No console games are coming out next week in Japan, a nation currently in the calm before the storm of the holiday season rush. But this week's Famitsu magazine still has a console review section — which it devoted entirely to reviewing the PlayStation 3 version of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, which came out last month.
The verdict? Largely positive. Despite complaints about the PS3 controls and all-too-typical MMORPG quests, Famitsu's editors awarded FF14 three 10s and a 9 for a total of 39 points.
"The opening phase, which naturally takes you to the appropriate level as you pursue the main quest, guides you forward in an excellent way," wrote editor Reona Ebihara. "There are certainly parts that concern me, such as the complexity of the commands and the overabundance of fetch quests. However, the high-difficulty battles in mid-game and later, which demand you play roles such as tank or healer, are extremely exciting! It gets really addicting."
"The prominent world setting and the beautiful graphics are both a sight to see," added writer Morrigan Osada. "The opening few hours are a bit confusing while you're getting used to the controls, but the bountiful variety of quests makes it easy to get into the game. I like how the jobs and equipment help you build a unique character, and the massively cooperative F.A.T.E. battles and the Content Finger that lets you automatically form parties are both attractive. There's a lot to enjoy here, and it's highly addictive."
All of the reviewers also took pains to note that A Realm Reborn has, in their opinion, succeeded in Square Enix's objective of completely reinventing the original FF14 and making a first-class game out of it. "A Realm Reborn takes advantage of the old version to reinvent itself as a truly new experience," Ebihara said. "There are parts of that experience which could still stand to be developed further, but I'm hoping that this game will grow into a better and better experience over time."
"FF14's system makes it easy to play solo," added editor Motoki Shinohara, "and the purchase price [3300 yen in Japan] is cheap enough that I can recommend giving it a try. The login limits and inventory-sort problems have been taken care of, too, so I'm looking even more forward to the future. In a way, I'm really glad that I'm back home in Eorzea."
For more on the game, read Polygon's review of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn.