Final Fantasy is only a few weeks away from turning thirty years outdated – so let’s have fun with an excellent outdated fan rating.
Thirty years offers an terrible lot of historical past to mine and a really ridiculous variety of video games. Since the unique Final Fantasy made its debut in Japan on December 18, 1987 the collection has seen fifteen foremost numbered titles, three movies, and a ridiculous variety of spin-off video games together with just a few discrete collection’ together with Crystal Chronicles, Tactics, Chocobo’s Dungeon and franchises constructed round particular entries or characters.
But which is the most effective? Well, you understand… it’s sophisticated. Obviously no matter I write right here goes to come back in for criticism, however screw it: I acquired my begin writing about video video games as a teen by organising a Final Fantasy fan website, so like every good fan I’ve spent lots of time serious about this.
Before you hop straight to the feedback to inform me to drop useless and all that, right here’s the foundations for this record:
- The MMOs aren’t included. I need to take a second to say that Final Fantasy 11 and Final Fantasy 14 are excellent video games, and I specifically put 100 hours or extra into FF11 when it launched – however I’m not going to incorporate them. This is in regards to the single-player video games, easy as.
- Neither are any spin-offs. If we get into spin-offs this might simply broaden from a prime ten right into a prime fifty, and that simply appears ridiculous. Besides, to be sincere – lots of the spin-offs are sub-par anyway. For the file, nevertheless, my favorite spin-offs are FF Tactics (clearly), Final Fantasy Legend and metropolis administration sim Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King.
- Being on this record is nice. Unlike the spin-offs, main-line Final Fantasy is fairly pure. Aside from the unique launch of FF14 there’s by no means been a really unhealthy numbered FF – they vary from good to incredible – so strive to not get too mad about the place I place a sure sport, or in regards to the three that didn’t make it.
So – deep breath – right here’s my prime ten Final Fantasy video games.
10. Final Fantasy XIII
Lots of people actually like to hate this one, they usually’ve acquired an excellent purpose – FF13 takes twenty-plus hours to get going, but it surely earns its spot on the record for its fight system alone. From a distance FF13 can seem like a bore the place you simply hammer ‘auto battle’ repeatedly, however there’s truly a stunning hidden depth to its fight system the place your consideration ought to be extra about preparation, organising the pre-set celebration configurations you’ll then swap via in battle in response to enemies.
Lightning can be an excellent lead, I believe, although the remainder of the sport is a muddled mess that personifies Square Enix on the time of its growth – which maybe is why it ended up with its distinct corridoor form. FF13 isn’t any traditional, but it surely has its share of constructive memorables.
9. Final Fantasy IV
At the time FF4 was a little bit of a revelation, but it surely’s additionally an uneven sport which is what earns it this spot on the record. It’s notable for just a few causes, although, from Spoony Bards to how that is actually the sport that after somewhat take a look at run in FF2 actually, correctly units the story and character-driven template that FF would go on to be outlined by. The sport now has a brand new lease of life within the type of the 3D model launched for DS, PC and cellular, by far the definitive model of the sport.
FF4 continues to be above all three NES FF video games for me (they’re absent from this record) as a result of FF4 is a greater expression of virtually the entire concepts NES FF expressed – although it’s actually a stepping stone, albeit a superb one, to larger, higher issues.
eight. Final Fantasy X
At the time of its launch FF10’s mind-boggling visuals and the addition of voice appearing had been the key speaking factors, however in hindsight there’s one thing an excellent deal extra particular about this one: simply how totally different it feels.
From the protagonist-narrated story via to its extra plainly Asian-inspired settings that mash up completely with sun-drenched seashores, FF10 is an absolute delight. It has a killer mini-game in Blitzball too (not less than, when you perceive it), and the Western launch options a number of the greatest post-game content material within the collection. FF10’s linear nature is much like FF13, but it surely’s telling that the remainder of the sport is so cohesive and so good that no person ever talks about that reality.
7. Final Fantasy XV
In at fortunate quantity seven is the most recent entry within the collection, and although it had an infamously troublesome delivery FF15 actually is a particular sport. The insane factor about it’s how a lot it’s improved within the final 12 months: twelve months in the past I’d in all probability have put it decrease, but it surely’s climbed just a few locations because of story fixes and different tweaks.
While I believe a lot of the ‘FF15 Universe’ Square Enix has chosen to construct round this sport it absolute guff of the worst order, the sport itself is a extremely courageous and principally profitable mix of design components from Western RPGs with traditional FF components, with the sport even switching from an open-world exploration-driven sport to a extra typical FF rollercoaster journey round two thirds in. The actual star is a novel new story for FF – a surprisingly compelling story of brotherhood that will get unexpectedly actual and tender because it wears on.
6. Final Fantasy XII
The reality is that mechanically FF12 is the most effective entry in the complete Final Fantasy collection, however the remainder of the sport stumbles in some important methods. The gambit system and related battle mechanics are a stroke of genius from Active Time Battle creator Hiroyuki Ito, and it arguably nonetheless stays essentially the most attention-grabbing and depth-filled potential substitute for much less dynamic turn-based battles we’ve seen in FF up to now. The Zodiac Job System model, lately launched on PS4, makes that system even higher.
The remainder of the sport may be very a lot of its time, however that’s the attraction. Elements of the world and design echo Lord of the Rings and the Star Wars Prequels which had been in cinemas on the time of its growth, and Ivalice stays essentially the most fleshed-out FF universe of all. There’s loads of attraction, however that aspect of FF12 surprisingly doesn’t gel in addition to it might, maybe due to a mid-development director change.
5. Final Fantasy VIII
Despite having an amnesic mid-game twist that also makes me wince after I give it some thought, FF8 nonetheless earns a pleasant excessive place on my private prime ten. The faculty setting is carried off effortlessly (important when you think about how badly Final Fantasy Type-Zero would botch the identical setting years later) and protagonist Squall isn’t the whiner individuals fairly make him out to be: his struggles and emotional wrangles as he immediately finds himself a pacesetter are actually fairly relatable to real-life teenage angst.
Best of all about FF8, nevertheless, is how totally damaged it’s. If you understand what you’re doing you possibly can abuse its Guardian Force, Junction and Magic methods to tear the sport large open, and doing so is super enjoyable that isn’t actually matched in the remainder of the collection. I’d by no means play the sport another manner now.
four. Final Fantasy V
When I discussed earlier that FF4 was the most effective expression of the concepts from the NES video games, I lied somewhat. Some of these concepts are higher expressed in FF5, a stripped-back sport that’s a couple of group of heroes hopping the world to gather crystals as they swap character courses and develop. FF5 has a narrative, however takes a again seat to the superb job system which made its debut in FF3 however actually cemented itself as a collection staple with FF5.
So satisfying is the category system that there are fan initiatives just like the ‘Four Job Fiesta’, an annual occasion the place individuals restrict their decisions in-game to problem themselves. It’s in all probability essentially the most ‘pure’ of the 90s FF in uncooked RPG phrases, and also you get to battle in opposition to a large demonic tree. What extra might you need?
three. Final Fantasy VI
It’s once we attain FF6 on this record we’re attending to the bits of the collection which might be indubitably a number of the greatest video games ever made interval, and FF6 is a magnificently crafted sport that completely all people ought to play. FF6 actually feels just like the end result of every part that got here earlier than it, and crucially it’s the primary time that the collection actually makes emotion work past melodrama.
FF6 is a uniquely impactful story for a 2D sport, and it’s extremely spectacular how effortlessly the sport manages to deal with large ideas, even going as far as to utterly depict and promote an tried suicide with 16-bit sprites at a time when online game tales had been for essentially the most half a little bit of a joke. It additionally encompasses a landmark second that I personally contemplate extra spectacular and vital than better-known shockers in different video games: for a time period, the villain wins. Square, if you happen to ever remake this one, please don’t screw it up.
2. Final Fantasy VII
It’s unquestionable that FF7 is a watershed sport. I usually describe it because the final punk FF sport – kicking again on the greater video games, feisty and daring. We can do something! And Square did. FF7 is a punk sport, and never simply due to the eco-terrorism. In a way it’s the final FF earlier than issues acquired actually severe – the final time when builders would simply go mad throwing stuff in to see if it caught.
That finally ends up a part of FF7’s attraction – whereas it likes to tug on the coronary heart strings, it’s additionally just about continuously nodding and winking at you, nicely figuring out that it’s all somewhat bit foolish. It’s this that makes me surprise how its much-anticipated remake will fare: with out these primary visuals, how does the comedic sight of Red XIII wobbling alongside in a sailor swimsuit sit subsequent to the acute violence of our heroine being impaled on a 5 foot lengthy sword? Time will inform, however the authentic sport juggles these reverse ends completely.
This sport has an infinite cultural legacy as nicely, the sport that actually cemented the Japanese fashion of RPG as one thing price pursuing as a viable product within the West, however extra vital than that’s that it’s a sport that has a lot coronary heart it’s match to burst. It’s so beloved for good purpose.
1. Final Fantasy IX
Somebody I do know as soon as criticised FF9 for being ‘too safe’ and it was all I might to don’t slap them. Sure sufficient it’s a sport that pays homage to FF’s previous, however in its timing it’s truly a reasonably daring sport. After two totally trendy entries FF9 is a correct step again into the previous with whimsical design and a extra relaxed, meandering tempo to its narrative.
That’s the opposite factor individuals overlook about FF9 – whereas it has callbacks, it additionally has a tone and magnificence all of its personal. It stays largely distinctive within the collection and is more likely to for a very long time to come back since these extra soft-edged approaches to FF seem to now be resigned to spin-offs solely, although FF9 stands as a monument to the truth that this fashion can and did work, a becoming tribute to the video games it pays homage to.
What is probably most stunning is how deftly FF9 manages to make use of cutesy, chibi characters to grapple with large subjects, lots of them revisited from earlier video games with a renewed vigor. Duty, household, reminiscence and loss of life are all key plot factors, and it’s FF9’s unimaginable writing and stand-out Western localization that carries it via to the highest spot.
One different factor…
For what it’s price, Chrono Trigger is best than the lot of them. And I actually love Final Fantasy 9.
Now you. What’s your rating? Let us know within the feedback. And go straightforward on me, would ya?