I’ve been a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series for many years. To date, I’ve played and completed every numbered entry in Square’s long running series and dabbled in the some of the spin-off titles. The character driven stories and large immersive worlds have always been the parts of each of game that I have admired the most.
Yet my old-time gamer stubbornness has always prevented me from exploring every aspect of Square’s flagship series. It wasn’t until I sat down and played A Realm Reborn: Final Fantasy XIV that I became a true hardcore fan of the Final Fantasy series.
The biggest issue I’ve had in the past with games like Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV were the fact that both entries were MMO titles. My old-time gamer mentality made me believe that these additions to my favorite gaming series were never true Final Fantasy games. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games back in the early 2000s were always a hazardous part of the RPG genre for someone like me.
Being a young kid who did not have a lot of money or a stable internet connection, specific characteristics of the MMO genre were big turnoffs to someone who came from a traditional gaming background. The monthly payments for online services and micro-transactions for in-game items were unappealing foreign concepts that I always felt were too much of an offshoot from what I knew as Final Fantasy.
Although my concerns were shared by others, my own justification for the outlook I had on the MMO titles was that I was a purist of the series. Someone who wished to maintain the essence of the old ways the series was able to provide a quality experience on previous generations of consoles. To my old-time gamer self these MMO games did not have the story and world for me to be immersed in out of the box, and were substituted with traps to keep players paying for months of drawn out stretched gameplay.
I openly ignored Final Fantasy XI and didn’t recognize the game as an entry into the series because of this. Not until my later years did I come to understand how much of an ignorant perspective I had on the whole Final Fantasy series.
It wasn’t until many of my colleagues kept telling about the fun times and experiences they had that broke me into trying out A Realm Reborn: Final Fantasy XIV. Prior to this, the news about the game’s original broken launch had given me enough reason to skip out on this second MMO entry into the series. However, the constant positive feedback and stories from other Final Fantasy fans I knew ended up sowing the seeds of my curiosity and eventually caused me to buy a copy of the game for my PlayStation 4 console.
The first time I booted up A Realm Reborn: Final Fantasy XIV consisted of me having super low expectations and an apathetic attitude, mainly due to the game’s 30 day trial that was included out of the box. I thought that a game you can only really play for 30 days and have to pay more afterwards was nothing to be enthusiastic about.
What followed after was pure amazement and intrigue as I played through the game’s opening sequences and beginning areas. The traditional Final Fantasy nuances I held against the MMO titles for so long were never absent, but were presented in a grander fashion that I never knew about. The storytelling I loved about the series wasn’t missing from the experience like I initially thought, but told in a way that implemented the massive amount of players together with the NPC characters I connected with along the way.
The stereotypical MMO micro-transactions I feared that would dampen my experience were actually not how I feared they would be. I wasn’t made to pay constantly for playing Final Fantasy, only a monthly subscription towards the server maintenance to keep the large world I stepped into running at top quality. The little things like job classes, monster and quests were not built behind never-ending grinding and pay-walls like I feared they would be. This was a Final Fantasy game in its purest form that I just never bothered to take a glimpse at.
After spending time exploring A Realm Reborn: Final Fantasy XIV, I can’t help but accept how wrong my views were about the series. The MMO Final Fantasy game never changed the essence of what Final Fantasy was, but instead magnified the best aspects of the series to a larger scale. I feel a sense of regret having skipped over Final Fantasy XI when it first launched. Part of me wishes I could go back in time and recapture everything I missed out on during that transitional period of the series. But time magic doesn’t exist in the real world and maybe that’s for the better.
Getting out of my stubborn gamer mentality and finally diving into A Realm Reborn: Final Fantasy XIV has ultimately made me a true fan of the series.
Have you played A Realm Reborn: Final Fantasy XIV yet? Have an interesting story about the Final Fantasy series to share with everyone? Leave us a comment below and let your voice be heard!!!