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  • Some reviews are tougher to write than others. Usually theyre the weaker end of the NES

  • spectrum, where there’s so little actual content to the game that I have to resort

  • to flowery language just to fill four minutestime. And then there are the games that are

  • so unspeakably massive that I know that anything I say, even if I did the whole talking-fast

  • thing, would merely scratch the surface.

  • As far as MMOs go, Final Fantasy XI is an odd bird. Perhaps due to the international

  • success of the Final Fantasy brand, Square Enix decided at the outset to integrate their

  • servers, racially speaking. You could be fighting alongside a Japanese PLD, a French BLM, a

  • Canadian COR, all in the same party and working toward the same ends: More EXP, more gil,

  • more things to obtain. Some concepts are universally understood. For everything else, there’s

  • an autotranslate system that replaces simple phrases, place names, and items with text

  • objects that resolve dependent on the client seeing it. It’s not exactly the United Nations,

  • but it’s been working fairly well since... really, it’s been that long?

  • October of ‘03. Over eight years now in the US, and closer to 10 in Japan. And you

  • don’t have a game running for eight years without change. Time used to be that, unless

  • you were a Black Mage or Ranger, you didn’t get invited to EXP parties, and you didn’t

  • get EXP outside of parties because the mobs you’d have to kill were unspeakably vicious

  • to a lone player. That was then. These days, there are so many bonuses, buffs, and new

  • features that you can play the game more myopically if you wish, but where’s the fun in that?

  • It seems these achievements are no longer considered the hardest in the whole of XBoxdom.

  • But wait, the 360 didn’t even exist in October ‘03. But the PC did, and those players were

  • playing right along with the already-released Japanese PS2 version, the flagship software

  • for the short-lived PS2 hard drive. The good news is that the world finally had its first

  • truly cross-platform MMORPG. The bad news is that, even today, the XBox 360 and PC versions

  • are hamstrung by continuing to support the PS2.

  • See? It’s been how many minutes and I’ve only barely touched on the game itself, as

  • opposed WHY the game works the way it does. There is actual gameplay! It doesn’t just

  • play itself... well, kinda. You don’t actually attack your foes directly, rather you lock

  • onto them with an attack command and from that point out, your basic weapon swings are

  • rigorously timed by the delay value of your weapon, and augmented by various factors on

  • your other 15 pieces of gear. And then there’s an update, and a new shiny object, and the

  • great wheels of progress and power creep spin up again. Because fashion is smashin’, the

  • true meaning of it.

  • I could easily do a five-minute analysis of each of the game’s 20 jobs, and even that

  • would be barely enough to do some of the more eclectic classes justice. The quick and dirty

  • version follows: Warrior, Monk, Thief, and Red, Black, and White Mage are available from

  • the outset, and if that list sounds familiar, youve probably played Final Fantasy 1.

  • Everything else requires completing a quest to unlock: Paladins tank things and cure themselves,

  • Ninja were supposed to be a ranged-attack and debuff class until it was found that they

  • tank better than Paladins, Rangers shoot things with bows, Beastmasters and Summoners subcontract

  • their beatdowns, Dragoons enlist the service of a baby dragon as a damage sidecar, Bards

  • buff the party by singing, Corsairs buff the party by... playing blackjack... Dark Knights

  • and Samurai hit things really hard, Puppetmasters get to build their teammate from scratch (with

  • a whole lot of money), Dancers inflict all sorts of weird debuffs in melee range, Scholars

  • are schizophrenic mages, able to choose the Light Side or the Dark Side as the situation

  • calls, and...

  • well, let’s just say that Final Fantasy V, their point of origin, afforded Blue Mages

  • 30 spells. 11’s blue mages? 150ish. Somewhere around there. Honestly, I lost count. I blame

  • the bagpipes. And catgirls. Final Fantasy XI is the true black sheep, sequestered in

  • its place as the MMO no one played, except the thousands who did, and unable to gather

  • the attention of its woefully defective little brother 14. And then Shantotto shows up in

  • Dissidia and people are interested again. Funny how that works.

Some reviews are tougher to write than others. Usually theyre the weaker end of the NES

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CGRundertow FINAL FANTASY XI ONLINE for Xbox 360 Video Game Review

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    阿多賓 posted on 2013/04/10
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