Final Fantasy XIV has been out for more than 7 years at this point which is almost the entirety of the PS4 console life-cycle. In that time, players have enjoyed the game on PS4 and PC with large-scale expansions, updates and collaborations. On April 13th, Square Enix released the PS5 open beta of Final Fantasy XIV and unlike most betas, its more of an early access period. Once the open beta ends, the full release is available on PS5 and players continue where they left off. Anyone can join in with their existing account right now or finally jump in with a free trial up to level 60 with the Heavensward expansion. It’s a great time to finally see how Final Fantasy XIV fares with the new next-gen version. In fact, I started fresh with a new account after having taken a hiatus from the game for a couple of years now.

Faster and Sharper

The PS4 version of Final Fantasy XIV is great but lacks in some features and settings. For instance, many players have 4K TVs and finally want to take advantage of the high resolution. Final Fantasy XIV on PS4 lacks that considering its a last-gen system, along with having a hard drive instead of an SSD. The PS5 version takes advantage of 4K with a steady frame rate of 30fps. Additionally, the game includes various performance modes now to suit a player’s needs. Although the PS5 doesn’t natively support 1440p output, FFXIV on PS5 does with upscaling! The game includes 1080p and 1440p performance modes that scale up to the native display. I can use my 4K HDR display and keep a locked 60fps while playing at 1440p. For a game that first released with A Realm Reborn in 2014, it looks stunning on large displays!

Those who play on PC with an NVMe SSD won’t notice much of a different with load times, but it’s a big leap from PS4 to PS5. Load times in FFXIV are drastically reduced and makes for a more consistent experience when switching areas. Just like previous versions, the PS5 version supports keyboard and mouse for those who might want a more PC-like experience. This is great for chatting with others in their Free Company, raiding and much more. It can be somewhat cumbersome to do it with a controller but it still works just fine. Players can also adjust their hub layout to their display like resizing elements. This is very useful at higher resolutions like 4K or 1440p. The UI is very crisp on PS5 as the original layout had 720p resolution in-mind. This time, font and the UI are properly upscaled to match desired resolutions.

Dualsensing in Combat

Final Fantasy XIV’s combat and hotbar system feels great with the DualSense controller. With the new DualSense controller, I can feel my character walk across a hard surface or dirt with accuracy due to haptic feedback. So far, it seems like adaptive triggers don’t have a function in-game which isn’t surprising. It’s subtle but makes the PS5 unique in it’s own little way. The Dualsense’s touch bar is very sensitive and acts as a mouse in-game. The DualShock 4 controller had the same functionality in the PS4 version but the touch pad this time feels more sensitive. It takes time to get used to it but the controller still feels good while playing FFXIV. Players can set rumble on or off thanks to FFXIV’s extensive settings.

A Brilliant Game Made Even Better

Final Fantasy XIV is a game worth experiencing for old and new JRPG fans alike. The story is engaging with well written characters while the gameplay keeps me coming back for more. Expansions add onto this with even more journeys to pursue. The PS5 version is the best console experience as it brings a tremendous feature set similar to the PC version. The real downside of the beta is actually having a PS5 as it’s hard to obtain in various regions. Luckily, the free trial is available on PS4 too. With the open beta and free trial available now, it’s the perfect time to dive right in while major PS5 releases are still months away.  Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker continues the major story arc of the game later this year and there’s plenty of time to catch up too (I’ll definitely need it). The world of Eorzea awaits!