I think I've played the opening ten hours of FF9 six or seven times. The beginning of this game is exactly what I want from my RPGs: high adventure, great characters, cool scenarios, and a sense of depth to the narrative. Unfortunately, I think the game really meanders around at times. Not going into specifics, but there are parts of the game that I can't even remember because they felt like filler, and it wouldn't be a FF if the story didn't completely fly off the rails in the last few hours (though Stephen tends to disagree with me here). It's still an awesome game, however, and even with a few disposable characters, FF9 has perhaps the most lovable cast of misfits this side of 6.