At long last, my Final Fantasy marathon ends here…for the time being anyway. And I have to say, it ended with a great game, bringing me back to my early days when I first played FF 8 and 7, as I described in my post about the first game.
After playing through this game, I have come to the conclusion that Final Fantasy didn’t truly become great games until the PlayStation. I really enjoyed 7-9. The more advanced system with it’s “powerful” hardware allowed for some great story telling visually with the beautiful cut scenes, and the bigger space spread out on multiple discs allowed for more in game story told through a much larger world as well.
FF9 was also void of any annoying things that plagued the series from 6 downward. There were only 2 cheap instant death encounters I met the whole game, and it was mainly due to overpowered counter attacks. For once, I could go through the whole game without wanting to pull my hair out.
Gone too are the obnoxious amounts of random encounters. Most games had you fighting endless amounts of battles for little experience. FF9 reversed that by having less battles with more experience, and that is just fine by me!
The skill system is great in this game as well. Each equipable item has skills attached to them that can teach one specific character something, or multiple people. This is truly great, for by the end of the game, all your characters know a vast amount of skills that you can equip to fit your needs at any time.
The story isn’t great, but it’s enjoyable enough, and there is great character development. The ending, however, is very weak and unnecessarily long for such a disappointing payoff. But the character development sort of makes up for that though.
The only real complaints I have about the game is that the encounters take way too long to start…like over 10 seconds you have to wait before the battle begins. First it kind of loads, then you are forced to watch as the camera unnecessarily scrolls through your environment, as if the developers were so proud of the world they created. Then your party and the enemies magically fade in to existence and then finally the fight begins…which brings me to my second complaint.
The fighting seems so delayed. It is so slow moving. Sometimes you just are sitting there waiting for something to happen. Even when you have given each member something to do, everyone just kind of dances around for a while, then the enemies go, then one of your characters attack, then the enemy might go again after waiting, then wait some more for one of your guys to go. Honestly, if you tell all four of your characters to do something, it might take close to 2 minutes for your fourth character to finally go. By the time they do, the other 3 have already refilled the battle meter thing and have new commands already inputted. When that fourth character finally goes, you had forgotten what you told them to do and a lot of the time, the flow of the battle has shifted by then so that their attack or whatever is more or less useless.
But other than that, it is a fun game that I really enjoyed. Now I can finally understand why these games have some kind of following. It only took 9 games and 15 years.
As always, I will rank the games from best to worst. This time though, I will include 7 & 8, though it is a little unfair since I never beat them completely.
FFIV: The After Years