Final Fantasy XIV Feels Surprisingly Good on PS3

By Josh Wirtanen
Final Fantasy XIV Feels Surprisingly Good on PS4

During E3, we had a chance to swing by Square Enix's booth for a chance to play the PS3 version of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.

Going into this, the biggest question on our mind was how would the controls feel? After all, Final Fantasy XIV includes the traditional hotkey skill bar commands. How can that be translated to the PS3's DualShock controller without feeling completely awkward?

Well, it's actually pretty simple. Instead of binding your various skills to the numkeys, you bind them to your face buttons. When you hold R2, a submenu opens up with 8 skill slots on it, one for each face button and one for each direction on the D-pad. When you hold L2, you bring up 8 more skill slots. Essentially, you can bind your most frequently used combat skills to the face buttons and your heal skills, buffs, or attacks with longer cooldowns to the D-pad. This makes combat feel less like a traditional MMO and more like an action game.

We were asked to join a team of eight players in an attempt to bring down Ifrit, who should be quite familiar to Final Fantasy veterans. This iteration was a massive boss that required a well-coordinated team of people who understood their roles, especially those in the tank or healer classes. At about the halfway point in the fight, this beast would summon a flaming sword that, if not taken down speedily enough, would unleash an AOE fire spell that could insta-kill the entire team. Unfortunately, that's a defeat we experienced firsthand.

We may not have been successful in our attempts to vanquish Ifrit, but we got a good enough feel for the combat that we can be fairly confident about the game making a smooth transition to its new PS3 home.

Besides face time with Square Enix's newest MMORPG, we also got some juicy details about a few of the things we can expect when A Realm Reborn launches on August 27.

First of all, Square Enix wanted to point out that Final Fantasy XIV is a game about bringing players together for a bonding experience in the beloved Final Fantasy universe. One of the ways they're making that statement valid is by introducing Full Active Time Events (F.A.T.E.s) into the game. These are massive world events designed to bring several dozens of players into one area to work together toward a common goal. Think of these as Final Fantasy's answer to Rift's Rift Events or Defiance's Arkfalls.

But not every player likes to go it alone, and those who prefer solo play won't feel left out. Final Fantasy XIV includes plenty of solo-able content, as well as a Chocobo companion that can aid you in battle.

Though many were skeptical about whether Final Fantasy XIV could be saved after a horrendous launch, Square Enix has put together something that feels like it just may work. We'll find out if the new features can be as great in execution as they sound on paper when A Realm Reborn lands on PC and PS3.

Jun132013

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