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Final Fantasy XI review

The wait is finally over, but the Xbox 360's first online role-player shows its age


  • Gigantic world to explore
  • Playing with other people
  • That rewarding feeling when leveling up


  • Three-hour space-hogging installation
  • $50 up front + $13 per month
  • Losing levels after losing fights

The good news: the insanely popular Final Fantasy series of role-playing games has finally come to Xbox 360. The bad news: it's a game that's three years old. The online-only Final Fantasy XI, already out for PC and PS2, fits well with the 360's internet capabilities, but the system's first massively multiplayer RPG feels a bit like a clunky relic.

Unlike a regular game, there's no ending to an MMO. The goal of FFXI is to create a character and gain levels, currency and gear by hunting monsters on individual quests in the fantasy realm of Vana'diel. As you adventure and meet other human-controlled players, you'll form a social network that will help you progress and explore new areas. That sounds nice, but most of the time you'll be fighting the same monsters repeatedly - better known as "grinding" - and that gets tedious regardless of the company.

Just finding direction in FFXI takes some time; the quest-givers offer no clues that they have tasks for you to complete. The marginal manual leaves you to figure out a very complicated game on your own. (Check out ourBeginner's Guide to Final Fantasy XIfor help.) The one thing that's not tricky is combat, which devolves into clicking auto-attack and waiting to see who runs out of health first. When you die, you'll also lose some of your hard-earned experience points, if not a precious character level. There's more than just fighting in Vana'diel, but much of the deeper, more rewarding fare such as learning jobs and riding Chocobos (FF's oversized birds) kicks in beyond level 20. Trouble is, you may not stay interested that long.

More Info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionThe first MMO for Xbox 360 is a port of a three-year-old game, and one that assumes that you already know how to play it.
PlatformXbox 360, PC, PS2
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating12+
Alternative namesFF XI, FFXI, FFXI, FFXI
Release date18 April 2006 (US), 20 April 2006 (UK)