PAX Prime 2010: Final Fantasy XIV
There are a lot of MMOs at PAX. A lot. Most people would say, “too many.” There’s Guild Wars 2, an Aion expansion, Tera, Rift, and a persistent online shooter named Firefall. There are probably some more tucked away in some corner of the show that I haven’t seen yet. And then there’s Final Fantasy XIV.
In my brief time with XIV, I learned that it was A. the prettiest MMO at PAX, and B. stubbornly Japanese. Using the mouse and keyboard was woefully slow, bogged down by a software cursor and an interface just as mouse unfriendly as Final Fantasy XI‘s.
“What about these controllers, are these something we’ll be able to buy?” I ask the Square Enix representative behind me. There was a nice, white controller above the keyboard with the XIV logo stamped on the front.
“Uh, no, we actually had these made up specifically for the show.”
Still, considering the controller was basically a PS2 pad, it won’t be hard to replicate. With a controller, FFXIV became fluid and natural. Moving my avatar, selecting enemies, and selecting attacks was easy as can be, with far fewer bits of clutter on-screen than XI‘s menu system.
I was able to choose between three starting areas. My hulking pugilist character, Maximillian Arturo, chose to start on the sea, where after a few minutes in the hold and what looked like some kind of vision quest, I was smashing flying jellyfish to bits in no time. I tried using the mouse and keyboard again, but soon fell back into relying on the controller. As a (mostly) console-oriented series, it just felt natural to play the game assisted by a pad. Still, it would be nice if they fixed the horrifically slow mouse interface before release.
After fighting my way through the jellyfish mobs, my screen cut to black.
“Shit. Looks like it overheated again,” my rep said. “This game is way too pretty and it’s way too hot in here.”