Granted, I don't normally do reviews, but since everyone else is doing one of FF14 A Realm Reborn, I thought I'd try my best to take a crack at this, seeing as I've played this game and actually like it. I say, actually like it, because, it surprised me. I am not the kind of person to like Final Fantasy games, the last one I liked was FF6, AKA FF3 in America. I've played them all, for better or for worse, and hated most. The only reason I waste my hard earned money on them at all is mostly for nostalgia, and I usually wait till they drop in price to $10 in a bargain bin. ANYWAY~ Disclaimer is now done, on with the review.
8 out of 10
Most MMO's are a remake of World of Warcraft, with no thought of trying to be new or innovative, if it's an MMO chance's are, your playing a rehash of WoW. FF14 does not stray from this, it's a very, 'in the box thinking,' typical MMO. With that said, however, it's more of a polished version of your typical MMO. Everything from combat to questing is done to your standard MMO, it's everything you've seen before, there's nothing new. Yet, I can't help but give the gameplay an 8 out of 10, for one reason, it's well polished.
Quests are old school, but are completed at a much faster pace. The standard, gather, mob kill, escort, and delivery are all there, however, it's done fast and done right. You don't have to kill 100 boars for 5 stupid livers. Instead, if it say's you need to collect 6 livers, then kill 6, and then your off to the next quest. Re-spawns are fast, so you don't need to wait for mobs to drop. This fast paced questing, is just better, in my opinion. Apart from WoW, I seem to get gratification faster, finish a quest fast, on to the next, done, next, done, next. Honestly, this fast paced style should be added in every MMO.
Mob's react similar to WoW as well, with a twist or two. For one, if the mob is aggressive, it will not attack you unless it's facing you. Even if that mob is 20 times your level, it still can't attack you unless it faces you. This is probably the single most NEW thing I've seen in an MMO actually do, and FF14 serves this up well. The second twist is, that if a mob is doing a huge attack, it'll indicate that by showing a red square/circle on where the attack will land. This give's you a chance to dodge the attack if your fast enough. Though, this isn't new, it's been done before in GW2. Still, it's nice to see that FF14 is trying to mix up the combat a bit.
Finally, you have a FATE system similar to Warhammer, this actually helps you level faster, though, to get gear, you will still want to quest. Thus, if you feel you're being left behind in the level market, run a few FATES and you'll be back in the game. Again, this system is nothing new, but FATE's appear more frequently, and if your too high a level for one, you can be synched down if you want.
8 out of 10
The graphics are just pure unfiltered AWESOME. I don't have many issues with the graphics save for that they reuse the textures a wee bit too much. Though, so does every MMO in existence, so I won't begrudge them too much. What I would have liked to see, is more graphic settings, instead of the basic ones they have. I have a higher end machine, and I'd rather just pick the settings, rather than have some automated system pick them. I'm annoyed by this because I usually switch everything to high/ultra high, and now... I have to trust that this automated system can figure that out, which, in the best of cases, usually puts performance ahead of graphics. (Of which, my set up can do both, if given the chance.)
7 out of 10
My only main issue with FF14, was sound, which seems like an odd thing to complain about, but hear me out. In FF14 there are cut scenes which are well done graphically, however, they have limited voice acting. Now, I don't mind if you decide to add voice acting in the game, but FF14 is a good example of how this is done wrong. Some cut scenes have voice acting, and it's well and good, but for the majority, it's non-existent. In some case's you have one cut scene with voice acting, and 10 similar cut scene's without. Such, annoy's the crap out of me, and I would have liked to see them fleshed out more.
Now, I don't know about the Japanese version, if they are or are not fully fleshed out, I can not say for sure. However, if they are fully fleshed out, and the North American/euro isn't, I can only say that you can't do one group while leaving out the next. This is the one, and only thing, that really could use another coat of polish.
10 out of 10
Instead of forcing a 20 man raid, or a 5 man instance, FF14 does something better than every MMO I've played. It doesn't force you to do them. Sure, there's a story attached to this game, but the instance's and raids, are more of a side quest than the main dish of the story. In fact, you could solo the whole story without being forced to join a group. If every MMO did this, I think I'd enjoy MMO's more than I have through the years. Mostly because, I avoid 20 man raids, (since there isn't enough gear to go around for everyone, and gathering up a 20 man group is like pulling teeth sometimes.) Now, I can enjoy the story, without dreading when I won't be able to play through it.
8.5 out of 10
Everyone will give this game a 9 or a 10, honestly, I'm going for the 8.5. Mostly because it does the old concepts, there's nothing new here. However, FF14 does old MMO concepts, but does them the way THEY SHOULD BE DONE. They reward the player, instead of punishing him/her. Questing is fast paced, leveling done equally fast, inventory management is less of a pain, porting from one area to the next allows the game to be played faster. Just overall, a better WoW by far, and well polished by many standards. Accompany that with great graphics, in depth story, and a great multiplayer experience, you've got yourself a hit MMO.
Does everything your MMO does, still not complaining about this too much, though, I kinda wish we had a new concept or two thrown at us.
Stability is still an issue, the game is down for maintenance every day to every other day.
Endgame will be ready in a patch, thus, no endgame thus far.
Voice Acting could have been a lot better.