With Final Fantasy XIII-2 being the newest member of the family, let's begin the thread and poll again just to give the newcomer a fair fighting chance.
Tell us which game you think is the best Final Fantasy installment. Be aware that you are required to provide reasons for voting, and that simple responses such as "FFX!" or "Simple. FFVII!" are discouraged and will be deleted as spam. Simply tell us which game you think is the best FF game, what you liked about it, and why this game is the best in the series, etc.
Previous thread can be found here.
Just to start it off, Final Fantasy VI is still the strongest in the series for me. It still encapsulates the pinnacle of the series for me. I found its story a lot more touching than the melodrama of later installments, and I've not found pacing to be a problem. FFVI demonstrates just how awesome the SNES was back in the day, and what a resourceful developer can do when the era of flashy graphics and making things as showy as possible hadn't yet arrived.
Final Fantasy IX comes very close too, as the strongest of the PS1 generation of Final Fantasy. Like FFVI, it encapsulates nearly everything that is/had been good about the franchise, though occasionally let down by its pacing and frustrating sluggish battles.