Review: Why You Should Play Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX is a turn-based RPG released on the PlayStation which returned the Final Fantasy series to its roots and provided a charming adventure of discovery.

Final Fantasy IX is a love letter to classic RPGs of the past, but mixes the best of the old and the new to provide a magical journey featuring castles, princesses and medieval knights. It revisits ideas from old SquareSoft titles but incorporates progressions in mechanics, game play and presentation. The whimsical music and fantastic art direction come together to enchant you in a world that is begging to be explored.

The story of Final Fantasy IX starts off with carefree thief Zidane attempting to kidnap Garnet, the princess of Alexandria. Featuring romantic plays, black mages, swords and sorcery the fairytale narrative progresses to a darker, more serious tone as each of the main characters are faced with their own shortcomings and fears. The character development is some of the best in the series as the young black mage, Vivi questions the true meaning of life and death and princess Garnet is faced with the responsibility of being Queen to an entire kingdom. The plot constantly switches between different groups of characters enabling them all to share the spotlight. The dialogue is also expertly translated and is a joy to read and follow.

The battle and customisation systems are more simplistic than other RPGs and as such really let the game play shine.  The battle system is turned-based and each character has a certain role in battle, making the composition of the party critical to the player’s strategy. Only some characters can cast Summon spells, or only some characters can steal items and it adds to the dynamic of teamwork and choice for the player. New abilities are learned from equipment and this is both intuitive and easy to manage. Expanding the experience is also many great mini-games including the well developed card game Tetra Master or using your Chocobo to dig around the world map to uncover various secrets and treasures.

The music of Final Fantasy IX adds to the wonder of its world and story. The soundtrack evokes images of the spectacular fantasy setting and is a pleasure to listen to. It includes flamenco in some pieces as well as stirring flute melodies in others. Highlights include the vocal track “Melodies of Life” which perfectly captures the spirit of the game and the haunting “You’re Not Alone” which will instantly grab the player the moment it is first experienced.

Final Fantasy IX is an imaginative RPG with lots of character and appeal. If you are looking for a RPG that will take you on a whimsical adventure like a classic fairytale, then you should play Final Fantasy IX.

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11 Comments

Filed under Final Fantasy Series, Reviews

11 responses to “Review: Why You Should Play Final Fantasy IX

  1. twelve

    This is one game I should probably give another shot. I borrowed it from a friend once, played for like 5hours, did some levelling and then my save just disappeared.

    I remember really liking the themes of Vivi and Steiner which both fitted the characters like a glove. Nobuo magic.

    OT, suggestion for another post: ranking of 5 best or so rpg soundtracks, with FFIV at the top of course 😉

    • You definitely need to play it again, if you love FFIV I think you will really appreciate FFIX.

      The 5 best RPG soundtracks is on my list, but I am finding it hard limiting it to just 5. Maybe I should do the top 5 Final Fantasy soundtracks first haha (and a review of FFIV for you).
      Thanks

  2. I really want to play this game again, but have to retrieve it from the friend who’s had it since like… 2003 haha. Oy.

    Tetra Master is SO awesome. I loved that Playonline had it when it first came out; I played both versions for hours. It certainly overtook my love for the FFVIII card game.

    Lastly, FFIX still has my favorite CGI of all time. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, but it’s the one with Alexander and Bahamut… whew. Just watched it again. I really hope that they HD this game and even extend that cutscene somehow.

    • You can get if off PSN if you have access to it, or go and retrieve it from your friend. It is really worth the replay.
      I also remember having lots of fun with Tetra Master, back when RPGs had great and varied mini games and not just endless monster hunting side quests.
      You are right about FFIX having great CGI (or FMVs), so many memorable scenes.
      Thanks

  3. NyNy

    Definitely agree and I absolutely loved the storyline more than FFVII, it grabbed my attention more quickly and I loved all the characters except Steiner. Nice blog you have here!

    • The twists and turns in the storyline of FFIX are fantastic but I think its the great chemistry between the characters that really make it stand out. Thanks for the comment and for visiting the blog!

  4. I know this in an old article and I might not get a response, but why do the graphics in your screenshots look so good? Is there a HD mod or something you are using?

    • Jesse I just search for high quality images to put on the posts. These are probably images from Final Fantasy IX running on an emulator with a graphics filter. Thanks for checking out the site!

  5. Makuli

    I hope they make hd versio of this it’s so good game 🙂

  6. Makuli

    Do you think it will be re-released as hd?

    • It would be awesome if Square Enix updated the PlayStation trio of Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX in HD, but I think the pre-rendered backgrounds used in the that era would required a lot of work to be brought up to par and would probably need to be completely redrawn. Unfortunately some of the key staff that worked on the original games no longer work at Square and I think a complete remake with modern game design would lose a lot of what made the originals so great in the first place. Thanks!

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