Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a relaunch of the original MMO Final Fantasy XIV. The original was released in 2010 and shut down less than two years later due to incredibly negative reviews. In an attempt to recover from that failing, A Realm Reborn takes place five years in the future from Final Fantasy XIV.
You have entered Eorzera, a region in the fictional world of Hydaelyn. Where you start specifically in that world depends on which race you have chosen to play as. But regardless, the game starts in the same way for everyone.
You have a dream where you defeat a masked man all in black using a shining sword of light. When you return to reality, your world is as you remember. You run errands for the local Adventuring guild. But then a secret society anoints you as a chosen one. You are meant to be a representative of the Mothercrystal.
The game itself functions along the lines of most standard fantasy-based MMOs. Ultimately you’re tasked with repelling an exterior threat, the Galrean Empire. When it comes to actual gameplay, what you’re usually doing is several fetch quests and your standard array of raids. You gather materials to craft better equipment with or sell off for profit.
Where the game excels is its ability to weave a story in an open world where you genuinely could go off on your own and not pay attention to the main quest at all. Like many classic fantasy games, there are intervening cutscenes at key places. These act as both a story guide and a time marker for where you are in the main plot. It’s easy to forget otherwise while you busy yourself plundering dungeons and going on FATE quests.
FATE quests, or Full Active Time Events, let you team up with a lot of players without having to wait hours to find an empty slot in a raiding group. These large-scale events spawn in areas that are player-heavy, and they’re great for leveling up quickly. They’re also a fantastic solution for people who want to join groups for monster smashing without having to talk to anyone about it.
Like a lot of high fantasy games, this one is rife with names you just have to memorize. The lore is rich, but it’s a lot to swallow at the very beginning of the game. Even the character creator has some complicated jargon to it. Though, the wide variety of options makes that a little easier to swallow.
As in many MMOs, the class you choose during your character selection determines what kind of abilities you have throughout the game. But A Realm Reborn offers a feature few other MMOs do: you can change your class at any time.
Most gamers have spent hours grinding and leveling a character only to get to a higher level and realize they’ve made a class choice mistake. Maybe you’re having a hard time finding raiding groups on your server. Or maybe you just don’t like the play-style your class requires. A Realm Reborn gives you an option to fix that without the dreaded choice of having to start another character from the beginning.
Combat is as simple as it is brutal and fulfilling. Whether you’re lighting someone on fire with a spell or cutting them down with a sword, the graphics, music, and effects combine to make each victory fulfilling. It feels like you’re playing World of Warcraft back in 2005 again, celebrating level dings with friends and guildmates.
Many players refer to the revival of Final Fantasy 14 as Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn as miraculous, and it’s hard to blame them. In the world of video games, and media in general, it’s not often that a studio gets a second shot at the same game. But Square Enix did, and they proved it was a worthwhile investment.
The game is still going strong and is amassing more players every day by way of new content ads and continued support. If you’re looking for a popular MMO in a high fantasy environment with strong support from both players and creators, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn is worth the monthly subscription.