Final Fantasy IX is one of those games that will always hold a special place in my heart. With the release of the game on PC, I was able to return once more to the world of Gaia and travel alongside Zidane and company.
Ever since Final Fantasy IX was first announced for PC I have been eagerly awaiting it. Several months later it was finally released and I eagerly dove in. Most of what awaited me I expected, but there was definitely some bits that I did not expect going into this port. Let’s talk about those bits…
FFIX on Steam is a port of the mobile version that was released a couple months ago. As expected, this version does feature slightly oversize UI. This isn’t nearly as bad as it was in previous FF titles as the UI adjustments are actually manageable on PC. There are some annoyances that still come along with it though, namely within the ability menu. Should you try and scroll through the ability menu on PC, it will randomly pause for a second as it brings up the next several rows for you. This can severely throw you off if you’re trying to spot certain abilities, and with how many support abilities exist in the game, you’re going to be scrolling through that menu a lot.
With FFIX’s trip to mobile and Steam it did see a bit of a graphical upgrade. The main character models have all been touched up quite nicely, as have some of the background images. Unfortunately, not everything received a touch up, and when you get those spots and they’re clashed with the upgraded models, it just looks extremely ugly.
Another thing that did not make the transition to PC very well is the sound – namely the sound effects. If you tend to wear headphones when you’re playing PC games, just don’t if you plan to play Final Fantasy IX. The sound effects sound like they are being run with an absolutely terrible compression (or something) going on and certain ones become absolutely ear piercingly loud. Some of the biggest offenders are the card claiming sounds in Tetra Master and the sound of trancing.
FFIX on Steam also seems to suffer issues with random lag spikes, and at some points the game just feels like it’s running slower in general. This random lag pops up everywhere, and two of the biggest places it came up for me was flying the chocobo across the the northern part of the map and during one of the FMV’s at the end of (what would be) disc 3. The chocobo also seems to fly slower in general, though it looks like it’s partly masked when the entire world ends up covered in mist since you can’t see out into the distance as much. This issue creeps up in the FMV’s in general too, as every FMV has a small pause right at the start of them. This is especially noticeable if you go to view them in the FMV viewer after you beat the game.
Another major annoyance I ran into during this version is that you can no longer use Square (or the equivalent X on Xbox controllers) to progress or clear text boxes. This became somewhat awkward during Chocobo Hot and Cold, as while the Square/X button would clear the item finding boxes but not the boxes from Mene or time extensions. Considering this was how I almost exclusively played Hot and Cold on PS1, it ended up being fairly awkward having to quickly switch to clear those boxes. This also means that text boxes now, in general, clear a fair bit slower, something that will mostly affect folks such as speedrunners.
There were some oddities I noticed during my time playing FFIX. While I was doing frog catching, I left a male and a female at every pond. After having cloud saved the game I went to go catch some more frogs and two of the ponds had changed what they had in them. Also, at one point near Ipsen’s Castle I had boarded the airship to adjust my party and then parked it again. When I went to get on the ship again, it was quite a ways off the ground and became difficult to board. Finally, while I was in Cleyra’s Trunk I had some party members taken away from the battle. This ended up making the ATB’s appear very odd, as if the remaining party members had also visually gained the removed member’s ATB if they were next to them in the list.
FFIX on PC does feature the new “cheat” additions that were added in the mobile version of the game. These include a speed up button, auto-Trances, instant max level/Magic Stones, and auto ability learning. The only one I ever actually used was the speed up button just to make some of my grinding easier, but the others are definitely there for those who want to use them. You can now actually skip those FMV sequences if you so wish (simply press confirm while the FMV is up), and getting Excalibur II is a whole lot easier in this version.
In terms of Mobile to PC Final Fantasy ports, Final Fantasy IX is quite a bit better than the games that came before it. With that said, this version does still have some issues. The sound effects are just awful, the parts of the graphics that didn’t get an upgrade just clash horribly with the upgraded models, and the fact Square/X no longer works to clear textboxes is extremely awkward. If you already have the game over on PSX then only pick this up if you really want it. If you’re looking for a way to easily get into the game then the Steam version is an absolutely fantastic way to go, since as I said, this is one of the higher tier Final Fantasy mobile ports to have hit Steam.
Final Fantasy IX Steam Review Score
Final Fantasy IX is available now on Steam.
I would like to thank Square Enix for providing me with a Steam code for review purposes.