I was really impressed with FFXI's graphics when I first played it on the PS2 and PC. Coming back a few years later, I wasn’t as impressed and felt a little disappointed. Anyone expecting a high-def remake of the game will be greatly disappointed with what they see in the 360 version. Other than the new widescreen size, all you’re really getting here is the PC version with all of the graphical settings turned up. However, a full overhaul would have been a monstrous undertaking, so you really can’t blame Square-Enix for not exploiting the potential of the 360.
From an artistic point of view, FFXI still looks great. The world of Vana'diel looks incredible and is populated with some amazingly detailed characters. As you travel from one area to another, your surroundings change in a natural progression. As you go from fertile grasslands to a barren mountainside, everything changes gradually instead of instantly transporting you to a new, different looking area. From a tech point of view, things aren’t as rosy.
With all the praises come a few complaints, both of which are minor. Character animations are good, but tend to suffer from some jerkiness at times. Actions are also a bit stiff, especially in combat, but I've yet to see an online game with dynamic animations, so this is easily overlooked. To a slightly larger extent, after all of these years I’m still not pleased with the limited number of character looks available. While you can add some customization to your character via the equipment you choose, there are a few too many clones running around.
The soundtrack and sounds are all Final Fantasy, complete with new tunes and a few echoes of classic favorites. During times when music isn't playing in the background, ambient noises sound off all around you. It's all rather peaceful to hear the chirping of birds, the babbling of a brook or the war cries of a monster as it attacks you. Okay, so maybe the last one isn't that peaceful, but it's nice.