Do Black Mages Dream of Electric Sheep?

Avatar image for twolines
TwoLines

3404

Forum Posts

319

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Edited By TwoLines

Ok, so why do people love this one in particular? What's so special about Final Fantasy IX? Well... Final Fantasy IX may have the most focused and interesting story I've ever seen in a Japanese video game... Too bad it's surrounded by convoluted abstract ideas that don't always make sense. Let's elaborate, shall we?

DISCLAMER: SPOILERS! A whole lot of 'em! I will RUIN this game for you. Or maybe I'll extract what's cool about it and show it to you. Either way, you will know everything there is to know about its story by the end of this blog thingy.

The Gist

He's the less mopey, more easy-going version of Cloud.
He's the less mopey, more easy-going version of Cloud.

Have you ever heard of Blade Runner? Or the book it was based on, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Well that's FFIX. Yes, it's almost the exact same story, but trapped in a current of all this other bullshit, a current so strong- you may overlook what's special about this game. Let's start with our main dude. Wait... There was a name for that. Prota... Pro... Protag--

Okay, so his name is Zidane (no, not THAT Zidane obviously, he's not bald, and I'm not sure he plays soccer... at least I hope not) he is this thief teenager that ends up saving the princess and... He's a REPLICANT! Our main boy here is a puppet, a robot made outta meat. Let's look at the FF Wiki entry foz Zine... Ekhm, Zidane:

Zidane began his life as an "Angel of Death" created by Garland. Long ago, the people of a dying planet of Terra planned to save their civilization by assimilating another planet. Unable to find a newly-born planet to fuse with, they settled on assimilating the young planet of Gaia. The Terrans left their physical bodies and locked their souls in Pandemonium to be watched over by Garland until the Fusion's completion. The Fusion was a disastrous failure, leaving Gaia's surface in ruin and ending up with Terra shifting inside the planet of Gaia.

Link to the Zidane entry.

What? Ok, so there's a planet named Terra. It's a planet full of selfish pricks that tried to fuse with another habitable planet so they didn't have to die. They put themselves in a state of hibernation in order to survive, and elected a dude called Garland to watch over the whole thing. However, things didn't pan out, and Gaia (because of course it's Gaia), the planet they wanted to fuse with, got effed up. So in order to fix things, Garland sends a big organic device (known as the Lifa Tree) to Gaia's surface to fix things up. He wants the planet nice and pulp before he can begin the uh... Assimilation I guess. When the time is ready, he begins to switch the Gaian soul energy thingies, for Terran energy whatever.

To control the cycle of souls in Gaia, Garland used the Iifa Tree to prevent the Gaian souls from returning to the planet, trapping them within Iifa's roots. Later, Garland constructed the Soul Divider at the Iifa Tree's base that allowed the souls of Terra to flow into Gaia instead.

Link to Garland's Wiki page.

So what does this have to do with our prota... Main dude- Zidane? Well, he's a Genome (you know, a replicant). Garland has created these things so that the Terran souls can be put into these husks later on when the assimilation is completed. But the whole assimilation thing is taking forever, so Garland escalates things. He creates a Genome with a soul. This so called "Angel of Death" is made so that... Uh, I guess a bunch of Gaian people can get smoked? Why wouldn't he use his advanced alien technology to exterminate the people of Gaia? I guess he kinda does that too? By controlling the Eidolons (the summons) with his weird Eye-ship in the sky? Why doesn't he do that all the time? That would be way easier than sending ONE dude down to Gaia so that he can fuck things up. I mean look at this shit, this is when the Angel of Death named Kuja takes control of the Eye-ship (invincible) and manipulates Bahamut:

Couldn't you just use the ship to do this without sending anyone down there? I would use that ALL the time. Those Eidolons work like a goddamn nuke! Here's the power hungry Queen Brahne using Odin:

I guess the Gaians have to create these Eidolons so that they can be manipulated? Garland himself cannot make Eidolons happen? Well that doesn't make sense, the Invincible Eye-ship was designed to control them, why can't it summon them? Wait, forget the Eidolons, just drop a nuke on the planet! I'm so confused...

Hi, my name is Sep... Kuja. It's Kuja. That's my name.
Hi, my name is Sep... Kuja. It's Kuja. That's my name.

Whatever, Kuja is created and Kuja sucks (well, we all know that), so Garland creates Zidane. Zidane is the superior Genome, he's the better version of Kuja. He's to be taught and then sent to Gaia to do Garland's bidding. Fortunately the whole thing is sabotaged by the jelaous Kuja, and Zidane is stranded on Gaia.

This makes sense. Kuja is pissed off that he is now the inferior being. So why is Kuja inferior? Well, Kuja doesn't have the emotional capacities that allow other beings to go into "Trance", a state in which you can really fuck things up. Apparently being a sociopath has its detriments! He was also designed to have a limited life span (remind you of someone?), but he finds that out later on.

Zidane doesn't remember jack shit of course, as that is the most prominent trope of any Japanese story ever told in all existence of the universe and beyond. So he grows up on Gaia unaware of all this going on.

Then he rescues the princess (who can make Eidolons happen just like that) from her mother, Queen Brahne, and he meets the best character in the FF series. Yes. QUINA.

No..

No, wait, it's Vivi. It's Vivi you guys, sorry about that.

The Cool Stuff

Vivi is like Zidane. He is a robot construct. He is not made of flesh however. The Genomes were made using advanced technology by Garland. Vivi and his fellow mages were made using the crappy Gaian technology. Most of the mages are even more zombie-like than the soulless Genomes. Vivi is a mystery, perhaps a prototype, it's never made clear what makes Vivi special. When he finally meets the other mages, they don't give a shit about him. They act like robots, they can't speak, and it looks like they don't care what happens to them. This short cinematic shows when they are killed by another mage made to capture the princess:

Some of those mages have not been activated yet. They just fall down, lifeless. There's some cool emotional stuff going on here. Even though Vivi can't express emotions as there is a dark void where his face should be, you can really feel his confusion and inner turmoil. This is the first time he sees anything that looks like him, and even though they were just soulless robots, he knows they were his brothers.

Unfortunately for Vivi, these mages were made so that they could be used as soldiers. When the gang arrives at a city that was decimated by these things, Vivi has a hard time fitting in with the town's citizens. Final Fantasy IX has a great feature- when you're walking around the town with your main character, you can see what other characters from your posse are doing at the same time, and you can see some harsh stuff happening to Vivi when he's exploring the city alone. His isolation and confusion are really nicely written.

Much later Vivi finds out that there are a bunch of mages like him living in a secluded village- willing to learn how the world works, willing to live like human beings. They do so in secret, away from humans. Here's a great scene of Vivi talking about what it means to "stop" with one of the mages, the interesting stuff's at 1:20, 5:20 and 11:00:

Also- amusing for the mage to ask Zidane if he remembers being born. And some more dialogue here at 1:20 and 4:00:

There's more of that later on when all the mages are reunited, and it's pretty darn good too.

As you would imagine, when Zidane finds out he's a Genome, he has a crisis of identity. He has different questions going through his mind than Vivi. Vivi thinks about what it means to have a family and what it means to die. Zidane thinks about purpose, and why he was born. Fortunately for our pro.. for Zidane, his friends help him out out of the funk. Here's the scene, it is way more cheesy than it should be, but hey, isn't that the Japanese way? Also, the music is pretty fucking cool:

And so they decide to meet Garland and Kuja face to face and kick their asses.

Unfortunately for them, Garland tells Kuja his time is also limited. This doesn't sit well with Kuja. His motives up to this point were to show the world that he is better than Zidane. That he is NOT inferior. But here he learns that he was built inferior. He is the worse version of Zidane, and that's a fact. This fucks with his head and he goes into Trance and blows shit up.

He blows shit up so well- that the Genomes no longer have a place to live, so the gang takes them to the mage village where they can learn from the "faulty" mages.

It's Not About the Destination...?

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe...
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe...

So how does it all end you ask? Well, they defeat Kuja and they defeat the thing that siphons the souls from Terra to Gaia. It's trying to be very bombastic and spectacular at the end, kind of upping the ante, but it's all not very... clear. Nobody is 100% sure what is the thing they're fighting at the end, and why they need to defeat it. Save the world I guess? It gets kinda muddled and, well, dumb.

Kuja's conversation with Zidane redeems some of that baloney. They talk a little about what it means to live, what it means to be created for a purpose, even if you do not agree with that purpose. And Zidane thanks Kuja (who is on his deathbed) for defying Garland, even though he was a huge dick while doing it.

And as for Vivi... Well, he supposedly dies before the epilogue. The game quotes his letter to Zidane in which Vivi accept his own mortality. And even though he still feels lonely and scared in his last moments, he is glad he got to experience life. As he writes these last words, Vivi loosens his grip on a white dove while shutting down for good. Okay, maybe that last part did not happen.

There's a whole lot of good stuff going on in FF IX. Compared to the crap shoot that's FF VIII's story, this is a masterpiece. And there's more to it than Zidane and Vivi. Steiner, the knight protecting the Princess, needs to learn what it means to be loyal, and who deserves his loyalty, even though he's mostly used as comic relief he has a pretty neat arc. Freya is looking for her fiancee for most of the game, and when she finds him- it is revealed he has amnesia and doesn't give two shits about her. She has to reevaluate what it means to love somebody, and if memories are what makes us what we are.

It's a philosophical story, even though there's a lot of bullshit surrounding it, it has a lot of heart, and the dialogue is very well done. In terms of plot- I think it's the best Final Fantasy game. It's consistent in what ideas it wants to explore, and it explores them rather diligently.

Avatar image for nickhead
nickhead

1299

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 9

Cool read, I loved FF IX. It was the first one I actually stuck with all the way to the end as a kid. Though I actually never did beat the final final boss. I was too under-leveled and being an impatient child, I just never wrapped it up. Unfortunate, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment. I would say, as of now, it is my favorite FF. I'm still working my way through the older, pre-VIII games, so that could change.

The comparison to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is pretty appropriate.

Avatar image for twolines
TwoLines

3404

Forum Posts

319

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

@nickhead said:

Cool read, I loved FF IX. It was the first one I actually stuck with all the way to the end as a kid. Though I actually never did beat the final final boss. I was too under-leveled and being an impatient child, I just never wrapped it up. Unfortunate, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment. I would say, as of now, it is my favorite FF. I'm still working my way through the older, pre-VIII games, so that could change.

The comparison to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is pretty appropriate.

Well, truth be told, it is a rather grindy game, and the combat is a bit boring. So yeah, the gameplay isn't great. And that's pretty important with video games. They need good gameplay. So I can understand how some people may not find FF IX fun.

Avatar image for nickhead
nickhead

1299

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 9

@twolines: I haven't played it in years, but I don't remember liking/disliking the combat any differently than other FF games. Though now that I think about it, I did a lot of grinding in FF7 to complete the side stuff, whereas in FF9, I was grinding to make it through the main bosses.

Avatar image for noboners
noboners

276

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Uhhh I played all this as a kid and all I remembered were the characters names. I think my 9 year old brain just couldn't handle this.

Awesome breakdown though.

Avatar image for crembaw
Crembaw

894

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#5  Edited By Crembaw
Loading Video...

Avatar image for deactivated-5e60061752a57
deactivated-5e60061752a57

752

Forum Posts

96

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Never got through enough of the story to see the larger picture/plot, but this has me interested. I always liked the interaction between the characters and their personal plots.

I really want to go back through IX.

I think I'll just have to second screen it to get through the constant battles and their long transition times.

Avatar image for twolines
TwoLines

3404

Forum Posts

319

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Never got through enough of the story to see the larger picture/plot, but this has me interested. I always liked the interaction between the characters and their personal plots.

I really want to go back through IX.

I think I'll just have to second screen it to get through the constant battles and their long transition times.

Yeah, the game's a real slog, but I feel it's worth it.

Avatar image for gamefreak9
gamefreak9

2877

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

I like the post dude... but really you should not hate on FFVIII, its true the story has less of a plot but I feel like that game focuses more on like relationships and the characters.

Avatar image for sparky_buzzsaw
sparky_buzzsaw

9359

Forum Posts

3772

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 39

User Lists: 37

Terrific writeup! I played this when it came out originally and a few times throughout the years, but it took me until last year to actually see the credits roll on it. I'm really glad I did. That ending was crazy and pretty satisfactory.

Avatar image for twolines
TwoLines

3404

Forum Posts

319

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

I like the post dude... but really you should not hate on FFVIII, its true the story has less of a plot but I feel like that game focuses more on like relationships and the characters.

Hm.. Maybe, it's just that I really don't like any of the characters. In FF IX Zidane gets more responsible and caring, but he was already likable from the start, Squall gets... Less boorish? It's not that he gained positive characteristics by the end of the game, it's that he lost the negative ones.

It's the FF XIII way of developing characters, instead of starting strong and getting better, they start annoying and get strong. All of them are irritating when you meet them, but you warm up to them in time.

I guess I like Seifer the best, he's kind of the Draco Malfoy of the game. As a rival, he has the right to be annoying and then change into something respectable. He has a strong arc, and I was rooting for him to stop being crazy. Now that I think about it- he's literally the same archetype as Draco! He even has the same type of douchey slicked back blond hair!

And I also liked Edea. Even though she has more of a twist to her character than an arc.

Oh, and the orphanage thing was really dumb.

Avatar image for marino
Marino

7838

Forum Posts

1156895

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 92

User Lists: 92

#11 Marino  Staff  Online

@twolines: You're now on the front page of this here website.

No Caption Provided

Avatar image for commodoregroovy
CommodoreGroovy

628

Forum Posts

186

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

#12  Edited By CommodoreGroovy

Nice write-up! FFIX is among my favorite jrpgs, especially for all its hidden qualities like the ones you mentioned. But, I'm surprised you didn't go into detail about what happens in the epilogue, specifically about the letter and Vivi. It's been years since I played FFIX, but I remember thinking the letter, at the end, wrapped up the story arc around Vivi's character very well.

Avatar image for twolines
TwoLines

3404

Forum Posts

319

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

#13  Edited By TwoLines
@commodoregroovy said:

Nice write-up! FFIX is among my favorite jrpgs, especially for all its hidden qualities like the ones you mentioned. But, I'm surprised you didn't go into detail about what happens in the epilogue, specifically about the letter and Vivi. It's been years since I played FFIX, but I remember thinking the letter, at the end, wrapped up the story arc around Vivi's character very well.

Nice catch, I forgot about that!

I suppose it's worth mentioning that he may have died before the epilogue. There's one sentence there that I could've quoted:

"You taught me that life doesn't last forever. That's why we have to help each other and live life to the fullest."

...but the whole letter always struck me as a bit sentimental. Maudlin perhaps?

But he does come to terms with his mortality in the letter. I'll put that in there since I did speak about Zidane's arc closing up. Vivi has to get his.

EDIT: Done! And I even slipped in one last BR comparison. I couldn't help myself.

Avatar image for ford_dent
Ford_Dent

911

Forum Posts

7

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

It's funny--I never made the connection to Blade Runner before, but as soon as I saw the title of this post I was immediately like "oh well of course, that makes perfect sense."

It's not the crowd favorite, but FFIX is definitely my favorite of the latter-day Final Fantasy games (i.e. post SNES-era). Shit, considering I don't think I've ever actually beaten a SNES-era Final Fantasy, it might be my favorite of the lot hands down (although I dunno, I played most of the way through VI and that is pretty fucking good). It took all the tropes from other Final Fantasies (well, mostly from the first Final Fantasy (come on, the mastermind behind everything is named Garland, there's the whole look of Vivi and the other black mages, and I'm pretty sure the final boss is basically the final boss of Final Fantasy)) and spun them into a game that explores what it is to be alive--albeit with an absolutely torturous grind and some dumbass fucking side questing--getting 100 jumps on the jump rope, anyone?--but it also has Tetra Battle, which my friends and I got fucking obsessed with for a while. That game was crazy good.

Avatar image for dudeglove
dudeglove

13988

Forum Posts

1166

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 2

I... ugh... Yeah, I guess you could take that view? I was with FF9 for the first few hours (basically right up until the end of the first disc - oddly enough FF8 had the exact same problem with Squall getting an ice spear or something in the chest and passing out, and then something something orphanage something something witch time compression?), but then the whole thing goes south. Your blog post reminded me of the fact that I remember almost nothing about this game.

There's something about FF7-10 where the games always seem to start great, and then go haywire, because it reaches its apex too early/too soon, and then they end up escalating further and further until you basically fight god and/or save the planet. Every. Single. Time. FF7? Big ass comet coming. FF8? Stop compressing time, dawg. FF9? I dunno, there's a tree or something that's sucking things up. FF10? Wacky religion that perpetuates on a cycle of death and rebirth, so kill everything instead of just a few things?

FF10 managed to get around it, because the first 2/3rds of the game are kinda "known" right from the start (in that it starts with the bonfire scene at Zanarkand with all the characters in tow), but then literally the next story beat right after that bonfire scene it goes into bonkers land.

I recall FF9 being great initially because it felt scaled all the way back. Most of the initial action took place in a forest (which gets petrified, because why not?), and the dude's in a circus troupe of pirates or something and the queen's a big fat cow and everything's fairy-tale like. But no, your secret amnesiac brother is the spawn of a demi-god and he's got daddy issues because we killed off the queen because we needed another cutscene. Ugh.

To date, the only fond memories I have of FF9 are the chocobo treasure hunt and that one cutscene where Alexander blows Bahamut the fuck up.

Avatar image for twolines
TwoLines

3404

Forum Posts

319

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

#16  Edited By TwoLines

@dudeglove said:

There's something about FF7-10 where the games always seem to start great, and then go haywire, because it reaches its apex too early/too soon, and then they end up escalating further and further until you basically fight god and/or save the planet. Every. Single. Time. FF7? Big ass comet coming. FF8? Stop compressing time, dawg. FF9? I dunno, there's a tree or something that's sucking things up. FF10? Wacky religion that perpetuates on a cycle of death and rebirth, so kill everything instead of just a few things?

(...)

I recall FF9 being great initially because it felt scaled all the way back. Most of the initial action took place in a forest (which gets petrified, because why not?), and the dude's in a circus troupe of pirates or something and the queen's a big fat cow and everything's fairy-tale like. But no, your secret amnesiac brother is the spawn of a demi-god and he's got daddy issues because we killed off the queen because we needed another cutscene. Ugh.

To date, the only fond memories I have of FF9 are the chocobo treasure hunt and that one cutscene where Alexander blows Bahamut the fuck up.

Yup, as I've said, there's a STAGGERING amount of bullshit in the game, but there are some neat ideas hidden there. They always escalate things too much. By the end of the game the whole thing seems ludicrous and the personal stories of these main characters just don't seem to matter. There's a reveal after reveal after reveal, and then a twist. And another twist. It always starts with a few people, then it's about the whole world, and then the galaxy!

But that's the Final Fantasy way. It follows a certain pattern created by its predecessors. So yes, the overarching plot is overly complicated and too long. But I cannot discredit what's going on here, I can't just say "fuck all of this" like I did with FF VIII. I can't do that because the characters are really well written and their interactions are surprisingly entertaining. And I really like how they explore some of these deeper philosophical ideas. It's just not done in video games very often. Correction- It's not done WELL very often. Especially not in games with this kind of budget.

It's a Final Fantasy game, nothing can change that. I'm in no way saying everything here is well made.

But you can't dismiss what's good about it. And all I wanted is to showcase the good parts.

Avatar image for hassun
hassun

10228

Forum Posts

191

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

It's funny I never really made the Blade Runner connection while playing FFIX. I probably wouldn't consider it the best story in an FF game because, even though it aims high and should be commended for that, it does kind of fall apart and some of its characters are barely explored.

Avatar image for twolines
TwoLines

3404

Forum Posts

319

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

@hassun said:

It's funny I never really made the Blade Runner connection while playing FFIX. I probably wouldn't consider it the best story in an FF game because, even though it aims high and should be commended for that, it does kind of fall apart and some of its characters are barely explored.

Hm. Maybe. It was my favorite though. Doesn't mean it's flawless, I do think there are a bunch of characters and story beats that don't really have to be in there at all (Quina and Amarant, or whatever the hell his name is). When I said it's the most focused, I meant that the core 4 characters (and the main villain) have great, detailed arcs that are always front and center, in spite of all the crap surrounding it. The crap is a given with a Final Fantasy game. The core stuff is definitely not.

Avatar image for dudeglove
dudeglove

13988

Forum Posts

1166

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 2

#19  Edited By dudeglove

@twolines: Part of me wonders if the story was really all that poorly put together, or if localization contributed to the problem. Has anyone ever played the FFs 7 to 10 in the "original" Japanese and then played the English version to compare the two?

Avatar image for twolines
TwoLines

3404

Forum Posts

319

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

@dudeglove: Can't say that I have, but the dialogue is very well done, so I'm sure they at least KINDA knew what they were doing. But even if the translation has its issues- the main problem of that series is that the stories in these games are just way too long and drawn-out. I guess they felt that those games need to have X amount of gameplay.

Even the best translation can't add brevity where there is none.

Avatar image for sgtsphynx
SgtSphynx

2673

Forum Posts

634

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 26

#21 SgtSphynx  Moderator

An interesting correlation that I never considered before. It works though. Good read.

Avatar image for xpolymorphic
xPolyMorphic

118

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Final Fantasy IX is and will always be a masterpiece.

Avatar image for xpolymorphic
xPolyMorphic

118

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@twolines: Part of me wonders if the story was really all that poorly put together, or if localization contributed to the problem. Has anyone ever played the FFs 7 to 10 in the "original" Japanese and then played the English version to compare the two?

From my understanding Final Fantasy IX is pretty well translated. Also however, I think it's only fair to say that I thought FFIX's story was well told and had great pacing.

Avatar image for dan_citi
Dan_CiTi

5477

Forum Posts

306

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

Zidane loves football.

Avatar image for twolines
TwoLines

3404

Forum Posts

319

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Avatar image for vargasprime
VargasPrime

361

Forum Posts

10

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I love FFIX. It's probably my secondmost favorite of the series (behind FFVI). I always thought of it as the "underdog" of the Playstation-era FF games. FFVII was just such a big deal when it happened (and was the introduction to the series for a whole generation of people), and everyone seemed to still be riding high on that when VIII came out (which I still think is one of the weakest FF games), that by the time IX came out, and had gone back to a more traditional feel with more cartoony style characters and less "edge" or "angst" it didn't grab a lot of people the way the previous two games had.

I thought, after Cloud and Squall and their "angry at the world" characterizations, Zidane was such a welcome change. And of course, Vivi... who's better than Vivi?

(No one is.)

Avatar image for slag
Slag

8272

Forum Posts

15965

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 45

Freya's arc was one I don't think I was mature enough at the time to appreciate. You don't hear much about that, she kinda gets overshadowed by Vivi and Steiner/Beatrice and of course Zidane when you read about how this game made people feel.

I didn't think of the Blade Runner connection before, but yeah I can see that now. Nice post man!

Avatar image for agn0sis
agn0sis

50

Forum Posts

1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Perfect timing. Just started a play through on the Vita. My favorite RPG of all time. Will definitely check this out when I wrap it up.

Avatar image for bd_monkey
bd_monkey

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Definitely the best final fantasy. I've gone through it four times, and i agree that it has the best story. Also nice that the main character is not a dopey depress person like all other final fantasies.

Avatar image for bd_monkey
bd_monkey

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@twolines:

@twolines said:

@hassun said:

It's funny I never really made the Blade Runner connection while playing FFIX. I probably wouldn't consider it the best story in an FF game because, even though it aims high and should be commended for that, it does kind of fall apart and some of its characters are barely explored.

Hm. Maybe. It was my favorite though. Doesn't mean it's flawless, I do think there are a bunch of characters and story beats that don't really have to be in there at all (Quina and Amarant, or whatever the hell his name is). When I said it's the most focused, I meant that the core 4 characters (and the main villain) have great, detailed arcs that are always front and center, in spite of all the crap surrounding it. The crap is a given with a Final Fantasy game. The core stuff is definitely not.

What you mean Quina did not have to be there. FF9 is the story of Quina eating all the frogs to become a gourmet, and getting a sweet fork.

Avatar image for spilledmilkfactory
spilledmilkfactory

2085

Forum Posts

13011

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 75

User Lists: 23

Thanks for reminding me why this is totally the best FF game. It almost makes me want to go back and replay it, but I'm not big on turn based stuff anymore

Avatar image for red_piano
Red_Piano

280

Forum Posts

380

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

@nickhead: I've not played a single FF game where grinding wasn't required for the main story at some point....although I've only gotten far/completed IX and IV so that's a small list eheh.

Avatar image for lightspeed_jack
Lightspeed_Jack

5

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Nice piece. Final Fantasy IX is my favourite FF game and actually, probably my favourite game of all time and it's mostly down to the exceptional story. FFVII always gets the credit for being the most "mature" FF game due to the big death, but I think that IX really had a very mature approach to the philosophy and the journey of each character. It really explores the cycle of life and death and had a great balance of heavy stuff and lighthearted moments.

Avatar image for brendan
Brendan

9266

Forum Posts

533

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 7

I just played this for the first time! The gameplay kinda sucked. I spent what felt like years looking at those damn black screens surrounding each battle; between that and the sweeping intro shots for every encounter Square definitely put way too much emphasis on wowing the player with their majestic cinematic chops rather than making a game that felt fluid and not-frustrating.

The characters were nice and I'm always a sucker for a love story, although I felt like Zidane and Garnet's love arc ended way to early but since they couldn't just button it up before the credits I had to sit through 30 hours of "Zidane..." "Dagger..." Japanese nonsense. If they wanted to have a romance simmering in the background FF7 did it better, and if they wanted to wear the sappiness on their sleeves FFX produced all the feels more. I also feel like Square felt compelled to have a minimum amount of playable characters because honestly Amaranth, Quinoa, and even Freya (to a lesser extent) felt bolted on. It's not a big gripe because a lot of the time for the first 2/3's of the game you switched between characters making the story feel more dynamic.

The overall plot had a lame climax though. I have no idea what that final boss was or why they felt the need to have it there. I'm sure they justified it somewhere but the climax would have been tighter if they'd wrapped it up with Kuja. The epilogue saved it though. It was all sweet and very well done.

Overall I'd give it a solid "Dagger..." out of 5. If they remastered this game and changed nothing but cut out the black screen, fad-in's and fade-outs and swooping shots I'd be all over it.

Avatar image for twolines
TwoLines

3404

Forum Posts

319

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

@brendan said:

I just played this for the first time! The gameplay kinda sucked. I spent what felt like years looking at those damn black screens surrounding each battle; between that and the sweeping intro shots for every encounter Square definitely put way too much emphasis on wowing the player with their majestic cinematic chops rather than making a game that felt fluid and not-frustrating.

Yep. The gameplay is not great.

@brendan said:

The characters were nice and I'm always a sucker for a love story, although I felt like Zidane and Garnet's love arc ended way to early but since they couldn't just button it up before the credits I had to sit through 30 hours of "Zidane..." "Dagger..." Japanese nonsense. If they wanted to have a romance simmering in the background FF7 did it better, and if they wanted to wear the sappiness on their sleeves FFX produced all the feels more.

Uhuh. Except for the word "feels," I agree. The love story was kinda forgettable and sappy.

@brendan said:

I also feel like Square felt compelled to have a minimum amount of playable characters because honestly Amaranth, Quinoa, and even Freya (to a lesser extent) felt bolted on. It's not a big gripe because a lot of the time for the first 2/3's of the game you switched between characters making the story feel more dynamic.

Totally. Quinna was a lame comic relief character, even though we've already had a goofy character to fill that role- Steiner. And Amarant or whatever- he served almost no purpose. Some crap about friendship or whatever. Freya was okay, but she could've been a character somewhere in the background, not a playable one. Same goes for the little girl... What's Her Face. Yeah, I think that was her name.

@brendan said:

The overall plot had a lame climax though. I have no idea what that final boss was or why they felt the need to have it there. I'm sure they justified it somewhere but the climax would have been tighter if they'd wrapped it up with Kuja. The epilogue saved it though. It was all sweet and very well done.

Again- very much so. The end boss is dumb but the epilogue is nice.

@brendan said:

Overall I'd give it a solid "Dagger..." out of 5. If they remastered this game and changed nothing but cut out the black screen, fad-in's and fade-outs and swooping shots I'd be all over it.

Sadly, they'll never remaster it. Well, never say never, but... It's not looking good.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.