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Review Final Fantasy IX a.k.a. Fainaru fantajî IX (PSX)

genre: JRPG, adventure

First off, the graphics are amazing for a PSX game. Especially when you use summons or one of the strongest magic powers like Flare. The FMV sequences are as always impressive and beautiful. 

The cartoony almost kiddy look suits the game and the world you play in. Compared to FF8 it certainly is a step up visually. The musical score is good. I do however wished that they would have made more variations of the tune used in the random battles. Because that theme really got on my nerves after a while. But I was glad that they still used the old victory theme when you win a battle. The gameplay is the best you can get. The battle system is easy and doesn't require much thinking. Just equip an item, learn the ability that comes with it and it is ready for use. It definitely is a major improvement on the junction system from FFVIII. (If you made wrong choices you would get punished and had to start all over again.) In FFIX you can't go wrong. And this could be seen as a flaw. For advanced players it is too easy. The challenge comes from other elements that made no sense to me. For instance at a crucial moment in the game (CD 3) you have to win a Tetra Master tournament in order to advance. And believe me that it is one annoying game. If you have no interest in card games, than this will be a very frustrating experience. Winning the tournament requires the best cards that are available in the game. So it actually demands of you to gather these special cards even if you don't want to. 

To me one of the major flaws of this game was the character building. With the characters that are made available there was a lot of potential for interesting events. Not much background is given on them only when it was needed to explain a certain element in the plot. For example we know that Vivi is a Black Mage and that he has a genuine motive in finding out what is going on concerning the Black Mages that are controlled by Kuja. But we never find out why his grandpa chose to raise him (since he wasn't a black mage himself) and if the grandpa knew that he was a Black Mage. Not knowing enough made it impossible for me to root for the characters like I did for the characters in FFX. Also this lack of depth has his impact on the main plot which doesn't offer anything new or original. The love angle between Zidane and Garnet (Dagger) is obvious. But wasn't as strong as the connection between Squall and Rinou from FF8 or Tidus and Yuna. Also Zidane doesn't really change. His character is the same throughout the game. Squall (FF8) and Cloud (FF7) were more reluctant and did develop during the game into heroes. Which made it far more interesting to follow the story and play the game. But in the end the one thing that kept me playing the game was it's addictive gameplay. Battling foes is so much fun especially once you gain all those super abilities and skills. 

I can say without a doubt that this is one of the best games that the PSX has to offer and that it has to be played at least once. 

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