E3 2003: Final Fantasy XI: Hands-on impressions
Final Fantasy is making a drastic departure by going online with Final Fantasy XI, which is coming out for the Playstation 2. I checked out this title at last year's E3, and wasn't terribly impressed, even though it was still early in development. This year, the title showed some vast improvements, and I got to check out the combat in a hectic thirty person battle against a Behemoth monster, known throughout the FF series as a creature to be reckoned with. In FFXI, I charged the monster along with many others, some casting spells to cure, some using long range attacks, some going in for some melee action. The action was frantic, and amazingly fun. In fact, this little demo has almost changed my mind about the Final Fantasy series going online, as I was finally able to see some of the actual Final Fantasy elements put into action.
Graphically, Final Fantasy XI is amazing. Even with dozens of characters on screen at once, spells being cast, and all the other action, everything still looked really good. Some of the spell effects were truly astounding, and to see them come from nowhere as they were cast by someone else off screen was really cool.
The controls in the game were fairly easy, but menu navigation was a bit tricky, just because I had no idea where I was and what exactly was going on. However, I managed to muddle my way through, and figure out how the commands worked. There were options for spells, abilities, jobs, and more. Abilities included long range attacks, combo attacks, and more. My particular character had no magic spells to cast, so I really couldn't check that out. However, I was able to use several ability skills like One Inch Fist, Elbow Attack, etc.
Final Fantasy XI is shaping up really nicely, and it's going to be interesting so see how much more Square-Enix puts into this title. We'll definitely have more on this title as it becomes available, so make sure to check out our updates.
5/18/2003 Ryan Hartmann