Like most gamers back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I was a big fan of the Final Fantasy titles that were released then. When Final Fantasy IX came along, it had a certain kind of magic that made me an even bigger fan of the franchise as it captured everything that makes the series so wonderful. Here we are seventeen years later with a port that brings this magic to the PlayStation 4, though not without issues. Even still, it’s a title that anyone will fall for when given a chance.
I won’t go into the plot details too much as not to spoil the fantastic journey that awaits any who take it. It starts off simple enough with a young man (with a tail I might add) named Zidane who is part of a thieves guild that’s sent to kidnap Princess Garnet. What comes next is a grand adventure that will have Zidane and Garnet joining forces while meeting new friends along the way, including a personal favorite black mage of mine named Vivi, in order to save the world from evil forces while learning what life and death truly means.
The theme of life and death is one of the key things that make this such a standout entry of the Final Fantasy series, as the characters are constantly questioning themselves and what they’re living/fighting for. This kept me playing and pushing forward just to see what would come next for our heroes and if they ever find the answers they’re seeking. While I love seeing this game after so long, you can tell the graphics and presentation are a bit of a mixed bag as all of the 3D character models looks razor sharp and clean, but the original pre-rendered PlayStation backgrounds are an out of focus mess. Another thing is that the picture is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio with large grey bars on the sides of the picture, and the text boxes and UI menus are a bit big on the screen, most likely due to the mobile device port of the game serving as a base for this version.
At least the sounds are just as great as they were back on the original, and there’s some pretty sweet perks you can activate to custom tailor your experience such as speeding up the game, give yourself max gold and stats, and one that’s sure to be a favorite when trying to get through a confusing area….being able to disable random encounters. I know a lot of people would say these are more like cheats, but I for one am glad these options are here and wish more RPGs had features like this.
If you’re a fan of the original game or have never had the chance to experience this adventure, you’ll want to hop on the nearest airship and fly off to the PlayStation Store and pick up Final Fantasy IX. I wish the backgrounds matched the high quality of the 3D characters, but even with that throwing things off some, this is still an epic tale that should be played by anyone who loves video games.