Final Fantasy XIV Open Beta quick impressions


At the end of the month, Square’s sequel to the extremely popular Final Fantasy XI will arrive. As FFXI was many people’s first MMORPG, the game is highly anticipated and is now in Open Beta. Back during E3, Square released an official benchmark program for the game that allowed people to check out and see if their system could run it, however with Open Beta now underway, it’s safe to say the results of that program will have been false in many cases.

My computer is nearly three years old. I’m running a AMD Phenom QuadCore at 2.3ghz, 3gigs of RAM, and a 1gig Nvidia 240 with the game running off an external Western Digital 2tb HDD. The benchmark program told me that my computer would not run Final Fantasy XIV. Well, not only does it run it at 1900×1200, but it looks fantastic at the standard graphics settings. I’ve upped the shadow detail a bit and added depth of field and it still ran acceptably. The environments, with maxxed texture detail are eye-searingly impressive, but the character models are what really shine. Square has done a great job with making the in-game, real time cutscenes, hold up well to their famous CG.

If you’ve run the benchmark, you’ve basically seen the introduction for one of the game’s city-states. Each character and select from one of three locations to start out, and the benchmark is actually the introduction to the Limsa-Lominsa area. I created a Roegadyn Gladiator (the Galka in FFXI) and started my character there, and got in a little bit of leveling before the servers were pulled down for emergency maintenance last night.

Unlike in FFXI, you actually have two leveling bars. You have your weapon bar (in my case swords) and your physical. Your physical bar levels up a bit faster, while your class one takes a little while longer to level. As you level up, you unlock new abilities, and actually be able to assign attribute points. WoW players would find that strange, but it’s a pretty old school RPG staple and was a nice surprise.

I’ve only scratched the surface of FFXIV so far, but it’s obvious that people who loved FFXI will go nuts over it while people who hated FFXI won’t likely be easily converted. The game arrives at the end of the month for the PC and sometime in 2011 for the PS3.