In a land corrupted by greed, four kingdoms fight for power. The kingdom of Lindblum has had enough of the bloodshed and war. Alexandria, headed by a greed corrupted queen, seems to be the center of all the violence. In an attempt to stop the war, the leader of Lindblum, Cid, hires bandits to kidnap the princess of Alexandria. Unfortunately, the plan goes terribly wrong.
Final Fantasy IX features a very unique cast of characters. The main character happens to be a thief named Zidane. Zidane’s past is very interesting and as the game progresses you find many secrets to his past. Including why he has a tail. The princess in the game is named Garnet. She does end up bringing the element of romance to the story but it’s nothing unbearable. The rest of the cast is also unique, featuring characters like the Flaming Amarant, a very mysterious man who seems to be caught in the middle of good and evil. He also has a very unhealthy competitiveness with Zidane. Another unique character is Freya, who ties is much better than Amarant into the story. The other characters are also unique in their old game and it seems that these characters are more unique than any other character in the Final Fantasy franchise. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to save Final Fantasy IX.
Of course, you have to expect great graphics from and Final Fantasy game at Squaresoft’s current stage. The game is beautifully detailed. The World Map in this game is very nice as well. Although, the could’ve possibly done more with it. Overall, the graphics were superb, especially for a game made in 1999.
Here is where the game fails to amaze me. The story. After playing previous Final Fantasies, you can’t help but expect the best from Final Fantasy IX. I have to say, I didn’t like it from the beginning. The whole concept of kidnapping a princess seemed very formulaic. It bored me. I also didn’t like this “olden times” theme that the story seemed to bring although some weapons were too futuristic to for even our time. The story did take unexpected plot twists, but they weren’t fantastic plot twists. They were too “out-of-nowhere.” The story just failed to amaze me and that’s where the game really fell.
Gameplay in this game is pretty standard. There isn’t anything outstandingly special. It’s basically your standard ATB system where you take turns hitting each other. Squaresoft, of course, altered it just a little bit but it kept the basic premise of all the other ATB systems before it. I felt Square could’ve done more with it, but it was still a decent fighting system.
This game is decent. The reason I say that is because the story really brought me down. And isn’t that what a role-playing game is supposed to be about? It failed to appeal to me well enough for me to give this a grade-A game standard. Don’t get me wrong it did have it’s moments, but you can’t play this game and say that it was complete. There were too many elements missing. The game could’ve been much better.