Sometimes, you realise how good something is after you’ve tried something else… Well this is exactly what happened to us. We were a bit burned out of Shadowlands, then came the Blizzard scandal and the huge “let’s quit WoW” trend that followed. So, out of curiosity, we gave FFXIV a try.
Final Fantasy Online was released in 2010 but we’ve never felt that it was something for us. We’re not fans of anime, we don’t like their aesthetics, it doesn’t match our idea of heroic fantasy. However, the hype got us and we felt that we had to give the game a chance.
The first thing that I can say is that, if you don’t like steaks, no sauce will make you love them. Well, it’s the same with games. No matter how you look at it, Final Fantasy is, at its core, a Japanese game with anime-like graphics. But I thought that I could close my eyes, put the steak in my mouth, chew and Swallow… I was wrong!
The first thing that prevented me from enjoying the game is the lack of details in the landscape. For example, when you walk in a desert, it’s just plain yellow, you move on a yellow flat plate that’s supposed to feel like a desert.
The lines are too straight, the buildings feel like they’ve been drawn with a pencil and a ruler. There are entire cities made out of a bunch of textured polygons stuck together that resemble houses and castles but that’s it, there’s no charm.
Music and Voices
The music is miles away from what was composed for World of Warcraft. Most WoW themes have created memories that I will remember forever (Lament of the highborn, Aldrassil, Coldridge Valley,…), while FF14 themes are tunes that I want to forget.
We started by muting the music that launches automatically every time you ride a mount. Then we muted the combat music, which makes the game feel like Pokemon. We ended up by muting the entire sound, we couldn’t take it anymore.
There’s almost no voice acting, and when there is, it sounds bad. World of Warcraft’s voice actors can pride themselves for the amazing job that they do. FFXIV voice actors should rethink their career choices. Most of the time, it sounds so ridiculous that it triggered uncontrollable laughters.
Each quest comes with pages of text . If you don’t read it, the game easily becomes shallow and if you do, you end up reading the worst literature that I’ve ever read in my entire life. The localization team apparently decided to go for some “old English” style, the results is a annoying to read, and there’s a lot of it.
Honestly, how can anyone find FF14’s dungeons good? Their design is uncharacteristic and the bosses are uncharismatic.
If you wanna see what I’m talking about, you could compare two starting dungeons from both games: The Deadmines (WoW) and The Copperbell Mines (FFXIV), the difference of quality is so huge, it’s embarrassing.
From the start, killing mobs in WoW feels amazing. Whether you hit them with a huge stick or you curse them from afar, WoW’s gameplay is smooth, fast and addictive.
FF14’s gameplay, when you get to experience it (between the hours of text reading), feels clunky. You will often read that you have to wait the last levels to experience the real gameplay of Final Fantasy, but no matter how many buttons are added to the action bar, weaving easily gets tedious.
Everyone who plays WoW knows of Muradin, Sylvanas, Anduin, Ragnaros,… In FF14, I don’t even know the name of 2 NPCs, and if I do, it’s because they’re so ridiculous that I can’t forget them (unfortunately).
The name of the places are horrible: Limsa Lominsa (I had to google to spell it right), Costa del Sol (yep, I swear),…
I have to say something about the gear… Why even bother with dragons and castles, only to have us stumble upon a dude dressed in Summer attire? I completely breaks immersion.
Of course, my opinion isn’t objective but this is my blog and I don’t need to be objective. Now, I must admit that a great part of my negativity towards Final Fantasy comes from the fact that I’m not into anime. I love western fantasy, the one from Dungeons & Dragons.
But, regardless of my preference, I think that FF14 suffers of a huge lack of quality. From its gameplay, the way the lore is passed on, the graphics, the music and the overall charm, it feels like a cheap asian rip-off. Coming from WoW, it’s as if you’d be walking inside of a fake Chinese Disney park after visiting the real thing for years.
Trying FF14 has brought us some good though, it made us realize how spoiled we are with World of Warcraft. Since we’ve tried FF14, I’m even more amazed by the quality of Blizzard’s MMORPG. So many things are over-the-top, from the smooth gameplay to the music and the polished graphics, but the thing that matters most to me is the charm of the world and Eorzea doesn’t hold a candle to Azeroth.