Platform Reviewed: PC Platforms Available: PC, Android, iOS, PSX Publisher: SQUARE ENIX Developer: SQUARE ENIX Release Date: Original: July 7, 2000. Steam release: April 14, 2016 MSRP: $20.99 USD
Final Fantasy IX is a game about finding your place in the world, and making sense of your past. It’s a game that appeals to RPG audiences as much as anyone who loves a good story. Originally released for PlayStation in July 2000, this title has already sold over five million copies across all platforms.
So, what is Final Fantasy 9 about? The game starts with the protagonist (Or is he?) on a mission to kidnap the princess of a neighboring kingdom while his band of thieves put on a popular play to distract the guards and monarchy, only to discover that she wants to steal away on the very airship you arrive on. After a very close escape, you start your journey of politics, secrets, and hidden powers.
The PC experience is overall improved over the original release. First you set the screen resolution, then upon launching the game you’re greeted with a main menu full of features.
The main menu screen has several selectable languages you can play the game in for accessibility: In the version we reviewed, those were English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
The Continue button is the autosave feature. If you are to perish in battle, or otherwise need to quickly reload where you left off, click Continue on the main menu screen and you will find yourself having just entered the last screen you were on. This makes it much easier to retry a boss fight or redo a puzzle you may have had difficulty with, and protects you from forgetting to save at the last Moogle. It’s so efficient, you almost don’t need to bother with Moogles at all! Unless you’re a fan of delivering their mail for them, of course.
From the main menu, you can also view and manage your cloud data. This allows you to carry your save with you to over computers or devices. It seems to hold only one save at a time, but can be a handy solution for moving or even sharing save games.
The graphics for the cinematics, monsters in battle, and character models are vastly improved. However, the backgrounds for areas within cities or dungeons are original from the initial release Playstation version. When playing the game at a higher resolution (In our case, 1080p), they become blurry and hard to take seriously. The game is still entirely in a 4:3 scale whether you’re in town, watching a cinematic, or exploring the world map, though there is a texture to the letterboxing that occurs when the game is played on a different aspect ratio. The keyboard controls are helpfully arranged in close proximity to one another. For instance, X is Confirm, C is Cancel, V is for your menu, and B is to play cards. F, G, H, and J allow you to turn and zoom the world map, toggle the mini map, as well as letting you multi-target enemies or allies in battle. The number 1 key is the Help key, which will allow you to view expanded information on the currently select item, ability, or command, whether in battle or in your menus. WASD and the arrow keys will allow you to move around. The Function keys enable various built-in cheat codes if you’re in to that sort of thing.
Mouse support is available and can make menus faster to manage, but is not recommended for navigation within towns or dungeons. When within an area, you may set a waypoint by clicking, and
your character will run in a straight line to it. The mouse does not seem to interact with objects very well, such as readable signs or treasure chests.
If you’re confused about how to quit the game once it’s running, you’re not the only one. In the main menu under Config at the very bottom of the list are the options for Title Screen and Quit Game.
Should you buy this game on Steam? Considering the amount of work that has been put into making the game accessible, functional, and more visually appealing, it’s an easy recommendation to make. Not to mention, having an electronic copy always available eliminates the needs to buy more copies when your physical media wears out.
This review is based on a copy provided by the developers/publisher.