So I found this from our resident Final Fantasy IX hater Aspilanti84 on Gamefaqs, who said of the game:
It was essentially an homage to all the other Final Fantasy games. And those games did it better. So why not replay other Final Fantasy games.
Sidenote: Since it is a homage, it literally rips everything good from every other game before it. So whenever people describe what makes FFIX unique, you realize that what they say (“tragedy, death, and slim hope” “characters dealing with their flaws”) could just be said for many other FF games. All of these cliches umbrella phrases (“the love story was the best” “so many feels and emotions” “the existentialism is done wonderfully”) don’t really impress me.
The homage claim is repeated in yet another probably is in reference to this:
Seriously, that’s what this game is. And that’s what everyone considers to be the strong point of the game. But what’s so good about a game that uses Final Fantasy references when all Final Fantasy games (except for I) have been doing it?
Final Fantasy 9 is good, but not better than the games it takes from. What do any of you have against actually playing the original games? I think you just like the awesomely high (for its time) quality graphics if anything (and the fact that at one point, to promote the game, the Sakaguchi said it was his favorite – ah yes the good ol’ Sakaguchi stamp of approval: works well on anything and everything).
According to Aspilanti84, Final Fantasy IX isn’t worth a second playthrough because once you played it, that’s all to see. S/he’s also assuming Final Fantasy IX underwhelmed you, more so than any other Final Fantasy.
I think s/he also maintains that the homages are nothing special either. Since most Final Fantasy games take homages and allusions from the predecessors, Final Fantasy IX is nothing special. I guess the references can’t be the only claim to fame here.
So then, the alleged problem is that Final Fantasy isn’t original and isn’t worth a replay. So why not play the other games? Simply enough: Final Fantasy IX is good. Every Final Fantasy fan should play it.
Yet aren’t the homages why Final Fantasy IX deserves a second playthrough? You’ll be able to pick up on all of the homages you’ve missed during your second playthrough. I know I did.
But I only picked up on Final Fantasy VII and VIII references. Yet, Final Fantasy IX contained so much more to previous games. And once I played through those games, I went through and replayed Final Fantasy IX. I understood the story Ramuh told Garnet. I picked up on smaller details like Garnet’s hood. I finally knew why they used hot pink for Trance.
Plus, Final Fantasy IX isn’t solely homages and references. There’s a lot of original content tucked away in the game as well. Squaresoft inverted and reinvented many of the concepts for a new perspective on the Final Fantasy series. And the idea of referencing past games is as Final Fantasy as Final Fantasy itself. It only makes sense Final Fantasy IX would contain the most up to that time.
Sakaguchi’s vision to make a game out of the homages from the past was a breath of fresh air. Of course, the series was moving towards a futuristic setting, and then back to modernity. I firmly believe he was trying to summarize the series. This is one of the reasons why fans see Final Fantasy as a “love letter” to them. This might also be why Sakaguchi called Final Fantasy IX his favorite game. In essence, Final Fantasy IX incorporates he favorite elements through all of his previous games into one definitive classic.
I hope that Aspilanti84 can give this game a second chance. They’re missing out on one of the greatest Final Fantasy games in the series. It’s also one of the finest of the PlayStation 1 era games.