I don't normally write reviews on Amazon; but because I have some strong opinions about this game I thought I'd share my thoughts on it.
To start, I preordered a copy of a Realm Reborn and started playing it with the early launch, but as of yesterday I have decided to cancel my monthly subscription before I waste any more money on it. Simply put; to me it is not worth the monthly fee. I will explain why in a moment, but first, here are some positives:
1.The storyline of the game is awesome. It ranks right up there with some of the other good ones of the series, and having played other MMO's I'd go so far as to say it has the best storyline I've ever played in an MMO. I thought it was far better than WoW's story, as just one example.
2. I also really liked the classic elements that were in the game. I've played Final Fantasy since Final Fantasy I on the NES; so being able to play as black and white mages, dragoons, bards and paladins among others is just great. It really brought back some fond childhood memories of gaming; so if you're an old school FF vet like me, the nostalgia factor is really high here. Just a matter of personal preference, but I always liked the Final Fantasy games that were in a true fantasy setting like 1, 2, 3 and 9. I always preferred those to the more futuristic or sci-fi ones like 7, 8 and 10 among others. That said, I was happier with the setting of this one (although you will find cool sci-fi elements too.)
3. The control scheme is good for a ps3 user. You won't have any trouble playing it; but you may want to pick up some sort of keyboard for the ps3 if you plan on talking a fair amount.
4. The duty quests and boss battles are a lot of fun. They will give you quite a bit of challenge, but at the same time won't drive you insane. You will enjoy the challenges, even if you're more of a casual player like me.
5. Combat is pretty decent. I prefer real time combat and control along the lines of Elder Scrolls but even though you're just clicking buttons, there is still a lot of involvement. You have to move quickly, dodge area of effect attacks etc. So even if you're just clicking buttons on a hotkey, you will still be on the edge of your seat during some battles.
And now the bad; which for me sadly just made the game not worth paying for on a monthly basis:
1. Constant maintenance. Over the past 5 days, there was maintenance shutting down all worlds for 3 of those 5 days. I'm also not talking about an hour here or there, I'm talking about 3-5 hours at a time. Usually the maintenance occurs from about 12am PST to 3-5am PST. This completely screws me over because this is usually when I play games; at night. So if you're a night gamer; good luck getting on there. It's been this bad since launch and shows no signs of improving. It was seriously so frustrating that every time I go to login to play....I wonder if I'm ACTUALLY going to be able to play. I'm always looking for those words "EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE". This game...has a lot of emergencies, evidently. Expect for this to happen at least 3-4 times a week. If you play in the morning, afternoon or early evening you MIGHT be okay...but if you're a night gamer, don't count on getting to play everyday. This of course is perhaps my biggest reason for not wanting to pay a monthly fee for it. What's the point of paying if I can't even login nearly half of the time? Point being; one of two things should have happened here....if the game is this messed up that they have to shut it down constantly; it just tells me it wasn't ready for release. They should have extended the betas and perfected it before they released it. Now Square apologists will say this happens with any MMO. True; there are always bugs with an MMO release. But why screw one entire group of players? I know several other players in my Free Company (guild) who also only play at night and are quitting for the same reason. Why not change up when the maintenance occurs more often? Why not shut it down at 4am or 5am when there's hardly anyone on anyway? Why shut it down when there are still tons of players wanting to play? Furthermore; if the game is being shut down for this maintenance or that maintenance so often...why are we paying for it? Square should do the right thing and make this game free to play until all the bugs are worked out. Period. I'd give them a lot more grace if I wasn't paying a monthly fee for it. When I played DCUO for ps3 and it was initially pay to play, I don't recall being screwed by constant maintenance on there, and I bought that game at launch too. I think that was because they rotated the maintenance times.
2. This game has way too many DPS classes and not enough tanks and healers. Dragoons for instance should be converted to a tank; or they need to bring some classes like Dark Knight or Samurai back....because here's what happens: let's say you need a duty mission to advance the storyline. Well, if you're a dps you sign up in the que and you wait for usually at least an hour; sometimes 2. While you're in the que it sucks too because you cannot join another party in the meantime or even summon your Chocobo mount to aid you in combat. It kicks you out of the que. So if you play any DPS class expect insanely long wait times for anything from the Duty Finder.
3. No PVP (at least yet). This is just my opinion, but this game should not have been launched without pvp already up and running. It adds a huge level of excitement to games like DCUO and Guild Wars; and without it, I'm sorry but it just sucks. It'd sure be nice to fight in some PVP combat when I'm waiting in those endlessly long Duty ques, I'll say that!
4. For me, boredom after hitting level 50. 1-50 is great. But then you finish the main storyline, and to me the game is suddenly just boring without a whole lot of replay value. It's basically like this: remember those awesome Fate boss battles you did? Well now you do them AGAIN on hard mode...to get more gear...to do more hard mode duties. It just feels like a tedious grind for gear; nothing more. And because there are so many lvl 50's....expect EVEN LONGER wait times for any hard duties if you're a dps. You will see people just standing around higher level towns just shouting over and over trying desperately to find somebody to run this or that duty. It's so terribly boring.
5. One of the game's greatest features and selling points actually becomes a huge let-down. In this game you can switch your class with the click of a button. You can be a black mage and switch to a dragoon with the click of a button. But the PROBLEM is in the execution. Once you've hit level 50 and exhausted all the main storyline quests for your character....the only way to level up a secondary class is to Fate (pop up boss battles) grind endlessly. Where's the fun in that? It's an awesome concept; but horrible execution because of this. After I hit level 50 as a black mage I wanted to level up my archer and become a Bard....but I got so bored fate grinding over and over again that I was almost falling asleep playing it. So if you want to level up a second or third class...just join a fate party and grind it till you hit level 50...so that you can...fight those same battles again...on hard mode. Only this time with a bow instead of spells! Just my two cents, if you want a more fun play through you'd probably be better off just creating another character and doing the story mode all over again. It may be repetitive, but it's a lot less repetitive than fate grinding.
So all in all, these cons far outweighed the positives for me, and I've cancelled my subscription. With the constant maintenance and server issues, coupled with insanely long wait times...and not a whole hell of a lot to do after level 50, I just don't see a replay value here that justifies the monthly fee. But the game does have some positives, enough for me to give it 2 stars instead of 1. It could potentially be higher if it weren't for all the flaws...so that said, my best advice would be:
If you are interested in playing this game...WAIT. Don't buy it now. Wait until they have the bugs worked out. Wait until they have PVP. Wait until the have more game modes. Just wait. Maybe this game will be worth it later on down the road, maybe it won't. I personally just don't think it's worth the monthly fee right now.
So as for me, I'll see you on Elder Scrolls Online.....