27 – Final Fantasy IX
Initial Release Date: November 13, 2000
Why it’s one of the best RPGs: Buckle up, everyone, we’re into the Final Fantasy games now, and IX is certainly not the last one you’re going to see. Final Fantasy IX follows Zidane, a thief who, while opposing a warmongering Queen, discovers something far more sinister at work. The title is much more fantastical and less grounded in reality than the surrounding Final Fantasy titles, but this contrast worked in its favor–it wasn’t just the same thing with a slightly different storyline. In this iteration of the world of Gaia, the character development of Zidane, Garnet, Vivi, and their friends can truly sparkle.
Final Fantasy IX was notable for the Active Time Events, alongside the typical Active Time Battle System. These ATEs allowed players to see different events happening at different locations, where the player could make choices that would affect the storyline or what information the player learned about the characters. These even allowed for control of two separate teams of party members during certain dungeons. These, along with unique battle functions such as Trance Mode and a beautiful score by Nobuo Uematsu (of course) made Final Fantasy IX stand out from its brethren as a truly excellent title.
Next: 26 - Earthbound