Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn PS3 preview

Character creation is a pretty important process in any MMO. It’s hard to immerse yourself in a fantastical world if every fifth person you meet is your exact doppelganger, so visual tweaking’s a must. Offering a broad spectrum of classes is essential, too. In a Final Fantasy context, it prevents a world populated solely by warriors trying to be Cloud Strife, chipping away at each other’s matching HP bar with their identical swords. With its sights set firmly on becoming the multi-platform MMO that draws in Warcraft crowds, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn on PS3 needs to get that first step absolutely right, or the foundation will fall out from the whole realm.

Final Fantasy 14 PS3 preview

First things first: you can stop worrying about the cat-tail thing. Square Enix has got you covered. The Miqo’te (which translates as ‘baffling cat-people’) are one of five races you can pick, with Hyuran (strait-laced, white-bread humans), Elezen (elves), Lalafell (Cabbage Patch Hobbits) and Roegadyn (fearsome tank types) forming the rest of the cosmopolitan populace. And if simply having a tail isn’t enough, you can also customise its length. Obviously.

In terms of aesthetic tweaking, the game appears as influenced by The Sims as it does by any MMO: tail length is just the tip of an iceberg that includes tattoo placement and colour, muscle definition, highlights, height, bindis and breast size – not that the latter will definitely result in every female character having massive boobs. Nah, we’re sure hordes of anonymous online folk will be restrained with that one.

Putting the dress-up component aside, there’s a selection of 19 classes to define your character’s gameplay, ranging from the brawn of the Gladiator to the magical Derren Brown-ery of the Thaumaturge. That’s a high count even by MMO standards – World Of Warcraft is rocking 11 – and the race-class combinations together with sub-race factions should give the world more complexity than simply ‘Eorzeans vs Garleans’.

Problem is, if you’re new to Final Fantasy or MMOs, all this rigour is going to seem a bit impenetrable. We’re still waiting on that one big feature that suggests this can truly ignite MMO culture on PS3, and time’s rapidly drawing to a close.