Final Fantasy IX (Updated) User Review
The story centers on Zidane, a cocky young thief who’s been hired to kidnap the beautiful Princess Garnet during her birthday celebration. To his surprise she actually wants to be kidnapped and when her mother, Queen Brahne, recklessly fires upon their escape airship not only endangering his life but also hers, we sort of know why.
There’s something not quite right with the Queen, and Garnet is determined to find out what. This leads to the discovery of “Mist” factories, a strange group of Black Mages, an evil scheme, and a guy named Kuja. As the story unfolds you’ll not only be entertained by it, but you might also be a little moved.
FFIX takes place on the world of Gaia, the same name as the planet from FFVII but not the same planet, and has a stylized, medieval look to it. Cities and environments are pre-rendered and look about as detailed and beautiful as any I’ve seen on the Playstation. Character and enemy designs look like a mix of older Final Fantasy games with those of the Playstation era.
The character designs in particular are extremely charming mimicking the “classes” of past games; Vivi looks like a Black Mage, Freya looks like a Red Mage but wields a Dragoon-like spear, Zidane looks like a Thief with a long cute tail, and Garnet looks exactly like a White Mage until she takes off her hood.
The game uses a turn-based combat system familiar to the series, where you take turns choosing which spells and abilities are executed by which characters you currently have in your party. You’re also able to control up to four characters at once during combat, unlike FFVII and VIII which only allow up to three. And at the end of each battle you don’t just gain experience points to help level up your characters but also “ability points.” These help you permanently attain the spell or ability associated with the equipment your character is currently wearing. It sounds more complicated than it really is and provides a great strategic element to the combat.
There’s also a huge overworld for you to explore, consisting of four continents, as well as ships to command, airships to pilot, and side quests to complete.
Final Fantasy IX was developed by Squaresoft, also responsible for many great PS1 RPGs like Xenogears (1998) and Chrono Cross (2000), and is the last Final Fantasy to make its way onto the original Playstation. The game’s a triumph of visuals, gameplay, and storytelling. The Playstation is known for having one of the greatest RPG libraries of any console and FFIX surely deserves to among those at the top.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.