Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. In all, the pros of Final Fantasy XI greatly outweigh the cons. The graphics, job and skill system, as well as the overall polish make it an enjoyable experience.
  2. It could be compared to "Morrowind" in its depth and scope, but the real people that fill the town squares and gathering halls give Final Fantasy XI a living soul that Bethesda’s hallmark title never had.
  3. It has more good points than bad though, at the least it will tide you over until the next generation of MMORPGs hits the streets and at best you will have fun for months, even years to come.
  4. You're not going to find another MMOG that's anywhere near as welcoming as this. While the whole PlayOnline front-end interface might initially seem a cumbersome folly, it's not long before you're wishing all your online games could be handled through such a console-style browser.
  5. Because of the high reliance on other people, diplomacy is a coveted real-world skill as well, and those who can use it wisely always have the most fun. [Feb 2004, p.62]
  6. Square took the best things about single-player console RPGs and applied them to an MMO - a world densely populated by talkative NPCs, interesting, well-conceived quests, and a whole lot of visual gloss. [Feb 2004, p.84]
  7. There is a tremendous community established that is very helpful for the most part, and nothing quite surpasses the feeling of adventuring with friends throughout a world as vast as the one Square-Enix has put together here.
  8. 80
    While Final Fantasy XI doesn't currently offer quite as much variety and depth as competing games --especially on the PC -- its superb graphics, sound, and dedicated community make it a match for the competition.
  9. Overall, the game does feel rather slow in comparison to overall MMORPGs I have played, but I is still addicting. [Jan 2004, p.154]
  10. One of those games that will probably appeal to any RPG fan, simply by the sheer scope of Vana’Diel and its ever-changing world.
  11. 83
    The most beautiful MMORPG currently available. Its environments are second to none, and the character models are elegant and, frankly, a pleasure to behold. The world also feels more alive than any other.
  12. You don't buy any MMORPG lightly, least of all this one. It imperiously demands massive chunks of your time, patience and dedication but the rewards are commensurately high. The fierce sense of satisfaction as your fame grows and coffers swell is hard to match. [PC Gamer UK]
  13. If it weren't for a few titles like "City Of Heroes" taking the genre in interesting new directions, we'd find it far easier to recommend this more traditional life-consuming abyss of a game.
  14. Graphically, the game is a masterpiece. It is, without hyperbole, the most gorgeous MMORPG I have ever played. Characters look richly detailed, and the environment seems alive.
  15. An online RPG that manages to break the mold, if just barely--but, actually, that's no mean feat.
  16. 85
    It's beautiful, it's well-designed, and I can't wait to spend more time in it.
  17. MMORPG fans should find a deep game with a versatile job system and an detailed universe, and open-minded Final Fantasy fans should enjoy the Final Fantasy nuances and great multiplayer gameplay.
  18. FFXI manages to mend the idea of a persistent online community with a story, graphics, and an intuitive interface that begs to be played when other responsibilities rear their ugly head.
  19. Offers great rewards to gamers willing to commit the time to it (player-vs.-player between warring nations is coming in January), and the community is filled with surprisingly helpful players, which makes for a deep, compelling, and perpetual gaming environment.
  20. 80
    Things are only going to get better as they add new content, so you can expect to see this game living a long and healthy life.
  21. Perhaps the most annoying thing in the game was the focus on gaining experience.
  22. Naturally wanting to be played with a PS2 joypad, the controls are difficult to use and can’t be changed, although a secondary keymap allows for the more familiar [W], [A], [S], [D] combination.
  23. A better version of everything the MMORPG community has cooked up so far, and more. [Feb 2004, p.60]
  24. Online RPGs are not supposed to have characters that look this good, nor are they supposed to have the sort of atmospheric brilliance exhibited here. [Dec 2003, p.90]
  25. 100
    It's so engaging that fans may never leave the house, much less visit a theater again. [Dec 2003, p.44]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 153 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 73
  2. Negative: 14 out of 73
  1. Mar 1, 2011
    With the advent of Abyssea, as well as experience being roughly doubled in non-Abyssean areas, experience points flow like spice and it no longer takes months to get a job to the level cap, it could be done in mere weeks. A lot of the past complaints seen in people's reviews have been fixed. Monsters do not immediately attack after spawning, instead having several seconds of "summoning sickness" where they will not attack, giving you time to get away. No, the graphics are not as shiny as other MMOs. Yes, there is a sharp learning curve when it comes to the game. It doesn't matter, because FFXI is for a breed of relentless gamer that will pursue everything they can.

    ... and just because the level cap is higher and more people get there faster doesn't mean the game is easier. Level 90 people STILL fail at Dynamis, die at the hands of certain Notorious Monsters, or just plain get whomped on for overestimating themselves.

    It's taken some time, but all those changes we wanted? We're getting - and it took long enough.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 2, 2010
    This game was my introduction to MMOs and as many I came to it simply because I was a fan of the series. I have to say I do not regret getting it and playing it for nearly 4 years. I made many friends and had so many great nights and moments. This game is a "hardcore" MMO done right. Full Review »
  3. Aug 7, 2011
    One of the best mmorpg i played (and i played a lot of them).
    The graphics are old now (a game launched in 2001)... and a game that not
    everyone will like...
    But the variety of gameplays are one of the most wide there was in a mmorpg (fishing, gardening, craft, fights, chocobo races,...ect....ect...). Many gameplay ideas was very creative/original when it was launched... and some are still today.

    I see 2 major points that could be very negative for some players : - It's a strongly team oriented mmorpg. At some level it become nearly impossible to play solo.
    - you can't move freely in the world. Some areas are composed in majority of corridors (external areas i mean)... you can't fall from a hill or a bridge...ect...ect...

    There will be plenty more things to say on this game... but to conclude and resume, i'll say :
    FFXI is a definitly not Mainstream mmorpg.
    It seem logic to me that most players will love it... or hate it
    Full Review »