I was recently afforded the chance to fire up my PC and jump into the third phase of the Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn beta to check out what the game currently has to offer. It's been almost a decade since I've played Final Fantasy 11, but some of the memories I have are still fresh in my mind. It's time to see if this revamped version of the new massively multiplayer online role-playing game has me looking forward to making new memories.

Right off the bat, I could tell that the user interface was cleaner, slicker and offered a number of options. As with all things Final Fantasy, the graphics are flashy and have a bit of an ethereal feel, so I felt like I was doing awesome, magical things just by creating my character.

I was able to pick from five races called the Hyur, Elezen, Lalafell, Roegadyn and Miqo'te. But for all intents and purposes, you might as well call them Humes, Elvaan, Tarutaru, Galka and Mithra, since they're all pretty reminiscent of the past races. The character creation process was pretty speedy and led me from one menu to another in order to craft my very own Miqo'te Pugilist. Depending on your choices, you'll end up in one of the four major city-states. I ended up in Gridania, a very forested region that reminded me of a wood elf city I might find in a fantasy novel.

Getting around from place to place proved to be a little bit difficult thanks to a somewhat complicated map devoid of a navigational system, but that's partly due to me being used to using navigational mods in games and the general ease of travel in most modern MMORPGs.

Thankfully, an Aethernet system exists that lets you activate different waypoints in the city, letting you fast travel between each one. It's pretty handy, considering that the cities can be quite massive in both size and layout. The game does an amazing job of letting you feel the scale of the world.

Combat was fun, but very limited since I only got up to around level eight or so with both a Pugilist and a Conjurer. I only had a max of about four spells with each class, but that was enough to get a feel for the battle system, which is quick and painless: target foe, wail on foe, automatically loot foe and gain experience from felled foe.

I got to participate in some FATE system events, which are Full Active Time Events, meaning that everyone in the immediate area can participate. This can mean banding together, without having to get into a party, to bring down a giant enemy or even taking out a bunch of smaller enemies together. Depending on your contributions to the cause, you'll receive different bonuses. It's a great way to meet different players and work together for a common goal, which could lead to a very organic way to get into a party.

My time spent with Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn was short, but with the fourth and final beta phase coming soon with an open beta to follow, you can bet that I'm chomping at the bit for more. With gorgeous graphics, fun gameplay and a huge world to explore, I can't wait to see more of this resurrected realm.