Way Back When
As the 90s came to a close, so did the era of the very first PlayStation console. Its successor, the quite simply named PlayStation 2, launched in early 2000 and wasted no time in dominating the world of video games – and for good reason; it was a significant upgrade that offered gamers plenty of intriguing new features to enjoy. But three months after the new console’s release, famous role-playing game developer Square reminded players around the world that there was a bit of life left in Sony’s first piece of hardware. Aided by the PS2’s backwards compatibility, their newest game, Final Fantasy IX, quickly became all the rage among RPG fans – and just like that, the PS1 had its JRPG swan song.
After the futuristic departure of Square’s previous two PS1 entries in the long-running Final Fantasy franchise, the company opted to lean back into the roots of both the series and the RPG genre as a whole. But though it opted for a medieval fantasy setting filled with loving tributes to some of the earliest Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy IX didn’t shy away from expanding on what made those older games such beloved experiences by all. Despite maintaining a familiar battle system and general flow of gameplay, the game implemented such unique updates as Active Time Events to offer further character development, an increased use of the franchise’s lovable Moogle creatures for features like saving and item purchasing, and an incredibly customizable job system that hadn’t been seen in the series for many years.
But what’s most memorable for the majority of gamers is likely to be its utterly fantastic cast of characters and their deeply affecting story of war, loyalty, and friendship. Watching the various playable characters interact with one another was a joy to behold thanks to a perfect blend of comedy and mature themes, and it was especially rewarding to experience the emotional connections they developed throughout their lengthy journey. Most notable, of course, was the adorable and amiable black mage, Vivi, who has long since been considered one of the best RPG characters of all time due to both his iconic look and his compelling personal tale, which is at times hilarious and at other times heartbreaking.
Just like its two PS1 predecessors, Final Fantasy IX launched to critical acclaim and was a massive commercial success, selling over 5.5 million copies throughout its lifespan. It’s widely considered one of the greatest games ever, and it certainly brought a return to form for the franchise, which some were beginning to worry was leaning too far into sci-fi over the past few releases. For better or worse, all of the adoration of the game didn’t lead to Square expanding it beyond its initial release, but it has nonetheless earned itself plenty of further attention over the years via multiple re-releases across myriad platforms, including the various contemporary options listed in the following segment.
Where You Can Play It Now
Final Fantasy IX is available on most modern devices, but they all house the Remastered version of the game. This edition includes such features as drastically updated character models, trophy and achievement support, and an optional turbo mode that allows you to speed the game up, which reduces some of the fatigue associated with grinding for levels. Otherwise, it’s the same Final Fantasy IX you know and love.
Here’s the modern platforms on which you can access Final Fantasy IX:
- PC (via Steam)
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
- Nintendo Switch
There aren’t any sequels or much else to dive into after finishing up Final Fantasy IX, but perhaps that’s for the best, as this classic game deserves some time to settle in and be absorbed when you’re through with it. After all, they don’t make ’em like this anymore.