Final Fantasy IX, A Retrospective Opinion

Posted by Jefflarz (26 posts) -

In the year 2000 I was a 10 year old boy who, much like many other 10 year old boys, enjoyed his video games. I was limited, and I use this word very lightly, to a gameboy and N64. So I had

Just look at all those cool dudes!
my Marios and my Zeldas and, of course, my Pokemons. Life was pretty good until one day a friend of mine came up to me and started talking up this "Playstation" thing a nd some "Final Fantasy" game. Being a 10 year old boy I was impressed by the word "final" and asked him more about this game. That afternoon I got off the bus with him at his house, went down to his basement and we booted up Final Fantasy IX beginning a long quest through the world of Gaia. It was probably the best exp erience a 10 yea r old boy could ask for, we named the characters after Dragon Ball Z characters, stayed up until *gasp* 1 am playing the game some nights and we were in a basement. Yeah, remember when you thought basements were cool? Good times. Many hours of game time, probably a few months in people time, we finished the game. I was absolutely bl own away by the game, it had giant crazy monsters in cool cutscenes, funny characters, a fairly simple story I could follow and all sorts of other stuff. I knew then that I waned to play more games like it.
 
 
 

So over the years I tried my hand at other JRPGs. Other Final Fantasies, Dragon Quest and tons of others. After about 10 years I've finally come to a conclusion, I don't
 Yeah this guy, I don't like him.
really like JRPGs. The stories are orften convoluted and often get way to up their own ass. The characters can easily be broken down to a predictable set of archetypes, get real grating real fast and often get way to up their own ass. The battle systems are often repetitive, easy to abuse, overly complicated and often gets way too up its own ass. There are some notable exceptions such as the Persona 3 and 4, which have just enough wackiness and tricks to keep me interested, but for the most part the genre just isn't for me.
 
So what does this say about me and Final Fantasy IX? I mean that game is probably the most standard of standard JRPGs in terms of gameplay and basic story. Is it just those rose colored glasses of nostalgia caused by hours of junk food fueled fun in a basement from my childhood making me remember it fondly? Well out of curiosity I recently purchased the game off the PSN to see how I felt about it now. About 40 hours later I've realized that 10 years ago I didn't fall in love with JRPGs, I just fell in love with a damn fine crafted game.
 
Now I could go on an on about what I love about this game, but I know your time is valuable so I'll try not to spew too much out here. Final Fantasy IX manages to maintain a light hearted atmosphere while dealing with some real serious shit. Concepts such as loyalty, life, death, war and plain old existence are all dealt with in an incredibly tactful way, which is what I really love about this damn game. Unlike most JRPGs who hit you over the head with their whiny protagonist and just try way too hard to be dark FFIX manages to keep things on the subtle end, for a JRPG that is. The bright, colorful and almost childlike world adds to this even more making the true story of the game about a bunch of naive kids learning that the world isn't quite as simple as they thought in a powerful, thought provoking way. The best part about all this is that the game isn't above cracking jokes in the middle of intense scenes and I always enjoy it when a game reminds you that it's not taking itself 100% seriously. There's plenty of meat on the bone that is FFIX's story and while it does get a little convoluted it doesn't really reach that point in an oppressive way as other JRPGs have.
  
 The characters are hit and miss, but those that hit, hit real hard. Zidane, Vivi, Dagger, and Steiner really have some incredible arcs and watching them learn about themselves and grow t
Vivi is just great.
hroughout the story is just fantastic. Especially Vivi, I'm not going to go into details because I don't want to spoil the 3 of you out there who haven't played most of this game, but man does that kid have an awesome story arc. The other characters play more supporting roles, they have their cool moments and good designs, but a lot more could have been done with them. With that said, the development that those four I mentioned earlier get was more than enough for me. Since I don't want to spoil much I won't really go into the villains, but they, for the most part, were handled quite well. The only other JRPG villain that I would put on the level of FFIX's big bad would probably be Kefka. I didn't absolutely love FFVI, but that was a cool clown. 
 
The major complaint I have about my current day play through of FFIX would be the battle system. It's slow as hell. I often found myself just mashing the X button or running from random encounters as the amount of time it took to dispatch a low level enemy during the endgame was just frustrating. Aside from its speed, the system itself is fairly solid by JRPG and FF standards. While I didn't love it, I did enjoy the simplicity of it. Yes it made the boss battles easy, but in a game where the story is really what's trying to shine having a simple and fairly easy battle system is a-ok with me.
 
So for those of you out there who enjoy a good video game story with some fun I urge you to give FFIX another go. It's fun, yet complex, light, yet deep and overall just a damn fun ride. Even if you aren't a big fan of the JRPG scene, like me, you should still be able to appreciate what Gaia and it's lovely inhabitants have to offer. I can safely say that after 10 years, no game has been able to match this one in terms of story. Well maybe the Phoenix Wright series, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.
#1 Edited by Jefflarz (26 posts) -

In the year 2000 I was a 10 year old boy who, much like many other 10 year old boys, enjoyed his video games. I was limited, and I use this word very lightly, to a gameboy and N64. So I had

Just look at all those cool dudes!
my Marios and my Zeldas and, of course, my Pokemons. Life was pretty good until one day a friend of mine came up to me and started talking up this "Playstation" thing a nd some "Final Fantasy" game. Being a 10 year old boy I was impressed by the word "final" and asked him more about this game. That afternoon I got off the bus with him at his house, went down to his basement and we booted up Final Fantasy IX beginning a long quest through the world of Gaia. It was probably the best exp erience a 10 yea r old boy could ask for, we named the characters after Dragon Ball Z characters, stayed up until *gasp* 1 am playing the game some nights and we were in a basement. Yeah, remember when you thought basements were cool? Good times. Many hours of game time, probably a few months in people time, we finished the game. I was absolutely bl own away by the game, it had giant crazy monsters in cool cutscenes, funny characters, a fairly simple story I could follow and all sorts of other stuff. I knew then that I waned to play more games like it.
 
 
 

So over the years I tried my hand at other JRPGs. Other Final Fantasies, Dragon Quest and tons of others. After about 10 years I've finally come to a conclusion, I don't
 Yeah this guy, I don't like him.
really like JRPGs. The stories are orften convoluted and often get way to up their own ass. The characters can easily be broken down to a predictable set of archetypes, get real grating real fast and often get way to up their own ass. The battle systems are often repetitive, easy to abuse, overly complicated and often gets way too up its own ass. There are some notable exceptions such as the Persona 3 and 4, which have just enough wackiness and tricks to keep me interested, but for the most part the genre just isn't for me.
 
So what does this say about me and Final Fantasy IX? I mean that game is probably the most standard of standard JRPGs in terms of gameplay and basic story. Is it just those rose colored glasses of nostalgia caused by hours of junk food fueled fun in a basement from my childhood making me remember it fondly? Well out of curiosity I recently purchased the game off the PSN to see how I felt about it now. About 40 hours later I've realized that 10 years ago I didn't fall in love with JRPGs, I just fell in love with a damn fine crafted game.
 
Now I could go on an on about what I love about this game, but I know your time is valuable so I'll try not to spew too much out here. Final Fantasy IX manages to maintain a light hearted atmosphere while dealing with some real serious shit. Concepts such as loyalty, life, death, war and plain old existence are all dealt with in an incredibly tactful way, which is what I really love about this damn game. Unlike most JRPGs who hit you over the head with their whiny protagonist and just try way too hard to be dark FFIX manages to keep things on the subtle end, for a JRPG that is. The bright, colorful and almost childlike world adds to this even more making the true story of the game about a bunch of naive kids learning that the world isn't quite as simple as they thought in a powerful, thought provoking way. The best part about all this is that the game isn't above cracking jokes in the middle of intense scenes and I always enjoy it when a game reminds you that it's not taking itself 100% seriously. There's plenty of meat on the bone that is FFIX's story and while it does get a little convoluted it doesn't really reach that point in an oppressive way as other JRPGs have.
  
 The characters are hit and miss, but those that hit, hit real hard. Zidane, Vivi, Dagger, and Steiner really have some incredible arcs and watching them learn about themselves and grow t
Vivi is just great.
hroughout the story is just fantastic. Especially Vivi, I'm not going to go into details because I don't want to spoil the 3 of you out there who haven't played most of this game, but man does that kid have an awesome story arc. The other characters play more supporting roles, they have their cool moments and good designs, but a lot more could have been done with them. With that said, the development that those four I mentioned earlier get was more than enough for me. Since I don't want to spoil much I won't really go into the villains, but they, for the most part, were handled quite well. The only other JRPG villain that I would put on the level of FFIX's big bad would probably be Kefka. I didn't absolutely love FFVI, but that was a cool clown. 
 
The major complaint I have about my current day play through of FFIX would be the battle system. It's slow as hell. I often found myself just mashing the X button or running from random encounters as the amount of time it took to dispatch a low level enemy during the endgame was just frustrating. Aside from its speed, the system itself is fairly solid by JRPG and FF standards. While I didn't love it, I did enjoy the simplicity of it. Yes it made the boss battles easy, but in a game where the story is really what's trying to shine having a simple and fairly easy battle system is a-ok with me.
 
So for those of you out there who enjoy a good video game story with some fun I urge you to give FFIX another go. It's fun, yet complex, light, yet deep and overall just a damn fun ride. Even if you aren't a big fan of the JRPG scene, like me, you should still be able to appreciate what Gaia and it's lovely inhabitants have to offer. I can safely say that after 10 years, no game has been able to match this one in terms of story. Well maybe the Phoenix Wright series, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.
#2 Posted by EpicSteve (6471 posts) -

FFIX is one of my favorite games of all time. 

#3 Edited by Yummylee (21247 posts) -

I agree whole heartedly with this here blog. It's my favourite FF, though I've only played VII, VIII, IX and XII and I couldn't stand XII. The combat was pretty slow (back to IX), and i hated how it had to pan around the environment for like 5 seconds before finally hitting your ATB. So wish they could of allowed you to skip that. 
 
I really liked most of my party, although Amarant came off as the least interesting. Shame since guy had killer hair.. Quinna was probably my favourite since she/he was naturally hilarious. I'm playing through it again currently and I still lol in all of her Active Time Events. One notable situation is when the moogles accidentally reel her in when they've trying to catch fish for Eiko.

Online
#4 Posted by SamFo (1514 posts) -

Fantastic post for an under rated game. Absolutely sublime.   I remember quite well a scene in which your 8 party members were divided into groups of two. it was choreographed brilliantly!

#5 Posted by Jefflarz (26 posts) -
@Abyssfull: 
Quinna! How could have have forgotten to mention him/her! S/He is absolutely one of the best comic relief characters out there. Not only that, but the simple outlook on life that s/he brings to the table, dividing the world into things you can and can't eat, certainly adds some thought provoking moments into the game. Especially in a certain scene at the beginning of disc 4, but that entire scene is just fantastically done. 
 
Also who can forget, "I so happy"
#6 Posted by WalkerTR77 (1352 posts) -

I absolutely love this game, I was about 8 or so when it came out here and it still gives me a serious nostalgia hit whenever I return to it. I've picked up a savegame where I left off around two years ago, and the only really jarring thing about it is how sluggish the battles are. The rest of the game is beautiful though, especially the music - but it does take a little time to adjust to the rhythm of those battles again. I find 8 & 9 to be the only ps1 final fantasy games that I can go back to now, since 7 is sluggish in every aspect, not just the battle system.  
 
At this point pretty much every other final fantasy game has had either a remake or a graphical update, and a high definition overhaul of these classics would be outstanding. I know a lot of people have been clamoring for a ps3 quality remake of 7 since that trailer, but realistically I think an update of the graphics is in order while maintaining the style of the games. Surely the people who really care would be happy with that?

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