B1 Intermediate 1786 Folder Collection
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Some reviews are tougher to write than others. Usually they’re 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 minutes’ time. 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, you’ve 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.
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CGRundertow FINAL FANTASY XI ONLINE for Xbox 360 Video Game Review

1786 Folder Collection
阿多賓 published on April 11, 2013
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