Review: Final Fantasy IX (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, April 12, 2019

Review: Final Fantasy IX (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

An old school RPG with a few modern twists.
Buckle up, because Final Fantasy IX is now on the Switch with a lot of modern twists wrapped up in a vintage package. It’s definitely not perfect, but for those of you looking to replay a game from your childhood or looking for a new JRPG experience to sink your teeth into, there’s quite a bit to like in FFIX.

Visually, FFIX on the Switch is a hodgepodge of old and new. Character models retain their old school, somewhat crude polygonal look, but at the same time, they are super crisp and clear. The game is now in full HD, which is great. What isn’t so great are the background images, which look very much like they did all those years ago. Cutscenes have been spruced up a bit, but are still seem kind of low resolution. I’m personally not too bothered by all of this - it kind of helps transport me back to all those years ago when I originally played the game. I can see how this might be off-putting to some.
In terms of the story, there is quite a bit to like while at the same time, some thing that might leave you scratching your head by the time the credits roll. I enjoyed the character interactions and overall world in general. The tension between Zidane and Steiner early on the in the game was funny, Vivi was pretty cute and Zidane constantly trying to get at Garnett was borderline ridiculous. Towards the end, though, (without spoiling anything) things get a little bit weirder and deeper (in a JRPG way) than I expected.

There are quite a few additions to FFIX on the Switch that help make the game a bit more modern. Of course, these are additions that can be found in the numerous re-releases on other platforms over the years. Pressing the start button brings up a few different options that can alter the gameplay. ZR activates Safe Travel which prevents enemy encounters. R activates a High Speed Mode. Easy enough to understand, this kicks up the speed of the game. ZL makes attacks hit 9,999 every time they connect and L activates Battle Assistance. This automatically puts all player characters into Trance mode, replenishes HP/MP and makes it almost impossible to die. All of these can be turned on or off at any time during the gameplay.
On top of these additions, there are a few others that can be accessed in the standard menu by pressing X. Under configuration, players can reach these options under a section labeled “Booster.” Here players can turn on Master Abilities (all abilities/skills are all learned), Level/Magic Stone Max (level 99 and have maximum levels for all stones) and Max Gil (a whole lot of in game money). As opposed to the previously mentioned “cheats,” these cannot be turned off once they are turned on.

Between the addition of these boosters and the aforementioned “enhancers,” Final Fantasy IX is more accessible than ever. These optional alterations make it so gamers can play the game how they want. Some might argue that this takes away from the original intent of the developers. I can definitely see that argument, but, part of the reason why I personally have stayed away from old Final Fantasy games was the amount of time it would take to reach the end. Like many of you out there, things have changed quite a bit since I originally played IX. Responsibilities, work, family - these things can get in the way of sinking the amount of time into games of this size and scope. It’s great that these options are here which can help modernize the game and allow gamers to play how they want to play.
Final Fantasy IX on the Switch is a competent port that fans of the series should have on their radar. The ability to play with the “enhancers” and/or “Boosters” can really make the game more accessible to lapsed gamers who may have great memories playing the game but don’t have the patience or the time that they had in the past. The visuals are obviously a bit dated, however, the story remains pretty solid (for a JRPG) and the battle system (for the most part) is pretty decent. If you’re looking to relive an experience from your past or to dive into a game that you missed out on, you can’t go wrong here.

Final Score: 8.5

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