Over months I have been wishing to see more of the re-mastered ports of Final Fantasy currently out on PC (Steam) come to the PS4. One in particular was Final Fantasy IX. As real life got busy and just as I was casually thinking of how much I would love to play the updated version of Final Fantasy IX on my PS4 BAM! It appears without warning. Words could not express how excited I was and instantly (well after I finished work) I went and downloaded it. My excitement of this game stems from many factors.
As I have never been much into PC gaming with some exclusions it is nice to see some of my favourite games come to PS4. Final Fantasy IX is also considered by many to be the flagship of the series. While it is my second favourite Final Fantasy behind VII, I still hold it in high regard and anyone that knows me will know Final Fantasy is my favourite gaming franchise of all time.
Final Fantasy IX begins on a ship where a band of thieves plan to kidnap the princess of Alexandria Garnet Til Alexandros XVII who as it turns out wished to be kidnaped anyway as she senses something going on within her family.
The story of Final Fantasy IX is by far one of the best in the series; the characters from beginning to end have distinct personalities from old south American talking Ruby to Princess Garnet who speaks in a royal tone. The settings from rich looking castles to dark forests to raining ruined cities also sets the different tones from laughter to sorrow very fast. They did fix some of the dialogues though I am not sure why from characters such as the young that bumps into Vivi and no longer says you dwopped your ticket.
Final Fantasy IX is when the series while a later part of the franchise goes back to its original roots. It takes place in the world of Gaia in an age of steampunk and steam powered engines. The PS4 version comes with a host of new features that will enhance the game. These are menu activated commands which allow you to play right from the get go with fully upgraded characters and unlimited gil; doing this will void obtaining any trophies for that save regardless of if it is changed back or not. There are other commands which can be activated from the Pause menu which do not block trophies; one of theses allows your characters to hit for the maximum amount of damage and fully heal during battle aswell as be fully charged with Trance. There is a speed booster also which will speed up the game immensely; this doesn’t work so well as it is just too fast and you can end up with your character running off screen or into a wall.
The biggest improvement in Final Fantasy IX is the graphical enhancement to character models and the games user interface. It is a much welcome improvement which really shows the details in characters faces.
Another nice feature is the auto-save feature on moving screens. You no longer need to look for a save moogle and can save pretty much anywhere. The moogles are still an integral part of the mognet side quest so it is still worth visiting them all. The game still features the many side quests such as Chocobo hot and cold and all the powerful Superbosses.
Final Fantasy IX has a simple but a rewarding character development system. Equipping characters will allow them to use abilities; obtaining AP in battle count towards these and allow abilities to be learned permanently. Certain characters can only equip certain items and only certain abilities can be learned by individual characters making it one of the few Final Fantasy games where characters feel very unique.
My main issue with Final Fantasy IX has always been the Trance system. Trance is a state where characters are at there most powerful. This is a good thing as trance is very powerful but it is something that cannot be controlled; it can be activated in certain boss battles where character emotions are heightened through the story but a lot of the time it will activate through normal battles or at times when it is not needed.
Final Fantasy IX hasn’t changed much since its glorious release in the original PlayStation; the graphical enhancements are a big improvement on the original and the game is as much a treat to play today as it has always been. The soundtrack has not seen any change although it doesn’t need to as Nobuo Uematsu’s work on the music is arguably one of the best of the series.
A PlayStation 4 Review code was provided by Square Enix