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Final Fantasy IX - Review

Mixing It With Love Makes The World Taste Good

By: ASV


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Interface 8
   Music/Sound 10
   Originality 6
   Plot 8
   Localization 9
   Replay Value 7
   Visuals 10
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

25-50 hours

 
Overall
9
Criteria

Title Screen
 

   Like everyone else in the entirety of RPGdom, I had very high hopes for Final Fantasy IX. Hopes so high that they could hardly be achieved short of getting me a date with Princess Garnet  ^_^  Although that didn't - in fact - happen, I was still very impressed with what SquareSoft did accomplish. Truly the golden days have returned - even if it took 7 years...

   Back to the tried and true method of ATB and menus! Battles progress fairly quickly and can lead to sudden and ultimate victory (or destruction...) if you're not fast on the uptake and nimble on the draw. In much the same vein as Final Fantasy IV each character has his/her own skill set and options in battle. An example would be that the black mage has the typical Fight and Item options but also the unique Black and Focus skills. The Black menu opens up a list of all the magic you've learned and lets you select from a wide variety of fates for your enemy to partake of. Meanwhile, the Focus command amplifies the powers of said Black Magic for a certain duration of time.

   The one huge difference between FFIX and all its' predecessors is the simple fact that learning battle skills (and skills in general) is done through the equipment you are wearing. One aspect of this is that, as long as you have that item equipped you can use that skill. BUT - as you win battles and master the skills by gaining ABP you can use the skills even without the item. For this reason, it is sometimes better to leave the 'crappy' equipment on your characters when they're safe and can win a battle easily so that the lower level skills don't just vanish from your repertoire. Sometimes that Jelly skill (which prevents you from being turned to stone) can come in handy and if you're up to your eyeballs in Elemental Fiends, you're not going to want to equip something as mundane as a knife to learn it.


The Most Babelicious Princess...
The Most Babelicious Princess... 

   To be absolutely honest with you... I would have to say that the music of this chapter in the Final Fantasy saga is next to none. It can keep up with and get some hard knocks in, on even the wonderfully fantabulous soundtrack of FFVI. All the sound effects (both in combat and in the game itself) are very good and sound really awesome on my new center channel speaker. I love every moment of the game for several reasons; the music is very high among them.

   The one place that the game falls apart is in the originality department. It is very similar to a good number of other games and - were it not for the characters, music, and visuals - it wouldn't stand out in a crowd. Granted it is my second favorite Final Fantasy of all time and I have a great adoration of SquareSoft's talents but the only story more cliché in all of the first 9 FF games is probably FFVI's... But... Then again, that's my favorite one so I guess that being ordinary isn't that terrible of a fate, eh?


How... Suave...
How... Suave... 

   Basically what the story revolves around are the tribulations between the three kingdoms of the Mist Continent. It soon becomes obvious that Queen Brahne (Garnet's 'mother') is either totally mad or under someone's control. As to the truth about the matter... You've got three discs in which to discover it.

   The length of the game is the one truly irritating thing I noticed about it. It was far shorter than either of the other two PlayStation FF titles. It could have done with half as much FMV and three times (again) as much exploration and locality as was introduced.

   Of course... If the only thing that interests you in an RPG are the graphics then you've come to your Mecca (so to speak). It is probably in the top .5% of all PlayStation games, in terms of visuals. And - just when they have mastered the abilities of the PSOne - as has always been the trend, the PS2 will house the next game with the still awesome... But not quite so detailed or beautiful graphics that a skip in gaming generations brings.


There's Nothing To Fear But A Big, Icy Sword In Your Neck
There's Nothing To Fear But A Big, Icy Sword In Your Neck 

   I can die happy knowing that Final Fantasy IX has returned me - even if only briefly - to the mindset of 1994 and the epic of Final Fantasy VI. If the series were to end now (since I hate online gaming and Sony with equal passion...) I would be a much more pleasant person than my family deems. But, knowing that I am the eternal Devil's Advocate of gaming, I might someday notice that my Dreamcast has a modem and that the PS2 is not quite the bane of all good in the Universe...







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