I finally finished Final Fantasy IX. Took me a little over 30 hours. I didn’t do all the side quests, but that’s more of Dan’s thing. The characters I played with the most ended up at about level 52 – if that tells you anything. Except for a little bit when I was trying to learn some skills, I didn’t do any grinding. That’s the big difference from when I played Final Fantasy VI as a kid. I don’t have quite as much time. Whenever I got to a complicated dungeon, I consulted an FAQ. So what are my final thoughts? Here’s a rambling, stream-of-conciousness review of the game after finishing it up.
**SPOILERS FROM HERE ON IN**
First of all, I liked the ending. It was predictable, but they kept you guessing up until the last minute. With the little montage they played before the Zidane reveal, it was quite possible to assume he was dead. I thought he was going to live on through something like one of the other Terrans. Second, this game suffered from one technical thing, in my opinion. That is that because there wasn’t any spoken dialogue, there were scenes that were cutscenes, but they had to have it not in “awesome” (for it’s time) quality video. There seemed to be be three qualities – pre-rendered FMV, semi-pre-rendered where you had some control, and then when you had full control. Basically, it annoyed me that it’s as if I were playing, but there’s only exposition going on. On that note, the active time events annoyed me too. I don’t know why they made it a choice except that if you’re playing through the second time you might not want to see it. I don’t know who would play through these games more than once, but not want to see the story. If I remember the story, I don’t want to play through again – it defeats the purpose. It’s like turning pages in a book without reading. And if I don’t remember the story anymore, I’ll want to see them. I liked the recursive nature of the plot – the black mages were basically just like the Kuja. That made it all the sweeter when he was disgusted to see he was also just a vessel filled with life. The whole black mage sub-plot was pretty neat. The overall plot seemed to be a mix between Final Fantasy VI and VII, but not as environmental as VII. The eidolon subplot seems to borrow, if only slightly, from VI. Overall, I liked the story much better than Final Fantasy VII. I was able to eventually get over Steiner’s earlier dumb antics. The Mognet thing was kinda dumb. I don’t see the point. Maybe I didn’t deliver enough letters, but they were very rarely helpful plot-wise and rarely netted me anything good. I liked the system for learning abilities and magic. It took me until about half-way into the game to realize exactly how to use it well, so I spent a bit of time grinding with lower quality weapons to learn some skills. Overall, better than VII and VIII.
** SPOILERS END **
Next on the plate is Final Fantasy X. First one with vocals and first one with a direct sequel. The success of X-2 led to sequels for Final Fantasy VII, the most famous of Final Fantasy and popular with many people who never played 1-6. I’m probably going to wait at least a week or two before getting to Final Fantasy X because it takes a lot of time to play the Final Fantasy games and I was very successful staying in the story this time by playing nearly every day until I finished. I didn’t have the problems I had with Final Fantasy VII or VIII. After that I might do Kingdom Hearts or I might go back to the classic SNES Final Fantasies.