8. Kuja - Final Fantasy IX
There is a storytelling trend in JRPGs for the final battle to be something greater than your original adversary; a God, or even a concept or idea made real. In some games, it tonally works and is the grand showdown that feels deserved. In Final Fantasy IX however, it feels a little bit like it comes out of nowhere.
It probably doesn’t help that it isn’t something that the Final Fantasy series often does. Previous games established a villain and built to a final battle with them to close the story out. FF9’s primary antagonist Kuja drives the story forward with his connections to Zidane, his jealousy and his dark nihilism.
The character’s weakness, an inability to go into the game’s Trance limit break mode, makes it a big deal when he finally enters this super-powered mode and the party finally square-up to him.
But when the party overcomes what should be the final battle, an unexpected showdown with Death itself just feels a little tacked on.
Final Fantasy IX’s whole story is about mortality so it makes some sense that the final battle itself would be with this manifested concept. That doesn’t make it a good idea. There are no hints or warnings for this, and the sudden reveal of Necron only makes it feel like the writers were trying to overshadow the importance of Kuja.