I am ashamed to say I've never played the game. I enjoy RPGs and I was thinking of getting it. Technically, how does the game hold up? Is it grindy or does it get tedious at some point?
I know I'd be in for some top-tier storyline, great characters and amazing music. I just want to know how it plays.
Edit: I'm also reluctant to check reviews because of spoilers.
IMO, it starts off quite nicely. But then the game falls apart after around the 15-20 hour mark, and never really recovers. There are some nice cities in the early part, but most of the later game is desolate. So if you don't plan to finish the game, it is a good one to pick up.
It doesn't quite feel as grand an experience as a real Final Fantasy game. It's highly conservative, it feels a bit like a genericization of earlier FF themes, which I personally was not a fan of. The characters are kind of bland in that there isn't really much to build on, they don't have internal conflicts, aside from one who struggles with some existential issues... which, are of the Pinocchio/Replicant sorts - and already done dozens of times before, and FAR better.
The story was a little on the bland side, lacking much originality in plot mechanics. It is not on the level of other Final Fantasy games, and is probably more comparable to games in the Breath of Fire series.
To be a bit positive, the game is very solidly built.
Solidly built, but also incredibly reserved. While other entries in the series tend to add a lot of mechanics and are bravely creative with plot and character arcs, FF9 comes off as very ordinary and reserved, not trying anything new.
It's solid, but craven. It's not a leader, but a follower. It's well crafted, but not a work of art.
I think it's still a good game, but (excluding NES FF2, which we shall never speak of again) it is the only FF game released prior to FF11 that I didn't fall in love with.
* Solid gameplay and battle system
* Pleasant art, although a bit cartoony
* On the bland side
* Horrendous pacing in the second and third acts
* Characters lack internal conflict (except Vivi, and even that feels a little contrived)
* It's uninspired/wooden/generic
I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.