Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn Game Review – A Stellar Redemption

Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn is an MMORPG video game developed and published by Square Enix in 2013. The game replaced the 2010 version that failed due to highly unfavorable critics concerning the gameplay, interface, and incomplete ending.

Even the Square Enix CEO, Yoichi Wada, said that the brand was immensely damaged while also promising to bring back the franchise by redoing the new entry of Final Fantasy XIV. After its predecessor felt like a slap in the face to all the loyal fans, Realm Reborn came to make amends and show why people loved the franchise in the first place.

The release was followed by highly positive critics, highlighting the mechanics and how the game unfolds. As a result, it was awarded the 33rd best, the 16th most discussed, and the 31st most shared PC game of 2013.

But the production didn’t stop there. Instead, Square Enix released three expansion packs, with the last one being Shadowbringers (2019). The fourth entry, named Endwalker, will be released this fall.

Hence, Realm Reborn managed to do what the 2010 version didn’t even come close to. It turned everything around, made profits, and reached over 20 million registered players by July 2020. Compared to its predecessor, this entry feels like a different game, and the improvements are colossal.

Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn unfolds on the continent of Eorzea, five years after the previous entry, in which this world was almost devastated. The 2010 installment finished with the principal heroes disappearing, but they are reborn in Realm Reborn and the environment healed from the destruction. Yet, their troubles never end, giving birth to the gameplay of Realm Reborn.

Perplexing and meaningful

The game is set in a persistent world, and it emphasizes customization, allowing players to choose their name, facial characteristics, and a starting class, including archer and conjurer. Depending on what the players choose, heroes will likely fall into one of the “holy trinity” MMO roles (tank, healer, and DPS). It is also necessary to choose the server for their characters. Although, regardless of what they choose, the communication is smooth and allows different languages.

Thanks to the flexibility, you can switch classes as you please, and leveling-up depends on which one you select. If you are genuinely into the game, you could achieve the highest ranks with each character you want, although that requires a dedicated time-investment.

It is beneficial if you decide to do so because some skills are transferable, which lets you play with the customization and open a path to different tasks. Hence, this freedom is meaningful, and it can lead to immersive discoveries when you combine particular characters.

Overall, Realm Reborn uses experience points as a requirement for leveling-up, which can later help your battle performance. There are four principal practices to acquire EXPs: finishing quests, uncovering dungeons, joining FATEs (Full Active Time Events), and eliminating monsters. You will get mission orders from NPCs, and you will typically have to save one of them from danger.

These quests are short and engaging and necessary for polishing the craft, purchasing resources, and earning class-related tasks. The whole journey feels like a smooth adventure because you go from one mission to another. The result is rewarding because each small quest ends shapes your story, one that is unlike what any previous entry emerged. And whoever you choose to be, the game will make you and your narrative arc feel unique.

Realm Reborn continuously reminds you how powerful you are, highlighting your hero status and skills. No matter who you band up with to take the enemies down, you will still feel like a legend. It is something not every game achieves, and RR does it effortlessly.

Battles are a mix of physical and magical assaults and weaponry. However, combat is not as original and innovative as one would expect after three years of waiting. Your skills depend on the class you choose, and some of them will allow bonuses and additional damage when paired with the compatible ability.

Newbies should get ready because the combat can be highly challenging and nerve-racking after level 25. Damaging bosses demand a great strategy and patience because their health points are admirable, and taking them down induces staggering adrenaline levels.

In the beginning, Realm Reboot struggled with server issues and being down for over 12 hours due to maintenance. However, the game received a fair share of tweaks that improved the serves and overall game experience. Thanks to that, RR is free of lags, and there shouldn’t be any significant bugs.

Ultimately, the best part of Realm Reboot is its plot and the variety of quests that align with the main story, making the game feel purposeful. There won’t be a moment without eagerness to move further, try a different class, or reach the next level. Thus, you will experience the adrenaline rush frequently because the threats may come at any time and from any corner.

Moreover, the story is deeply perplexing, and everything comes down together eventually, showing the purpose of every element and character in Realm Reborn. As a result, you will continuously feel that you are progressing while moving through the game.

Mission impossible done right

After the failure that the 2010 entry was, it was hard to believe Square Enix can redeem themselves and bring back the old glory. Moreover, it sounded like an impossible mission.

Yet, they didn’t only manage to surprise us. The developers took the series to another level. Final Fantasy XIV is an example of an MMO done right and a reminder of why we loved this franchise in the first place.

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