The FFXI Beta…

…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!

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