For fans of the Final Fantasy series on PSone, IX looks to be a complete departure from the futuristic themes of the previous titles. And it is. This game is set in a medieval world, with classical architecture and traditional knights and damsels. Or rather, it would be, if it were not a fantasy world. FFIX introduces us to new, and VERY unique characters, landscapes and cities, all of which are beautifully rendered. The combat has been updated, with four characters able to participate. Each character has a unique skill, which leads to more tactical thinking in battle. The gameplay is superb, the finest feature of this game. The characters progress is strictly controlled for the first two thirds, which enables the story to develop at a better pace than in previous games. Each new area can be explored, and usually this leads to the discovery of sub-games or new weapons. The story is also stronger than previous titles, with the emotional exploration of VIII, and the comradery and very real sense of danger and eminent destruction of VII. The lead protagonist, for once, is a decent person, which makes a pleasant change. Overall, this game is a wonderful example of the series, combining similar themes from the two previous games with a spectacular new look and absorbing gameplay. I was not sure at first if I would enjoy playing with 'cutesy' characters, particularly after the realism of VIII, but now I realise that this is the best in the series. All FF fans should buy it. Now.