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If there’s a game worth to mentioned and worth having a look at, it’s Final Fantasy XI Online. It has stand the test of time until it’s spiritual successor Final Fantasy XIV came along (which also had a terrible fight against time but managed to rise from the flames). The game dates back to 2002, when it was originally released in Japan. Shown to clearly be inspired by the ye good ol’ MMORPG Everquest, Final Fantasy XI infused the online role-playing formula with the distinctive look and feel of Square Enix’s enormous franchise. The game as I remembered it, quickly got a lot of players, many of whom stuck with the game as the changes came along in expansion and many patches.
It had a deep character class system, or jobs to be precise, with a huge world to explore. However, it’s impossible to look at the game without its faults. It suffered on the Xbox 360 against its counter platforms PC and PS2, yet the PC version kept on pushing through in the west until servers closed down….and yet you can still play the game today.
Part of what’s traditionally made online role-playing games so enticing is the promise of feeling totally immersed in authentic fantasy worlds. This is what Final Fantasy XI delivered to those who loved it. However, the game has been a source of controversy among fans of the series, simply because it’s the first game in the series to properly stray away from what made the Final Fantasy roots of games in the franchise.
Yet the game still had the air and allure of a real Final Fantasy game to attract fiercely loyal followers, and if history has shown correctly is that the gameplay hooked them… both in the East and the West.
Whatever mystique there was surrounding Final Fantasy XI is in my opinion only a fond memory of a game worth remembering, but one that gamers of the Final Fantasy franchise will have to read or hear about over campfires in its spiritual successor.