I first played a Final Fantasy back way back, well too far back, it was on PC and it was Final Fantasy 7 followed by every other one, until the franchise moved on to PlayStation and I sort of lost touch ever since, so when Final Fantasy IX launched recently on the Nintendo Switch, the only games console I own, I had to grab the game and delve into what can only be classed as a masterpiece of storytelling, gameplay, and deep nostalgia. However, yet again all the bugs that came with the PS4, PC and Mobile ports are all here, after many years of being available Square Enix and it’s development teams have yet to fix them.
The best thing is, there is even more Final Fantasy Games coming to the Nintendo Switch including the following, FINAL FANTASY VII, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, Final Fantasy X, and X-2 HD Remaster, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon Everybuddy and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition.
In Final Fantasy IX, you follow a monkey-tailed your lad named Zidane and his gang of thieves, which from start sets the story around a messed up kidnapping, however, while the game progresses, the story arch widens and becomes more in-depth to a point where you and your gang must save the world. If you are an avid fan of the old-school final fantasy games you will know that battles are turned based and you also get random encounters ever so often. If you are not a fan of random encounters you can turn them off as leveling up is done through new gear and weapons instead. Gaining new gear will also give you access to new abilities, which become available once equipped and if you have another AP through battles you can permanently keep the new skills. The way the customisation is done when it comes to the game skills I found to be extremely deep, somewhat confusing when you first start off, but in the end extremely rewarding
Square Enix has added a few quality of life improvements to how you play the game including a way to speed through dialogue and speed through the overworld map and battles. You can also stop all random encounters, which some people will be very pleased about as they find them to be rather annoying. Then you have the cheating options, one hit kills, come on that is a joke and even more of a joke, become a god and become invincible. Now becoming invisible might be a good option for players that just want to play the game for the enjoyment of the story, but for everyone else, well it would be down to you. If that’s not enough you can also activate battle assistance, this refills your HP, MP, and Trance, still not enough you can max out everything, level, mastery, and money.
Graphically the game is nothing to run home and shout about, the game originally came out on PS1 and has never seen a true remaster, the background is static and the overworld is full of mist, this was due to the draw distance back in the old days, well come on the PS1 is no where near as powerful as the system of late. So what you get are new design polygonal models playing around on static images, which have not been upgraded, with a good amount of old school, amazing full motion videos.
The sound in this game is typical final fantasy, a wonder, and a delight, the FMV’s are gorgeously designed and the music score chosen is a delight, there is nothing to complain about here.
The story is where this game shines, it is one of the best Final Fantasy games ever made along with Final Fantasy VII, some argue this is better, for me, VII is the better of the two. Final Fantasy IX offers a strong narrative with twists and turns along the way. The story is really deep and engaging but can get confusing at times, as the main story events are implemented randomly and makes no sense on times, it is like someone had an idea, implemented it and thought ok I like it but let us move on to something else.
So the game has bugs still, I found the game crashed from time to time, but I was able to simply load back into the game with no issues, it was the same on the PC and PS4. The background may be outdated and seeing newly designed characters running around them does seem a little odd, but once you get used to it, you forget about it. The story will simply drag in you and along for the ride of your life in what I class as an amazing JRPG from a time long ago, and well worth playing all over again, and if you are new, well this is a mixed bag for you, watch the video and see what you think, personally for the price its worth it.