphics optimization, the copy-and-paste environments...

  • by PseudonymousBraveguy ( 1857734 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @10:55AM (#33869934)

    Every time a new MMO launches, I've got this baggage of playing WoW for 2-3 years. I expect the game that comes out to be as polished and as good as WoW. It's unfair but my logic just ends at "why don't I just play WoW instead." I hope other people are different but that's what I keep thinking and what leads to my termination of game play.

    Actually "why don't I just play WoW instead." is exactly the question the games devs/execs should ask themselves. Because their games don't exist in a vacuum, they exist in a world where WoW has 12 million subscribers. If they want any share of that market, they have to give players a reason why not just to play WoW. And just "different" does not cut it if the game is basically beta or worse on launch.

  • Re:Well shit (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @11:16AM (#33870252)

    The UI will never be customizable, which in my opinion at least, is reason enough never to get the game. And I don't mean the ability to drag widgets around, I mean full World of Warcraft-style custom UIs.

    World of Warcraft ended up adding a ton of features that started as third party UI mods. The UI customization system in WoW is one of the things that made the game great - if you didn't like their UI, there were ways to fix it.

    FF14 will never get this ability. The stated reason is to ensure parity between console and PC players. Except, well, fuck that. I don't care about people playing on the consoles. All I care is that the game's UI is unusable and that there's no way to fix that.

    I'm also somewhat shocked that alt-tabbing out of the game kills it - supporting Alt-Tab has been a Windows Games requirement for something like a decade. There's no excuse for that, but given that Square Enix never fixed that in 11, I think we can be sure it'll never be fixed here either.

    In a few months, I expect the game to have far fewer frustrations. In a year, this will be a fantastic game.

    Bullshit. All we have to do is look at 11. 11 never evolved past EverQuest, I can't see why that would be any different for 14.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @11:17AM (#33870274)

    MMO developers need to man the fuck up and start making better games. MMOs have a long tradition of sucking. If you took the same quality of game and made it single player, it would be a universal bomb in most cases. The reason they got away with it was because they are MMOs. People really want that experience of playing in a large, persistent, world with others and thus would put up with crap if that was what it took to get it.

    That shouldn't be the case. MMOs should need to be good like other games. For it to be considered a good game it should, you know, actually need to be good, to be fun, to not have massive amounts of problems, etc.

    The reason WoW sold MMOs to the masses is it was the first MMO to be good. Not perfect, not without flaw, but good. A well designed game on its own. It was easy to get started in, fun to play, inviting, etc.

    That is the standard people need to meet. It isn't just about getting the bugs out before you launch, though that is part of it, it is more about game design. You need to design the game to be inviting to new players, fun to get started on, plenty to do for everyone and so on. A very simple example is the very beginning of WoW. You watch a little movie and then gain control of your character. You are in a colourful world with an inviting NPC with a bigass ! over their head. It is the only thing that really draws your attention. They set you off in the world, and in one fell stroke teach you several things like how to communicate, how quests work and so on. Things are very easy and go at your own pace, you have all of two or three abilities to use, and you get a nice sense of achievement each time you kill something and the experience bar ticks up.

    Basically it very slowly eases you in to the world. It makes it easy to accomplish something right off. No sitting through tons of boring "training" no feeling like a fish out of water, having trouble coping with what to do. You get in to the world and can have fun right away.

    There's a lot more than just that, but it is design like that. Actual, good, gameplay things that are more or less required for non-MMOs to be considered reasonable games.

    So while I don't want new games to be "another WoW" I do want them designed to that standard. I want them to be good games. That is not unfair at all.

  • Re:Well shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbacon ( 1327727 ) <(jcavanagh617) (at) (> on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @11:18AM (#33870318)

    Sure, but what you fail to realize that the psychology is the entire problem! People enjoy being rewarded, they dislike being penalized. Therefore, people enjoy WoW's experience system, and dislike FFXIV's system, even if they result in the same net experience point total.

    WoW has done this for all of its existence - making players feel rewarded, and minimizing penalties for death, mistakes, etc. Look where it is now.

  • by ildon ( 413912 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @12:56PM (#33872238)

    WoW's problem was that it had server issues because too many people wanted to play it because it was great. FF14's issue is that no one wants to play it because it is awful. I hope you can recognize the difference.

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @01:02PM (#33872364) Journal

    Dude, I'm not even talking "boring". It starts boring, sure. Then it gets stupid. I'm talking plot twists of the caliber of, and spoiler warning: these are actual plot twists from the game:

    - oh, we all grew up together, but somehow we all just forgot that (while still living together the whole time. We're not talking people who lived somewhere else for 20 years and forgot their friends from kindergarten, but people who forgot their friends from kindergarten while still living in the same room with them.)

    - oh, and that evil chick we've been trying to kill for the last two discs and viceversa? we kinda forgot she's our adoptive mother who raised us since we were babies. (Yeah, I guess it's the kind of thing that just slips one's mind.)

    - oh, they're shooting ICBM's at our school, but they don't know that our school can move. Seriously, it's like a freaking iceberg with the visible school on top and a giant mechanism under it for, umm, moving the school out of the way of an ICBM attack. (What, your school wasn't built with such a mechanism?)

    - Rinoa getting kidnapped again and again until it turns into a running gag taken to absurd extremes. Like when a whole country who was A-OK with Edea, the big evil sorceress who had attacked them and nearly caused a world war, now arrests Rinoa for having received basic padawan training (so to speak) from Edea in the sorceress business. And you have to rescue her again. And I mean, seriously, it's on par with being ok with Hitler but trying to off some guy he trained in skeet shooting.

    - the final twist when your party gets to travel in time and convince Edea to, umm, adopt their baby selves and start a school dedicated to hunting witche. Err... sorceresses.

    And don't think some elaborate mind-fuck or subtle philosophical arguments to convince her to throw her life away just to train some guys who'll hunt her and her kind down. Think a poor young woman sweeping her back yard, and a bunch of strangers crash onto her lawn. And it kinda goes like:

    "Are you a witch?"
    "Umm, yes."
    "I want you to found an orphanage and school dedicated to training kids to hunt down witches."
    "Umm, ok."

    Not an exact quote, but, really, _that_ fracking stupid.

  • by brkello ( 642429 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @01:28PM (#33872876)

    Everything seems better when you were 14. I don't know why people haven't figured this out yet.

  • by Yosho ( 135835 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @03:18PM (#33874700)

    Why bring that up? Well, it's an example of how the majority of people don't want PvP

    I don't think that's the right conclusion at all. Even on WoW's PvE realms, arena and battlegrounds are very popular, and there are always people dueling outside Orgrimmar. I think the right conclusion is that people want to be able to control when they PvP.

    On a PvP realm, you can be out in the wilderness, minding your own business, and then some level 80 guy with a 6000 gearscore comes along and murders you. And if he's bored, he'll sit there and murder you over and over. On a PvE realm, I can go out and kill monsters and do quests all I want, and then when I want to compete against other players, I can turn my PvP flag on or go join in the designated PvP events.

    WoW isn't successful because it caters to the lowest common denominator; it's successful because any "denominator" can have fun. I can log on and do quests for an hour, or I can work on earning acheivements, or I can grind dailies, or I can do random dungeons, or I can do battlegrounds, or I can join an arena team or a raiding guild and do 25-man ICC... Those things appeal to different crowds and they're all designed to be fun. In FFXIV, your options are to either grind XP on killing monsters or beat your head against the obtuse crafting system. That's it.

  • by TheVelvetFlamebait ( 986083 ) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @04:55PM (#33876024) Journal

    Come on; that's hardly fair. You can't judge the game by what it could have been, had you had the imagination. It was created to be played a certain way, and that's what it should be judge upon. Otherwise, even the worst games of all time probably should get higher scores:

    "I give Dreckfest 88%. If you played the way they say in the manuals, the tutorials, and the pop-up hints, the controls were horrendous, the graphics were utterly broken, and the AI would frequently walk into walls. However, if you played the game with your eyes closed, and tried to navigate the game world by listening only to the sounds (e.g. your footsteps, enemy footsteps/voices, projectiles from your guns on various surfaces), the game became atmospheric and fun."

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."