No, not in a row but as a part of a marathon (I – VI then IX). Of these, Final Fantasy IX is clearly KING! even beating out Final Fantasy VI. Here’s what I think of it:
Graphics: Here’s what turns most people off. Their loss. Anyone who says the graphics are “childish” didn’t understand what Final Fantasy IX was trying to accomplish. The whimsical character designs fit perfectly with the tone of the game, making it feel like a storybook fantasy. I like the personality and charm factor. Battle animations are expressive, FMVs are great and my PS2 smooths away most of the graininess. The graphics have aged well.
Story: The best part of Final Fantasy IX, even better than Final Fantasy VI’s story. I think Final Fantasy IX could be an anime. The themes are meaningfully and beautifully executed. The characters are somewhat annoying and aren’t always believable but they have clear needs and wants and grow as characters.
Battle Customization/Gameplay: The customizations are reeeeaaaaalllly boorrrring. But it’s pretty satisfying to gain abilities at the level up screen. The gameplay isn’t as slow as I remembered. Trance is still the most annoying, frustrating element of the game. Oh well, I still had fun.
Music: Fits the overall theme. But for every song I can remember from Final Fantasy IX, I remember 3 from the previous two title. Not nearly as good as Final Fantasy VI’s sound, but still, yet another solid OST, a testament to the Uematsu’s genius.
“Spirit”: Sometimes it feels like Final Fantasy IX is someone’s interpretation of what Final Fantasy should be. Maybe it’s because a different team developed Final Fantasy IX. If so, would Tabata have “told off” this team for thinking Final Fantasy IX was special? Would Final Fantasy IX be the “Final Fantasy Disease”? I can’t answer that, but Final Fantasy XV has shown how far Final Fantasy has come since Final Fantasy IX. Final Fantasy IX was the send off fans needed…
Legacy: I can see why it feels out of place. If released after Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy IX would be the next logical iteration in the series. It’s jarring between Nomura-styled Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X, however. Also, the homage aspect was pretty inconsequential. Every Final Fantasy references past games. Still, the previous six games were fresh in my mind. I had direct nostalgia for those titles – and that’s a plus!
Final Fantasy IX really was the love letter to fans. This game bridged the gap between old and new Final Fantasy fans. I had fun playing it; it deserves praise. No one who’s played Final Fantasy IX underrates it.
Verdict: 9.5/10 [IX > VI > IV > V > III > II > I]
So what do you think? Any questions? What’s your favorite Final Fantasy IX memory?