Final Fantasy IX PS4 port Impressions
Ever since Final Fantasy VII was re-released on the PS4, fans have been clamoring for more entries from the PS1 era to make their way to Sony’s current system. Thankfully those prayers have been answered, as Final Fantasy IX has been ported to the PS4 this week.
A lot of people are wondering how the port is, as is the case with most conversions of older titles to newer hardware. Thankfully for the most part Final Fantasy IX on PS4 is a fantastic conversion, but not without a few small faults. We’re here to give you the skinny on this re-release of the classic JRPG.
The graphics and presentation on Final Fantasy IX are probably the biggest mixed bag of the port’s quality. All of the 3D character models are rendered in a much higher resolution than they ever were on the original Playstation, and you get to see a lot more detail on the models themselves than you can could before. It looks like artists touched up the models themselves a bit too, while still doing justice to the originals.
On the other hand, however, the pre-rendered backgrounds have just been blown up to modern resolutions rather than actually been re-rendered. Some areas look better than others, but overall there’s a smudged-pixelated look to the backgrounds. This might be because Square Enix doesn’t have access to the original art assets anymore, and it’s not a deal breaker, but all the same, it’s a bit disappointing. It can be a bit jarring at times seeing the superb character models walking across these lackluster pre-rendered backgrounds.
There’s also the point that the game itself is still in 4:3 and has large grey bars on either side of the picture to fit 16:9 TVs. This isn’t a big let down or anything, and with the original backgrounds all being rendered in 4:3 it’s not a surprising outcome. Though it would’ve been nice if the interface featured some better art. The scaling of the menu UI is a bit off too. This port is clearly based on the iOS port from last year, where a larger UI was implemented to make it playable on a touchpad. Unfortunately, the UI wasn’t scaled back down in the transition to a console, and it’s especially noticeable when you’re in combat and the menu takes up nearly 1/4th the screen. Again this is not a deal breaker, but it would be nice if you could adjust the UI elements beyond simply changing their color a bit.
The pre-rendered CGI cutscenes, on the other hand, have come out fairly well in the transition. They're still in 4:3 with the grey bars on the side, but they don't look particularly grainy like the pre-rendered in-game backgrounds either.
As for sound Final Fantasy IX on PS4 features, it’s complete soundtrack from the PS1 original and it sounds as good as it ever did. There is a problem however, the game’s music tracks will restart after a battle occurs. This issue wasn’t even present in PC port of the game which this version is based on, but it’s a problem that was in prior Final Fantasy PS4 ports like Final Fantasy X/X-2 and Final Fantasy VII.
Square Enix did eventually patch the issue on X/X-2 HD but didn’t for VII. Let’s hope IX gets a patch like former. It may sound like a strange thing to gripe about, but it gets a bit annoying hearing the tracks start over, especially if you’re grinding out some levels and getting in combat encounters a lot.
As with the other recent Final Fantasy ports, Final Fantasy IX on PS4 comes loaded with several booster option and modifiers to tailor the experience as you would prefer. In the pause menu, you can enable super speed, high damage, full gauges(HP/SP/Trance), and disabling random encounters. You can turn these on and off at your own leisure and the effects can be undone. There is also the option to give yourself max Gil, a level boost to 99, and ability boosters; which are actually permanent so use at your own discretion.
If it wasn’t obvious by now, Final Fantasy IX PS4 is based on the PC/iOS port of the game from last year. The only thing it’s really missing from that version is the cloud saving option, least as far as I can tell anyway. If you already have a copy of the PC version, there’s no great need to pick it up again on PS4.
While I may have sounded negative for a good portion of this piece, I do believe Final Fantasy IX on PS4 is still a great way to experience the game. Things like the music bug may turn some folks off rightfully so, but the added convenience of having it on PS4 with trophy support and boosters may take away the sting a bit. If you just really want to play Final Fantasy IX again or experience it for the first time, the PS4 port is a decent way to play this classic RPG.