RPG Review: Final Fantasy 9

So in continuation of my quest to play every Final Fantasy game, I managed to nab FFIX on a Switch eshop sale and set off on my adventure! And no, this is not an April fool’s post lol.

Since I just came from FF8 there’s gonna be a lot of comparison starting with the fact that I’ll be honest – FF9 just wasn’t as funny. But I think FF8 was special in its own weird way of adding ridiculous scenes and localized lines. The funniest line I saw in FF9 was probably this one:

That said, I liked Zidane much more as a protagonist than Squall. He was pretty upbeat and definitely ready to take on action instead of brooding and going Whatever… However on top of that, he was also extremely horny. Every woman he met he would hit on, and once he set his eyes on Garnet he would even go as far as grabbing her buttcheeks (whether on purpose or not I still don’t know. 😂)

At first I thought he was just being horny on main but after finishing the game I think he means it in a literal sense.

Our hero Zidane, who works for a theatre troupe who are also master rogues decides to abduct the princess of Alexandria, Garnet. It’s probably love at first sight (and also memoria shit end game spoilers) so basically  Zidane ends up liking Garnet and while it does take a bit of time, Garnet eventually falls for Zidane. So overall, I actually thought their relationship/pairing is really cute. It didn’t feel one sided like with Rinoa & Squall, and it didn’t feel annoying like with Tidus and Yuna (where Yuna was like kya i wuv him but too shy to admit it and Tidus is just HA HA HA HA.)

And so then turns out that Garnet’s mom is being controlled by some monster set off by the ultimate bad guy ™ Kuja. The mom starts going crazy and destroying multiple continents until eventually Zidane and Garnet defeat her and end up killing her in the process because she gets caught up in a battle between 2 primals – Alexander & Bahamut. Ouch!

There’s a sight for sore eyes

A couple destroyed villagers later their traveling buddy Vivi, a lonely black mage, discovers the meaning of life and why he was created. And finally we reach the alien planet where Zidane came from – and reveal that he was created by Garlond so that they could basically perform the plot of Shadowbringers and Nier Replicant in which they merge Terra (Zidane’s planet) with Gaia (Earth).

They also get unofficially hitched in Vegas Dwarf Village

Zidane was one of the “bodies” created to transport souls from earth and the one to cause the chaos was to be Kuja. Unfortunately Kuja got all buttmad that his lil bro Zidane was getting preferential treatment and decided to just do whatever the fuck he wants which ultimately led to his demise.

Fabulously evil

Then some random bad guy named Necron (who looks like Omega from FFXIV savage raid) ends up coming out to fight everyone and after he’s defeated, Zidane has his final moment with oniichan before returning back to his waifu Garnet who’s now the queen of the newly rebuilt Alexandria.

Big hugs!

Oh and also turns out Garnet was a summoner from the summoner landia but when she was adopted by the queen, they chopped of her summoner horn because somehow she looked a lot like the queens’ daughter who had died as a child. I don’t know why this detail was never officially SPOKEN to Garnet? It was briefly touched on off camera to Eiko, the other summoner from the same country, but there was never a scene explaining it to Garnet directly. Hopefully they did it offscreen but I feel like they could have spent more time on that for some reason.

And they lived happily ever after.

My only beef honestly is the story was going really well, and everything was explained but then for some reason at the very very end it felt like it fell apart. A lot of stuff felt “just assume this is what happened.” Like assume that Zidane is superhuman and can manage to get out of all those vines that trapped him inside the Iifa tree. Imagine that Vivi magically cloned himself so there could be more Vivis before he finally “stopped moving” like the other black mages. Imagine that Kuja died anyway despite Zidane’s attempts to save him and just be happy that everyone lived happily ever after. I mean okay I guess…a lot of FF games do kinda end on that note but it just felt jarring since the rest of the story was pretty consistent and linear and I wasn’t confused on what was going on.

Omega is that you?

But overall I think I enjoyed this game and mostly because I could basically “skip” battles by setting all my attacks to do 9999 damage per hit. That basically allowed me to completely ignore the battle system and the “wear gear until you get a skill system” (*which in retrospect I think is really stupid and I recall Eiko getting a skill in which she would just HEAL ENEMIES FOR NO REASON until I turned it off ಠ_ಠ.) But yea thanks to that the entire game was a breeze, and while I do understand some people enjoy stat building and skill building and all that, I’m just here for the story and out of all the FF games I’ve played this was by far the easiest one system wise. So if you feel like “oh man I don’t really wanna grind skills levels” you just play FF9 where you can be level 99, have 9.9 million gil and kill everything with 9999 hit attacks. 😂

I actually prefer Garnet’s haircut and was kinda bummed she grew it back in the end.

My one and only real disappointment was the music. Usually I will like a couple bgms that are catchy in every FF game I played but literally nothing from this game stuck with me. The Flamenco song at the start was in the Dancer quest in FFXIV so I already knew that one but nothing else managed to stick. Since I skipped all the sidequests I never even got a chocobo so I didn’t even know what the chocobo theme for FF9 sounds like lol.

Anyway here’s a gallery of all the funny moments I managed to capture:

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You can check out my “FF9 moments” on my twitch channel highlight and as usual ye ‘olde Rabtoons parody video:

And now for some parting thoughts from my husband who played the game along with me:

Up until the end, this was otherwise probably the most straightforward Final Fantasy game that we’ve played. Each destination that the story took us to was something that logically flowed from how the story was progressing, and the game wasn’t full of impenetrable jargon for everything. Even as we approached the ending, we figured “there’ll probably be a cutscene any second now to explain this part since that’s how everything had been right up to that point.” But then…there wasn’t. That was the most jarring part of all, in that everything was pretty simple to follow so you’d think that just a quick little bit of exposition would follow. Like no really, wtf is a Necron and why is this the endboss?

The other important note that I need to elaborate on is that this game had probably the most fool-proof cheat mode of all the recent ports. You immediately jump to level 99, you get 9.9 million gil, you skip all non-essential battles, every attack does 9999 damage, every character heals to max HP every turn, and they’re immune to most status ailments. I get the feeling that if we didn’t have this we would’ve enjoyed the game significantly less because of the enormous amount of added tedium that would’ve ensued. The most obvious part of this is how modern games usually have some kind of auto-healing once a battle is over, and the battles are calibrated around this. In older games, instead what this leads to is the combination of hauling around giant stacks of potions along with constantly wasting time trekking back and forth to inns (and all of the trash fights that ensue along the way, and all the battle animations in the process, and…)

I remember this from the 2.0 FFXIV opening movie 🤔

The character and leveling system seemed fairly straightforward, especially compared to FFVIII, but I can tell that if we had to actually care about it this would’ve been similarly annoying. We would have to constantly micromanage every character’s gear to make sure that they’re all learning the appropriate skills and every fight would be a repeat of the draw magic tedium of FFVIII where we need to make sure that Zidane steals whatever special gear each enemy has before we actually win the fights. Then I get the feeling that many of the boss fights would likely take a first try in order to understand the boss’s attacks followed by then double checking everyone’s skills and gear to make sure that they’ve gotten all the correct resistances or immunities to be able to continue, and go back to ever more grinding if it turns out that they don’t. It can be nice to be able to have a level of customization like that, but honestly in my experience this kind of flexibility usually results in either being able to break a game to the point where you have to willfully not optimize things or a ton of minutiae that you need to fiddle with but that ultimately doesn’t really matter in the end.

4 thoughts on “RPG Review: Final Fantasy 9

  1. It has been at least 8 years that I read your blogs and now I realize something. I never let a comment before LOL in my defense I don’t use twitter or facebook and my english sucks. Thank you for playing all FFs and writing about it bc I’ve been trying to convince my husband to play the whole franchise with me and he rejects every time hehe also I don’t have the energy to do it alone (o´▽`o)

    1. Sorry for the extreme late reply, April’s been wild and also I got hit with a new FFXIV patch. THanks for commenting and being a long time reader 😀 Hopefully your husband can one day give it a chance….but at least this one’s pretty easy to play even on your own!

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