…gets a big “meh” from me.
Though presumably necessary, making a player sit there for the best part of two hours while PlayOnline installs itself and then downloads updates, then while FFXI installs itself (an hour) and downloads even more updates (took me 40 minutes, but I know someone who was there for 90), and then letting them go through a convoluted registration process which requires a USB keyboard before you let them even create a character isn’t particularly endearing. Neither is sucking up 6GB of the hard drive but still requiring the disc to play.
When I finally got into Vana’diel I still wasn’t very impressed. The game is over two years old and looks it, really not showing off the 360. That’s not unforgiveable in itself, but what is is that there’s slowdown in it when it looks as drab and generic as it does. In the introductory flyby I noticed quite a lot of juddering. The interface is clunky and I had to find and download the PDF manual to work out how to log out since the searchable support database in the game is for the PC version. I know it’s a beta but still, it’s not exactly polished.
I’ll make sure to give it another try while I can play it for nothing but if Microsoft really want a great MMO to show off Live they need to flash the cash and get Blizzard on board, even if having the Final Fantasy name in the roster must be nice. Five million players can’t be wrong.
On a more positive note, my HDTV shipped! Yay!
Just a heads up that the new Official UK Xbox 360 Magazine is out with the free copy of the FFXI beta which you can play for as long as the beta period lasts (they say in the magazine that they expect at least three months). This is where I’d normally be giving impressions, but you have to install the game to the hard drive and it tells me I still have 34 minutes left…
In other news I have an update on my TV. Novatech now show it to be out of stock and wouldn’t get back to me when I emailed them to see if I’d ordered it before they’d run out, so I cancelled and found that Futurehome have it in stock and for a similar price so I went ahead and ordered from them. Thankfully I have all of next week off so I know what I’ll be doing.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not too hot on people who buy magazines just for the freebies, but I’m afraid that I’m going to have to break my own rule here. I’m going to justify it by saying that I’m not really commodifying any journalism because there is none in official games magazines, but apparently the upcoming issue of Official Xbox 360 Magazine due out on 5th January comes with a free, fully featured copy of the Final Fantasy XI beta for the 360. It’s not as good as getting it in the box like they did in Japan, but it’s probably the next best thing.
Some people plain refuse to buy an official magazine (I haven’t bought one since Nintendo Magazine System became the crap it is today), so just think of it as paying £5.99 for the beta and getting a free copy of the magazine.