Many were disappointed with the original version of Final Fantasy XIV, citing disappointing UI and choppy gameplay. In a move to redeem themselves, Square Enix has rebuilt the game from the ground up, and has taken some time at PAX East to show us the progress they’ve made.
Speaking at a panel on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn among other things early Friday, Square Enix product managers were on hand to share details about the latest iteration and to address some fundamental changes.
Everything from the graphics engine to the user interface has been modified in order to streamline gameplay, as well as allow a more user friendly atmosphere for console players.
Reborn‘s director Naoki Yoshida said in a video clip that we should be expecting a lot of nostalgic returns in the form of Magitek Armor, summons such as Odin and Ramuh, loveable characters like Cait Sith and Typhon as well as a return to a Crystal-centric universe.
One of the big changes, other than being able to wear a Chocobo suit, is that players can now switch job classes at the drop of hat. A wide-brimmed mage hat, of course. This would allow a style of play that isn’t limited to a single playstyle, allowing those who mainly focus on melee some time to heal with a white mage class.
Another aspect that was especially well-polished was the gameplay mechanics for the PS3. Actions can be mapped to the face buttons and directional buttons, and each set can be activated by pressing either L2 or R2 in conjunction with the buttons, thereby avoiding any confusion when attempting to walk or change camera angles.
One of the more exciting prospects is the possibility of Limit Breaks, where a chain of special attacks can be linked in order to fuel a grand finale of sorts. The trailer played during the panel showed a black mage summoning a miniature meteor in order to crush a dragon, causing a small atomic-esque explosion on impact.
With the amount of polish I saw from the gameplay demos and the trailers, A Realm Reborn is shaping up to be much less disappointing than its predecessor.