Final Fantasy IX - Review

Return to the Good Things in Life

By: Jade Falcon

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 10
   Music/Sound 7
   Originality 3
   Plot 8
   Localization 9
   Replay Value 10
   Visuals 10
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

20-80 hrs.


Final Fantasy IX

   Squaresoft says farewell to the Playstation console with the release of Final Fantasy IX. The first two games for the PSX in the Final Fantasy series brought forth a more futuristic view of fantasy. FFIX is a throw-back to the more "traditional" Final Fantasy games with a regular battle system and a not-so technologically-advanced atmosphere. Did it work? Read on to find out.

   As hinted to before, the battle system is more of a traditional system. Each character has their own specific role in the battle. You have your white and black magic users, and the physical people have their own special abilities (steal, sword arts, etc.). Limit breaks are back, but are now called "Trance". The Trance can last more than one or two turns, depending on your level. What prevents the battle system from being perfect is that sometimes it can be a minute or more before your character performs an action. Otherwise, the battle system is excellent.

   The game takes a while to develop and to get a hang of in some situations, but you should have no trouble with getting it. For example, like with every new installment of the FF series, a new skill system is introduced. In FFIX's, you learn skills through equipping weapons and equipping stones to use the abilities; the number you have raises as your level increases. After all, almost everything here has been seen somewhere in the FF series. As with all other FFs besides VIII, the menus are easy to get through and display all the info you need in the least amount of space. The regular as well as the new RPGamer should have no problem with the interface of FFIX.

Vivi - the paradox.
What a scaredy-cat.  

   Nobuo Uematsu comes at us with a very reminiscent soundtrack. Most of the songs have their roots in the older FF games, especially the regular battle music. As for the quality of the songs, the only ones I really enjoy are the battle themes and the overworld. All the others are forgettable, especially that annoying Chocobo H&C game one. The sound effects are excellent. Swords sound like swords, monsters sound like monsters, etc.

   With the release of a new game, there are bound to be new innovations. Everything in FFIX had been seen somewhere except for the addition of the ATEs. ATE stands for Active Time Event. These allowed the player to see what other party members were doing while you walked around. Some were funny, some sad. Others were optional. Besides ATEs, nothing I could see was very innovative.

   The plot of FFIX moves slowly after you get out of Alexandria at the beginning of the game. It is not until the end of the second disk when you really see what is happening to the world. Between then and the beginning, you are just pretty much running around and doing odd jobs and things for people. Oh yeah, and babysitting the princess also. Disk 3 and 4 run smoothly, however, in terms of plot.

   FFIX is well-translated, with no typos spotted. Other than Chrono Cross, I would have to say this is Square's best job in translating a game. There was no loss of what emotions the characters are conveying by the translation. The parts of the game which are funny are still hilarious. Lots of American slang was added in to make the gamer feel more into the game. Hey, at least there isn't a person who has spiked hair or hardly talks for most of the game! ;)

We're going to need lots of violins...  

   My 54+ hour save game had recently become corrupt. Do I have the will to play the entire game again? Of course! FF9 is fun to play through, and enough so that you could play it hundereds of times and never get tired of it. Because of the length of the game, some details about the game could be lost, and rediscovering them is half the fun! Though most long games really don't appeal to play through again, FFIX cashes in on replay value.

FFIX's graphics are just plain awesome. All the characters move so fluidly that you could marvel at how they could do so. The characters look like their pictures on the menu. The FMVs are excellent, as usual. The screen font is interesting, but tolerable. (The lowercase a is as tall as a capital A.) You get the choice of two menu styles: gray and blue. The graphics are excellent.

Square seems to continually take out some difficulty with every game they make. FFIX is very easy to complete. Even the final boss at level 60 is somewhat a pushover. I guess they had to do that so you could get to the end of the game within 12 hours to get a special item. Oh well.

Square's last game for the PSX was one of the best FF games and is one of the best PSX games. The 40-50 hours the average gamer will spend getting to the end boss will be some of the best gaming experiences you could have. I wish Square would make games like this all the time. FFIX belongs in every PSX owner's game library.

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