As I try to come to terms with Final Fantasy 9 and why it just seems to do nothing for me, I find myself stuck in the middle of a slowly progressing play-through. One thing that I am noticing this time is that it did manage to do one of my favorite things: interweaving gameplay mechanics and story. Garnet starts off with summons[ref]Eidolons? Yuck.[/ref] that she lacks the MP to cast. Brilliant, as this gives a hint of things to come. At least so I thought until her mother rips the ability right from her, nearly killing her in the process.
Now at this point the developers could have just removed the skill from her list or dimmed it out, but instead they left it available and selectable. There is a horrifying chill to this move as in battle selecting summon displays an empty list. The only option here is to back and out and select another command. The player is able to see and feel the emptiness that Garnet now has thanks to her mother’s actions. She remembers the feeling of having the potential to summon, but it is gone.