RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Final Fantasy 9

Genre: JRPG, RPG
Release Date: July 7th 2000
Platforms: PS1
Score: 8/10
Similar Titles: Dragon Quest, Lufia, Legend of Dragoon

Traditional cover.

Today I shall continue the reviews on Final Fantasy series, with the ninth instalment of the franchise. Square decided to drop the angsty teenage protagonist this time around, and replaced him with an optimistic monkey man, Zidane. A lot of people dislike Zidane as the main character, and while I can't say I love him, he's not half bad.

Summons are depicted gloriously in cut scenes.
Final Fantasy 9 is somewhat a big leap from the previous games, it kicks off by reintroducing the four character combat system, followed by a new ability mechanic that allows you party to learn spells through their weapons. Summons like Ramus and Bahamut are in the game but only usable by two of your female party members later on. It's impossible to say you'll enjoy nine over other Final Fantasies, because it received more mixed critique than any of the others in the series. What I noticed on my playthroughs is Square-Enix have tried to combine what they think are the most successful aspects of their other games into Final Fantasy 9, including the characters (think about it).

The external world map is a feature I've always loved.

The combat hasn't evolved much, it's still very turn-based. However, your party adopts a class system from the earliest games in the series, Zidane is a thief, the main heroine Princess Garnet is a white mage, her guard Steiner is a fighter, and so forth. a new limit break/overdrive has been developed called trance, which boosts the strength of your characters in their speciality. Trance kicks ass, it facerolls boss fights. Overall, there's no drastic changes to the good old Square-Enix formula.

Battles are pretty interested with the class system.

Graphics have a noticeable polish about them in Final Fantasy IX, Characters look more defined and cut scenes are very pretty. It would never stand up to any of the games of today in anything but story, but the game had groundbreaking visuals for it's time, and people can appreciate them even today.

The graphics are impressive for PSX.
As the only reason to play the game today, the storyline is definitely something. If you know JRPGs and Square-Enix, you have a good idea of what it will be like. Zidane and his oddly assorted band of misfits have to work together, battling through the monster ridden mists to save the world from the greedy Queen Brahne and other evils. Sadly, the bad guys have nothing on Sephiroth, or even a fly. If that wasn't blunt enough for you, the antagonists just plain suck. Despite this, Zidanes antics and the other characters personality depth weaves an intriguing plot.

Even though a copy of this game is hard to get your hands on these days, if you like JRPG games I suggest you play it at some point. As you progress you'll most likely find yourself hooked. Same thing goes for any of the Final Fantasy games. Unlike 7 and 8 though, there is no PC version.

I wouldn't suggest this as your first Final Fantasy, it's not the best of the bunch. Read up on the others before making a decision.

If you're looking for a review on other final fantasy games check out these links:
Final Fantasy 8 review
Final Fantasy 7 review

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