Sony Gamer's Day - FFXI Hands-on
Gamersí Day has come and gone, so itís now time to reflect a little on some of the other games not named Gran Turismo 4 at the show. I didnít get to spend lots of time with each of these games, but a small impression is better than none at all right? Right.
Final Fantasy XI lets you create a customized character into the vast, ever-changing online world of Vanaídiel. Comprised of three nations, Vanaídiels' landscape consists of mountains, forests, ice plains, deserts, oceans, rivers, castles, and dungeons. You can choose from a variety of jobs and skills for your character, including leatherworking, fishing, jewel crafting, and of course thievery.
This is a tough one to judge while only playing a small amount of time. I played for about 30 minutes with some testers and the director of the US version. We used some custom made Square characters, and took on some big time enemies in levels that most people wonít see for a long, long time. I was stuck with a thief, so my part in these fights consisted of slashing at the monstersí legs for 18-30 hp. I also learned that I had a ranged attack that allowed me to throw a boomerang, so that was pretty cool.
The gameís not particularly pretty looking, but there are moments where it looks quite nice, especially when wandering through a foggy, rainy forest. Itís easy to follow party members with the cleverly named ďfollowĒ command, and if you do get separated, itís not too hard to find them again with the map function. The battles, at least the final battle against a large turkey-like creature was very long, and from my standpoint rather repetitive. Again, I was a thief, so it wasnít really my part to fight a whole bunch.
Bundled with the HDD for $99 the gameís going to sell well, but I canít help but wonder how well it would do if it didnít have the Final Fantasy name. Iím not saying itís a bad game, but itís going to be tough to match the mass appeal of the previous games in the series. Final Fantasy XI should be warming the hearts of gamers everywhere in the first quarter of 2004.
9/21/2003 Aaron Thomas