When you think RPG’s in video games, the first thing that may pop into your mind is Final Fantasy. Although the series can tend to be tricky to understand for newcomers to the series, it more then makes up for it with its grand stories, compelling characters, and clever gameplay.
If we don’t include spin-offs, crossovers, or direct sequels (I say directly since each entry is meant to be a different story), then there are a total of 15 games in the franchises (as of now). In this article, we will be going over which entries are the highest regarded and which ones would somewhat be forgotten.
Also, keep in mind I will be ranking these games based on their original release. This means that HD remasters ports will not factor into the list. Furthermore, as mentioned above, only the 15 main entries, and yes, the two MMO’s will be factored.
15. Final Fantasy II
It’s no wonder why this entry never saw a release in the U.S.A until much later. Although it was the first game in the series to introduce many aspects to the series fans would grow to recognize such as the Chocobo species and the first incarnation of Cid, the original still suffers from a lot of confusing gameplay elements that take away from its enjoyment.
14. Final Fantasy VIII
Out of the three entries to be released on the PS1, FF8 has always been seen as the Blacksheep. The game wanted to be both different to FF7 by taking place in an even more realistic setting with more defined character designs but also wanted to bank off FF7’s success with other mechanics from the game that didn’t work as well in this entry.
13. Final Fantasy XIII
This was the first entry that saw the light for the 7th generation of gaming (by that I mean the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii) with HD graphics that looked good for the time, and still, do today. However, just about everything else in the game has been slammed by both other critics and long-time fans of the series. Although Lighting was a refreshing character to see, not even she could save the game, nor it’s two direct sequels.
12. Final Fantasy XI
Here we enter the first MMO for the series. An innovated direction for sure, although it has not aged well. While the idea of creating your own warriors and setting out on an online world sounds like fun. The game does still suffer from a lot of the combat being clunky and having a lot of limitations in the way of world exploration.
11. Final Fantasy III
Yet other game that never saw a USA release likely due to the lack of popularity. Which is a shame since it actually had a lot of improvements from FF2. In other words, this game went back to a closer direction to the first entry. It also featured a lot of fun to be had with all the dungeons to be explored as well as how the job system improved with more variety and being able to switch out within battles.
10. Final Fantasy V
We come to the final game in the “not popular enough to be released in the USA” category. Which is sad since out of three games in that category this is easily the best one. It takes everything that made FF3 interesting and expanded upon it’s potential. Such as allowing the player to switch items and powers within jobs. This allows multiple combinations in spells and classes.
9. Final Fantasy XIV
If this was not an MMO and looked at from its original state, this game may be at the bottom, as in worse then FF2. The reseason why is because on it first releases the game suffered from a lot of glitches that made the game practically unplayable, especially for a more recent time in online gaming. However, the advantage of being on MMO is that the game will update to become a better experience. Therefore what we have now is a much better version of what FFXI wanted to do.
8. Final Fantasy XV
Next is the most recent entry, and it’s quite a fascinating one. This game switched the turn-based fighting for more real-time fights (similar to Kingdom Hearts) As well as expanded upon the world with its many side quests and many other factors that made the game stand out from the rest. While I usually wouldn’t factor this into other games, the DLC that it features also helped to expand its essentials.
7. Final Fantasy XII
This is the next 2nd entry to be first released on the PS2, although has seen a more recent update with the Zodiac Age. Perhaps if we were ranking that in it might be higher, but as the FF12 is in its original state, it’s still fairly solid. Although original suffered from some limitations in job system and has a slower pace. The combat and overall story always made it an enjoyable experience.
6. Final Fantasy I
Here we have the one that started them all. The game that single handly saved Square from bankruptcy and changed the way we see JRPGs and gaming today. The first game brought with it many aspects that are still praised today. As well as giving us a sense of freedom and creativity that is not as often seen in even the newer games. Even if the combat it a little more bare-boned comparatively speaking.
5. Final Fantasy VII
For many people who may not have been familiar with the franchise in the late 80s and early 90s, they most certainly had their attention caught with this game. FF7 has been one of the influential games of all time (except for the first) with its many emotional themes, and groundbreaking cutscenes that could have been only dreamed of back in the late 80s. It’s the game that is often thought of the most when the words Final and Fantasy are in the same sentence.
4. Final Fantasy X
Out of all the games in the franchise, this might be one of the most beloved and also somewhat hated. So why would this game be so high on the list? That’s because as time has gone by, many people have slowly started to see this game for the masterpiece it really is. They begin to note what made the story corny is actually quite remarkable, and with one of the best turn-based systems in the game, it’s no wonder why it’s seen as one of the best on the PS2.
3. Final Fantasy IV
Many American gamers may have been surprised to learn that the Final Fantasy 2 game they were playing on the SNES was not actually what they thought. However, that most certainly didn’t stop their enjoyment of the game, even today. This game also featured a new mechanic to timed battles which made the player think more quickly about what move they needed to make in a fight. It was elements like this that make FF4 a classic it is.
2. Final Fantasy IX
There is much debate between which is better on the PS1, FF7 or FF9? Although seven may have been a pioneer for the series, 9 took everything that made seven enjoyable (as well as improve on everything wrong from 8) and made it better. The look returned to medieval fantasy design that was last seen in FF6 and brought with it the most extensive and likely lengthiest story among the series. As it is one of the more emotional stories in the series.
1. Final Fantasy VI
Any fan of the series most likely saw this entry coming at number 1. More many FF6 is not only their favorite entry but also their favorite game ever. This may be because of it’s more expanded gameplay, the many more compelling characters that it created, and a story that was considered by many to be one of the strongest in the whole franchise.