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Final Fantasy IX

Platform:
ps
Developer:
Square
Genre:
Traditional RPG
Series:
Final Fantasy
  • 14 November, 2000
  • 7 July, 2000
  • 16 February, 2001
A- 190 total ratings
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Rehash Gone Boring

A Final Fantasy IX review Author: Andrew Published: July 30, 2004
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A good RPG is one that is able to draw from the classics but expand and create something new. We saw this with Final Fantasy VI and its escape from the normal Final Fantasy, Chrono Cross and its style that was so wildly different yet familiar, and Earthbound that was able to make fun of RPGs while still being enjoyable. Unfortunately for FFIX, it was neither new, different, or enjoyable.
The basis for Final Fantasy IX is pretty simple and predictable. You play a wanderer/rouge who runs into a princess and helps her escape from the kingdom. While a basic beginning plot isn't one to make or break a game, the story from there doesn't venture far away from these very predictable events. With such a lackluster story, FFIX already has a huge strike against it, since story lines are one of the big factors of FF games.
Even if you don't mind the story, you then encounter the gameplay. Adding pretty much nothing new, FFIX's gem system is simply a bad amalgamation of the Materia system from VII and the Junction system from VIII. With a limited supply of gems, you are forced to equip only what you think are necessary in terms of magic and summons. The only way to gain the chance to use these abilities is to upgrade your equipment. Each item offers different learnable abilities to each character. Though interesting, it became annoying to have to ?dumb-down? your equipment so you could learn new skills.
However, one of good things about FFIX were the graphics. Featuring probably the best graphics on the Playstation, FFIX was visually pleasing. Not only were the FMVs top of the line, but the character animation and background art superb. A nice leap from the still blocky character sprites of FFVIII. One the same note, while the graphics were definitely amazing, the character design left something to be desired. The two main characters looked to be about 12 years old. Also, styles were never very consistent (i.e. Steiner's Eyes.) Also, explanation of a very prominent feature of the main character, Zidane, was never offered. This in itself was a large annoyance I had with the game.
Even with a poor plot, the characters themselves were rather enjoyable. Each character had their own personality, each complimenting each other. While they were enjoyable though, some of the characters seemed out of place. There are many times when you end up never using a character simply because they don't fit the feel of the story. It's a shame really, but the interaction between the entire party was disappointing. And unfortunately, after you have made a habit of not using someone, you will get thrown into a situation where you have to. This makes the game un-necessarily difficult at times.
Finally is the card system. Card Games in RPGs have become more and more popular, and the Card Game in FFIX, Tetra Master, is probably one of the most popular ones. Unlike in FFVIII, in where the card game was optional, mastering Tetra Master is part of the game in FFIX. Personally, I felt this was a bad way to go. While Card Games can be enjoyable, it should never be a forced part of an RPG that isn't built around the Card Game, such as a Baten Kaitos.
Overall, FFIX fell very short of the goal it was shooting for. With a predictable plot, poor character designs, and even poorer gameplay, FFIX is the black notch on an otherwise respectable reputation that is Final Fantasy. It's a shame, really, because while it had some good points, the bad ones were far too strong and ruined the end product. The game has become an underground favorite, but the praise seems unwarranted when there are so many other games that do what FFIX tried to and do it well.
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Editor's Grade
D+
dotted line "A poor addition to the Final Fantasy library that leaves a bad taste in your mouth and an even worse impact on your wallet."
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Author
Andrew
Vapid Buttmunch
Square Haven Editor
Member since June 11, 2003
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