Monday, 24 February 2014

First steps in to FF14: Realm Reborn

It happened! The FF14 beta process has begun on PS4. I always wanted to try out FF14 but there had been no opportunity to play briefly without plunging my wallet for some dough. This was a pretty good chance as I've always wanted to give playing an MMO with a controller a chance. Let's briefly talk about these things.

The controls

I'm happy to report that it actually wasn't so bad! I do think that it will always be inferior to keyboard/mouse, but there are some upsides. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, they are similar to why one might prefer Diablo 3 on console.

Movement and combat feels more tangible. Your hands are closer together and you have that wonderful thing known as analog control. Moving a character just feels better with the thumb stick. Even if you're playing a game that only uses a D pad to move a character, I find it still feels more solid than WASD on a keyboard.

Combat also changes to feel more like an action game than your typical hotkey MMO feels out to be. Perhaps it also has to do with what class I chose (Pugilist, henceforth known as Pug because I love pugs) although, be it due to a bug or design choice, there is no rumble which is a missed opportunity to potentially convince some to switch to Dualshock 4 - which I love by the way. Such a fantastic controller!

All in all, it took a while to get used to and there are still some things that I miss. It goes without saying that the perfect control you generally have over the camera with a mouse and any situation where you need to type something is going to be better on PC. The entire UI seems to be just as customizable as the PC version (if you hook up a mouse/keyboard the game switches UI so it should really all be there)  though some text is incredibly small to be read on a big screen at a considerable distance.

Overall it's been more good than bad and less of a curve than I thought it would be. It just feels very foreign and clunky in some inherent areas but it's certainly doable. I'm really glad I gave myself  the chance to try it out.

 Pugs are awesome. Deal with it.

 First impresions

Then there's the actual experience. Well, as many have said before, it's a very pretty game. For a beta on a console that's only been out for a short time it runs quite well. I'm not convinced that my PC could provide the same FPS and graphics settings with the dozens upon dozens of people that were everywhere.
Yes, let me get this out first before I continue. There must have been hundreds of people on my server. A LOT of folks. I didn't think there would be this much passing interest in the game for PS4 users. I'm very curious to see how many will stick around at and post launch. But I digress.

Unfortunately the game leaves a generally disappointing impression. After an intro sequence that's kind of neat, you're left in a HUGE city you know nothing about, sent on quests that merely have to talking to people, being their errand gopher, getting to know the (entire!) city which I quite frankly don't care about. Why should I? I know nothing about it! Nor do I find it possible for me to give a crap about the NPC's mundane problems and solve them.
It's a good thing that they let you get to know the cities, but they're so huge. It shouldn't be necessary to cram this knowledge into the player's head first thing they get in. It should be introduced gradually as needed. As a result, there's so much to take in I actually still don't know much.
There's also a lack of ambiance sounds to make seemingly busy parts of town actually feel busy. You should hear NPC's laughing, glasses going  *clink!* in a bar, merchants talking in the trade quarter.

Music is all over the place. It's pretty much constantly playing, but there are huge epic parts in the score(s) that don't suit what you're generally doing in the city. Stormwind's theme has a pretty epic feel to it, especially when you enter the city on foot and you're passing those huge statues. But it's not too grand so as to be unfitting for if the score starts up while you're cleaning up your bank, doing some auction business or just standing around.

I won't throw in the towel just yet though. FF14 is on Steam for 50% off at the moment so I'll activate that key when I have more time. Based on my impressions I get now that it's an MMO that at least starts very slow. People play this game, and it must be for good reasons and I hope that those will rear their heads after I get through some of this drivel. Let's see if I can dig up the good side of the game.

No comments:

Post a Comment