Final Fantasy 9
TITLE: Final Fantasy IX
MAX LEVEL: 99 (I think)
DIFFICULTY: Easy, as long as you spend a million years on the world map learning abilities whenever you can.
ORIGINAL IDEA: Abilities, Gems, Trance
LENGTH: 70-120 Hours
PLATFORM: PlayStation (2000)
PUBLISHER: Square EA (is it the other way around...?)
NORMAL CHARACTERS: 8
SECRET/OPTIONAL CHARACTERS: 0
TEMPORARY CHARACTERS: 4
SPACES IN PARTY: 4
GENRE: Traditional RPG
FAVOURITE CHARACTER: Quina/Zidane
MOST POWERFUL CHARACTER: Zidane (of course, mine was about twenty levels higher than everyone else....), and Amarant...A TIE!
COOLEST NPC: Baku
BEST VILLAIN (new thing, brought to existence by the name you are about to read, or, if you just recognize sentences, already have): Kuja
OVERALL RATING: 11/10 (no, it's not a mistake, or a joke)
I guess this one was kind of unpopular. Whatever. It was my favourite Final Fantasy of them all. If you play past the first disc, you'll enjoy this one. The battle system is 'a little' slow (Haste makes you almost as fast as Slow does in FF8), not to mention repeatative, frustrating, and boring. But the storyline and the Lunar-esque character development makes up for all of that. I'll be honest with you. I didn't go on a single sidequest in this entire game. I was too caught up in the story. No sidequests and still a seventy-three hour RPG. I was only Level 68 when I beat the game, too. FF9 is definately the longest one out there. Way more in-depth plot than any other RPG I've seen, other than maybe the first two Lunars and Xenogears. The quotes from the game aren't actually party of the review, but two of them are just too good not to mention here. Quina says; "Sand taste bad!", and at the end of the game, Kuja says: "Why should the world exist without me? That wouldn't be fair."
Before the riots begin, I think I'd better state why Kuja is just the coolest villain ever. He doesn't dress in a thong because he's homosexual. It's because he is completely insane. Sephiroth has nothing on this guy. Kuja is just plain crazy. Crazy people who can destroy planets are cool.
Anyway, on to the important stuff. An experienced RPGer knows that a new Final Fantasy means about ten hours of mentally traumatizing monster-slaying to gain AP. This one means twenty to thirty hours of that. Why? Because every piece of equipment in the entire game comes with one to three new abilities to learn. Every time you buy the best stuff for the guys, be prepared to spend about two hours running aimlessly about the world map for AP. Even spells you gain in the storyline must be learned through new equipment. They don't say "Here, this is how you summon Bahamut." They say "Here. If you hold this rock for a couple hours, you can conjur up a giant monster."
There are two kinds of abilities. Abilities marked with an 'A' are spells/summons/skills that can be used in battle. Abilities marked with an 'S' must be equipped in the menu. Gems are almost like a second set of MPs. They are what you use to equip independent abilities. A-abilities would include things like Ramuh, Firaga, and Chakra. S-abilities allow you to do things like set up Auto-Reflect/Haste/Regen/Float/Life, or make a character immune to status effects, or increase his/her HP by 20%, or allow him/her to gain 50% more experience/AP from battle. These S-abilities are really the key to fighting all bosses and getting through any dungeons.
Trance has replaced Limit in this. It can be frustrating at times, but if you're lucky enough to get it in a boss fight, it's far better than any Limit. In addition to doubling the Tranced characters strength, Trance also nullifies any bad status effects that were on the character at the time of the Trance, and changes one command to something else. For instance, Vivi's Black Magic becomes Double Black Magic, in which case the player may cast two Black Magic spells in a row, and Freya's Jump command allows her to hit all enemies, and she stays in the air until her Trance wears off, dropping spears on the enemies. But anyway, Trances totally suck if you get them in normal battles, because nothing pisses you off like using Zidane's Grand Lethal Attack for 9999 damage and not quite killing the enemy.
How about the soundtrack? It's no FF7, but it's not as bad as FF8's either. It's right between VI and VII. There aren't many good ones, but the songs always match the mood.
Back to the plot. Zidane is the best main character ever. He has character depth, but not so much that you can't think Oh, that's me. I'm Zidane when I play FF9. Much easier guy to relate to than Squall, who basically narrated the story of FF8. No actual character depth, but Squall just thinks the exact things you're not thinking at that moment. Also, Zidane seems to do a lot of things for no reason at all.
Remember the end of Final Fantasy VIII? Did you think Whoa, that was awesome! or Hey, this totally sucks!. If you thought the former, you either weren't paying attention to the story, are a majour graphics hound, didn't actually play through the whole game, or just don't share my opinion. It just seemed too short, right? FF9 seems a little short, but it's pretty close to a perfect length for the plot. A little more material on the second planet, and it would have been of perfect length.
Ah, the challenge is less than satisfactory, to say the least. Unless you don't learn your abilities, like a friend of mine who would bring me down to his house just to kill a boss on Final Fantasy IX for him. About halfway through disc two, if you only have five abilities on your best character, then of course Final Fantasy IX is the most difficult video game ever released on this side of the planet. But one thing is hard, even with my super-useful abilities: the final boss. Some whacko named Necron who just shows up out of nowhere determined to kick your ass. He took me well over an hour to beat. He's supposed to impossible without 'the strategy' (which I NEVER FIGURED OUT; something to do with mages, maybe; I used Zidane, Steiner, Freya, and Amarant), but guess what: I won. I knocked Necron from this side of Wisconsin to that side of Wisconsin. The tough thing about this guy, aside from the fact that you only deal about 1000 damage with your best attack, and he has 54,100 HP, is that...well, when someone dies, it's common practice to revive them, right? That doesn't cut it here. Once a character goes down, he stays down. I don't see how you could win without Amarant's Flair technique, Aura. With all this twisted logic, and the fact that the guy has almost all countdown death attacks or instant death attacks, this Necron fellow was easily the most challenging boss I've fought in any game ever. And I have played a lot of games. Probably over a thousand. People think LUNAR 2: Eternal Blue Complete is tough? I'd rather fight every boss at once in that game than have to beat Necron again (note that everything in that last sentence was a lie).
Enough complaining, back to the review. For all you graphics hounds out there, the game only looks bad in the magazine pictures. And for those of you like me, who judge graphics by clarity...well, we already know that Final Fantasy VI has the best graphics ever!
In conclusion, I would like to say that Final Fantasy IX is probably one of the ten best RPGs ever made, and if you own a PlayStation, but not this game, then you either haven't heard of Final Fantasy (which is very hard to believe, if you've heard of RPGs), or mindlessly follow the rumours and rants of FF8 fans. I suggest you mindlessly follow my review instead, and go out and purchase Final Fantasy IX.
Shadow of the Sun's Reviews
Final Fantasy 9 Reviews
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