Games

Final Fantasy 9 on PS4

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My experience with the ninth official entry in the Final Fantasy series was…underwhelming. If memory serves me right, it was the only entry (between 7 and 10) that I only played once.

Perhaps it was because I was used to more “realistic” looking graphics and character models of 7 and the others, but I just couldn’t get into 9. It also felt super old fashioned. I wasn’t really into the whole medieval style aesthetics that it boasted.

I was too quick to judge during my first playthrough.

I also didn’t like quirkier style of the game. Characters like Quina, I thought at the time, were just plain stupid. It’s odd looking back because how could I handle the existence of Cait-Sith but not Quina. But I digress. I was picky with what I wanted in a JRPG when I was starting my lifelong passion of the genre.

Final Fantasy 9 just didn’t cut it for me, and my distaste for it always left a crevice in my chest. It is considered one of the most celebrated entries in the series, and I felt like I was missing something that my admittedly snooty self just couldn’t get over.

Final Fantasy 9 stars Zidane, who I thought was the spectacular hero of the entries between 7 and 10. He was a thief with a weird tail. I vaguely remember moments in which I did connect with him, but perhaps he wasn’t emo enough, as both Cloud and Squall proved to be more up my alley.

Tidus was young and over ambitious, and I completely related to him, being a teen playing the series when I first did.

Zidane gets caught up in an epic adventure with a runaway princess who chops off her hair and renames herself Dagger (that is if you left the default name as is). I remember just wanting to finish the damn game, and only getting emotional toward the end when I thought that Zidane died, and saw Dagger running towards him, crying, because the stupid thief gave her (and to that extent me) quite the heart attack.

My perception of the story is very skewed, as any fan will tell you, that’s where I get into my reasons for why I, and others who doubted the prowess of the game so many years ago, should give it a shot.

Thing is Final Fantasy 9 holds a dear place in many people’s hearts because amid all these more modern Final Fantasy titles, you had one that decided to halt the progress of its ever-evolving science fiction aesthetics, and take it back to its old school stomping grounds.

You had knights, a hero who was more on the snarky, thieving side, and a story embroiled in magic, not the more Star Wars variety places. Your black mages are cloaked in the traditional tall pointed hats, dark and hidden faces, and the adorably dorky mage outfit. Just look at Vivi for the prime example of this aesthetic.

The story was also lighter than the other entries I’ve mentioned, and as a JRPGamer who took himself way too seriously in his earlier years, I didn’t like how the game didn’t always take itself serious. I should mention that there are some moments in which the story does explore darker themes, but it doesn’t dwell on them.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 marked the day that Final Fantasy 9 came out for PlayStation 4. The game boast some “HD” graphics, which basically means the character models and menus who crisper, when compared to that of the PlayStation 1 version of the game.

They do indeed look nice without the blurred, jagged lines of the version I remember playing, which is a nice bonus.

There’s some other added goodies too: trophies, remote play support, and an auto-save system. There will also be “boosts” available such as the ability to disable random enemy encounters, auto-battle mode, faster game speed, and a cheat to max out in-game money, gear, and player stats. So, if you just want to blow the game’s story, you have the option.

The fall gaming season has already started and sadly 9 will have to wait, but I plan to jump back in and play through it with an open mind later in the year. I had a great time with reentering the world of Final Fantasy 12, another entry in the series I was too quick to judge during its initial release.

Currently a grad student, professionally awkward person, writer, and all around total geek. His works are featured on PeculiarBeings.co, PopGeekly.com, and his personal blog lifeonthehighwire.wordpress.com.