Final Fantasy IX is what many would consider a dividing rod among fans. The last of the PS1 games in the series, you're either a hardcore fan or you despise this game immensely. The biggest reason for the division is the look and tone of the game, as it took a more playful and cartoonish approach than the previous three games before it, and if you're going for realism, it stands out on its own merits from VIII and X. I personally enjoyed the game when it came out, but could also see why others who had gotten used to the seriousness of VIII and Tactics were suddenly turned off. So how does the re-release hold up?
To be very candid, this is basically the same game as before with a few touchups and additions. First off, the cutscenes and any movie-type elements have all been given a proper cleanup so they look more defined and visually stunning. Everything stands out as it should, the rest kind of takes a back seat as those assets weren't meant to be viewed any better to begin with, and it all works. The sequences of the game flow a lot better now that you're not waiting for the damn disc to catch up with whatever you're doing, making everything about the story seem much more seamless.
The only real drawback to the game is that there's nothing much added beyond the trophy system. Usually, when you see a game get an update like this, you expect some new content. But Square Enix has decided to keep the game intact and hasn't really offered anything to fans beyond those rewards. That being said, there's a trophy for jumping rope 300 times at the beginning of the game, and I'll be damned if I don't get it in a second save file one of these days.
I'm a sucker for nostalgia acts, and it's always fun to go down memory lane with games that remind you of the good times. In a way, Final Fantasy IX is a swan song for the PS1 as we would see the PS2 just a few months later. So to have it here on the PS4, all cleaned up and shiny with that nostalgia, it's a nice gift. I'm very happy to see that the game only costs $21, and the fact that it only takes up 5GB on my PS4 is a nice bonus. It would have been nice to see something new added to it, but overall it's a must-have for Final Fantasy fans and RPG lovers.
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