Final Fantasy IX (Android) Review

By Aria DiMezzo 12.02.2016

Review for Final Fantasy IX on Android

Final Fantasy IX was designed to be a shout-out to the other games in the series, a return to the medieval fantasy themes, and a new epic adventure for fans to enjoy. Although Nobou Uematsu, composer for the series at this point, considers this his finest work, the game was not without its detractors, primarily due to long loading times, slow battles, and fixed job systems that appeared to regress from the high customisation options of previous titles. With enhancements abounding, shall either cloud or squall darken the experience? Cubed3 dives in.

It's odd how Square Enix can give us shoddy ports of Final Fantasy VI, while at the same time enhancing and clearly working ardently to create a great port of Final Fantasy IX—and this is a great port. It has a rather large file size for a mobile game, which is something to be aware of, but considering the original version spanned four CDs, it is no surprise.

Graphics have been improved all around, though it can take some time to notice the improvements to the backgrounds, because they were never bad to begin with. It becomes inescapable, however, that everything was improved, but nothing as much as the characters; they look fantastic. The CG movies are supposedly improved, but since they always looked great, too, it's hard to tell. All in all, it has never looked better.

They're called enhancements, but, really, "built-in cheats" would be a better way to portray the modifications to the gameplay. There is the option to speed up everything by a factor of three, instantly max level and gems, disable random encounters, and a few others, all aimed at making the game easier. These are optional, of course, and can be ignored, but most would have been better as unlockables in a New Game+ mode, rather than being available from the beginning. With all of the "enhancements" on, the game lasts just a few hours. It would have been smarter to have these unlocked by collecting a certain number of Stellazzio Coins, or having a certain Treasure Hunter rank. It cheapens the experience to have all cheats available from the start, even if they are optional.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy IX on Android

There are some minor movement issues that come about from playing with a touchscreen, but the smart addition of a "touch to move" option eliminates most of the problems, even if the pathfinding is a bit wonky. Using the on-screen joystick to move around in 3x speed is borderline impossible, and it's here that the alternative option picks up the slack. It's not perfect, but it's certainly good enough, and it never really detracts or distracts.

Across four continents, a team of heroes fight to uncover the truth of the arms dealer Kuja and unravel the mystery behind the Iifa Tree, culminating in a return of the science fiction elements for which we have come to love the series, and it's up to the ragtag group to prevent the destruction of the world. It's not an original plot, but it wasn't meant to be—tropes and clichés established by this very series are on full, unironic display, and it still works well to this day, even after countless role-playing games have followed in its footsteps and borrowed heavily from the series.

It is odd that a return to the class-based system characterises this RPG, since only two games in the series actually featured rigid class systems: the first and fourth. There is no real character customisation here, but this also allows characters their own identity both outside and inside of battle. In other entries, characters were more or less blank slates, and there was no real connection between their identity and their combat abilities; here, Zidane is a thief in the plot, and he's a thief in battles, while Vivi is a Black Mage in the plot and a Black Mage in battles.

Although it's possible to turn on all the "enhancements" and tear through the game in a handful of hours, there is way more here than will be encountered on such a hasty playthrough. Tetra Master debuts as the replacement for the previous game's Triple Triad, and brings with it a host of rules that no one fully understands, but is a lot of fun to play. Artifacts await discovery all throughout the world, and there is Chocobo Hot & Cold, which leads to more rewards and more treasures—not to mention achievements. The moogles need help delivering letters and restoring Mognet Central, and a noble in Treno wants the thirteen Stellazzio Coins. At some point, it might be a good idea to take a break from all the side-questing and save the world, though.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy IX on Android

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Load times are still a problem, and they may be worse now than they were in the past, while the speed enhancement has no effect on loading. It may seem minor, but the loading times add up; hopefully this is fixed with the upcoming PC version. There are still enough enhancements here to make up for it, and it was already an awesome game, so new and old players alike will find plenty to love.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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