Final Fantasy was initially a series that was synonymous with Nintendo, from the original on the NES in 1987 all the way through to the sixth entry on the Super Nintendo in 1994. Then, things changed. Sony entered the console market and the series became exclusive to them - no Nintendo console would see a new iteration in the mainline series again, until now. Final Fantasy has returned home.
Originally released in 2000 on the PS1, Final fantasy IX was by my no means a flop, but couldn’t quite live up to the previous two entries in sales. This was most likely a combination of its late release on a console whose successor had already landed, as well as Final Fantasy fatigue, being the third game in just four years. On top of this, FFIX took a different direction to the previous three entries, moving away from the sci-fi genre and heading back down a pure fantasy route.
Don’t be put off by the title - it’s very much a standalone experience that requires no prior knowledge of the series. The story revolves around a rebellion of sorts, as a group of bandits kidnap a princess in an eventual attempt to overthrow the evil queen. FFIX has some truly loveable characters and brings humour to a genre that previously, and since, can take itself very seriously. The development of the characters and the relationships between them will keep you hooked throughout.
Like any good JRPG, the fun comes in it boss fights, and this game is no exception. Managing your party’s health, choosing when to attack and when to defend, with different attacks and spells to keep combat fun throughout. The extra character slot over previous games in the series adds to the variety without it becoming overwhelming.
The Switch edition of FFIX is very much a port of the mobile version, which is a decent port itself. It has the option to speed up gameplay, as well a battle assist which is extremely helpful/cheaty if you get stuck and don’t want to revisit an earlier save to grind. And as with most Final Fantasy game, the soundtrack is a work of art.
FFIX was a great game when it first came out, and it still is. If you’ve never played it before or you want to revisit it, now is certainly the time.
FINAL FANTASY IX / DEVELOPER: SQUARE ENIX / PLATFORM: NINTENDO SWITCH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW