I’ve noticed that if I want to give something a perfect score but know that it’s not a “perfect” thing, I always start off with “okay, so, it has flaws.”
Final Fantasy IX has flaws. The battle system is extremely slow; three of the eight characters have near-zero characterization; technical limitations mean the final disk is a shadow of the world.
But everything else is perfect. The world is the most charming game-world ever committed to Final Fantasy. The theatrical motifs are delightful; the minigames and sidequests are fun without being overbearing; the progression system is smart without being fiddly. (And the music is great, too!)
When I think of being a kid and playing RPGs and being transported into a different, fantastic world, Final Fantasy IX is what comes to mind.