An underrated masterpiece
With 2015 coming to an end for those of you in the central and pacific time zones, I've decided to make a review for the last Final Fantasy game to be released for the PS1, Final Fantasy IX. This game came out in North America on November 13th, 2000. Final Fantasy IX was very successful, despite not selling as many copies as VII and VIII. Of all the Final Fantasy games in existence, IX received the highest Metacritic score of them all with a 94%. It also received the 2nd highest score in the series on GameRankings with a 93%, with only Final Fantasy VI receiving a higher score. It's clear the critics loved the game, but how does it compare to other games in the Final Fantasy series? I'll tell you by making this review.Graphics: 10/10
Some PS1 games such as Final Fantasy VII haven't really aged well visually, but other games from that system still look amazing to this day. Final Fantasy IX is one of those games. The visuals are almost as great as those found in PS2 games, which is amazing considering how much more advanced the PS2 was compared to the PS1. Whether you're in a kingdom such as Alexandria, or in one of the game's gorgeous dungeons, you're bound to be impressed by the beauty of Final Fantasy IX. The most impressive part of Final Fantasy IX's graphics is the gorgeous cutscenes. Watching Zidane go after Garnet as she's swinging from the castle over to the Tantalus ship, and seeing Steiner fail as he instead crashes into the ship never gets old. The other cutscenes throughout IX are just as fun to watch, and at the same time, just as gorgeous. Overall, the only other games on the system that come close to being as amazing as IX's are VIII and Chrono Cross. For these reasons, I'm giving the graphics a 10.Sound: 10/10
The Final Fantasy series has some of the most amazing soundtracks that you'll ever hear in video games. Final Fantasy IX is no exception, with even the legendary Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu himself saying that IX's soundtrack is one of his favorites. It's easy to see why he's so fond of the soundtrack. With amazing music such as the epic Dark Messenger, the Spanish flair of Vamo' alla Flamenco, one of my personal favorites in Hunter's Chance, and You're Not Alone, Final Fantasy IX has one of the more diverse soundtracks in the series. Not only does IX have one of the best soundtracks in the series, it also has one of the best soundtracks on the PS1. Along with Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy IX has one of the few PS1 soundtracks that's truly worthy of a 10.Addictiveness: 9/10
Final Fantasy IX has an incredible amount of replay value, and it's one of the funnest JRPG's out there. Along with all the entertaining boss fights that you'll encounter on your journey, there's a number of features that separate itself from other games in the series. One of which is being able to learn new abilities by outting on certain equipment. Once you've leveled up you AP (or ability points for short), you'll be able to use it even when you change your current equipment. As much fun as it is to learn new abilities, there's one other feature that separates itself from other games in the series. That feature is the Active Time Event, which is where you can see what other party members or other characters are doing when they're not currently in your party. I love this feature because it gives you an idea of what's going on in other places as you're going through a dungeon or exploring through town, and it makes the story even more engaging than it already is. Overall, Final Fantasy IX is one of the more addicting JRPG's out there. Because of that, Im giving the addictiveness a 9.
Final Fantasy games normally have some of the most amazing storylines in gaming, and Final Fantasy IX has one of the better storylines in the series. The game begins in the kingdom of Alexandria, where a play called "I Want to Be Your Canary" is being performed. The performers turn out to be a band of thieves, including Zidane, the main character in the game, who have come to kidnap Princess Garnet. What the Zidane and the others don't know however is that Garnet actually wanted to be kidnapped because her mother, Queen Brahne has been acting very strangely. They're soon joined by a black mage named Vivi, and a knight known as Steiner, who actually wants to get the Princess back to Alexandria. Them, along with new allies they meet along the way, must find out what Queen Brahne is up to and put a stop to it, and they must also put as stop to a mysterious man named Kuja who shows up later in the game. The only storylines in the series that I enjoyed more were from VII and VI. Overall though, Final Fantasy IX's storyline is great enough for me to give this category a 9.
Like most JRPG's, Final Fantasy IX has a lengthy storyline as well as many different dungeons and towns to visit. The main story lasts around 40 hours long, and when you include extra content, the game can take around 60 hours to complete. There's several optional bosses, and as many dungeons as Final Fantasy VII has. For JRPG standards, Final Fantasy IX is a very long adventure that takes up 4 discs and will keep you busy for a long time. Overall, Final Fantasy IX provides a satisfyingly long story and has enough content for me to give it's depth a 10.Difficulty: 5/10
Compared to other games in the series, Final Fantasy IX isn't quite as tough as some of the earlier entries. Most boss battles shouldn't give you much trouble as long as you've leveled up enough and your party members have solid abilities. The only battle that gave me a hard time was the last of the optional bosses. Even if you're well prepared and you level grind the heck out of your characters, your party can still get wrecked. Other than that one battle though, Final Fantasy IX isn't a super tough game, though there are far easier games out there, such as Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Overall, Final Fantasy IX's difficulty is worthy of a 5 in my eyes.
Overall Score: 9.6/10
While other games in the series such as Final Fantasy VII get more attention, Final Fantasy IX is still one of the better JRPG's out there. With an incredible story, beautiful visuals, a soundtrack that Nobuo Uematsu regards as one of his favorites, and some of the most addicting gameplay you'll find in a PS1 game, Final Fantasy IX is the most underrated game in the series. In fact, it's my 3rd favorite game in the series behind only Final Fantasy VII and VI. Overall, Final Fantasy IX is worthy of a 9.6 out of 10 in my opinion.