I've had Final Fantasy on the brain lately.
Final Fantasy made up a sizable chunk of my adolescence, although I was already approaching middle school when I was first introduced to the series with its seventh installment by my best friend, who had a Playstation (I, on the other hand, had a 64). I owned a Playstation of my own almost exclusively to play Final Fantasy games both new and old, but I stopped following the series once X came out, more due to logistics than because of anything about the games themselves. I, being a Nintendo diehard, got a Gamecube instead of a PS 2, and my best friend moved about 300 miles away around the same time, taking his PS 2 with him.
From what I've heard of how the series developed from X onward, I can't help but think that these circumstances may have been a blessing in disguise, allowing me to continue to remember Final Fantasy mainly for the first nine games, plus Tactics, most of which are still considered masterpieces even by critics of the series' later installments. But were they really?
Final Fantasy IX is commonly regarded by critics of the later games as the last breath of glory for the series, coming right in between the now infamous VIII, and X's point of no return. I, too, have always held a soft spot for IX, but was it really that good? Or has nostalgia and the desire to remember at least one more game fondly (or in my case, the fact that it's the only Final Fantasy I managed to beat before my friend did and ruined the ending for me) just blinded us to its flaws?
Let's unpack the old grey brick, work the kinks out of the controller cord, and blow the dust out of the memory card. This is the Wryte Way to Play Final Fantasy IX.