Reviewed By: Joey

Computer Platform: Playstation
Produced by: Squaresoft
Price Range: $40
Learning curve time: Virtually none
Age level: 12+
ESRB Rating: Teen
System Requirements: Memory Card

Genre: RPG
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 3 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5
   (barely present)

Box art for 'Final Fantasy IX'
The 200 release of the Final Fantasy series, “Final Fantasy IX” (FF9) is a wonderful addition to the now-classic series. “FF9” brings back many of the classic elements of the series, such as classic character designs and a medieval setting. For those that are new to the series, there is no need to worry because none of the games have anything to do with each other. Mostly I heard from people that the graphics were excellent on "FF9", but I was glad to find other good elements in it as well. I was very pleased with this game, both as a gamer and as a Christian.

Screenshot from 'Final Fantasy IX' The plot to “FF9” was confusing in parts, but as good as I expected. It takes place in a primarily medieval setting, except one where airships (similar to airplanes, except a different design) exist and are widely used. The main character, Zidane, begins the game planning to kidnap the princess of Alexandria, Garnet. He meets with many different characters and ends up trying to save the world from war, and eventually from a villain who gains ultimate power (as is usually the case in games like this). The plot splits off into many different directions, and I do not want to spoil the plot, so I'll end my description of it here.

Screenshot from 'Final Fantasy IX' There are a few objectionable elements in "FF9", but not so many that I would not recommend it as a Christian, to a Christian. A character in the game, Vivi, is a “black mage,” using “black magic.” Some Christians may think this, as well as other magical themes, make the game occultic. Although magic is a real thing in the world of "FF9", I didn't think it was used in such a way that the game was evil. For Christians that know that magic is wrong in real life, I don't think it is a problem to play a game like "FF9". There is very little sexual material, most of it between Zidane and the princess. Later on though, he proves that his care for her is more than an attraction to her body.

One objection to this game is an underlying message that duty and obedience to the law are bad things. Zidane starts out the game as a thief. Steiner, a knight, is obedient to the letter of the law, yet is portrayed as a captive to the law, even to the point of a villain in parts. There is also a lot of death, though most of it is not violent and is portrayed as a sad thing, not glorified.

There are also some very good elements in FF9. At first I thought that Zidane would be a hero with no integrity, one who ended up saving the world. I was proved wrong. Although he is not the perfect model of Christian character, Zidane does possess commendable qualities. His loving spirit is evident. He often helps people that have betrayed him, or that he knows little about. Zidane is interested in helping people just to help people. At the end of the game, I was surprised that there was a very strong theme of forgiveness (I won't get into details so as to not spoil the plot). There was also a strong theme of death, and how people react to it, which I perceived to be a good one. All in all, I found this to be a surprisingly morally uplifting game when it was over with.

"FF9" is a great continuation to the series. I'm really glad I decided to get this game, and highly recommend it. There are a few negative elements, but mostly I didn't find them very offensive. I was also glad to find positive elements to the game, which seems harder and harder to do in video games as time progresses.

Year of Release—2000

Positive—I am a huge Final Fantasy fan, I was still quite disappointed with the more cartoonish, “super deformed” character models-- I go for the more realistic models of FF8 and the FF7 (during the battles, anyway…). But as I progressed through the game, I got passed that small disappointment and recognized its greatness for the story, characters, and the best graphics to be seen on playstation. The story revolves around a world entitled “Gaia,” which is a name that actually appears for Earth in Greek mythology. The world's peace is slowly starting to be shattered by a greedy queen's ambition to take over the world. However, Princess Garnet, the queen's daughter, wants to stop her mother's greedy ambitions, so she “allows” herself to be kidnapped by a theif group (in which the game's main character, Zidane, resides) and be taken to a nearby city to think of a way to stop her mother. Well, the storyline escalates from there as the threat of war goes greater, and otherworldly elements even come into play, and a villain that threatens the world itself, but I will not go any further as not to ruin anything. Visually, Final Fantasy IX is astounding. The polygonal graphics are amazing, and the dragons and lizards and goblins and other amazing creatures that you face look astounding. The environments are lush and beautiful, adding much depth to the game's story. The spells are amazing looking, especially the ultra powerful ones you get near the end of the game, such as “Flare,” and “Holy.” Unlike most people who post reviews here, I do not find the magic to be offensive at all, at whatever age a child may be. I do see how it could be offensive if it actually pointed to real world aspects and influences people to use magic as the Lord “despises”(he doesn't despise it, he just knows what we would do with such a power-- we would grow too powerful for our own good. You know what humans do when they have power.) But there is not influence such as this in the game, and it takes place in a FANTASY world, which means that nothing in it could ever be tied into the real world (except for some elements of the plot.), so it couldn't possibly be offensive-- it is just fun, and it allows players to be immersed in places they only see in dreams. But anyway, I give this game a very high review in terms of story, graphics, and gameplay. The only downsides I see are the linearity of the game (you usually can't go back to places that you previously encountered, and there is little exploration involved) and the cheesy looking characters (although their personalities are quite impressive), but other than that, the game is literally amazing. The only downsides I see for Christian gamers is the slight sexual tension between Garnet and Zidane, but like I said, its used in a comedic fashion and as long as it doesn't escalate to pornography it shouldn't be offensive to even Christians-- lighten up. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Brian, age 16

Neutral—I find the reviewer's comments to be, on the whole, relatively accurate, the only problem, as seen in the other comments, being the use of magic. I would like to say that the “draw” of the magic is less than in a Dungeons & Dragons-style of roleplaying. The magic is a part of that world, but it plays a different part than it does in the real world. While the source of “magic” here is demonic, there is no real evidence of demon possession in FFIX. Christians have to decide for themselves, just like with the swearing issue. I personally object to games which have swearing and take the Lord's name in vain more than I object to games that show magic. Some people say that swearing gives a game realism since real people swear. It's a judgement call. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Nathan Baker, age 18

Well, while I would say that magic is definitely used in the FF series, I'd like to point out that we are dealing with an admittedly fictitious world, where the magic has no basis in reality, unlike Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering. Anyone who can separate fantasy from reality would find nothing really wrong here. I do need to disagree with your portayal of Steiner, however. Though he indeed seems like a slave to the law, weren't the Pharisees slaves to the law as well? I think the game tries to show two complete opposites in Zidane and Steiner, and leave it up to the gamer to decide. We, as Christians, have our conscience, and I urge you to use it. This was my favorite Final Fantasy to date, save 6, which appeared here as 3. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Raymond C. Rice Jr., age 18

I agree with the writer of this review. But there is one other negative thing that he didn't mention and that is the use of some language. While there are no harsh words, d*mn, bas****, and he** are used frequently. I guess it just depends on what you can handle. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Gregory Harlin, age 14

You said, "A character in the game, Vivi, is a “black mage,” using “black magic.” Some Christians may think this, as well as other magical themes, make the game occultic. Although magic is a real thing in the world of "FF9", I didn't think it was used in such a way that the game was evil. For Christians that know that magic is wrong in real life, I don't think it is a problem to play a game like "FF9"." You are SO mistaken! I have seen Christian kids grow up to have NO zeal to follow the Lord, and instead be interested in only occultic type things. I used to play these games as a kid, at night I had the constant thought in my head I had to give my soul to the Devil, I praise God now for helping me through that, and I never did! Through his grace I eventually got saved, but I cannot play them anymore without getting bothered by bad spirits. Magic is real, the enemy is real, and if you continue to play with his toys, you WILL get burned. Let this be a warning to you! My Ratings: [1/1]
   —Toon, age 19

This is where you were wrong. All wrong. I've been an avid gamer for over 12 years, and I admit. in terms of gameplay, violence and sexually related material, “FF9” is considered mild. But,regarding the issue of magic, as stated in the Bible, ANY use of witchcraft, black magic, white magic, clairvoyance, sorcery, and such is from Satan. Many Christians and non-Christians are tricked into believing that using magic for good, or white magic is not considered evil. This is why, games like “Pokémon”, “Magic: The Gathering,” and the like is selling so well. The point is, I admit that “FF9” is a good game, but I would have to object a lot more regarding the magic issue. And I would have given it a 3 or 2 for Christian Rating like I did for the game “Giants,” which also has magic usage. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Robin Tan, age 18

I basically agree with the reviewer here, except for the subject of Steiner and Zidane and Law vs Lawlessness. Steiner’s duty as a knight is to protect the princess. Zidane also wants to protect the princess, but has a different way of going about it. Zidanes profession leads us to the question “if you steal from someone who first stole from another, and then return the item, is it stealing, or returning?” Since pretty much every time Zidane steals it is in battle, and every successful battle results in death of the opponent, does it really matter that Zidane steals items before the opponent dies, or if he gets them after the opponent dies? It seems kind of a moot point to me. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Dave Jamison, age 22

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