Final Fantasy IX (9) for PS1
5.0
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  • Final Fantasy IX for the PS1, to me, is the best Final Fantasy ever made
  • Had I started on VII, I'd probably not have enjoyed IV
  • One thing that I found interesting to note is that Zidane, who is a bit of a ladies man, will follow the gaze of some female characters he walks past, which gives another clue into his disposition
  • Unfortunately, the 'Mist' gets bad on the fourth disc of the game, and if you fly low around one area of the map, the framerate takes a nosedive
  • The battles, exploration and everything else come together to give you that element of this not being an interactive movie, but a quest to kidnap a princess (a total reversal of the stereotype, and the beginning of the first Final Fantasy), and getting swept up into world-changing events, that you will regret beating, because once you beat it, you'll be sad to see it go

    • by JesseTV
      TRUSTWORTHY

      all reviews
      Ahhh, the good ol days of Final Fantasy. Back when there was a world map, you could do this thing called ‘exploration’ without having to survive 10 hours or more of a straight hallway, you could control every member of your party, there wasn’t any terrible voice acting, and the only level cap was 99. Man, those days are long gone. Thankfully, the games aren’t.

      Final Fantasy IX for the PS1, to me, is the best Final Fantasy ever made. Sure, it was my first, but I’m glad it was, because the fact that it incorporated elements of both the ‘N Generation’ (I through VI) and the beginnings of the ‘S Generation’ (VII & VIII) helped me jump from IX to the other games in the series. Had I started on VII, I’d probably not have enjoyed IV. But, putting this potential bias aside, let me tell you WHY this is the greatest Final Fantasy ever made.

      Firstly, let’s talk about the graphics. The graphics are, well, PS1 graphics. Nothing special these days, but back then, the live-rendered graphics showed actual facial features (no expressions, though, other than blinking), and the FMV (Full Motion Video) cutscenes were beautiful to look at. The character models themselves, instead of having human proportions, are given more of a cartoon look, similar to the N-Gen games of old. In fact, nearly everything in the game is a reference to something or other in an earlier game. If you’re a veteran, this game is a nostalgia trip like no other. One thing that I found interesting to note is that Zidane, who is a bit of a ladies man, will follow the gaze of some female characters he walks past, which gives another clue into his disposition. In my opinion, that is cool.

      The full 3D World Map is a prime example of greatly-done PS1 graphics use, and I would expect no less of the last Final Fantasy to have a true World Map. Distance fog is varied from continent to continent, even used as a storyline element. You can even see the mist collecting in valleys if you fly above a certain altitude. It’s marvelous to the eye. Unfortunately, the ‘Mist’ gets bad on the fourth disc of the game, and if you fly low around one area of the map, the framerate takes


      a nosedive.

      When I look at the prerendered area backgrounds (Basically, a 3D model of an area is made, that is much higher detail than the PS1 can handle, a still picture is taken, and this high-detail, albeit 2D picture is used as the area background), you can tell it is prerendered by the way objects act more like paper backgrounds at a stage play than actual live 3D, but the detail of them are exquisite. Sometimes the camera angles (which, due to the nature of the backgrounds, are fixed) are a bit aggravating, but most are at an angle that you can see everything you are allowed to see. Everything you can’t, well, those are hidden things, and are usually items like Elixirs or powerful (at the time) equipment. So, search every nook, cranny, and corner. I always hate it when I find out that a destroyed temple had an item or weapon that could have helped me in the long run, or was the key to some small but neat sidequest that I’ll never complete on the current playthrough.

      New to this game is the “HERE” icon, which activates when you press Select. Say you’re in one of the Qu’s Marshes of the game. You’re in tall grass, and navigating blindly. Press Select, and a little pointing hand appears above your head, to reveal where you are. There is also the “!” and “?” icons, which pops up when you are facing something that you can interact with, such as a chest, item, or switch, or if there is something worth investigating. This feature is highly useful when navigating certain areas of the game. I don’t use if often, but on the odd times you do need it, it’s there. (Same principle as a condom. I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.)

      The best use of live 3D models in the game, however, are the in-battle models. Full 3D battle environments, enemy and character models, and abilities. Monsters look menacing or cute, depending on their attitude and abilities (there are several ‘friendly’ monsters in-game, when given certain items, give you an edge against one of the game’s two secret bosses.) The detail on each model is awesome, and character models used outside of battle are the same ones used in-battle.


      • But the character and enemy models are just… there. The real eye-candy are the magical abilities. Spells look… well, magical, for lack of a better word. Firey spells are bright and burning. Electric ones are shocking, and ice-based ones look cold to the touch. Every spell’s animation mimicks its power. Fire is less potent, and thus less flashy than Fira, and Fira to Firaga. Blizzard to Blizara to Blizzaga, Thunder to Thundara to Thundaga, and so on. The summons are even better. 30-second animations of the creature you summon completely OBLITERATING you opponents. Every time you see it, it’s satisfying as hell. Watching Bahamut blast his Mega Flare, or Madeen fire his Terra Homing at my enemies, vanquishing them, is the penultimate victory.

        All in all, everything about this game looks great.

        Now, on to the audio. Nobuo Uematsu himself said that this was his favourite soundtrack to work on. And I could see why. Blood-pumping battle music, a serene World Map theme, dramatic, cinematic, and even comedic character themes riddle this games score. You can tell that most, if not all of the orchestral work is synthesized, but for once, this does not detriment the enjoyment in the slightest. If you listen closely, some songs are arrangements of songs of FF games past, most notably Mount Gulug, being a note-to-note arrangement of the Mount Gulug theme from the very first Final Fantasy. The music, apart from a few songs here and there, never get old. Even if the game isn’t enjoyable to you, I highly suggest downloading the soundtrack, preferably in .flac format, to preserve the beauty.

        The sounds of the game prove their points. Slashes, like most RPGs, have that “Kshew” sound. Each monster has its own unique battle and death cry, and all the spells sound great. Healing spells such as Cure, Cura and Curaga have a unique sound that I’ve never really heard before, but they fit the nature of the spells perfectly. I really want to know how the sound artists of Squaresoft created many of the game’s sounds, because they all sound interesting and unique.

        All in all, the music and sounds of the game intergrate flawlessly into the graphics and gameplay of the game, like every game score should, and, to me, the soundtrack stands proud among one of the greatest cinematic scores of

        all time.

        Now, like all games, the gameplay is where everything ties together. It’s your standard cookie cutter RPG gameplay, but unlike most modern RPGs, it takes a hint from the N-Gen RPGs and lets you equip weapons, shields, armor, gloves, armlets and various accessories, instead of the new weapon-and-item styling that seems to be going around nowadays. What is unique to the equipment of the game is that every single piece of equipment teaches some abilities. Either spells or specialty sword strikes, or even immunities to certain status effects (Poison, petrification, sleep, confusion, etc). These, when faced with certain challenges, have pushed me through what could have been an unbeatable scenario otherwise.

        The greatest element of gameplay is not the battles, but the massive variety of things you can do. You can play a card game made specifically for FF9 called Tetra Master with nearly everybody in the game. You can dig for treasures in forests, lagoons, and even an island floating above the clouds. You can have your own pet chocobo, creatively named Choco. You can explore anything you can think of, everywhere. The battles, exploration and everything else come together to give you that element of this not being an interactive movie, but a quest to kidnap a princess (a total reversal of the stereotype, and the beginning of the first Final Fantasy), and getting swept up into world-changing events, that you will regret beating, because once you beat it, you’ll be sad to see it go.

        I’m on the beginning of the final disc. I’ve owned the game for ten years, and have never stepped foot into the final dungeon. I’m completing as many sidequests as I can, so that I can say I’ve done almost everything in game before I take that step into uncharted territory. That, and I don’t want the game to ever end.

        You can download this game off of the Playstation Store, but better yet, track down a physical copy. That way you can play it on future PS systems, and it isn’t DRM locked, like the downloadable version is.

        And that is why this is the best Final Fantasy ever made. Despite faults here and there, it shines like a diamond amid the others in the series. I hope that everyone who is even a casual gamer has the chance to play it one day.




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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in March, 2011. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 2823031452790731/k2311a0323/3.23.11
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