Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn PS4 Review: The Realm Meets Greatness

Last fall, Square-Enix unleashed a new, updated, and more importantly fixed version of Final Fantasy XIV, fittingly called A Realm Reborn, and players the world over joined the MMO in record numbers.

Now, the popular title has come to the PlayStation 4 console and the difference between this and the PS3 version warrant a new look at the game. Read my Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn PS3 review if you need a primer.

First of all, the graphics are much closer to the PC version in the latest version, due to the powerful processing core of the PS4. Shadows are crisp and life-like, and the seasonal changes — up to and including random thunderstorms — are so incredibly beautiful that A Realm Reborn sits in the upper echelons of the PS4’s best looking games. Each blade of grass is rendered individually, and even the beasts found roaming the countryside seem richer, and fuller, with higher resolutions. Again, PCs are still superior, but the PS4 has closed the gap considerably.

On the PS3, larger FATEs (Full Active Time Events) and mob fights tended to get too clustered too fast as the older console’s processor had trouble processing that much information. The PS4 has no such problem, and even load times have been cut by a good margin, based on my personal experiences.

The higher resolution and higher definition also make the games thousands of lines of text easier to read.

Play control is slightly stronger with the new DualShock 4 controller. The larger L2 and R2 buttons make for easier and smoother hot button rotations, and the longer handgrips actually fit better in the hand — at least my hands.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn PS4 Review: The Realm Meets Greatness
The best addition on the DualShock 4 is the use of the center touchpad. In A Realm Reborn, it retains the old “select” button features, but now the larger size makes for easy access and clicking and the touchpad itself acts like a mouse. I find myself being able to access my information and execute commands better with the better controller. And the PS4 allows for mouse and keyboard use as well, via the front USB ports. I use a combo DualShock 4 and wireless keyboard and I’ve never found myself wanting more.

Lastly, A Realm Reborn on the PS4 has one more feature that makes it the preferable platform to play on: full PS Vita gameplay via the PlayStation 4’s remote play feature. The entire game is playable with little to no sacrifice. The 5″ OLED screen presents the visuals wonderfully — on par with, and in some cases exceeding — the PS3. The rear touchpad is used in place of the L2/R2 and L3/R3 buttons, and while it’s awkward at first, a few battles in, it becomes natural. Most players that I’ve talked to use the Vita for farming, mining, and crafting type quests and save the higher end combat for the DualShock 4. Regardless, the Vita allows you to take the game with you virtually anywhere via the Wifi connection feature and the lag is surprisingly minimal.

Square-Enix really hit a home run with the relaunch/reboot of Final Fantasy XIV last fall, and here we are eight months later, still talking about it, still playing it, and most importantly, still enjoying it. The jump to the new generation console makes for a considerable difference on nearly all fronts, and the presentation now closer matches the true majesty of the game. The PlayStation 4 version actually makes the game better all around. That speaks volumes.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was reviewed on PS4 using the free PS3 to PS4 transfer. It is available for the PC, PS3 and now the PS4.

out of 5

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