The Final Fantasy series is well known for giving players stories about the grand battle between good and evil, narratives in which even the smallest groups or a single individual can have great impact on a world in need. It sounds almost biblical, but Final Fantasy games are something of a religious-theme melting pot, weaving together various deities and even some biblically based elements to form a grand adventure.
The latest installment in the series, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, is a visual masterpiece, with a large world full of fantastical creatures to explore. The amount of detail put into each character, costume, and environment makes it a joy simply walking around and sightseeing.
The gameplay narrative begins differently depending on what type of character the player chooses. The journey starts with the player’s character on the way to become an adventurer in one of the three major city-states of the continent of Eorzea, in the world of Hydaelyn. Players assume the role of the chosen hero, selected by the Mothercrystal, who is the supreme deity in this fictional world. Through various quests and adventures, players must fight to stop an evil invading empire as well as quell a few of the savage lesser deities, called Primals.
A Realm Reborn is a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, capable of supporting numerous players simultaneously in a vast online world. The game is constantly going, so if a player logs out, the game’s world continues to develop and change. It’s also a role-playing game, where players create custom avatars as their protagonists.
Players should be aware of the pitfalls of playing online games in general. MMO’s are unlike a single player game, where everything that a player experiences is scripted and the content has been critiqued and rated. In multiplayer games, other players become the unknown factor. The anonymity of playing online also makes it easy for a few players to spoil the experience for those looking to have fun. In an MMO, this unknown factor can be vastly multiplied. Luckily, A Realm Reborn has certain features to keep people playing nicely with one another. All player-to-player contact comes through typed messages that appear in a small dialog box in the corner of the screen. Players have the ability to turn on a profanity filter as well as the ability to blacklist certain players from appearing on their screens.
Another hazard of playing MMO’s is the chance players can get too addicted to their avatars’ fantasy world. Periodically, the media reports horror stories about parents who became addicted and neglected the needs of a child, or players who lost jobs because the fantasy game became more important than reality.
A Realm Reborn is subscription-based, at $15 a month, and is available on both Playstation and PC platforms. As with many subscription-based games, it offers a lot of content to keep players busy. The game is rated Teen for language, mild blood, sexual themes, use of alcohol, and violence. The sexual content is limited to characters dressed in bikini-like outfits and some players occasionally running around in their plain white underwear.
A Realm Reborn has a certain charm not found in many games released recently. Beautifully crafted environments combined with versatile gameplay make it a welcome addition to a gamer’s library. As with most MMO’s, A Realm Reborn is sure to continue growing, with future updates offering new quests and storylines to keep players logging on to enjoy this fantasy world.