I love this game. Every second of it is filled with character, great gameplay, and graphics. Call me a traditionalist, but I think this was the last great Final Fantasy before Square went off the deep end (X, X-2). Three fourths of the cast is lovable, and that's good considering the dismal showings of boy-band rejects in the previous two installments. Quina, Zidane, Vivi, and Freya are my favorite characters, all with their own personalities and traits. That brings up another point that has been lacking in recent FF's. In this game, all the characters have their own traits, which is am perfect return to the roots of FF3. In 7 and 8, you could have pretty much the same three characters the whole game as long as you built them up the right way. But in 9, every character can (and in some cases, must) be raised in their own unique way and can be switched around to make a versatile party. Most people will go with a party of Zidane, Vivi, Steiner, and Dagger the whole way through, but it's definitely a fun challenge to throw in a complex character like Quina or Amarant into the mix. FFIX also boasts the biggest, most involving sidequests in the series. From the first world in the game on, you can collect little items that have no use, but instead, have tons of references to past FF's. I can't tell you how much fun I had collecting items like the Mini-Cid, the Rat Tail, or even little model airships. It's like Tarantino or Godard found their way into Final Fantasy! Most of all, this has the best chocobo sidequest of any FF so far. It's involving, deep, and very complex Everything else you come to expect from FF is here... great music, graphics, story, and challenge. What can you lose?
Er... I have to adjust my scale for a second.
Final Fantasy IX Final Cut: A+
Story/Characters: A+ Music: A- Graphics: A- Gameplay: A Sidequests: A+
It's near perfection... pick it up!
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