If I weren’t holding a DualSense controller while playing the PlayStation 5 beta of Final Fantasy XIV I would think it was running on my gaming PC.
As much as I love my massively multiplayer online role-playing games, I hate playing them on game consoles. They always look muddy and the frame rates are always abysmal. It’s a shame to take a beautiful PC game like, say, Black Desert Online, and turn it into a sluggish mess to shoehorn it onto an Xbox One or PS4.
Final Fantasy XIV on the PS4 fared better than most in the trip between PC and console, but the difference between the two versions was still too much for me. The game felt mushy around the edges on the console, not nearly as crisp and vibrant. On the PlayStation 5, however, things are looking and feeling so sharp and lovely. The lights are bright, the edges are sharp and clean, and the latest version of my go-to catboy character, Back Clawtooth, has never looked prettier.
The frame rates are silky smooth at full HD resolution, which is exactly the sort of smooth I like them to be. Square Enix says that at 4K resolution in crowded places the frame rate dips but always stays above 30, but as someone who prefers a faster lower-resolution monitor, everything is buttery on my screen.
Would you like to see for yourself? I took the liberty of recording a little video. I complete a quest, hop around like an idiot, and then teleport to the city, which takes far less time than it ever has on a console before, thanks to PS5 magic.
Getting used to the game controller is tricky, but I am getting there, and if I really wanted to chat with folks I’d hook up a keyboard. At this rate, I might never do that. Folks are overrated.
The PlayStation 5 version of Final Fantasy XIV is the first console MMO I’ve played that doesn’t feel like a console MMO. The fact that I want to keep playing it and not run screaming back to the extra teraflops of my expensive gaming PC is the highest praise I can give.