Main Series Games from Worst to Best

VillainFan42

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Arza Ra'qael
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Prelude of Light <Lux>
There are two things I have an unhealthy obsession with: Final Fantasy and lists. So, having played every main series Final Fantasy game, I decided to organize them in order of quality. I will admit I may be biased in places, and this is mostly my own opinion. I'd love to hear your opinions.


#15- Final Fantasy XIII
Easily the most divisive entry in the series, I will concede that not everything about XIII is garbage. I really do like the combat in this game for all the crap it gets from people who claim it’s nothing but mashing one button, and the linearity isn’t a problem in and of itself. What ARE problems, however, are the incohesive worldbuilding, the unlikeable and annoying main characters (except for Sazh and Fang, they’re fine), the convoluted story that’s so poorly paced that literally half of it involves the characters wandering aimlessly, the unintuitive equipment upgrade system, the fact that the game keeps throwing tutorials at you by the halfway point, and the level-up system that not only pretends to be a skill tree despite being linear but arbitrarily and artificially bars your progress until you make it to the next chapter. And yeah, while I do like the combat system, for most of the game you’re stuck with an incomplete party, most fights early on are really monotonous, and you can’t enjoy the system to its fullest until late in the game. This game is a mess, pure and simple.
#14- Final Fantasy II
Back when the series was new and trying to find its footing, the second installment was an attempt to experiment with the formula and try new things, and I can hardly fault it for that. And it did give us a surprisingly deep story that, yes, does rip off Star Wars wholesale, but does a remarkable job getting across just how horrific war can be, includes a memorable supporting cast, pulls absolutely no punches when it comes to the topic of death, and gives us a legitimately intimidating villain to boot. The gameplay, on the other hand? This game started that whole thing of leveling stats up by doing certain things (attacking to increase strength, for example) but the system is extremely broken and easily exploitable, and to this day, I still have no idea how to increase Agility. If that wasn’t enough, outside of combat you’ll be dealing with constant backtracking and utterly horrific dungeon design. If you really want to play it, it isn’t terrible, but it’s definitely an acquired taste.
#13- Final Fantasy XI
The first MMO of the Final Fantasy series is also one of my least favorites. The reason XI is this low isn’t necessarily because it’s bad. Rather, it’s because this game hasn’t aged well at all since its release in 2003. The plot of the base game is pretty bare-bones (it boils down to the player character doing a bunch of odd jobs and eventually fighting a villain), and even though the story does get more interesting with the expansions, the archaic, user-hostile interface and the overabundance of grinding will ensure that new players won’t have the patience to get that far, especially given how brutal this game is, particularly for solo players. Things like the level down mechanic just annoy me immensely. It’s got its fans, for sure, and veteran players who have been with it since launch can appreciate it, but it definitely shows its age. Maybe I’m just biased- after all, this was the last main FF game I played, my first impression wasn’t very positive, and this was well after I’d gotten into the later MMO, Final Fantasy XIV (more on that later) so maybe I was just spoiled in that regard. It’s objectively a pretty good game… but XIV is objectively better.
#12- Final Fantasy
Ah, the one that started it all… barely resembles a Final Fantasy game. I will grant that no series is exempt from early installment weirdness- at the start, Final Fantasy was a glorified unlicensed D&D knockoff- and there is a lot to like about this game. The class system allows for loads of replayability, you can explore the world at your own pace and tackle the later quests in any order you choose, and while the plot isn’t terribly complex, the big plot twist before the final battle still holds up surprisingly well. However, magic- either by poor design or poor programming- is horribly underpowered, most non-boss enemies go down in one hit, taking most strategy out of battle, and due to the way magic is obtained, you will spend a lot of time grinding not to get stronger, but just so you’re able to cast magic you already have access to, thus ensuring you will always be stupidly overpowered. The extra dungeons in the remakes are really cool, but said remakes also take a hacksaw to the difficulty. Then again, the NES original is almost unplayable due to bugs, so take your pick.
#11- Final Fantasy VIII
Everything about this game gives me mixed signals. The story is alternately really deep, unique, and full of memorable moments, or a shallow retread of plot elements from the the (far superior and more successful) Final Fantasy VII. Said plot also switches gears completely in the last third, and nothing in the first two thirds seems to get any kind of closure. (i.e. your first mission, in which you try to help a nation achieve independence, is completely forgotten by the halfway point.) The Junction System and Draw System are deep and strategic, but also have an impossibly steep learning curve and are just as broken and exploitable as the system from Final Fantasy II. The cast is a mixed bag between interesting and complex, and bland and forgettable. The villain is truly terrifying, but her backstory and motives are left almost entirely up to interpretation. I did like pretty much everything that involved Laguna, though. All in all, I have serious gripes with it, but ultimately I did enjoy this game, but don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not because I think it’s good or anything, baka!
#10- Final Fantasy III
This is the point where the series really came into its own. It introduced the Job System, allowing you to have complete control of your party at any given time and adapt it to any situation. The dungeon design is really good, and the second half of the game is almost entirely open-ended and full of content. However, unlike Final Fantasy I, where the story was composed of smaller story arcs that fed into a greater whole, Final Fantasy III has smaller story arcs that have nothing to do with anything. The villain is an absolute joke, the difficulty is downright evil at times, the classes you unlock throughout the game are laughably unbalanced (has anyone EVER used the Bard?) and the final stretch of this game is quite possibly the worst finale in the series’ history. Despite these issues, Final Fantasy III is when the series figured out what it was.
#9- Final Fantasy IV
The third game may have established Final Fantasy as we know it, but this game is when the series really hit its stride. It introduced the Active Time Battle system that became a staple of the series, and designed its enemy encounters around this system, making for some of the best boss fights out of the entire franchise. It was the first game in the series to have a character-focused plot and meaningful character development, and the story, about a disgraced knight named Cecil trying to atone for the awful things he has done in the service of his kingdom, starts off really strong, and introduces one of the better casts of the series in my opinion. The 3D remake also added a bunch of new features and cranked up the difficulty, giving veteran players something new to experience. But is it just me, or does the plot just completely drop the ball halfway through? Suddenly, new plot devices are introduced with little to no foreshadowing, mind control is abused as a get-out-of-jail-free card for its antagonists to join the heroes, death lasts about as long as an ice cube in a volcano, and a good chunk of the second half feels like padding until the narrative finally seems to figure out what the heck it’s doing. It’s still a great game- and I would even go so far as to say the GBA or PSP version is the ideal starting point for anyone wanting to jump into the series- but I personally feel that it is a bit overrated.
#8- Final Fantasy XV
First announced way back in 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, this game was stuck in development hell for a decade before it was finally released, and it turned out pretty well, all things considered. Its biggest strength is its main cast. The four main heroes- Noctis, Ignis, Prompto, and Gladio- are some of the most likeable, interesting, and complex characters in any game I’ve ever played, and you will develop a deep, emotional connection with them as the game goes on. In addition, the main villain, in my humble opinion, is the best in the series and steals every scene he’s in. The combat, which is the most action-oriented in the series, takes some getting used to, but has surprising depth and makes every fight an intense spectacle. Things like the open world, setting up camp when the sun sets, and the unique combination of fantasy setting and modern urban environment do a lot to add to the atmosphere, and the game hits hard in the feels when it wants to. However, this game had a really troubled production, and it really shows in places. The last third feels like a completely different game and moves at a breakneck pace compared to the more laid-back tone of the rest of the game. While the main cast is perfect, the supporting cast is insanely underutilized. I mean, when the main character and his fiancee have next to no time on screen together, there’s a serious problem. And while the story is compelling, it just feels incomplete in some places. In spite of these flaws, this is still a worthy addition to the series, just not one I’d like to see become the status quo for future installments.
#7- Final Fantasy V
By this point, the Final Fantasy series had finally purged itself of the residual D&D influence and fully fleshed out its own identity. The gameplay of V is utterly phenomenal thanks to the Job System. It evolved from its incarnation in III in that you permanently learn abilities from jobs and can use them even while using another job. This system adds layers of depth to the game, allowing for loads of customization and replayability, rewards experimentation, and honestly, I never found it frustrating to grind Job Levels. It’s basically Final Fantasy III on steroids. And while the story and characters aren’t really among the series’ best, the atmosphere of this game definitely has its own unique charm to it, playing out more like a fairy tale compared to the other games which feel more like operas. Not only that, but the GBA re-release rewrote the script into a lighthearted, self-aware, tongue-in-cheek borderline parody with excellent writing. Throw in the introduction of fan-favorite miniboss Gilgamesh and you’ve got a classic.
#6- Final Fantasy XII
One of the more disputed games in the series, XII is one that I personally have a big soft spot for. While previous games had world-ending cataclysms and screwing around with the space-time continuum, this game weaves a more down-to-earth tale about war, politics, and the color brown. (Seriously, the first third of the game is one giant desert.) It is often pointed out that the supposed “main” character has almost nothing to do with the story, and indeed a good half of the main cast is completely irrelevant to the main plot. However, the other half of the cast (namely Ashe, Balthier, and Basch) is just fine, and this game has one of the best collections of villains in the entire series, who are intimidating, complex, sympathetic, and really satisfying to fight against. The License Board and Gambit System are a bit divisive, but I personally really love them, allowing for a ton of customization that rewards careful planning. The Hunts are also a great diversion from the main game that leads to some really cool and challenging fights. The battle system, which transitions seamlessly from the field, is deceptively simple but will kick you in the teeth if you don’t prepare, and even though there was a bit of grinding, regular battles moved at a fast enough pace that it kept from being too tedious. And while the music is completely different in style from previous games, it has a cinematic feel to it that makes it a treat to listen to. The game isn’t perfect, admittedly- I personally found the game’s dungeons to be a tad on the tediously long side, and save points were WAY too far away from each other- but it’s one of my personal favorites. Incidentally, this game takes place in the same universe as Final Fantasy Tactics, which isn’t a main series game, but for the record, I’d place Tactics between #2 and #1 on this list.
#5- Final Fantasy IX
This game was designed to be a throwback to the classic Final Fantasy games of the NES and SNES, and is the personal favorite of series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, and it’s not hard to see why. The story and characters of this game are among the series’ best, with the story blending a traditional fantasy story with the existentialism of later games and a heaping helping of war and cataclysm to keep things emotional, and the characters loveable and memorable… for the most part, and then the game forgets half of them exist. Its villain, Kuja, is one of the better villains in the series, who is a nice mix of intelligent, powerful, theatrical, and tragic. The cartoony art style is a bit of an acquired taste, but it really grew on me. The gameplay is pretty solid, but has its share of flaws, ranging from the battles moving at a snail’s pace even on the highest speed to an ability learning system that basically forces you to grind (although I personally never had an issue with it, and the passive abilities that you can equip and de-equip are really cool), and the Trance mechanic that is cool in concept, but it has one glaring flaw (it triggers automatically when the meter fills) that completely negates any and all strategic value with it. Like I said, the gameplay is solid, but it has serious flaws. Luckily, the story is interesting enough and the characters good enough that you won’t care.
#4- Final Fantasy XIV
The second MMO released under the Final Fantasy name, the story behind this game’s development is quite a story indeed. The 1.0 build of the game was so inherently broken and terrible that the developers dropped a meteor on the game’s world, rebuilt the entire game from scratch, and released it under the banner A Realm Reborn. And you know what? It worked. Despite being an MMO, the story actually feels meaningful. Believe it or not, I felt a legitimate emotional connection to the character I created despite her being a typical blank slate silent protagonist. Plus, the social elements work really well. The world of Eorzea is interesting and feels totally believable, and there is an absolute ton of stuff to do between the gathering, crafting, raids, etc. The combat is fast, involved, and despite the game being tailored more towards casual players, the later content pulls no punches, requires a lot of coordination between players, and is oh so satisfying to defeat those later challenges. It’s continuously being updated, and is currently on its second expansion. I never really considered myself an MMO person, but this game completely won me over. The free trial doesn’t expire, but rather caps at Level 35, which is a good chunk of the way through the initial main story, so give it a shot if you’re unsure if it’s worth the monthly subscription.
#3- Final Fantasy VII
For better or for worse, VII is the face of Final Fantasy in the mainstream. And for good reason- the series’ Playstation debut is fantastic. The story is complicated and intimidating at first, but I never once felt over my head and everything pieces together quite nicely by the end of it. The characters are great, too. Even if he’s been butchered by spinoff material and general pop culture exposure, Cloud is a really interesting, endearing main character, and the supporting cast is equally memorable and quirky. Opposite Cloud is everyone’s favorite undead gaslighting serial killer with an Oedipus Complex, Sephiroth, who is an awesome and terrifying villain. The battle system introduced the awesome Limit Breaks, which have been a mainstay of the series ever since, and the Materia system is easy to grasp and yet offers a ton of depth, though it does come at the cost of making the characters kind of interchangeable, since they all have access to the same abilities. The visuals haven’t aged very well, but they’re fine. The game tries to inject some variety with short minigames, but in all honesty, they are incredibly hit-and-miss and get really annoying sometimes. This game isn’t what I would call really easy, but it is one of the more streamlined, user-friendly games. It’s a little too streamlined in some places (The oversimplified equipment, for instance). And the English translation, especially in the original PS1 version, is just awful. But these are minor complaints I have about a great game with great gameplay and a great story. VII is the most iconic game in the series, and despite its age (and impending remake) the original is still worth checking out.
#2- Final Fantasy X
I’ll admit to being a bit biased here, since X was my very first Final Fantasy game, but even playing through it a decade and a half later, I still love it. As I mentioned when talking about XIII, linearity isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, and this game proves my point. Not only is the linearity justified in-story, but each area still has enough depth and stuff to do that it never feels boring. The battle system in this game is the best in the series- it’s deep, strategic, you can plan ahead and swap party members on a whim, and it always feels like you’re in control. The story is absolutely phenomenal and gets really emotional in places, and while some of the characters are less endearing than others, most of the cast is really interesting and likeable. One thing I like about the story is that despite there being multiple villains you have to contend with, it’s a little unclear even at the end who the true villain is, which is something I really like. The settings in this game are fairly unique compared to other games, and the boss fights are some of the best in the series thanks to the awesome combat, and while the game is a fairly smooth ride with a decent level of challenge, the endgame will absolutely kick you in the teeth if you haven’t mastered this game’s mechanics. The Sphere Grid is this game’s pseudo-skill tree for leveling up the characters, and while the original PS2 version is completely linear in terms of character growth, the Expert Sphere Grid introduced in the HD Remaster brings out the hidden potential in the Sphere Grid and allows for a ton of options for each character. I am frustrated at times by the really obtuse and annoying sidequests such as Drownball- er, I mean Blitzball, and the story is broken up by the Cloisters of Trials, which contain puzzles that are only there to waste your time and irritate you. The annoyance only lasts for a moment, though, and most of the experience is a smooth, enjoyable, emotionally powerful ride. I have nothing but love for this game.
#1- Final Fantasy VI
There is so much I love about this game, I don’t know where to start. The plot is unique in two regards: First, there really isn’t a single main character, but rather an ensemble cast who, with a couple exceptions, all get their time in the spotlight, and most of them are really likeable and interesting. Second, the first half is a really well-told, tight-knit, linear narrative that gives way to being completely open-ended and focused on the character’s personal stories in the second half, but both halves have the same level of quality. For a game made over 2 decades ago, on a Nintendo console no less, the story delves into some pretty heavy themes like slavery, the nature of free will, imperialism, death, and even suicide, as well as an ultimately positive message about how love and the human spirit will always triumph. The villain, Kefka, is one of the best, if not the best in the series, with a mix of quotable and hilarious lines, and utterly horrific and sadistic actions, as well as an awesome final fight. This game is also host to some of the best and most unique dungeons in the series. All the characters have access to the same spells through the use of Magicite, but unlike in VII, all of them have their own unique abilities and play distinct from one another, adding tons of strategy to party composition, although there are some balance issues since some of those unique abilities are more useful than others. If I had one major complaint about this game, it’s the multiple party segments. There are a few points that have you split up the party into multiple groups to defend a point or go through a dungeon to solve puzzles, and while that’s cool in theory, and it works really well in the final dungeon, most of the time it winds up being a hassle. Thankfully, those multiple-party sections are few and far between. Any other issues I have are minor and easily forgivable. All in all, Final Fantasy VI is a masterpiece no matter which version you play, and it may very well be my favorite game of all time.
 

ZaXo Ken'Ichi

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NOTE: Not sure why, but it refuses to not add a bunch of extra spoiler tags for every entry, even if I delete the paragraphs and consolidate them into one for each entry. So, umm, deal with it I guess? Lol. NOTE 2: I think I fixed it. Hopefully it's not broken for anyone else anymore :)

Since I haven't played XI or XIV, I won't be counting them. I'll also not be counting FFIII, because -while I have played the NES version with a language patch- I haven't played the DS version with the official translation. So instead, I'll replace them with XIII-2, LR, and X-2. This also isn't a list of my favorites, because that would be quite different.

#15 Final Fantasy I: Honestly, these first couple are just a toss up to me. You could shift the first two places around, and I really wouldn't care. Regardless, I think that FFI is easily one of the worst, mostly owing to the archaic design. The simplicity may be boring, but that's not the problem. The problem is that the game is designed up and down -like most J-RPGs from that time period- to be balanced around grinding. As such, there's very little real strategy involved unless you're very particular about how you play the game... which requires knowledge of the combat encounters beforehand and whatnot. Unlike later titles, this game expects you to grind. And it doesn't really do the best job of making sure that strange party configurations are viable, which is a mistake if you're gonna give people that much freedom. It's an extremely important game, but not one that holds up terribly well... at least in it's original form.

#14 Final Fantasy II: Again, while this game isn't better than the original, it's not exactly worse either. The reason I think they're interchangeable, is that II should be commended for being well ahead of it's time in terms of design ideas. The leveling system it uses was brand new at the time, and it was so far ahead, that it's only been widely adopted in other games in the last half decade or so, because the Elder Scrolls series made it mainstream. However, it's so poorly balanced in FFII that it actually ends up making the game more broken than the first one. A game I greatly respect for what it tried to do, but a game that barely functions in some ways.

#13 Final Fantasy IV: I don't hate Final Fantasy IV. It was my first 2D game in the series, after having played VII and IX. I thoroughly enjoyed it when I was younger. And it is definitely important for introducing the ATB system. But while the characters can be interesting, geez the narrative is contrived, scattered, and often hilariously random. Everyone dies... but not really... like thirty million times. It loses all tension after a while because of this. The story has some great character ideas. But some of the events that happen...? They're hilariously silly. Mechanically it's designed well enough, though -and yes, this will be a theme throughout most of the entries- it's not that great in the balance department. Far too easy if you know how to play J-RPGs, but a grind-heavy chore if you don't. Like most J-RPGs, it does a pretty awful job of teaching players how to effectively use many of it's unique mechanics, while simultaneously offering little challenging encounters that really require them. This usually culminates in a fairly easy experience until you get to one of the points where the game does expect you to understand it's mechanics. Then many players either end up like a deer in the headlights, unable to understand why basic Attack/Cure spam won't win them the battle, and many others just resign themselves to 'being required to grind to progress', as if that's a fair concession you have to make in order to enjoy the genre.

Again, this will be a theme throughout my list, because while I love the genre, damn is it broken a lot of the time. And FF is no exception.

#12 Final Fantasy XV: A game with a lot of potential. A game that squanders a lot of it. XV still definitely has some of that Final Fantasy magic that's unique to the series. But it's buried under a fairly empty open world, a messy as hell plot, generic quest design that goes nowhere, and mountains of mechanics that are as shallow as can be. Fishing? Cool! Too bad there's like four quests total in the base game, and the first two are essentially tutorials. Chocobo racing? Sweet! Too bad there's only one track setting with a few variations, and the mechanics are broken and shallow... and there's again only a handful of races. Customizable magic? Amazing! Too bad there's only three spells, they're all the same AOE blast in a different elemental flavor, and the 'customization' is limited to uninteresting options like Healcast and Multicast. FFXV is full of great ideas that aren't fleshed out. And as per usual, the game is a balancing nightmare. Most fights are braindead affairs where you only split the monotony of attacking up by occasionally switching weapons or pressing the dodge button. Again, there are many systems at play that could be interesting. But you don't need them. Hold attack, dodge, and spam healing items. Mission accomplished. And most of the superbosses are likewise torturous... not because they're hard, but because they are designed as nothing more than giant piles of HP that one-shot you constantly. Strategy doesn't change; attack, dodge occasionally, and spam healing items. It just becomes more long-winded and tedious. When one of the main hunts they added in an update involves killing 100 Cactuar enemies who constantly stagger you, confuse you, and avoid your attacks, and that's what they thought was an 'interesting encounter', you know their mechanical design needed a lot of work.

#11 Final Fantasy VIII: I love FFVIII. It is tied with two other games as my favorite game of all time. Final Fantasy VIII is also probably the messiest, most unfinished game in the series... closely followed by FFII and FFXV. So why is it higher on this list? Because I think it takes more risks than both of those games, and therefore has the most potential out of the three. At best, the mechanics on offer in FFXV could've given them a generic open world western RPG, with hack 'n slash combat. At best, FFII could've been a fairly standard oldschool J-RPG, but with a leveling system that allowed for more seamless, integrated growth than most other titles in the genre. At best, FFVIII could've been a masterclass of creative design, and freeform strategy. Junctioning is a glorious idea! While Drawing spells is tedious, being limited by your spell acquisition/and how many of your junctioned spells you're willing to risk is genius! Being able to use summons as an integral part of battles is also a great improvement. Choosing which commands you can equip, scaling enemy levels... all design elements that if used correctly could've amounted to the most strategic game the genre has ever had.

Unfortunately, the balance here is so far off, that I'm amazed the game even functions. Try to play FFVIII without Junctioning (which is easy to do because the tutorials are so... not great), and you'll have a nightmare of a time in a lot of instances. Junction at all, and the game turns into the easiest experience in the series. You don't even necessarily have to junction well. Just junction the spell that will raise the stat the most, and you're golden. It only gets worse since gaining the No Encounters ability is so easy. FFVIII is funny... because not leveling up actually makes the game easier. Since enemy levels scale with the player, keeping them at a low level and then junctioning completely breaks an already broken experience. It is astonishing how easy this game can become, and you don't even have to understand the systems at play. All you have to do is succumb to your primal urges to see stats get bigger by junctioning, and the urge to avoid the tedium of random battles. Never have I seen a game that so completely rewards avoiding the actual game itself. The story is also an incomprehensible mess, but like FFIV, has some great characters. Like I said, VIII is only this high on the list because it has more potential than the other two uber messy games in the series.

#10 Final Fantasy VI: Everyone hates me for this one. But what can I say? FFVI also has some great characters. But they're nowhere near as great as people claim. VI's biggest problem is spreading it's character's too thin. The cast is around twice the size of the normal cast for an FF game, and it shows. So many of the characters go through little growth. And many of the ones that do, get 'fifteen minutes of fame', before then going back to the way things were as if nothing happened. The game essentially takes turns. “Okay INSERT CHARACTER: Now it's your turn to be the focus.” After that's done, very rarely does anything about their characterization change. So essentially, you have a lot of character-centric events that don't change the character. Not only does this feel shallow, but it spends so much time on characters that realistically don't matter, that the characters who do matter feel underdeveloped. FFVI's story isn't awful or anything. But I think people attach so much worth to some of the more emotional events that happen, that they don't notice when those events amount to nothing.

VI also marks the point where the series started to gain true mainstream appeal. With this, Square realized that it was better if their games erred on the 'too easy' side. Bosses could sometimes provide a challenge, but nearly every other encounter was balanced to be 'fodder' for the player to slaughter in search for their next level up. So while VI has some decent mechanical ideas, it's marred by the fact that you can go through nearly all of the game by spamming nothing but basic attacks (or commands with no cost, like Sabin's Blitz's), and healing. No thought required.

#9 Final Fantasy XIII: This is probably the most forward thinking game in the series in terms of mechanical design. Story? Has some major issues. Characters? Not bad, but far from the best. Mechanical pacing? Horrendous. Removing the perception of freedom (because let's not kid ourselves... actual autonomy has never been a facet of Final Fantasy design)? Huge mistake. Leveling system? Why exactly does it not level me up itself if I have so little input? But Combat design? ...Unequivocally the most balanced and strategic of the series. FFXIII is a perfectly fine game. It has just as many major problems as most other games in the series; they're just in areas that rub against normal sensibilities much more harshly. But the nuances of the combat design in FFXIII were so well thought out, that I think it's the biggest travesty of the whole series that people brush the game off without stopping to learn from it.

Instead, we trash it for 'playing itself', when... let's be real... most of the other titles in the series play themselves... you're almost always just mashing Attack until you're blue in the face, and occasionally use a healing spell. Everything else in your arsenal is mostly just set dressing used as a sparkly bit of visual interest to prevent you from falling asleep. It takes far too long for XIII to really test it's mechanical design. But when it does, well, I don't know if I've ever seen another J-RPG do so much to push design theory in the genre so far forward. Yes, I believe this game is better than VI, mostly because mechanically it is on an entirely different level. VI is okay as a game, but is pretty broken. XIII is fantastic as a game... once you get past the first two thirds, lol. But the fact still remains that -at it's best- XIII eclipses even the highest potential VI ever had mechanically.

#8 Lightning Returns: Mechanically, this game (and most of the games ahead of this) are inferior to XIII in raw precision and design. However, as whole packages, I think games like Lightning Returns and the rest of the games on this list are better than XIII. Lightning Returns struggles in the story department. And it doesn't exactly utilize XIII's best characters to the degree that it should. Though, ones who were underserved like Snow finally get the characterization they deserve. Not amazing, but competent. Mechanically, Lightning Returns is pretty solid, with the biggest weakness being how obfuscated and confusing the new version of the Stagger system feels. It's solid otherwise. What Lightning Returns does best, is offering options to the player. The balance falters a bit, because there are still some options that end up kind of sub-optimal or redundant. But it's nowhere near the level of most of the rest of the series. And unlike XV, Lightning Returns does 'open world' correctly. The quest design that fills the world out still isn't great. But it doesn't pretend to be more than a checklist of tasks, so it's easier to get into the mindset where you can enjoy such design. The worlds are also much smaller than XV's, which helps.

While a lot of people dislike the timer system in Lightning Returns, it's actually pretty well thought out. People often refuse to be receptive to the mechanic from the very start, which isn't the game's fault. If you instead go in expecting a game that's designed not to be 100%'d on your first playthrough, you have a much better time. The tension is engaging. And then if you stick it out, you realize that managing your time well actually does allow you to 100% the game in one playthrough, so you get satisfied either way. What's more, the New Game+ system seemed to be designed with full awareness of this, and introduces several new mechanics into the game so that it's actually worth playing around in. This game was designed really well to accommodate as many playstyles as it can, which I feel is it's biggest success.

#7 Final Fantasy X-2: FFX-2's story is kind of a joke. I really enjoy the characters, and love that it's a game that was willing to entirely be about a female cast. X-2 also employs the second best use of a non-strict job system in the series. And since the jobs are so often something really unique within the series, it's fun for both newcomers and series veterans to find new dresspheres to try out. The biggest problem with X-2's mechanics is that the speed of the battles is blazing fast, because it uses a form of the ATB system where multiple turns can happen simultaneously. This means at your best you can completely dominate enemies, as long as you're strategically smart enough, and kinetically swift enough. It really does reward well thought out plays. But on the flip side, that means players have a huge uphill battle to face if they're not on the top of their game. FFX-2 can dogpile players extremely quickly, and catching up can be a nightmare. There isn't much else to say, because the rest of the game is pretty solid as a whole, as long as you're okay with the actual plot events being pretty ridiculous.

#6 Final Fantasy X: The predecessor to the last entry on the list, X beats the sequel out purely because it was the first time Square actually decided to try and parse out how to have engaging challenges be a consistent part of it's battle system, while also balancing it for a wide variety of playstyles. It says a lot that -while X can be a pretty hard game at points- it was still successfully a ton of people's first entry into the series. X's story is also really strong, despite being really hard to follow at points. What's there is emotional, fairly well written, decently paced, and makes some interesting turns. It's mostly let down by some motivational confusion, due to a sub-optimal localization. However, the localization team isn't fully to blame for this one, since Square didn't allow them to alter anything like lip flaps to accommodate for English. This means voice acting and writing had to conform to strict animations designed for Japanese.

X's biggest downfall is twofold. Firstly, despite being really balanced compared to previous entries, it's not the most complex. It's fun to decide how best to take down a Flan (who's really only hurt by Black Magic), a flying enemy (best tackled by the high accuracy of Wakka), and an armored enemy (who can only effectively be damaged by Auron's armor piercing), all in one encounter. But it's also incredibly simple to solve the issue, since there's really only one solution; the question is in which order will be most optimal. Still, it's a step in the right direction. But the other issue is the post game. Early post game content can be fun. But completing many of the celestial weapons can be an enormous chore, and most of the International content is utter garbage. The battles are so specific in design, that your options are either to get dominated as soon as you enter the battle, or spend 50 hours grinding levels and spheres until you're overpowered. Enemies like Penance really only have one way to be defeated, take an eternity to defeat, and are completely un-engaging the entire time. But when you factor in that the best way to stand a chance against him is to completely clear the sphere grid, and then rewrite the whole thing... yeah, f*ck Penance.

#5 Final Fantasy V: There isn't much to say about FFV. It's unique in that it's largely a much more comedic game than the rest. It can be an oooookaaaaay challenge at times; much more so than many of the other titles. And it has the best version of the un-restricted job system in the series. V is not the best game in any other regard. But it's also one of the ones with the least amount of major issues.

#4 Final Fantasy VII: The second of the three games that are tied as my number one favorite games of all time. Final Fantasy VII suffers from a lot of the same problems as the rest of the series. The Materia system is incredibly flexible, and difficulty mods have proven the outstanding potential it has. The story is definitely the one with the most potential in the series as well, and also took some of the biggest risks. In what other Final Fantasy does the main character lose control and beat the hell out of the main love interest? That's bold, but also speaks to the incredibly complexly woven themes the game offers. The game also offers some of the most rewarding secrets in the series, with such huge variety.

But Final Fantasy VII is also one of the easiest games in the series. I'm uploading proof right now ( http://www.finalfantasyforums.net/threads/64245-FFVII-Encounters-No-Encounters-Run-Differences-(Video-Series) ), that you can play through the entire game using nothing but Attack and Cure in every encounter... no grinding required. So as fantastic as the Materia system is, it's superfluous. Despite the story being deep, intricate, and the most human tale of the series, it also has a decent few contrivances that get in the way, and the worst translation in the main series. There are points where conversations and tone for said conversations are all but impossible to comprehend on a first playthrough. Final Fantasy VII is so high on the list for a mix of a few reasons that stood out in previous titles on the list; a combination of potential, risk taken, and the fact that I'd say it has the most unique 'feel' and aesthetic in the series.

#3 Final Fantasy XIII-2: XIII, but with nearly all of the major problems fixed. The only major flaws XIII-2 adds is that it's a little less precise in it's balance owing to the freeform 'open level' structure, and that the plot is even harder to follow. Character-wise, it has some of the most standout characters in the series. Caius is top three villains... fight me. Linearity? Instead of reinstating the false freedom of previous games, XIII-2 just said screw it, and introduced real freedom. It's one step away from complete non-linearity. Combat? Near imperceptibly less precise and balanced than XIII, but now with Pokemon-esque monster capturing which adds a huge amount of variety to party structure. XIII-2 is also the most concise game in the series. It takes about 75 hours to 100%, with very, very, very little empty space full of filler content. The quest design isn't amazing, but it's no more offensive than most RPGs. And there isn't any garbage goal of, like, fully leveling every monster or anything like that. As such, it feels the most consistently engaging to do everything the game has to offer, and doesn't overstay it's welcome.

#2 Final Fantasy IX: The third game in my number one favorite spot. Final Fantasy IX truly is the culmination of all the best parts of the old school J-RPG, with a Final Fantasy skin. It -like XIII-2- is really concise, as long as you're not planning to get every character to max level. The combat is still too easily broken, but it at least tries to engage players with wrenches in the gears from time to time. At one point you have to pick characters to enter a dungeon where magic is ineffective. Another time you have to defeat a boss with just your thief and blue mage. At another point, your white mage loses her ability to consistently cast magic due to tragic events, so you have to ride that wave out for a while. Another dungeon flips damage stats on their head, so less powerful weapons actually do more damage. None of these wrinkles are ever painful... and unfortunately none of them are ever that complex or difficult to deal with either. But at least IX gave real effort to try and spice up it's otherwise still mostly borked balance.

Nearly everything else in IX is amazingly well crafted. The story is mostly extremely strong. The translation is one of the best in the series. Side content is really engaging for once; instead of being filled with a dozen half-baked minigames, it includes a small handful of fully fleshed out minigames. Honestly, the only thing holding IX back, is the last act of the story, where it starts to fall apart. Once Terra becomes the main threat, and Zidane is revealed to be otherworldly, he has the cringiest, quickest solved freakout in the history of J-RPGs. It's pretty silly. The worst bit though is Necron. Out of the blue, the pretty fantastic villain in Kuja is thrown to the side after an easy battle, so that a generic 'world ending God' villain can become the 'true threat'. He doesn't belong, despite the fact that he technically makes sense. There's literally no reason why Necron couldn't have just been Kuja's final form instead. That one issue let's most of the air out of an otherwise strong final dungeon.

#1 Final Fantasy XII: Not my favorite in the series. Not a perfect game either. The story is one of the best in the series, with some of the best characters, the unequivocal best cutscene quality, localization, voice acting, etc. But it also falls flat at the end, just like IX. Vayne starts as a fantastic villain. And the Occuria are a pretty good idea too, albeit a little generic. The problem is that the combination of Vayne and Venat's motivations culminates in another generic, watered down “I have become a God!” conclusion for our villain. With such complex and mature writing/motivations throughout the game, it all just runs out of gas at the end.

Otherwise though... the combat is the second most well designed outside of XIII/XIII-2, and the Gambit System is something that should be integrated into every game with AI partners. The game is one of the few that offers true freedom, and the mechanics even accommodate challenge runs like a level 1 run fairly well, thanks to clever stat structures (Defense doesn't grow as you level, but only grows with equipment... this means if you find good equipment, you can actually play the game fairly smoothly at low levels if you've got the skill... it's worth noting that X tries this too, but isn't really built for it, meaning your options in combat become incredibly restricted... both games are rather tedious at low levels either way). Everything about XII other than the post game bosses -which are some of the most obnoxious war of attrition fights in the series- and the end point for the villains is easily the most cohesive and polished the series has gotten up to this point. FFXII feels like a fully realized game, which isn't something I can confidently say about any of the other games. It's not the best in ever way. But I'd say it's the least flawed.


Yes, I know my choices are controversial. But -while FF is far and away my favorite series in any entertainment medium- I'm also fully willing to admit that it is and has always been horribly flawed in many ways. The games rarely succeed to the degree that something like Shadow of the Colossus, or Shovel Knight, or whatever, because they dream so much bigger than such games. Final Fantasy pushes the envelope consistently, which is to be commended. But when you're always on the cutting edge, it's also all but impossible to create an experience that's consistent all the way through.
 
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VillainFan42

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Arza Ra'qael
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Thanks for giving your own list! I enjoy it when someone has a differing opinion to me and isn't childishly uncivil about it. As mystified as I am that anyone would prefer XIII over VI, I acknowledge that my favorite game ever has flaws and I respect your right to have your own opinion. I'm not Noah Antwiler for crying out loud.
 

ZaXo Ken'Ichi

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Yeah, I reread your list after posting mine, and realized that some of my statements could be misconstrued as direct responses to things you said. Want to make clear that this wasn't the intention. It was all meant as an explanation of my choices, and not intended to ever directly counter your own :)

As was hopefully made clear, I greatly value balance in my games, hahaha. Nothing frustrates me more than when a game gives me a million options, and none of them are strategically useful. A problem I feel is fairly widespread across the series and the genre, so my beliefs on quality are heavily weighted by that idea. After all, there's no reason you can't offer a million options to players and make those options functionally/strategically engaging.

I'm not Noah Antwiler for crying out loud.
Music to my ears, lol. Let's just say I'm... not exactly a fan of Spoony, nor the vitriolic hate he has added to the larger conversation. It has spread like a plague, and the mess is still being cleaned up :P
 

blakstang98

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I'll take a crack at this. I have not played XI, XIV and XV from the main series, so I will just omit them. I'll also stick to the main series only. I'll also state up front that this is strictly my opinion on the games and how I feel about them, not analyzing pros and cons to make a list. I will start with my least favorite and work my way to my favorite. Let's get controversial!

II - So I played this once, maybe like 5ish years ago. The leveling up system was totally different from others, but was really annoying. I went a little ways in the game and got stuck because I was dual-wielding weapons and couldn't really get through dungeons well. Equipping a shield in place of a weapon worked wonders and making progress. But honestly, I can't remember much of what I did while playing the game besides what I just mentioned. The story is basically lost on me and the characters were basically cookie-cutter with a rotating 4th member every so often. Hence this one is in last place.

I - Yeah, I know. I should appreciate this game more because it was the the 1st and was the trailblazer for the franchise (and even saved Squaresoft from bankruptcy). And I am a believer that later installments of games in a series are good because they work out some of the bugs that existed to begin with and sort of evolve to a better product. I only went through this game once, and the party I picked was not a good one, so it was a struggle. I wanted to experience multiple classes and didn't just go with classes I knew I could own with. But I did feel that this game was pretty tough. The encounters were relentless at times and grinding was just too much of a chore. And one theme you'll see with this list is just my problem with job classes in general and how sometimes they leave you at a bad disadvantage. I appreciate that this game made the impact it did, but I did not enjoy playing it. The story was okay and the characters were mindless, thoughtless drones that you just battled with. But a franchise has to start somewhere, right?

III - Again, I played it once and don't really recall much from my experience. I couldn't even remember the characters names, which says a lot about them. I also remember going to the "point of no return" and spending some time to do last minute grinding, all to be lost because I didn't do the 4 other boss battles leading to the final boss. I was pissed about that. But there was a big positive in this game that put it above the other 2, a job class system that I could change. Very helpful for any situation I was in. The sort of probation period that went with changing classes sort of sucked, but I do understand why they did that. It was still nice to not be "stuck" with a class type that was mostly useless to me for that time.

VI - So from watching and reading lists of Final Fantasy's ranking worst to best, this one seems to rank the highest overall. Honestly, I don't really see why. It has a cast of about 20 playable characters (or so it feels like) and most of them are useless. Give me a party of Edgar, Sabin and Celes and I can basically dominate the game. Cyan gives me some brute force too, which is good. You can throw the rest away. It's story is fine, but nothing spectacular really. It all feels so bland to me, overall.

IX - Like VI, this is another that tends to really rank high. One thing that really gets on my nerves with this game is the party changing like every 5 minutes, it feels like. Just when I'm getting my groove on with a party, then I'm stuck with some other garbage party. And every character has their own job class, that I can't change. Then I have a party with Dagger and she "can't concentrate". Useless. And I don't really find many times that Vivi is a huge part of my party unless Steiner is there. He has his uses and battles that he is necessary, but most random encounters he just gets passed over for someone who can do legit damage and not waste my limited MP. Oh yeah, and Zidane is the worst thief in the world. Seriously, steal the damn item I need. My party is getting destroyed while you waste turns failing to steal.

IV - I only played this one once as well, but I did find the experience enjoyable. It does have that whole non-flexible job class system, but I didn't feel like it hampered me down as badly as the others did. My mages could do regular physical damage for free and/or could use magic attacks and it didn't kill my MP so quickly. And my bruisers left bruises. And I do think the storyline was decent overall. Maybe a bit cliche, but it still worked.

VII - Ahh, the mighty VII. So I did find this game fun to play. The sidequests had a nice blend of being fun and challenging. Same went for the storyline gameplay. I do believe this game does get overrated a bit, as well as it's characters. I just simply didn't find this game as fun as the ones above it. And even though I haven't touched on soundtracks yet in this list, I do like this one a lot. Not my favorite, but it's in the top 5.

V - Fifth place goes to the 5th installment. I just enjoyed the flow of this game. I also felt like grinding wasn't such a chore. It was actually quite fun changing classes and trying to level up those classes. Oh yeah, and the classes, you can change them. Unlike III though, there was no penalty for changing them. You can literally change them after every encounter. And I won't throw an additional spoiler tag in this one, but I liked how they glorified the beloved creatures (or pets if you prefer) with sidequests involving them. And like for VII, loved this soundtrack.

XII - I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed the battle system in this game. The sort of active world with the creatures and you just start wrecking them without a separate battle screen. The sidequests in this game were fun and challenging as well. The marathon battle with Yiazmat was a nice touch, and a legit challenge (as was Omega). The characters all had the personality of a boiled potato, but the gameplay was fun, nonetheless. The accents were annoying too (no offense).

XIII - Oh, I know this will get a rise out of people. Like with XII, loved the battle system. And some of the ridiculous paradigms you have to setup for really tough battles is interesting as well. I still love the scenery in this game. I'm wired to not care about graphics, due to growing up in the 8 bit era of gaming and valuing fun over looks, but I really like the look of some of the places. I think the characters improved some from XII, but they didn't do favors on this list either. And I just found Lightning annoying. But oddly, I find myself wanting to play this game again every now and again or I watch gameplay just to see it again.

VIII - Yeah, another that's not high on most lists. Straight bias here, it was the 1st Final Fantasy I played and once I figured out what the hell I was doing, I was hooked. No job classes, which I like the flexibility of. I know the junction system sort of makes the game "easy mode" if you know what you're doing, but I play it honorably to prevent that. And there are events in the game that still get me nostalgic. And I know Squall gets a lot of hate because he's a whiny prick, but it doesn't bother me much and I still love using him in battle because he's a beast. And to this day, that Bahamut summon animation is still so awesome. And Deep Sea Research Center might be my favorite sidequest ever.

X - For a long time, I always considered VIII my favorite. But I have to admit, they did awesome with this one. It had a great blend of "easy mode" things for beginners (like a bunch of mini-tutorials) but still had bold challenges for the wily vets. Sadly, I never played the international version with dark aeons and Penance, and I still thought the toughest sidequests were still tough as hell. I thought the storyline was really good, even if somewhat similar to all other Final Fantasy's. And I thought the emotional impact was more powerful than in the other games. The rooms still get a little dusty when I see the ending, and I've seen it many times. Maybe I should really dust before watching the ending. The characters do follow sort of job class path, and sometimes leaves some from getting into battles, but it doesn't hamper you down too much. And even though the CTB is sort of backwards after using ATB on a lot of the previous games, it still made strategizing tough in the later stages (and sidequests). But I think this one was the best overall.

As I prefaced up front, it is just my opinion. I've come to realize that I value gameplay more than anything. The story of the game is the story no matter how you play. So to me, if it's fun to play between storyline "checkpoints", then it probably does well in my book. But again, that's just me.
 

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I haven't played every Final Fantasy game - So II, III & V won't be included as of yet (but I plan to play V very soon so I may re-jig the list in time). I also won't be including FFXI & XIV due to their online nature and minimal experience with them too.

1. IX:
Final Fantasy IX... It's hard to convey how much I adore this game but I shall try. I think what makes IX stand out among the others it's spirit within each of the characters and how they grow and care for each other throughout the journey. While I like the main story a lot, I think Vivi's personal journey is what really steals the show. All the revelations he goes through learning about the origins of his species and coming to terms with it and his limited life span - It was my first experience with a story dealing with existential themes and it really struck a chord with me and still does to this day. For a game known for its chirpy almost chibby art direction Death is a core theme through out the game and there are many instances to where it occurs and has a profound effect - I think one of the most harrowing scenes in all of Final Fantasy is the dialogue between Queen Brahne & Garnet upon the shore in the end of Disc 2, with the Queen expressing her regret and apologising before her demise, along with the partys reflection on this moment.

I could go on and on about the story, I love everything about it even if many consider Disc 1 to be a slow burn, it's full of charm that always made it engaging to me. Funnily enough I've never really been into Medieval/historical designs - I prefer more contemporary or futuristic art designs but IX returning to the series routes is something that somehow never detached me from the experience. I love the diversity of the locations from big fortress citys like Lindblum to little hide-away villages like Contie Pete, which are thriving in their own culture and way of life.

I think the biggest down side to IX is it's combat, the shame is that it's fantastic from a mechanical standpoint. But the main issue I have with it is just how slow it is, from the loading, to the ATB bar and the animations in general just feel like the framerate is stuck on 15fps. I don't know why either, as it doesn't seem much from a jump from VIII in terms of graphical quality. The other stand out feature that annoys me slightly is the Trance Modes, I don't like how I cannot save and utilise them to my decision and have the bar fill up to be wasted on a Goblin.

I will say that one of my favourite features of this game in comparison to other FF's is how each character in battle plays like their character presented in their story - Vivi the mage, Stiener the Solider, Zidane the Thief etc. I've never liked how in most FF games you have characters that can just take any skill. I know having specialised characters means that players will choose some over others but it really just helps blend the believability of their character to me.

Trait I wish the series kept moving on:
I'm trying to limit my word count on this but I can't leave IX without complimenting the Active Tim Events. This system is simply fantastic allowing the players to indulge in story extras. These ATE's really enhance the believability of the characters and it just gives a little extra tie to focus on what they get up to when arriving at a location. The Star Ocean series originally had this concept, but they used it in such an aggressive way - Having to re-enter locations at particular times to get unique events some which were even required to gain access to party members, it was so inaccessible and without a guide you simply wouldn't be able to navigate them well at all. But FFIX simplifies it and integrates them at the end of story scenes or lets t he player press Select and readily available moments of the game. I love this system and cannot believe FF games after abandoned it.

2. VIII:
Final Fantasy VIII is a very divisive title even as someone who utterly adores it I can totally see why, I myself even have massive Pros and Cons, but for me the Pros are just so overwhelmingly positive that I can let go of the stinging Cons it may have.

Much like IX while I like the main plot even if it is a bit messy what I value more is the it's brilliant character Development within Squall. I mentioned a lot of this recently within my thread made on VIII's divisiveness but I really do value and relate to Squall as a character. How through events in the past have left him dubious in trusting people through abandonment and I enjoy seeing how Squall blossoms through out the story to be able to reach out with his comrades and Rinoa. I really appreciate how we get in sight into his thoughts and perspective during story situations and seeing these dismissive thoughts change throughout out the game.

The sad point about Squalls development is that the other party members have really taken a back seat, I still see no purpose for Quistis beyond the Dollet battle, she has no personal conflict of anything to overcome and is just there - the same could be said for all of the other characters really where in other FF games you'll visit characters hometown and get involved with a scenario that explores them more - There were chances like Zell's Mother being set at Balamb Town, or the Destruction of Trabia Garden for Selphie, but while the scene is set nothing really develops sadly.

One of the stand out events for me is the Garden Battle near the end on disc 2. It's probably the biggest cinematic event I can think of within the FF series! The amazing thing is it starts off out of nowhere! You're going about your adventure about to visit Balamb Town & This huge contrast in colour Garden is awaiting there, then the whole situation explodes into an event which takes hours - hours of bliss I should add! There's just so much going on, most of all Squall stepping up to lead the battel and support his comrades in having the player choose his advice. I love how you see the tide of battle turn then take that momentum as you invade the other Garden and get involved in some heavy boss encounters & story changing events :)

I do have to say that his game is ridden with the worst plot twist I've ever experienced in … well pretty much any story. The Orphanage Scene... You all know it, I just cannot stand it at all. It's so convoluted in how out precise party members were all together as children to funnel in their attachment to Edea and the BS explanation through their memory loss and by GF's - HATE IT!

Trait I wish the series kept moving on:
One feature I wish other games was - I Have to admit I am struggling with this, I certainly won't put forward the junction system.

3.VII
Final Fantasy VII is the poster boy of the series, and I really can't fault it. It brought through a wonderful transition to where JRPG's became accessible in Europe! It really changed my expectation on what a game can offer, prior I'd play games like Sonic and enjoy their little scenario moments but never had I experienced a narrative within a game on this scale.

But it's not just the foundations of VII's Market Appeal that is worth mentioning, as the game has the content to be so noteworthy. VII's party members are all so fleshed out, iconic and engaging - There isn't a single one I dislike. I think also what makes it so special is just how long you spend in Midgar, which is such an established location, the 5-7 hours you spend within is filled with brilliant engaging scenario writing and the moment you step onto the World Map and truly feel that the adventure is just beginning is priceless!

Ultimate Boss Encounters on the World Map - This was something which I always thought was so cool. I think the most memorable one was Emerald Weapon who would genuinely terrify me as I accidentally encountered it prematurely. It made using the submarine really tense as I never knew where it would pop up from.

My favourite moment:
Has to be the Flashback set within Nibelheim. I just love the dedication the writers took to given us a perceived insight into the origins what made Sephiroth insane. The whole sequence is just so compelling and sets the scene and motivations for the journey. Of course, this in part is used later in the story when they reveal the truth of Cloud's origins - Both parts to me stand out as absolutely exceptional.

Trait I wish the series kept moving on..:
I know it's an obvious one but I can't ignore the Materia System! Mechanically speaking there has been no better JRPG system since in my eye. I love gaining spells and then have the ability to join them up with other spells in the Accessory Slots, it felt very experimental.

4. X:
Final Fantasy X... while not in my personal top 3, I still believe this to be the best Final Fantasy game overall! Seriously, this game just excels in every areas and with the current gen ports readily available it is the go to game I recommend for newcomers to really get a sense of what Final Fantasy is about. It has a compelling story, brilliant visuals, IMO the best battle system in the series, a compelling Sphere Grid system and so much Post Game content! I really cannot fault this game! A lot of people complain about Tidus but I personally really like him as a protagonist, especially the following his perspective and understanding Spira along with him.

I can't ignore how the game is splitting at the seems with extras, from Chocobo Mini-games, to a full fledged Sport in Blitzball the game has so much content and if players want to really push the combat to the limits they can try take on the Dark Aeons - Which requires you to really push the Sphere Grid to the MAX, going back and filling in Empty Nodes you earn from the Monster Coliseum. I Also appreciate how the Upgrade mechanics for Weapons & Armour works, I like how you could get the Final Weapon for each character through unique challenges - But the Weapon itself is an empty slate and you can put what attributes to it you like! The bad part is getting the components for the Attributes is a real grind!

My favourite moment:
It's hard to pin point one particular moment with X, I think the biggest thing I love is the structure of X's story around the Summoners Pilgrimage - It just sets the scene so well and I know many people these days complain about the lack of a World Map, but I feel X offers a great sense of adventure through all the locations we travel through and visiting each Temple to obtain more power for the final goal.

If I had to choose one moment it would probably be Operation Mihen. While we see Sins Power in previous moments like the attack on Kilika, I think after that moment we truly understand the power and fear people truly have of Sin. Operation Mihen marks the moment where we are involved with the mission to take on Sin... and it goes horribly wrong! Being on the receiving end of that hurt and really expressed just how scary Sin is. I felt so bad for Yuna who wanted to Summon after the havoc and Tidus seeing the destruction Sin causes upon understanding Sins Origin. That on top of one of the first tough Boss Battles of the game against that Bug thing, only to crush it a second time with Seymour's Power.

Trait I wish the series kept moving on:
Unique Battle Commands - I don't know what the term for it is but I mean them few moments in some battles where they character could interact with the environment in battle to get the advantage! Destroying the Battery on the bridge at the opening or using the Crane on the Robot in Luca these features were so fun and unique I don't know how further series ignored this idea - As it could really make certain boss battles more engaging.

5.VI:
I experienced VI much later than to be expected - being from the UK, we never got a release until the PS1 port. But even with that I have played it off an on for years, many times reaching the later half of the game and not beating it even. But I can confirm, I have beaten the game! I did so a few years ago.

First thing to talk about VI is the pure scope of the game, it's huge! I think if I am honest the party is a little too big for it's boots - Some of the more secondary characters like Mog, Gogo & the Yeti. But the majority of the characters do get a lot of attention and character development throughout and it's a very gripping ride.

My favourite moment:
Celes's on the Mountain, While everyone talks about VII's big death scene, I had no preconceptions going into this (Not that I did with VII either mind you) and gosh, the whole sequence is amazing. Waking up with Celes upon the beach stranded and so helpless after the catastrophic event was just so draining. Also, when I played this I didn't know you could actually save Cid! So, I failed, making the situation even more bleak. So when I saw Celes in her moment of despair make that jump, I felt my heart sink in the very same moment - It was very crushing. I struggle to really get immersed into 16-Bit games in general, it takes more effort than I wish to admit, but this scene had firm within it's grasp.

Trait I wish the series kept moving on:
One thing I liked a lot about VI is due to having such a large party, it has moment where they separate and leads to more intimate moments - Like exploring Cyan's loss through the Ghost Train (Easily another favourite moment of the series for me), I think if you had a full roster at your side, that sequence wouldn't feel as intimate, yet in having just Cyan & Sabin, I felt they had to support each other even more.

Many FF games have taken this feature, VIII had you split your party in having one team stay at Balamb and the other try save Trabia. IX had your team split at Lindblum for a considerable time - Making the reunion more special. XIII even did this, but if think the stretch was for a bit to long in this one, but I do think that Sazh's moment of doubt benefited from it.

6. XIII:
I know Final Fantasy XIII has a lot of Stigma but I've genuinely enjoyed it on multiple occasions. I didn't even note the Corridor level design upon my initial playthrough and even upon my 2nd and 3rd I still didn't mind it because the story had an engaging pace.

I really enjoy the games combat system! I found that utilising the Job role and having to change them during battle depending on the enemies tactics made for a far more engaging experience than the typical turn-based system. I know it has flaws, I don't like how when the lead character dies the battle ends! But it really kept me on my toes - I will say I avoided the controversial AUTO-BATTLE button, as I found I could utilise my ATB bar slots better manually.

I think one of XIII's biggest weakness is the way it handles it's lore. There is a lot of confusing similar sounding terminology which makes it hard to understand what is going on. But along with that, a lot of the events around this Lore aren't really accessible within the game other then Data Logs stuffed in the menu, but this content should have been more active within the timeline of the game. I still don't really understand the Gods of this World and how they're Presented - One of them just hangs about in the background of a factory you travel through and is very vague, there lacks a real conflict between them and our party an this is a problem that even the 3rd game of the series doesn't address very well.

My favourite moment:
The part that really sold this game to me was in Palumpolum - To be honest the whole area is my favoruite part of the game as you feel the party really begins to accept one another. But the highlight is easily how Snow & Hopes conflict explodes! Hope harbouring plenty of Rage for Snow, finally takes the moment he has been waiting for to get revenge and with Snow vulnerable it really looks like he is going too, but just as Hope is about to strike he is knocked forward and off the ledge he kept Snow prisoner. What then takes place is so special, how Snow reaches out to help Hope despite wanting him dead. I just find it very humane and it tears me up every time! I wouldn't rank Snow in with my favourite FF characters but that moment he really shines through.

Trait I wish the series kept moving on:
One feature I really enjoyed was within the combat system again, the Stagger System! This was so cool, as you had to use certain exploits against the enemy to rise this bar cause you to really get familiar with the battle system. I also liked how the game required you to plan out your Buffs and Debuffs as which you'd need. But upon reaching that bar it was exhilarating to see the Opponent in a weakened phase to which you could full on assault them with all your might!

7. XIII-2:
I have very polarising thoughts on XIII-2 for many reasons, I think it has the best main story of the Trilogy, yet barely progresses the overarching story as a whole. Had XIII-3 been better this could have ranked higher as the mid-tier game but Lighting Returns wasn't the XIII-3 I think any of us were expecting and as this is tied between two very troubling games it's hard to tie it away from that.

I must at admit I wasn't to keen on the Monster System in this, I can see why some would be but I'd rather have a character involved in the narrative than some generic monster - I had the exact same problem with Kingdom Hearts DDD. Also, was a bit disappointed that I couldn't tame a Marlboro!

The biggest issue I have with this game is Serah, she was a secondary character within the original game and the sudden jump into the line light wasn't meshing with me at all. I simply didn't like her as a character, she had no real strong identify of her own and still always felt secondary to Lighting.

However, the biggest correction this game did was finally bring in a worthy protagonist! Cauis Ballad's tale was very tragic and is probably one of the villains of the series I can sympathise with the most.

My favourite moment:
I mentioned the above because had Final Fantasy XIII-2 been it's own game featuring parts from Noel's Story & Cauis it would be brilliant. I actually really enjoyed the part where Noel explains his origins as being the last lost soul in the world - It's a very sad character arch and really well written.

Trait I wish the series kept moving on:
Hmmm. struggling on this one.

8. IV:
I played Final Fantasy IV on the PSP Complete Edition and it was a great experience, I can see why it's a landmark JRPG with a story that is driven by rivalry. but have to admit I think it might just be a bit too before my time. I certainly enjoyed it but it just doesn't compare to the top tier FF games for me.

The biggest gripe I have is how they belittle death in having characters return later on, it really ruined what were some brilliant moments for me.

Trait I wish the series kept moving on:
One thing I liked about IV was how diverse it was with it's locations! Not only was there an underground World Map, but also you get to venture to a Mysterious Moon in the later segments which was very atmospheric. I wish more FF's dared to venture other planets, I know IX did with Terra but it was only 1 location. Props to XIII with Gran Pulse.

9. X-2:
X-2... Honestly, It's surprising to see it so high as before it was within the lowest depths of my FF ranking. Having played through it on PS4 recently I can say I had fun with it. I like getting to see Spira within the Calm and exploring all the locations. I still really do not enjoy the story, the atmosphere and how they broke down Yuna as a character. I don't even mean the Charlies Angels persona either, Yuna was strong. noble lady in the original and in X-2 she's just very weak and dependent - It's just too much of a character change.

The Dressphere system has grown on me, I enjoyed it more on my last playthrough but mechanically it really doesn't seem to relate to X at all with it's combat system and Level Up system.

The biggest offense this game has though is within it's Mission Structure and how if you miss the slightest percentage to your completion you can't get 100% - Which means the only way to master this game is by having your nose stuck in the Guide Book in fear that you'll miss something. I never felt I could relax with this game especially as the game has Chapters which would lock certain events needed for your percentage should you miss it. I just didn't enjoy the flow of this game at all.

11. LR:
Lightning Returns... oh boy...

In fairness, I can certainly say that I have enjoyed the game. But the concept for this game is jut too much of a departure to be a XIII-3. Had this been a new IP about disciple from god left with the task for separating the good and the bad, upon transporting vessels from a dying world into a new world... I'd have been down for that! But this is Final Fantasy XIII and it's just straying to far from the typical JRPG adventure that it was. One of the key character arch's for Lightning in the original game was about her becoming more humane... but as a Goddess she's even more detached from that vision - which she even states within this game.

I Actually didn't mind the Doomsday Clock in this game, I can certainly see why people would but I felt I had more than enough time to do what I wanted with the game prior to the final battle. What I couldn't stand was the way that generic sidequests had become mandatory for the game! You don't level up or gain stats for beating enemies in Lighting Returns, the only way to gain experience is from completing these sidequests which the majority are really dull but in order to progress with the actual story you have to spend most the time faffing with sidequests. Generic sidequests in JRPG's are just the worst so to put it at the forefront of the gaming experience was not appreciated at all.

My favourite moment:
My favourite moment of this game could not be experienced in the initial playthrough! But there is a sidequest in which an NPC asks you to eliminate all the monsters in the world... each monster has a limited amount of respawns so it is actually possible! I though this concept was brilliant! I had a lot of fun going along with it too.

Trait I wish the series kept moving on..:
I will say I loved the World/Locations within this game, each one was vast and flourished with it's own identity, if future FF's could have Cities to this scale I'd be delighted! I enjoyed how music in the location transitioned with the day and night cycle. I also adored the monorail system to traverse from one place to the other too.

12. XII:
My first FF disappointment. I remember getting this a day early and being so giddy, IGN review was a 9.5 for my favourite franchise in the world. I got home and by the second evening with I was completely fed up. I just remember strolling through landscape after landscape pleading that the next area would have some story advancement - Which it mostly never did! XII's story is just so dry and spread thin throughout that it is the least engaging within the series.

I also never found the combat engaging either, for the majority of the normal encounters, I just controlled Balthier as he shot various enemies that was a good 80% of my experience with XII. I just never really enjoyed it's nature of pre-setting everything, as opposed to adapting to the challenge in the moment. I also found while it has an ATB structure, in having it the other way around it made me very impatient quickly - Instead of waiting for the ATB then making my command, I'd have to wait after making my command.

Aesthetically the game is beautiful, especially present now it can be displayed at HD resolution with the Zodiac Age release. In the occasional city you could see every nook and cranny will be rich in the utmost detail which is wonderful of course - But I will say none of the locations were particularly distinct or unique in feel.

I honestly don't have much positive to say on this game, sure it had Monster Hunts but it never had any Mini-games or Sidequests which really diverted from the core gameplay - Like Chocobo hot or Cold or Blitzball and as I didn't enjoy the combat system in this, I wasn't encouraged to seek the later battles out.

Also, with the Zodiac Age, you have to read up a lot just to make the selection of your characters 2x Roles - because there is no way to predetermine what role you'll need with said character for post game content... then there is the struggle obtaining the Zodiac Sphere... just even talking about this game flares me up!

13. XV:
Complete waste of potential. I'm sorry but this game is such a let down. I will say unlike many I actually really had fun with the KingsGlaive prequel Movie - I honestly enjoyed the story more than the main game.

The biggest issue with this game is simply how inconsistent it is. I thought the main objective was to visit each Tomb and gain power from one of Noctis' forefathers - Very similar to X's Aeon Pilgrimage in structure. They set this up as the main focus of the game... but you can reach the end of the game without visiting half the Tombs... I'm not kidding. I was at a point where I didn't want to progress with the game as I simply couldn't believe that they we're optional - After finding one randomly was I drove by I was just utterly confused and felt that I didn't want to progress with the story till I got them all - this really detached me from the experience, as I had to then look up all the locations amongst my confusion.

Beyond the main plot being derailed, there are points in t he game which had glaring issues in continuity - Two of them were related to future DLC Episodes that weren't released too! The situation on the train where Prompto is Switched was just confusing ( still haven't even bothered to play that bit of DLC...) & The moment where Gladious excuses himself randomly only to randomly re-appear without any explanation was so jarring on my initial playthrough.

One of the biggest problems was also how the Villains we're cut short, first comes to mind is Ravus who you find:
Just laying in room with scattered dossiers explaining his struggles... This is image sums up my throughs of XV, wasted potential! What's annoying is how well his character was introduced within Kingsglaive, I was really expecting him to be a re-occurring menace like VIII's Seifer… but I think you only encounter him twice before you find him in this room

Then there is also the Nifilheim Army in general... they just have no presence within the story at all! I'm very shocked that we never got to enter their city properly. Also, I was expecting much bigger boss battles with some of the higher ups especially Verstael Besithia - Whom I gather is explored more within Prompto's DLC... but this is content that should have been in the main game!

I also didn't enjoy the combat very much, unlike Kingdom Hearts where you have to press each command to form an attack, I found XV's approach to holding buttons down lazy and unengaging. I appreciate you could do blindside attacks and use triangle to teleport strike and things but in general I just found it to be a very passive combat system. Also with the Addition of Summons as a fail safe made the game far too easy.

In regards to extra content, like XII & XIII it was mostly focused on monster hunts. Which I don't mind once again but the biggest issue I had is that in the demo they displayed a great side mission which the Behemoth - In where there was actual scenarios built within the mission rather than the typical Go to location A, Beat Monster B & claim reward C, Every other Mission was structured liked this which was a massive let down.

I also just did not like the structure of the games World. There was barely any proper locations just little hotels and gas stations. They had one in Lestallum but it was very barebones and didn't have much of a presence. Other Final Fantasy games have big cities and civilisations, if this is something that XV couldn't achieve due to technical demands we have to really re-evaluate how JRPG's can approach bigger locations within their game again.

Overall I just have such a low opinion of XV, there really aren't many redeeming qualities that make me think, YES that was brilliant! Everything was just very mediocre and the lack of a polished & consistent story has lead it to be one of my least favourite FF experiences. I was hoping to Replay it when they finished the 2nd season pass, but now that is not even being completed... I just don't know where I stand with this game.

10. I
My favourite moment:
Trait I wish the series kept moving on..:
14. TYPE-0
TRASH
 
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Narigo

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I might do a explanation later but heres my list:

Final Fantasy I
Final Fantasy III
Final Fantasy II
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy XI
Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy X
 

bougti

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My list: VII (Playstation)- best story, good cast, great soundtrack

IX - attention to detail, best cast, great soundtrack. Perfectly crafted RPG

XII - Gameplay is fast and strategic. Great scenario and exploration

VI (GBA and SNES)- the system is fun. The Ruined World is very good, as oposed to the boringness of the WOB

V (GBA)- good ability system and humor

III (DS)- ability system, very good soundtrack

IV (DS)- challenge, abilities finally work well

IV (2d releases): get the DS version, you dolt

VIII: Boring. bad story

X: even worse story, even more boring

II: boring beyond belief










emi calculator
 
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charmy

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I haven't played them all yet (FFIII, FFVI, FFXI, and FFXIV), so my list may not be as extensive. I haven't included FFI or FFII because I don't remember enough about them to comment. But here is what I have:

FFVIII - I have a soft spot for this one because it was my first Final Fantasy and so it will always be the most memorable for me. I hadn't really played many RPGs before this and so when I started FFVIII, it was just so different to experience the story, the characters, and the music. I'll always consider this the Final Fantasy that is the most difficult to explain to someone else XD - it's starts with a mercenary school, has dream sequences, time compression . . . it gets a bit confusing! But I liked the battle system which was easy for me to pick up considering I hadn't played a Final Fantasy game before (though initially I didn't get the whole Junction thing). And I enjoyed Triple Triad too.

FFVII - If we were talking about FFVII as a franchise, then I would put this at number one, but for the main game I've put it at two. I loved the characters in this game the most because they all had some sort of backstory and you got to find out more about them as you played the game. This also has one of my favourite sountracks with Aerith's Theme, Cosmo Canyon, One Winged Angel, etc. There were also so many mini-games! I'm really looking forward to the remake.

FFX - This was my second Final Fantasy game, and so moving from FFVIII, the graphics at the time looked amazing. The world was very different and you had some beautiful locations like Besaid Island and the Macalania Woods. I really enjoyed the Summons in this game seeing as that you could control their moves rather than it being automatic like in other Final Fantasies. This game also has some of my favourite tracks which really worked so well with some of the more emotional scenes. The only thing with this game is that it is so hard to get the celestial weapons - I still haven't gotten them all because I can't dodge 200 lightning bolts >< I also had trouble with the Dark Aeons. But overall, I enjoyed the story and characters

FFIX - I've only played it once so I've forgotten a few things about the game but there were a lot of things that were memorable regardless. I don't think I'll ever forget that scene when Zidane is struggling and You're not Alone is playing in the background and everyone goes to help him. It gave me lots of feels! It's also quite a different world from some of the other Final Fantasies and some of the music was fun and upbeat. I do think I need to replay it again to appreciate it more now that I'm older.

FFXV - Despite the criticisms it's received, I didn't mind this game. It started well and I enjoyed the battle system. It was nice to see those little scenes when camping of the guys playing cards or messing around. It made the characters more relatable. But after Altissia, the story was way too rushed. After the 10 year gap, I really wanted to explore more of the world rather than just heading to Insomnia. And some characters you didn't see again (they showed Talbot but not Iris for example). However, there was a lot to do in the game after you finished the story and so I did end up playing this game for a long time.

FFXIII - Again, I didn't mind this one as much despite a lot of people not liking it. Yes, I do think it was quite linear and the enemies don't respawn all the time to help level up. And then there was farming for items - those Adamantoises!! >< But the story kept me interested and I didn't mind the characters. The graphics were also quite nice on the PS3 and the battle system required you to be more strategic.

FFXII - Gameplay-wise, I enjoyed this one, but for whatever reason I just couldn't connect with the characters. None of them stood out for me and so I didn't enjoy the story as much as I did other Final Fantasies. If anything, I thought Vayne was an interesting antagonist, but not fleshed out well enough. The Gambit system was interesting though and I liked that you had different seasons. I haven't played Zodiac Age so I'm not sure how much that has affected the battle system.

FFIV - Another one that I don't remember too much of, but I did play this together with After Years so seeing the characters grow from one game to the next was fun. I remember the main idea of the story but it didn't stand out as much to me. I think I'd need to play it again to say more about it.
 

Starships

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Final Fantasy XV : I don't think that this is the worst Final Fantasy though at the same time it just doesn't feel all that genuine, as instead of telling the story naturally, Square split up characters on purpose so there would be paid DLC and I can't stand for that. Imagine if in Final Fantasy VII the truth about Cloud's true identity when he was in the Lifestream was $5 DLC. It just feels so dirty.

Final Fantasy XV also has a wide-open world, but it's also bare and empty. Something about FFXV just feels so fake and empty. This game had a good chance to be promising, but it turned out to feel manipulative instead.

On the bright side, I think that this is a-okay start for new players looking to get into Final Fantasy. The story is easy to follow compared to older Final Fantasies, the music is charming and the cast is nice. Though the whole "boys on a road trip" is just not for me personally. Again, I don't think that this is the worst Final Fantasy, just it really rubs me the wrong way, and it's just not my cup of tea.

Final Fantasy XII : For the longest time this used to be my least favourite of the bunch but then the Zodiac Age came along and same with Final Fantasy XV. The whole political story is just not for me, it's either something that you find deep or something that bores you to tears, and weeeeell.

The Zodiac Age made this game more enjoyable as now it has Jobs and you can speed up so things feel less of a drag. The cast is pretty weak, minus Basche and Ashe, while the others just feel like pointless tag alongs. The music is forgettable too.

No matter how many times I've tried, I just can't seem to really love this game. Points to the Zodiac Age for almost improving everything. If Zodiac Age brought in more story for Vaan, Penelo, and just a bit more for Fran then Final Fantasy XII would be much higher in the ranking.

Final Fantasy I : This game is so great for it's time, and it's showing to why this game did so well and why the Final Fantasy series made such an impact in the East and the West. This game is pretty simple, it's nice and okay, and it's worth grabbing your PSP on a rainy weekend for. Though this is a game made in 1987. Final Fantasy big stories and characters didn't arrive till much later. Still this game is nice.

Final Fantasy XIII : Final Fantasy XIII is the opposite of Final Fantasy XV. On rails. Women are the main and important roles instead of a group of men ( Lightning, Fang, and Vanille) and instead of the main romance being a heterosexual one, it's lesbians. Final Fantasy XIII is faulty, but it's also fun. The battle system is fun. Not the best, but fun. The story and characters can be overdramatic sometimes, but I like Fang , Vanille, and Sazh.

Final Fantasy XIII's soundtrack is also underrated and I love The Promise. Unpopular opinion, but I think the worst thing about this game is Snow. Snow's group of friends, Snow's character and attitude, his "relationship " with Serah and just everything about him. Snow sucks. I'm not keen on Lightning either- but she gets better as the game goes along, Snow doesn't.

Final Fantasy XIII feels like junk food, it's Mc Donalds or KFC, it's not the greatest thing in the world, but you may enjoy it. However, you may hate Final Fantasy tasting like cheap fast food.


Speaking of Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy XIII being opposites, Final Fantasy XIIi's "DLC" ( FFXIII-2 and Lightning Returns) actually feel worth if, if you are a fan of the game. Don't get me wrong, Square still milked that cow, but this feels like a better cow because it has more meat that's worth your pennies; and you know, they're sequels instead of just "character chapters".


Final Fantasy II : Final Fantasy II is usually viewed as the worst Final Fantasy by many people, but I enjoyed it. Final Fantasy II's story for its time feels quite majestic and it's revolutionary how the game lets you set up your own party classes the way that you want, do you want to make Firion a White Mage? Go ahead. Where Final Fantasy II fails, however, is how you have to make Firion that said White Mage, and it can feel confusing and frustrating. Though I think you have some idea beforehand what you are doing, then it's not so bad.

Final Fantasy II feels bold and brash and I know that some people think that it belongs in the trash, but I say give it a go, but maybe watch a Let's Play and have a plan beforehand and it's not that bad? Or maybe I'm just an FF2 apologist? lol.


Final Fantasy III : I used to hate this game, but after a replay, it's not so awful. This game is rather NES hard, the remake is even MORE NES hard. Final Fantasy III is, however, a great challenge to test your Final Fantasy skills and it has Jobs. You can't go wrong with FF Jobs.

Final Fantasy VIII: This game actually helped me out during some awful times so game, despite its faults holds a special place. It taught me to move on from the past, cherish the moments that you have.

Final Fantasy VIII is a rather unique but broken gem. Junction can be hard to grasp, Drawing can feel tedious and the main cast is teenagers, and not everybody likes hanging around teenagers, even teenagers themselves. Still, it has a sweet romantic story and a story about overcoming your anxiety and fears.

Final Fantasy IV ! It starts out wonderful but crashes like a train near the end. Cecil is one of my favourite protags. Cecil and Rydia must sore backs from carrying this game though.

Final Fantasy X: Did somebody say nostalgia? Because boy, do I have some strong nostalgia for this game. However, I don't think it's just nostalgia blindness, as this game has a decent cast, amazing ost, and one of the best Final Fantasy stories. Also, the Sphere Grid is crack.

Fuck Seymour though.

Final Fantasy VI ! Don't think much needs to be said here. We already know how good this game is..

Final Fantasy V : Final Fantasy V is just fun, just simple fun and sometimes that's all that's a game needs to be. I mean the GBA version though, as that translation just improves the game a lot

Final Fantasy V makes grinding for levels fun too. On the lower side, the game is grind-heavy and the story can feel cliche. Even by 1992 standards.

Final Fantasy VII : Thoughts have wavered about this game, and they'll waver again, as I feel like the prequels and sequels and Kingdom Hearts have done so much damage towards this game. Though the original game itself is still pretty solid. The story, the characters, the music- it's all so monumental. Also, Final Fantasy VII bar it's graphics have gotten better with time. If FF 13 is junk food, and if FF4 is a train, then FF7 is wine.

Final Fantasy IX ! Final Fantasy IX is on the top of my list because I feel like it really is a life-changing adventure, not just for the cast, but for you as well, it's an experience.
 
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