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Review – Final Fantasy IX (PS1)

It’s amazing how something so good (FF8) can be followed by something so bad. Rumor has it, people complained about FF8 a lot. They complained because it was so different from the “classical aspects of the series” that Square decided to give the fans what they really wanted. In reality Square (hopefully purposely) created a bad remake of all of thier previous FF games all rolled into one. Pretty much every aspect of this game is based on some other game. Surprisingly it seems to draw the most from FF1.

The biggest setback in this game was the return to Munchkin Land. Even FF7’s munchkins looked more normal than these characters do, though I think it was mostly due to FF7 having pretty humanoid characters in battle. I kept expecting the Lolipop kids to pup up and tell me to “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”. They also all seemed ot have really weir mouths. The graphics were pretty nice though for other aspects. Like Black “I am Hell Incarnate” Waltz No 3, who should have been the star of the game.

Instead we get a comical adventure that takes us through a quick history of the FF series. We get to see Garland from FF1 again, The Black Mages return in a new flashier form. The Gurgu Volcano that once housed Kary, Feind of Fire returns complete with a rehash of the original 8-bit music. Too bad they didn’t bring back the good spell names like Ice3 and Lit2 or even “XXXX”. It’s always great eradicating your foes with a hardcore porn spell. The Characters themselves are so so. There’s Garnet, her Tinman, Steiner, the Scarecrow, Vivi, the cowardly “What – the – fuck – is – that – stupid – thing – and – why – does – it – have – its – tongue – sticking – out – like – that?” Quina, the half naked Moogle girl Eiko, the Lord of the Dance herself, Freya, and of course the main character Zid-“I don’t use a big sword like my predecessors”-ain.

Of these charachters the most likable ones are oddly the ones that seem to have less to do with the plot. Steiner’s constant baffonish heroics get old after the 1000th time you see the same joke repeated; The whole thing with Vivi seems like it just sort of vanishes halfway through the game; Freya, what the heck is she there for? Oh right, classic Vengace. Then of course Quina. I have no idea whay this thing is in this game but personally it’s worse then the infamouse Cait Sith of FF7. I mean What the hell is up with this creature. All it does is eat, it looks very androgenous, it says dumb things, it looks stupid, it sucks in combat, and generally it’s useless. I don’t know what they were thinking when the designers decided to make Quina a party character instead of someone 100 time more interesting and useful like say, Beatrix. Oh wait, if they added Beatrix it would be like having two Steiners except one is a girl. You definitely don’t want two similar characters to choose from, I mean it’s not like they haven’t been making everyone identical for the last 4 games give or take.

Not that you could really use two identical characters in this. Another major drawback is unbalanced gameplay. This gets escpecially bad near the end of the game.Not since Chrono Trigger have I played a game up to the very last save point and given up on it for a year and a half or more out of enraged hatred.Basically ech character has thier own specialty, which means in battle at any given time with the most effecient all aound party, you’ll have 2 useless characters.An Optimized party being one that you’ll never end up with 0 useful characters. I mean you COULD put Zidain, Steiner, Freya, and Aramant all in one party, but then you’d have a hell of a time against anything strong tophysical attacks and you’ll never be able to easily heal. Not that you’ll really use Magic much for healing. Even a good ways intot he game chances are you will still be constantly short on Ethers ot retore MP and with the incredible high cost of Summoning by your healers, you’ll need to save everything you’ve got for those boss battles. The Black Mage Vivi was the only character I managed to get halfway self sufficient since he could not only heal but restore MP using Drain and Osmose.

So with it’s unbalanced game play and rehash plot line, FF9 manages to crap itself up pretty badly. I think I may have started out liking this game quite a bit but by the end It was just too much work to bother with. Unfortunately it seems Square hasn’t learned with FFX, which started out fantastically excellent and is slowly turning into a trudging shitfest of long boring pointless random encounters.

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