On September 19th, 2017 Square Enix blew the minds of Final Fantasy fans across the world by releasing Final Fantasy IX on the PS4 via the PlayStation Store. The game isn’t a full remaster, but a port of the PC version with tweaked visuals and added goodies.
The move had only been anounced earlier that day at the Tokyo Game Show, with almost no prior indication, but die hard Final Fantasy IX fans (hey that’s me) were on it within the first 24 hours.
Assuming you haven’t downloaded the game, or are hesitant to do so because you haven’t played the gift that is FF9, and need a little convincing, here are our 9 reasons to do so!
1. It is the most Final Fantasy-est of all the series
Yeah, we said it. Not only do we believe that FF9 captured the spirit of the franchise, but the creator of the series, Hironobu Sakaguchi, agrees. He first stated it was his favorite in an interview before the games release in 2000, but has since reaffirmed this during an interview with YouTube’s ProzD (as reported by Kotaku.com).
It is no surprise, considering Final Fantasy IX was a return to classics after the widely successful, but experimentive, Final Fantasy VIII. It feels very thoughtful and has a lot of heart, and the steam punk influenced aesthetic works really well.
2. It has one of the series most popular non-main characters.
Yeah, We went there. The littlest, most adorable, black mage that fully embodies the class is one of the main highlights of this game.
For not being the main character, Vivi was given some of the richest character development we’ve seen from a video game, and his arc (which spans the entire game) feels deeper and more meaningful than most movie characters.
3. You’re getting a lot of bang for your buck
If you download the game by September 26th you can get it on sale for $16.79, but even the full $20.99 is well worth it. The original game spanned 4 discs on the original PlayStation and is loaded with mini-games, collectibles, optional “side-quests” and decently developed storylines for the characters –including npc’s. We are telling you, the game was ahead of its time with the amount of volume and content it has in it.
4. Trophy support.
While some people are griping that the platinum trophy is insane, we are just glad to finally have trophies for this game. Sure, there are extremely difficult trophies to get involving optional mini-games, but we finally have a barometer for what the developers want out of us as completionists, and potential hardcore bragging rights and super-fan status.
5. It has built-in cheats to make the game easier or harder, and some don’t even affect trophies!
There are 2 levels of modification.
Cheats from the pause screen, which can be toggled on/off and supposedly don’t affect the ability to get trophies: players can speed up gameplay,
Or create an “easy mode” with “9999” guaranteeing max damage/heals and Battle Assistant which keeps the battle gauge filled and all hp/mp at max–allowing the player to breeze through the game and only worry about the story.
You can also turn off random encounters, creating a type of “minimum level hard mode”…or to just fly through the game.
There are also cheats that will disable trophies from the configuration menu– max Gil/max level and magic stones/Master abilities.
We won’t be using any of the cheats, besides maybe speed up, but we may in our second playthrough to just enjoy the story.
6. LGBT+ Representation
There is a nongender specified character in the form of Quina, a Qu from Qu’s Marsh. The original Japanese version never gendered the character with clear pronouns, and when it was localized to English the translators used an unusual s/he for their pronouns.
While we would have preferred the translators had used, “they” for Quina’ s pronouns, there is a point in the story where Quina marries a male-identifying party member for a ceremony to get through a dwarf village, and even the implication that Final Fantasy could have a possibly LGBT wedding was very impactful and mattered to a lot of players in their younger years.
7. The mini-games
Jump rope, foot races, the card game Tetra-Master, and the best integration of chocobos of any game in the series makes the world of Final Fantasy IX incredibly fun and adds even more value to the game’s already great core story.
The chocobo you get to play with can help you find treasure on the world map, and the mini-game chocobo hot-n-cold in 3 different locations. Even your chocobo friend powers up through its beak and advancements through changing color, becoming more useful, and getting its own fully developed storyline and development (which is linked to another NPC’s backstory if you’re eagle-eyed enough to catch it).
8. The plot is stellar
Sure, the game is fairly linear, but with a story this good, we don’t care.
The main plot takes a lot of twists, sometimes even surprising ones, and adds extra depth with active time events and beautifully animated cutscenes.
9. An A+ soundtrack and magical orchestration
Composed by long time Final Fantasy collaborator Nobuo Uematsu, this game’s soundtrack is one of the best in the series. The song in the title screen (The Place I’ll Return to Someday) is iconic in itself, but the impressive character themes and general scoring left a lasting impression on us (enough to re-excite us during the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy installments).
Nothing is cheapened by sub-par voice acting, as Final Fantasy X was the first game of the series to have voice acting, so the character’s accents and voices are all what you want them to be and the silent-movie style cutscenes become almost more impactful.
[You knew we couldn’t keep it to just 9]
10. It has one of the best tutorials and story-integrated introduction of any game we have played.
Most to the background and information is woven pretty naturally into the game’s dialogue, but the rest is presented in pop-ups that resemble the dialogue and action boxes so there isn’t a sense of being over-explained to, and who even knows where the official intro stops and the story begins?
The real tutorials and explanations come from the Moogles. Most moogles in Final Fantasy IX help you by acting as save points, though they have their own drama and background story you experience by delivering letters, Mister is a moogle that explains the mechanics of the game during Active Time Events as they become available.
Did we mention Final Fantasy IX has super cute moogles and you should play it.