Sunday, October 16, 2011

Final Fantasy XIV Version 2 deserves a chance

As everyone knows, Final Fantasy XIV was a failure, so much so that Square Enix recognised that it was a failure and has done a massive overhaul of the game.

The new game, creatively titled XIV Version 2, promises new maps, a new graphics engine, new user interface and expanded in-game content. The big question is; will people give it a second chance?

I didn’t play the first “version” of this game. I was all set to, but the reviews made me rethink that, and then I just assumed that the game was dead in the water. I followed all the news, that the game had been given a new project head, that Square Enix publicly apologised for it, and everyone got to play free while they were fixing it up.

For that reason, I’m willing to give the game a second chance, and I will likely buy this version of the game. Square Enix knows how critical it is to get things right this time, and looking at the screenshots, the promise of an improved visual engine is being borne out. And those bullet points of improvements for the rerelease are exactly in line with what the community has been complaining about.

Further, what a lot of people seem to forget is that Final Fantasy XIV exists in isolation as a bad MMO from Square Enix. They did get things very right with their first MMO, Final Fantasy XI – one of the few World of Warcraft competitors that has been able to maintain a paying subscriber base over 10 years. As well it should, Final Fantasy XI was a superb MMO with months of content, a robust end game, and the popular Final Fantasy trappings such as chocobos and moogles.

That’s why it has surprised me that so many people have been dismissing Dragon Quest X because “Square Enix make bad MMOs.” Well, not really. Square Enix made one bad MMO, realised it, and took immediate and extensive (and expensive) steps to fix the problem. It’s more than many rivals would have done (Age of Conan, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes). And, much like how Dragon Quest X deserves the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, Final Fantasy XIV Version 2 should not immediately be dismissed, you might miss out if you do.

It’s unlikely that Final Fantasy XIV will be the World of Warcraft beater now. The entire Final Fantasy brand took a hit with the original game, and it’s unlikely that the promise of improvements will lure a massive audience back to the game; especially those that were so hurt by their original investment. But that’s not to say it won’t be a good game this time around, so I think it’s only fair to give XIV a second shot come December.



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