Echoing the sentiments of players, even the western gaming press is hammering Final Fantasy XIV – the worst example of which being a Gamespot review giving the game 40% and calling it “a step backward for the genre” and commenting that “Final Fantasy XIV isn’t fun; it’s work.”
The executive summary:
Impressive visual engine
Flexible class system lets you be what you want, when you want.
Absolutely miserable interface
Does a poor job of communicating important information
Limited questing means you’re always looking for something fun to do
Everything about the economy stinks
Every aspect of the game is filled with dumb obstacles.
4.0/10 – Poor
In other comments there are telling complaints about the game’s new casual mission structure – “bland, repetitive, stand-alone missions that involve killing a certain number of creatures or harvesting resources” which “the game inexplicably limits […] to eight every 36 hours.”
The game is further panned in conclusion:
Final Fantasy XIV is a notable entry to the genre but only for what it lacks.
It lacks character; bare-bones quests and audiovisual repetition fail to instill a sense of fantasy wonder.
It lacks cohesion; communication failures, economic oddities, and stringent limitations leave you constantly directionless.
And it lacks joy; the abysmal interface and boring monsters make it a struggle to stay invested. The open-ended classes, the stunning graphics engine, the focus on story–these elements deserve rightful praise.
It’s a shame they weren’t put to use in a game worthy of the Final Fantasy brand. Certainly, Final Fantasy XIV will improve as features are added, yet the failures go beyond the superficial.
Updates may address a multitude of flaws, but “fun” is not a feature that can be added with a simple patch.
Whilst Gamespot is hardly a paragon of reliability, their comments do seem broadly in line with the generally unfavourable reaction the game has so far inspired (not to be confused with the surprisingly rabid reaction of both Square Enix fans and detractors).
For those wondering, Gamespot gave Final Fantasy XI 8.2 and World of Warcraft 9.5.
Little wonder Square Enix was keen for reviewers to wait until after everyone had the chance to rue the purchase themselves.