And it is, IMHO, really good; it has a very nice aura of being "Classic Final Fantasy" all the way through (down to the completely inexplicable *SPOILER*, a la FinalFantasyFour); CG is used liberally and well, and the difficulty is just about right. The music is actually memorably good, unlike FinalFantasyEight's. A couple of the areas seemed like they were going to be developed more and then time ran out (or something); a couple of the dungeons are rather depressingly linear; but on the whole I found very little about the game to be irksome.
Update: The game is a bit tedious on replay, since some of the dialogue I'd rather just skip, but can't, and a few of the more plotly scenes lose something when you know what's going to happen.
The best thing so far is the story and character developement. Not one character has suffered from inadequate developement (Granted, that usually isn't quite the problem at this stage of the game, but its absence is very noticeable!) I have yet to have any point in the game when I am traveling with just a portion of my party and the rest are "tucked away in my pocket." Anytime there are more then the 4 characters per party issue. The game has handled it like the early areas of FinalFantasySix, with the story switching between different groups following different quests. As such, every character is used constantly AND since they are the set characters for that region, all the events and dialogue are character-specific allowing for high story/plot development (Instead of the old 1 specific person and joe-random charectors filling in generic script lines).
And this is the first use of high-res CG sequences I've seen that actualy seemed a) to fit and make sense, not "What the hell was that!" and b) to be spread throughout the game. Again, this is probably do-able because set charecters are in certain areas, so its possible to make the movies throughout.
I'll see if it gets worse as I get further into it, but it would have to change severely. ---JustinPava
Addendum: Just finished. Loved it! Only thing I thought should have been done majorly differently were the shrines. Man, I was looking forward to having to actually DO something... :->
I liked the game. I really did. So don't misunderstand me when I say that the large amount of backstory and explanation given during the journey through the final dungeon seemed like a feeble attempt to tie in themes from FinalFantasyOne with themes from FinalFantasySeven. Also, the boss was wussy (No offense intended towards our resident wussy). Generally, I've been disappointed with how it always comes down to serving enough blows to oust the baddie. I've met normal bosses more challenging than this. It's sad when I don't feel threatened enough to bother removing the petrified status on my white mage and the immobilizing poisoned status on Zidain.
I found the final boss a bit more challenging than that the first time around, but didn't lose.... I must concur that FFIX has the lousiest final dungeon in an FF game since, um, at least FF3j. While the enemies were reasonably challenging, the dungeon's completely linear :-P Given how ginormous it looks from outside, I was expecting a little more. --AndrewSchoonmaker
Also irking me is the fact that Zidain and Freya are so darned overpowered, while all the magically inclined characters never got past inflicting more than three digits with the "fight" command. And I feel so sorry for the character of Quina. It's like s/he was just dropped into the game as an afterthought after the basic story of the game had already been planned. Sure, they make an effort to play up the character, but ultimately fail. I will admit that s/he's a rather entertaining character at times.
I'm not so sure Zidane and Freya *are* particularly overpowered. Zidane's Trance is really nice, true, and I've heard sickening things about Thievery, but towards the end of the game he just wasn't doing it for me, damage-wise (he did have a sickening number of HP...). Freya also gets some nice stuff (n.b. I haven't seen roughly half of her abilities) but I find it hard to consider her overpowered when I recall how void * early in the game Vivi was doing 5-6000 damage, even to enemies not vulnerable to some particular element. Maybe it's just me. --AndrewSchoonmaker
In my savegame, Freya is about 5 levels higher than Zidane. Basically, on multiple occasions, her Jump command (or her Jump Trance) kept her out of harm's way as the monster(s) proceeded to decimate the rest of the party. Then she came down, killing the monster and receiving enough experience for 4 people. As a side note, I'm quite fond of Amarant as well; he's not really overpowered, but he's a pretty decent supporter AND attacker. Give him the skill that makes him burn MP for more damage and have him cast Chakra every now and then, or have Freya use White Draw, and he's pretty formidable. :P -SeleneTan
Yeah, Amarant is awesome, but for me, he was mostly used as a supporter. Give him the Healer ability: it'll make him heal with every physical attack. If memory serves, he healed about as much as a Curaga does... for free. Just use No Mercy when you want him to go offense. Oh, and Aura and Chakra are all good. -AndrewTaylor
Ah, the references. Steiner makes good on a couple of Monty Python: Quest for the Holy Grail references related to the Black Knight. You know... 'just a scratch'... 'only a flesh wound.' I guess these are a bit general, but I'll argue in their favor. The 'Run away!' line from Holy Grail stuck out as well. I'm sure that was intentional since the characters saying it were in this small airplane thing with no room to run, so they actually jump out while saying 'Run away! Run away!' That's one foul tempered rabbit.
One last thing. The closing credits feature a load of CG sequences from the previous discs. Redundant! Wasting disc space with stuff we've already seen! What's that all about, anyway? I guess in the context of the closing storyline it does make some sense considering one of the dominant themes includes an emphasis on memories being valuable. But still, I feel cheated.
Did you see FF8's ending sequence? I mean, instead of what we got, we could've had the same 1-3 second-long camera shot of Garnet 30 times in a row... but yeah, I agree. --AndrewSchoonmaker
So, I hope I've communicated well enough that besides a few quips mentioned above, this is a very worthwhile game. Besides, it's Final Fantasy. You can't go wrong... Oh gosh. Now I've jinxed it. --MarkSandoval