Hold on to your seats, everyone. This is a long one. Here, Apsilanti84 attempts to make a comprehensive analysis of Final Fantasy IX. They do so in two different threads: here and here, but only get as far as the story and characters. What do they have to say about the music? The setting? The battle system?
Who cares. Nothing Aspilanti84 says seems serious. Even worst, it’s clear that this person has an agenda:
Make Final Fantasy IX look as bad as possible…all while trolling the fans.
It doesn’t work, but who cares, right? So, let’s begin.
First, it’s nice. I like it. But I like FFIX the way a girl likes a friend. It’s a nice game; doesn’t really move me one way or another. Kinda too young for my taste. Tries too hard sometimes. Plays it safe at times. FF9 is like many “nice guys” out there. It doesn’t offend, it doesn’t disagree, it plays it safe. Nothing too groundbreaking. FFIX (nodding): “Yes, yes, FF fans, whatever you say…”
Well, this is kind of off putting. Final Fantasy IX is a “nice guy”. Even weirder: this “nice guy” is too young for Aspilanti84.
Final Fantasy IX doesn’t really play it safe, as it just stays within the traditional Final Fantasy scope. What was groundbreaking was Final Fantasy’s attempt to examine the past, when they already had two successful futuristic games going. They essentially reinvented the past again, using nostalgia. That’s commendable. But Aspilanti84 isn’t analysing Final Fantasy IX; they’re bashing it.
And how can somethiing “try too hard” but “play it safe” at the same time?
People talk about FFIX as if it’s this great experience with a ton of emotion and depth. It’s not. It’s just a “nice game”. It has some great themes. It gets dark in some places, but not too dark and is never really scary. In general it’s an upbeat, ho-hum, fun romp. It’s very bright and colorful (like Disney and My Little Pony). Bright and colorful is for kids, sorry. I’m looking for something more mature. The characters are flat and shallow, while the story isn’t subtle. That’s because it has to be this way; it is the way it is to let younger kids understand what the characters and stories are about. IX story is not a complex layer of unnecessary WTFs as VII, a convoluted mess as VIII or even outright intriguingly as Tactics (the d*ck). It’s simple and pleasant. Something younger kids can pick up and enjoy. It succeeded where Mystic Quest failed.
Does he want Final Fantasy IX to be the “scary and dark” boyfriend they’ve never had? Apparently, it’s too much like Disney and My Little Pony for their taste. Final Fantasy Tactics was pretty heavy in some spots. Does this make Tactics a “dick”? I guess because it was too hard for Aspilanti84…
Again with the Disney and My Little Pony comparisons. Why? To show everyone it’s not a serious title adults can enjoy? Final Fantasy IX simplified a lot, but also had a pretty convoluted story towards the end too. Some people hated it, but I think it worked.
It’s “underrated” because no one talks about it. And no one talk about it because it really isn’t memorable. It comes off as an artificial checklist of FF lore, in a way that’s ‘meh’. Is that bad? No, it was still nice to play. But VII (the douchebag) and VIII (the emo) were ambitious. They took risk. They succeeded in some things, failed in others. But they had guts and people admired them for it. That’s what got people talking about them. FFIX played it safe the whole way through. Almost as if it was meant to “hold-one-over-please-don’t-leave-us-yet” until X (the awkward yet popular alpha), which it did and took risks. And then X-2 (the queen b*tch) took risks. FFXIII (the @sshole) may have done stupid stuff, but at least it was memorable.
This is…really weird. Aspilanti84’s entire premise is based on the idea of a friend zoned nice guy. OK? This is pretty much an outrageous idea from the start. But comparisons to each Final Fantasy game, fitting a different boyfriend stereotype, is really off-putting and weird.
Final Fantasy VII is a “douchebag”? Final Fantasy VIII is emo? Well, OK I see it, because of Cloud and Squall. Final Fantasy X must be the alpha male, due to Tidus being a sports player. But what makes Final Fantasy X-2 the “queen b*tch” (I don’t think you can curse on GameFaqs)? Wouldn’t that follow for Final Fantasy XIII, due to Lightning? But she’s the “@sshole”? Lightning is Aspilanti84’s “asshole boyfriend” apparently.
…I need to stop myself, before I warp my brain to their logic.
Newsflash, Aspilanti84: they all took risks in their own way. They each had a particular goal and fulfilled it.
Square thought the same way about 9. FFIX was the “nice-guy-love-letter” to Final Fantasy fans because they are telling you THEY ARE NOT GOING BACK TO THIS FORMAT UNLESS YOU PAY A MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION FOR SOMETHING LIKE IT!!!.
Don’t be so sure Aspilanti84. I guess that they mean is that only the MMOs are going to have a medieval influence. But Final Fantasy XI and XIV had modern-esque towns at times.
But who knows, Final Fantasy XVI or XVII could make a grand return to Final Fantasy’s medieval roots.
In other words, the guys at SquareEnix are not “nice guys”. They made FFIX to get it out of their system. Another notch under their belt.
God, this is making me sick.
They’ve moved on, of course. And they’re not going back. They’re the type of guys who take risks; they don’t play it safe. Final Fantasy is praised for evolving, so it makes sense that FFIX is overlooked.
Final Fantasy IX, overlooked?
As far as FF games go, 9 hits all the high notes. It tweaked the previous elements that made FF loveable – almost nothing disagreeable in it. FF9 plays a great game, I admit that. Does that make it feel like a great game? No. It feels stiff and forced. It meets expectations, but doesn’t excel them. It’s kinda insincere. It falls for the “Goldilocks Effects”, where nothing’s hot or cold (except that mini-game); it was “just right”. Tepid. Stale. Flat. Mediocre. Nothing stood out. Battle system, nice (if not slow). Music, nice (if forgettable). Mini-games, nice (even if they ripped off 8). There were no highs or lows. It was a “nice” meal, not a terrible “never-eat-here-again” meal or an outstanding, “OMG-let’s-write-a-raving-review” one. Nice, but kinda forgettable. Even “Melodies of Life” tried to be “Eyes on Me”, but under-whelmingly so. The lyrics of which (intentionally) sum up the game. We all say we want a “nice” game, something to treat gamers right. But no one really does. We just like the idea of one. We got Final Fantasy: Nostalgia, renamed IX so that X could usher in the PS2 era. And it sold.
So Aspilanti84’s point is that Final Fantasy IX is a mediocre game. It depends on
In the coming years, FFIX will seem overrated, because people are giving too much attention to this, simply, “nice” game. In the meanwhile, admit it was a “nice game”. And now it’s time to move on to someone else.
I wrote about this too, but to help people see it in a more realistic focus so it can be praised on merit. Not to bash it.
Is FFIX about the romance between Zidane and Garnet? No. Not even close. The love element may transition better in FFIX than VIII, but don’t get carried away. FFIX is more so about choosing to live life. Good theme.
Apsilanti84’s right, in my opinion. The game is about the existential condition, not romance. Final Fantasy VIII did bill itself as a romance, to varying success.
Aspilanti84 continues the second part of the analysis below, this time concentrating on the characters.
In the great, generic, garden variety game that is called Final Fantasy IX, what were the characters like? Generic:
Zidane is the ultimate “nice guy”. Very upbeat, cheerful, optimistic and carefree (when you steal from other people for a living, why wouldn’t you be). He doesn’t say anything wrong. He’s never disagreeable as a main character. Like most nice guys, he’s kinda a bore. Lots of guys thinks Zidane is cool because of his “nice guy” personality and identify with him on this basis. He gets the girl because the story says the nice guy gets the girl at the end. Isn’t that nice? He’s kinda like Vaan, but Vaan wasn’t a good main character? Zidane was Vaan before Vaan was Vaan.
Again with the nice guy crap. Apparently, Aspilanti84 must think that most people project themselves onto Zidane. So if by tearing into Zidane, Aspilanti84 can tear down others. However, this part of the analysis just comes across as intense jealousy against Zidane.
I’m not totally sure what the tangent with Vaan has to do with it though…
Garnet was as feminist as a princess within her gender role could be.
Other than that, very little personality to speak of. There’s nothing more to say about her. She wants to live her own life, grows a little and comes across as “the girl next door”. She looks like the synthesis of Tifa and Riona, but stripped of personality. She’s what nice guys would call “manageable”. She’s a bore too, and “nice guys” are supposed to get “the girl next door”. One day, she stares at Zidane and knows he’s “the one”. Why? Because the story says she should. Many nice guys identify with this relationship. Shorter hair = looks weird, man.
She does remind me of Tifa and Rinoa, but only slightly in her looks. Otherwise, she’s a bit more crafty than Rinoa, and a little more naive than Tifa. Was she a manageable “nice girl” that all the “nice boys” wanted? Well, she’s a Queen, so she doesn’t date just anyone (sorry Aspilanti84). And she’s pretty assertive when she wants to be. Not sure if Aspilanti84 understands her character.
Steiner was stupid because they wrote him to be stupid, not because anyone would seriously believe he could be that stupid. Plus, they made him a Disney-esque comic relief character. Even his theme song suggests buffoonery, which is unfortunate. He was a badass on the field. Seriously. He was a badass in battle, a man of his word and leader of the knights of Pluto, so there’s no way he’s a moron with lack of common sense. Knights aren’t like that; they have bravery, honor, loyalty and intelligence. Most people who like FFIX can’t relate to Steiner’s manhood. They just “cannot-even-right-now”. He accurately called out the fact Vivi would be powerful. What makes it even more frustrating is that Steiner is there so Zidane can say “Rusty, rusty, rusty. Take a chill pill, man. Geez, what’s wrong with adults, they’re so uptight! Amirite?” No, you are not right. You are a cornball with “attitude”, a museum piece of the 90’s. But then again, why not? Let’s throw the nice guy a bone and make him seem “cool”.
This person has a very narrow view of what a knight should be. But of course, if they made Steiner the way Aspilanti84 suggested, he would be the main star. He would be another Cecil clone. And then Aspilanti84 would complain that he was another rip off.
Instead, Square Enix decided to go down a different route with Steiner. I think they wanted to show the darker side of honor and loyalty for the sake of honor and loyalty. It produces mindless allegiance to people who don’t deserve it, and causes one to forget their moral compass.
This would make Steiner an otherwise unsympathetic character. So the best way to fill his character with pathos: make him the comic relief.
Vivi was definitely my favorite character, because he was powerful AND sympathic. One of the greatest characters of old school FF. But he’s still somewhat two-dimensional here. Still, I felt bad about Vivi’s revelation that he was going to die. Oh wait. No I don’t. Since Vivi kills things throughout the game and death is going to happen to all things anyways, his conflict about death is inconsistent and insincere. Did he seriously think he was going to live forever? If so, then I’m glad Vivi grew up a little before he died.
The Black Mage is a pretty iconic character from the Final Fantasy series. I’m glad they got to use him. Still, I can’t help but think that Aspilanti84 really doesn’t appreciate this fact about Vivi. In fact, I don’t think Aspilanti84 truly cares about Vivi.
It’s almost as if it’s lip service, due to the amount of popularity Vivi has. But then, Aspilanti84 has no chill button when it comes to Zidane, and no problem tearing him down. So why not Vivi. It seems as if Aspilanti84 is a scared troll. At least, this is what I think.
Newsflash! You are all going to die one day. You will all go to sleep, and it will feel like you are “letting go of yourselves”…and you will know you will never wake up. Your body will go cold, then numb. There will be no bright colors. Things will go grey. Your friends won’t go with you. No one will be able to help you not die. Already knew that? Of course, you’re not a kid anymore…
Gee, thanks for that Public Service Announcement.
Freya was awesome from the jump. But then they dropped her arc once she finds who she’s looking for. Another badass who exists to give the nice guy Zidane cool props. She’s inspiration for Lightning, I’m sure.
“Awesome from the jump”, “dropped her arc”, oh god. And I don’t think she’s inspiration for Lightning. Otherwise, this isn’t really an analysis of her character, just a proclamation of who Aspilanti84 likes.
Eiko, what are you doing here? We already have Garnet, and you sound way too mature for a 6 (!!!) year old. Get back in the corner. Seriously, I feel sorry for her, because she lives alone and doesn’t want to anymore. Most people who like the game can relate to her. She idolizes the nice guy.
She does sound very mature for a six year old. Thought, she did have to grow up fast. And of course, the jealousy is real since Zidane has yet another girl in his harem, and Aspilanti84 has none.
The Flaming Amarant. Yeah. The foil who proves Zidane’s message of teamwork and friendship is ~~magic~~ relevant. He too exists so the writers could say “See kids, Squall was wrong all along! You do need others!” Boring because the writers didn’t want to upstage “nice guy”. Mysterious because he “just is, you know”?
Aspilanti84 understand that Amarant is indeed a foil to Zidane. Bravo. What he created to tells the “kids” that “Squall was wrong”? Probably not. I don’t know why Aspilanti84 takes it this personally. Is s/he protecting Squall’s feelings?
Quina was the most honest person here. You didn’t expect much, and neither did he/she. You knew he/she was just comic relief. But “nice guy” Zidane really didn’t want him/her around, by passive-aggressively suggesting he/she take a hike. What a nice guy Zidane is, to not hurt Quina’s feelings like that…
Ha! Another way to make Zidane look like a bad person: he hates Quina.
Kuja. His narcissism is off the chart! This is what I like to see in a villain, someone despicable and detestable. Someone with unwarranted self-importance. But he’s not very intimidating. At all. He’s no threat. He’s what would have happened if Zidane dropped his “nice guy” act. Oh wait, Zidane did drop the nice guy routine.
Funny thing happened to Aspilanti84 on the way to talk about someone’s narcissism as being “off the charts”…
But seriously, we see this person is a villain, with unwarranted self-importance but of little threat.
And Kuja is the same way, I guess.
Beatrix. Another badass who takes a backseat to Garnet. Just who is this game made for, anyways?
This person really has a thing for the strong characters. But we don’t need Beatrix as main playable character. Her arc is too similar to Steiner’s, and Steiner goes through more character development and depth.
The characters were a nice eclectic mix, but were ultimately flat and insincere. Again, the characters fall for the “Goldilocks Effect”. They were neither hot nor cold, they were “just right”. Tepid. Stale. Flat. Mediocre. Nice guys, these characters…
And it just stops here. All Aspilanti84 wanted to talk about, or had time to talk about, was the story and the characters. For whatever reason, this tepid, stale, flat, mediocre, “nice guy” story really made an impression on Aspilanti84’s mind. Aspilanti84 spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about hating Final Fantasy IX.
But why? And to what effect. Why hate a game so many people love, if not to tear down fans?
For a better analysis, try this.