One of my video game goals for this year was to play a variety of Final Fantasy games, with VII, IX, X-X2, and XII coming out on the Switch this year. Back in February, I downloaded and started the first 3 hours of Final Fantasy IX before moving on to other games that I was close to finishing. Being a little burnt out by the Gravity Rush series, I thought this week would be the perfect time for me to sit down and focus on playing through Final Fantasy IX.
I was able to play around 20 hours of the game this week and I am at the point of the game that is near the end of Disc 3. Something that I didn’t notice when I first played the game a few weeks ago was that there are in-game cheats in the Switch version, like being able to deal 9999 damage, safe travel, and maxing out every character’s level. I prefer not to use them (especially having every character at their max level), but it is convenient for players who just want to experience the story. However, I ended up using the cheat where you automatically learn the abilities/skills from each piece of equipment you have because that is the main reason for players to grind in this game. For someone who has a lot of games on their backlog and anticipating the releases of games in the near future, I don’t have the patience to spend a lot of time grinding AP. Maybe sometime in the future, I will have a playthrough where I don’t use those cheats.
In my playthrough this week, it felt like the story only picked up and never slowed down. From trying to save Burmecia and Cleyra from Alexandria’s attacks, to Garnet being captured by the Queen, I was interested to see what happened next in the story. I found it interesting that in the end of Disc 1 and a good part of Disc 2 you switched between Zidane and Garnet as they had their separate journeys, since it shows what was going on in two different parts of the world.
If there was something that makes Final Fantasy IX stand out from the other games I played in the series, it would be the characters and the game’s world. Each party member goes through their own struggles in life and figures out how to deal with them. This makes the characters in the game feel realistic, which also makes the world of Final Fantasy IX realistic too, because they are relatable and not just one note characters. In my opinion, Vivi is one of the more intriguing characters in video games. Learning about himself throughout the adventure, he questions his existence and fears the future since he doesn’t have a lot of time to live. Yet he still stays with the party and helps out even though he knows he could probably stop moving at any second.
Since I am near the end of what would be Disc 3 in the original PlayStation version, I believe that I will be able to finish Final Fantasy IX at some point next week. So far, I understand why people say this game is one of the best in the series, if not one of the best RPGs of all time. If the game finishes strong, then I can definitely see Final Fantasy IX being near the top of my favorite RPG list.