It’s time we take a look back to the video game franchise that immersed into the world, or worlds of Chocobos, Airships, and spiky-haired guys with enormous swords.
Today we’re counting down our picks for the TOP 10 Final Fantasy Games
We’re in the midst of putting together the TOP 10 JRPG’s of all time, and due to our one game per franchise rule for lists of that nature, we need to determine which of these games is the best to represent this series. For this list, we’re including anything from the main series, sequels or spin-off, but they must have “Final Fantasy” in the title to be eligible.
1. Final Fantasy VI (1994)
Far and away the best mainline Final Fantasy game, 1994’s Final Fantasy VI is an absolute triumph in every sense. Originally released as “Final Fantasy 3” in North America, the game was the last to be released on the SNES, and yet it was way ahead of its time.
This was in part thanks to a diverse and colorful cast of characters, the elaborate summons, compelling storyline filled with amazing cinematic moments, that opera sequence, and of course the greatest villain in the series in the form of Kekfa Plazzo.
It all adds up to one of the most unprecedented role-playing experiences of all time.
2. Final Fantasy X (2001)
This breakthrough title brought Final Fantasy into the age of full 3D environments and voice acting, as it was the first of the series to be released on the PS2. In the world of Spira a colossal monster known as “Sin” has ravaged the world for centuries, and it falls upon Tidus who unexpectedly arrives in Spira to guide Yuna on her pilgrimage to defeat Sin.
Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters and possibly the best love story in the series, the game was the last to implement a turn-based battle system, yet still felt very engaging and tactical. Sometimes, it’s best to stick with the basics.
3. Final Fantasy VIII (1999)
The 8th installment in the numbered franchise became another pioneer of originality with its new innovations. After the success of Final Fantasy VII, for this entry Square pushed forward a more focused love story and greater emphasis on the futuristic world this game is based in.
In this title, players followed the story of a group of candidates of the military academy “SeeD” in their goal to stop the sorceress Ultimecia. The unconventional Draw and Junction system were adopted as the new style of gaining abilities and powering up characters, assisting the series in moving away from the traditional leveling system.
4. Final Fantasy XII (2006)
This title marks a time where Final Fantasy developers attempted to experiment a bit outside of their tried, tested and approved formula. Along with the realistic character design, the game adopted an MMORPG style of combat, prompting a switch away from the traditional turn-based style the franchise has become so familiar with. The game follows Vaan and Amalia, in a story to reclaim Amelia’s kingdom after it was conquered by the Arcadian Empire, complete with cinematic airship battles. But, let’s be honest, the real stars of this game were sky pirates Balthier and Fran.
5. Final Fantasy IX (2000)
Final Fantasy IX was perhaps the franchise’s last attempt to return to its roots following the darker themes from the previous entries in the series. The ninth installment sought to go back to cartoon character designs that references the retro entries. And even had some returning characters such as Garland from the first Final Fantasy game.
What begins with a theater troupe plotting to kidnap Princess Garnet turns into an even bigger quest where each character has to struggle with their own identity. Overall the game serves as a nice nostalgia blast for long time fans, but one thing still felt weird- that bizarre Coca-Cola tie in the commercial.
6. Final Fantasy VII (1997)
This highly-acclaimed game is probably the one that introduced you to the franchise, and honestly what else is there to be said about it that fans don’t already know. From its influence in the narrative, combat system, and some really fun mini-games throughout the adventure, Final Fantasy VII did it all for those who had a PS1. With too many memorable moments to mention, the series of prequels and sequels, and its own movie, it’s no question as to why the game is the best-selling in the franchise.
7.Final Fantasy Tactics (1998)
The idea of a tactical-based role-playing game ran over with great success in this title. The game returned back to its 32-bit roots but combined it with 3D isometric battlefields, rendering a whole new style the franchise hasn’t yet seen, along with an unforgettable class system. Tactics take place in the Kingdom of Ivalice, which is in the midst of an internal struggle following a 50-year long war and the death of the King resulting in a power vacuum.
The game received a retelling in 2007 with the release of Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, on the PSP.
8. Final Fantasy IV (1991)
Originally released as “Final Fantasy II” in North America, the fourth installment in the franchise can be considered responsible for the series’ subsequent success. Many of the elements it introduced became staples for future titles, such as its active time battle system, and its standard class designation for all its main characters. The game also brought a certain depth to the characters that the franchise hasn’t yet experimented with, following the story of a Dark Knight Cecil. Cecil feels he has lost his humanity for following unjust orders by his king and starts a quest for redemption to undo the evil he had a hand in causing.
9. Final Fantasy III (2006)
Despite the original title being released on the Famicon in 1990, Western players would have to wait 16 years before it was finally released in a 3D remake for the Nintendo DS. The game puts players in control of four Light Warriors who set out on a quest to save the world. Just your generic Final Fantasy story arc, but the game makes up for this with the introduction of a Job system, with a choice of 23 jobs for each party member, unlocking potentially unlimited party customizations.
10. Final Fantasy XIII (2010)
Despite being a game that brought the franchise into HD, it gave us a strong female lead character in the form of Lightning. The game introduces players to the world of Cocoon and the oppressive government, The Sanctum, who are at constant war with the Land Pulse below. Our heroes find themselves being forced to fight for the opposing side, after being branded as traitors.
This title later went on to spawn two sequels and they weren’t as good as this game. But to be frank, this one barely squeaked, it’s way onto the list, thanks to issues with its combat system and extremely linear gameplay.
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