Ah, Final Fantasy IX. It was the first Final Fantasy game that I've ever played thanks to my cousin who let me watch him play so that I got interested in it as well. Final Fantasy IX was made in response to gamers' complaints on the previous two games, FFVII and FFVIII. The game mixes some of the newer elements from VII and VIII while also giving a nod of recognition to the older games in the series. It also reinstated the 4-person party that had been taken out, and allows for the player to raise a chocobo and play several mini-games. All in all, I'm glad this game was the first I played, because I love it to death.
The graphics are wonderful for a PlayStation game. The characters are fairly well detailed on the normal graphics, though there are some glitches that occur, such as being able to walk through people when continuously pressing the direction button at them. The CGI is beautiful. Although I prefer the more realistic-looking character designs for CGI in FFVIII, I can't help but appreciate the wonderful detail and character design in IX. I think that the only thing that could have been a little more detailed was the overworld map, but even that's well done.
The music in this game is very nice and generally fun to listen to. The battle music is stirring, the boss music is more menacing than just regular fight music, the songs pertaining to Dagger's past show the sorrow that's associated with her lost memories, and I enjoy the characters' themes. (Kuja's = <3) Some of the music does get boring and repetitive after a while, but I think Nobuo Uematsu did a great job for FFIX, even if it's not his best.
I love the gameplay on this game. The plot starts off with the need to kidnap Princess Garnet and stop her evil mother from waging war on all of the Mist Continent, but then becomes darker and much more complicated as an unknown villian comes into play and the heroes learn that their planet is meant to be merged with another planet! Not quite your average plot, obviously. I love the four-person battle system, because it allows for more variety to fight with. Also, each characters comes with a specific class, much like in the older games. No more having to spend hours on end stealing magic from enemies to set up your stats a certain way. Just equip the weapon or armor you want and battle until you gain the ability connected to that equipment. The only thing I don't really like is how leveling gets boring so quicky.
Will you want to play this game over and over? Well, like all games, I'm sure it'll get boring at some point if you play it 20 times, but I think it's definitely a good one to play more than once. There is so much to do in the game that you might miss the first time, and there are so many different ways you could raise your characters. Plus, there's the 12-hour challenge that you can try once you get through the game once to get Steiner's ultimate weapon!
Overall, I think this is a great PlayStation game. The graphics are great as is the music, and I've played it several times and I've done something different each time so that it doesn't get boring. If you're wondering whether to rent or buy it, I would definitely say buy it. Part of the reason is that unless you're trying the 12-hour challenge, chances are you'll spend A LOT of time getting through the game, and the other part is that there's just so many ways you can change the way you play the game. So...go out there, get the the game, and happy playing!