Final Fantasy is probably the most beloved RPG franchise in the video game industry. The series has been consistently providing quality gaming experience to its fans for years. It has stolen countless of meaningful hours, caused people to sleep late at night (which resulted to bad grades in class and poor office performance), and immersed gamers in various fantasy worlds which would linger for quite a long time. As a tribute to the series and to look back on what it has done, I present to you the Best Final Fantasy Games of all time. You’re welcome to agree and disagree in the comments section.
10. Final Fantasy XIII (2009)
One of the main strengths of the Final Fantasy series is its breathtaking graphics. Every new release wows in the graphics department. Final Fantasy XIII just blew everything out of the water with beautiful vistas and smooth and detailed character models. The only reason that this Final Fantasy doesn’t rank higher is its linearity. It grabs the player by the hand for a bit too long which drags the game down. If not for this, it could have easily be in the top 5.
9. Final Fantasy I (1987)
Ah, the game where it all started. Final Fantasy I was ahead of its time in 1987 as it provided RPG enthusiasts with colorful, detailed depictions of fantasy monsters, a huge over-world, decent soundtrack, and, most importantly, character creation which modern Final Fantasies now lack. If you’d play the game today, you won’t be impressed. But if it was 1987 though, you’d be pretty impressed.
8. Final Fantasy VIII (1999)
Final Fantasy VII raised the bar for PlayStation RPGs back in the 90s. Square was pressured to follow up the magnificent effort and did not disappoint. Final Fantasy VIII was bigger in almost every way – the characters were more lifelike, the environments were bigger, the CG cinematics were jaw-dropping for its time (with probably the coolest intro in any FF game ever), and the soundtrack was outstanding. Squall, Rinoa and the gang were very likeable. The card mini game easily got me hooked. However, the story was a step back from that of FFVII and the new magic system wherein you had to draw them from enemies wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
7. Final Fantasy X (2001)
The debut Final Fantasy for the PS2 definitely didn’t disappoint. It was able to carry over the franchise to the next generation with very little hiccups. Of course, the graphical leap from the PS1 to the PS2 was a glorious feat. But so was the introduction of the sphere grid which allowed better character customization. However, the addition of voice overs didn’t exactly thrill the fans. In addition, the game was also a bit too linear as compared to past FF games. Still, the love story between Tidus and Yuna was enough to keep the fans hooked.
6. Final Fantasy Tactics (1997)
Final Fantasy Tactics offered a unique twist to the Final Fantasy series by incorporating a battle system that was more in line with strategy games. It wasn’t just about grinding and leveling up. It also emphasized the proper use of terrain and troops. FF tactics was a breath of fresh air for the series and a most welcome addition to the Final Fantasy franchise.
5. Final Fantasy IV (1992)
Final Fantasy IV was the first character-driven narrative in the Final Fantasy series. It focused on the journey of the Dark Knight Cecil of love, hope and redemption. This game also marked the birth of the Active Time Battle system which added a real-time twist to the turn-based combat. The system was very well loved that it was modified and used in 5 succeeding FF games. Final Fantasy IV set the bar to new heights for the franchise and they haven’t looked back ever since.
4. Final Fantasy XII (2006)
I’m not so sure what Square was smoking when they came up with FFXII but it definitely was something good. This last game of the series for the PS2 seemed like a cross between Final Fantasy and Star Wars, which turned out to be pretty good. What separated it the most from other FF games was that it ditched the traditional turn based battle system in favor of a hybrid scheme that was similar to that seen in Vagrant Story. Voice overs were also leaps and bounds better than FFX and the Shakespeare-speak was a nice touch. It also ditched the random battles which most fans found annoying. Overall, this was the perfect farewell game of the Final Fantasy franchise on the PS2.
3. Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Before Final Fantasy VII was launched, the series was an exclusive for Nintendo. But when the Playstation came out, a lot of people were shocked to find that Square has jumped ship to Sony. A lot of fanboys purchased the Playstation just to experience Final Fantasy VII on Nintendo’s rival console. They weren’t let down. Final Fantasy VII was a monster success. Aside from its seamless transition from 2D to 3D, the game also was able to put together memorable characters, a decent turn-based battle system, and an awesome story that brought a tear or two to gamer’s eyes (Damn you Sephiroth).
1. Final Fantasy IX (2000)
After trying out new concepts in FFVII and FFVIII, Square finally got back to their roots with the 9th installment of the series and its last on the PS1. The story was simple but was filled with so much love, enthusiasm and laughter that made it such a joy to play from beginning to end. Square was able to make a fantasy world that was replete with a diverse cast of characters and hidden secrets making exploration an experience not to be missed. Proper development of the main protagonists made the gamer rejoice with them in their successes and sympathize with them in their failures. A true gem from start to finish makes this the best Final Fantasy game on my list.