The success of Octopath Traveler prompted Square Enix to say that they will be bringing more games to the Nintendo Switch in the future. Square Enix backed this up during the September 13th Nintendo Direct, where they announced that Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, and Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster were coming to the system in 2019.
As of the time of writing, the only game from that selection to have been released is Final Fantasy IX, which was shadow dropped during the last Nintendo Direct on February 13th.
The reaction to the quality of the Nintendo Switch port of Final Fantasy IX has been mixed. The Switch version of the game is essentially the same as the one used for the mobile port of the game, which also formed the basis for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One ports.
A Reddit user named rushiosan has compiled a list of the issues with the game and they are the same as the ones present in every previous port, and haven't been fixed in the intervening years since the release of the original mobile version of Final Fantasy IX.
The Final Fantasy IX port still has glitches that have existed since the mobile version, most notably a music bug that causes the world map/location music to restart whenever a battle takes place.
The music glitch is a relatively minor one and it doesn't affect the gameplay or your ability to progress through the story, but it's an indictment of Square Enix's lack of care for the ports of their classic titles.
A similar problem happened when Square Enix released a port of Chrono Trigger on Steam, which had all kinds of graphical issues and wasn't properly optimized for modern machines. Chrono Trigger is one of the greatest video games of all time and is one of the best products ever released by Square Enix (back when they were called Squaresoft), and they showed zero care for its presentation when it was being re-released on such a huge platform.
The Nintendo Switch port of Final Fantasy IX also shares the problem of the background graphics looking blurry on larger screens. The character models in the game were upscaled for modern systems, but the artwork for the prerendered backgrounds hasn't been improved to match them, causing them to look worse by comparison.
The most crucial benefit of the ports of Final Fantasy IX is the ability to speed up the game, which is a feature that helps to overcome the single biggest flaw of Final Fantasy IX.
The problem with the PlayStation-era Final Fantasy games is that Squaresoft was so impressed with the 3D technology of the time that they wanted to show it off as much as possible, which is why the summon monster sequences took so long to play out.
Final Fantasy IX suffered the worst in this regard, as the battles were slowed down by sweeping camera shots that began and ended every fight. The actions used in battle also took forever to play out. God help you if the whole party had the "Auto-Potion" ability equipped and they got hit by a group spell, as it meant sitting through the animation four times in a row.
The PlayStation version of Final Fantasy IX may lack the music issues, but the Fast-Forward feature is essential for those who value their free time.
There are other benefits to purchasing the port of Final Fantasy IX, as there are other cheats that will max out your levels and let you skip random encounters, in case you just want to enjoy the story of the game. The port also has auto-saves and improved FMV sequences.
The Nintendo Switch port of Final Fantasy IX also has the ability to play the game on a portable system, though this is also true of the mobile ports of the game. Those who own a PSP or PSVita can also play the original version of Final Fantasy IX on the go as well.
Should You Buy The Nintendo Switch Version Of Final Fantasy IX?
If you have been a diehard Nintendo fan your whole life and have missed out on most of the Final Fantasy titles, then the Nintendo Switch port of Final Fantasy IX is your only real option for playing the game. The twenty dollar price tag is fairly reasonable for a game of this caliber, even if the port does have some inexcusable issues.
The enhanced features of the port are the real reason to purchase the remastered version of Final Fantasy IX over the original version of the game, which can still be purchased on PSN and played on PlayStation 3, PSP, and PSVita. The ability to fast-forward through the lengthy battle animations is more than enough to make up for any minor musical issues present in the game. It's disappointing to see that Square Enix has yet to solve the basic glitches that are present in the game, but they aren't enough to detract from the experience, nor should they prevent you from checking out the game if you have never had the chance to play Final Fantasy IX in the past.