Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn PS4 Review: A role-playing triumph
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A Realm Reborn on PS4 is a visual and technical marvel of polished gameplay and a grand story true to the Final Fantasy tradition. Highly recommended and worth every penny.
- A mix of casual and hardcore post-game content
- Highly accessible
- Impressive visuals and presentation
- Bland voice-acting
- Framerate dips
One note about character creation: you can freely select any server from any region to play on, but thanks to the game's popularity, a great deal of servers are closed to new character creation at certain times of day. Perseverance is the key--come back at an off-peak time (usually, between 3 am and 7 am in that server's time zone) for the best chance at getting in.
I won’t go into a huge amount of detail on A Realm Reborn's well-told story, as I do recommend reading our PS3 review by Timothy Nunes. Needless to say, the PS4 release is identical in this respect, aside from the improved visual fidelity in the cutscenes. One bonus is if you previously purchased the PS3 version, you can transfer your license, allowing you to download the PS4 version for free in exchange for relinquishing your ability to play on PS3--a nice gesture from the developers, to say the least. Lastly, if you previously purchased the Collector's Edition of either Final Fantasy XIV v1.0 or A Realm Reborn, you will get the two new DLC items that are in the PS4 Collector's Edition for free.
Though our previous review did not cover much on A Realm Reborn's endgame content, there have been a lot of changes in this area since launch, with new hard mode dungeons and extreme mode Primal fights. Alongside lots of new story quests and changes that minimize grinding, these have extended the post-game significantly, with each patch adding major new challenges and more content for players tired of the same dungeons and raids. The Challenge Log, which was added to the game post-launch and resets every week, gives you bonus exp for doing a certain amount of dungeons or guildleves, helping you level alternate classes much faster and offering bonus gil, besides. Once per day, you can also register for the Duty Roulette, which gives sizable bonus rewards of experience points, gil, and (for level 50 characters) end-game tomes for raid-level gear. You subject yourself to somewhat random matchmaking--mostly designed to get high-level players out of their end-game comfort zone--in exchange for these sizable bonuses, and with several different roulettes available, you can earn multiple bonuses per day.
The new extreme-mode fights and endgame raiding in the Binding Coil (and Second Coil) of Bahamut will push the hardcore player, though recent patches have made it easier for players to get the gear they need to join their min-maxing friends. Elsewhere, the Crystal Tower is a brilliant 24-man raid aimed at casual players, helping them get used to working through raid mechanics as a team and unlocking gear to ease your entrance to Bahamut's Binding Coil. New level 50s will probably do this raid quite a few times, as you'll get endgame tomes and armour drops with every run--thankfully, Square Enix plans to expand the Crystal Tower with newly accessible areas in update 2.3. Alongside treasure maps and daily reputation quests assisting the various beast tribes of Eorzea, there's more to do after you finish the main story than ever, and the progression to the game's hardest challenges is much less of a grind than the genre is known for.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn on PS4 is better balanced and more fun than the already excellent PS3 version was at launch. Graphical splendor, framerate improvements, and the comfort of DualShock 4 push it to the next level--PS4 is arguably the very best place to experience Square's powerhouse MMO. New features help new players catch up with experienced veterans while concurrently giving the veteran players something to push toward. Overall, A Realm Reborn comes close to being a perfect mix of hardcore and casual role-playing, and comes highly recommended as a result.