Final Fantasy XIV has breathed new life into my Xbox

Final Fantasy XIV has breathed new life into my Xbox
Images via Square Enix

Written by 

Lloyd Coombes


9th Apr 2024 15:00

I have no horse in the console race. I'm lucky enough to own each major system, but the fact that most of my friends are on PlayStation means that's where I spend most of my gaming time when not on a PC.

I think it's important to stress that because despite me not using my Xbox Series X half as much as I use my PS5 (Helldivers 2 certainly hasn't helped), I do think it's a fantastically designed console but a lack of exclusives (at least as far as my tastes go) has kept me from truly jumping in.

That all changed last month, though, and while Final Fantasy XIV on Xbox is hardly an exclusive, I've been having a lot of fun just using my Xbox again.

Perks of the Pass

Final Fantasy 14 combat with a dragon
Click to enlarge

I primarily play Final Fantasy XIV on PC, but I'm not even out of the content from A Realm Reborn just yet. In fact, I'm changing classes so often and playing so infrequently out of fear of forgetting to eat and shower that I've been subscribed for over a thousand days but haven't got very far at all.

Part of that is down to life. I'm a parent, so I rarely find time to sink hours at a time into an MMO (unless it's Destiny 2) so the majority of my PC gaming comes from my Steam Deck, or I play games on console in the evenings after a long day of work.

That means I'm not likely to get back to Final Fantasy XIV for quite some time, and I didn't fancy rebuying the expansions I have already on PlayStation 5. So why the Xbox version?

As it happens, using the Xbox Game Pass perks (redeemable on PC or console), you can redeem a sort of "starter bundle" for Final Fantasy XIV for free, including 30 days of subscription time, A Realm Reborn (the base game), Heavensward, and Stormblood - two of the game's massive expansions.

Still, having spent some time with the game back on PS4, I was a little dubious about jumping into it with a controller.

Tools for the job

Final Fantasy 14 exploration
Click to enlarge

Have you connected a keyboard and mouse to your console before? It's nothing new, but you may be surprised at just how easy it is to do. I plugged in a couple of dongles and before long, my mouse and keyboard were working perfectly in-game (I'm sure PlayStation 5 players have it just as easy).

Doing so lets me sit on the sofa and play Final Fantasy XIV the way it's (arguably) meant to be played, instead of being buried under an array of menu prompts and UI elements.

It's made Final Fantasy XIV one of the easiest games for me to just pick up and play, and that's likely to have me blasting through A Realm Reborn much more quickly.

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It doesn't hurt that it looks really, really nice on a big TV. The Series X offers a 4K graphical option but it can drop frames pretty regularly so I've been using WQHD mode at 60fps. Also, it's nice to play something that's not overly violent in case my son pops his head in because he's woken up - he's accidentally seen too many Call of Duty kills already.

I feel like, from playing Final Fantasy XIV this way, I'm cheating a little. I'm having my cake (a big ol' MMORPG) and I'm eating it (fitting it around my life). It's a little like being desperate for the next episode of a TV show and then realising the whole series is sitting there for you to watch.

I've gone from "I'll never reach Dawntrail" (the game's next expansion) to now being pretty convinced I can safely preorder it on Xbox and get to it in a relatively decent timeframe - and I've come to experience my Xbox Series X a little more in the meantime.

Lloyd Coombes
About the author
Lloyd Coombes
Lloyd is GGRecon's Editor-in-Chief, having previously worked at Dexerto and Gfinity, and occasionally appears in The Daily Star newspaper. A big fan of loot-based games including Destiny 2 and Diablo 4, when he's not working you'll find him at the gym or trying to play Magic The Gathering.
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