Final Fantasy IX was one of my favorite role-playing games (RPG) on the Sony PlayStation console. It was such a great game, one that returned the franchise to its roots in the fantasy era. Previous entries had a heavy futuristic/science fiction slant to their stories. While those were fun, there is just something about the openness of a fantasy tale. That is exactly what Square Enix gave gamers with this final entry on the original PlayStation console. Final Fantasy X would be on the PlayStation 2 which saw launch in North America in October 2000.
A return to a simpler time
Final Fantasy IX takes place on the world of Gaia, which consists of several continents and areas. Much of the population live on the Mist Continent, named for its lowlands that are covered in clouds.
The town of Alexandria we see Zidane and Tantalus kidnap Princess Garnet under orders of Cid. This is an easy job to pull off as the princess was not happy and wanted to leave anyhow. Queen Brahne is not going to stand idly by and let this action go unpunished though.
This is the start of Final Fantasy IX and the kick-off to the action.
The world of Gaia is a simpler fantasy themed one. There are some elements of modern technology, well steampunk anyhow, but nothing like previous FF games. Square Enix knew this swan song to the PlayStation console had to be a good one and they created a great entry.
Final Fantasy IX was familiar territory
Fans of the franchise, particularly those releases on PlayStation, were right at home with Final Fantasy IX. Combat was similar to previous entries but traversing the game world was changed slightly. A slight change that was immensely popular with fans.
Whenever you were near an object or item you can interact with there was now a visual cue. This kept players from just running around trying to find anything they could interact with.
Considering many of the locales you explore are setup like Resident Evil (3D characters, pre-rendered backgrounds) things can get quite detailed. This means finding just the right spot to be to trigger an interaction would be hard without that small alert. This saved so much time for me when I played through this game years ago.
There is a ton of stuff in Final Fantasy IX that I cannot detail here. The card battle game is awesome and challenging. It also makes you want to explore more and earn more cards. Mognet, mail delivery for Moogles in the game, is another sub game that rewards and challenges if you keep at it long enough. Just so much cool stuff here.
Before the merger
Final Fantasy IX was released prior to Square and Enix becoming Square Enix. This is important because the release date for FF9 was pushed back. Enix had launched Dragon Quest VII around this time and Square wanted to avoid splitting fans as much as possible. This meant Final Fantasy IX being delayed a little while.
Square and Enix would later merge and become a role-playing game juggernaut.
Final Fantasy IX is available digitally (Steam, Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Live, PlayStation Store) and of course, you can pick up the original on PlayStation.
[Source : RetroGamingMagazine]