Final Fantasy XV will globally release tomorrow, Nov. 29. This year also marks two important anniversaries for the franchise. Final Fantasy IV will have its 25th anniversary while Final Fantasy 10 will celebrate its 10th year. There's no best time than now to review the best - and the worst - games to ever grace the Final Fantasy franchise.
Choosing The Best And Worst Final Fantasy Games
Since there are so many Final Fantasy games, we decided to steer away from direct sequels like Final Fantasy X-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. We won't be talking about the multiplayer entries like Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV. Both of these multiplayer titles are great but we would like to focus on the single player titles at the moment. As with our list, we'll give you the worst ones - or so we think - before we move on with the best titles from the franchise. Don't worry; we also have a few inputs from Final Fantasy addicts from IGN. So hopefully, we'll get this list just right for you.
Final Fantasy I
The first Final Fantasy title is basically the foundation of the franchise. As a convention, it's the title that set the familiar tactical gameplay that turned into the usual combat of heroes and villains. Final Fantasy I is pretty influential. But still, it's the most basic and the barebones version of every Final Fantasy game ever made. The best thing about this though is that it's the RPG game that brought plenty of new concepts. There's an overworld map, detailed fantasy monsters, random battles and an excellent soundtrack.
Final Fantasy II
After the first title in the series, Final Fantasy II brought about a few changes. There comes a new world with the addition of new characters. New game mechanics are introduced, too. Compared to the first title in the franchise, Final Fantasy II did better than its predecessor. The storyline for Final Fantasy II would have been great but basing how a character fares in the game with the activities they do is something that took away the real fun from the game. Thanks to its characters like Cid and Chocobos, Final Fantasy II made it just a step ahead of Final Fantasy I.
Final Fantasy III
Final Fantasy is more complex when it comes to character abilities. But it does feel old school and obviously tried to keep up with the first two titles in the franchise. Just imagine, Final Fantasy III was released in 1990 on the Japanese Famicom but it only reached the US by 2006. A very, very long time indeed. Still, it's a good game to try with its experienced-based system. Besides, Final Fantasy III is the one that introduced the Job system. This title is also the backbone for the rest of the franchise's greatest installments. It's much better than the first two Final Fantasy titles but the rest of the franchise is much, much better.
Final Fantasy XIII
Saying that Final Fantasy XIII is one of the worst titles from the Final Fantasy franchise is kind of a long jump from Final Fantasy III. But it was rightly justified. One of the reasons for this is that Final Fantasy XIII sort of just dropped world maps and towns that were very great for the past games. More than that, it happened for the first 25 hours of the game, which is a very long time for impatient gamers. It's a great game - that's without doubt. The graphics are the most impressive for the series. But the game is also full of game flaws. Playing it would require that you be very patient compared to other titles in the franchise.
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X is a great turning point for the Final Fantasy franchise. By this time, the game developers have decided to move the game to fully polygonal environments. Characters are made more modern with voice acting. The neat twist of the Active Time Battle system and the addition of the exemplary musical score are just some of what made Final Fantasy X a great game. Not only that, it's one of the titles in the franchise that came in with plenty of mini-games. In return, players had to master all those games just to get their hands on the best weapons. No wonder many controllers have been broken just to get those games mastered to the core. However, the combat is somewhat too easy and the path too linear leaving fans disappointed.
Final Fantasy XII
Compared to other Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy XII is very different. It's more tactical. Controlled combats are fought single-handedly and everything else is done in real time. The only problem with this title is that it lacks remarkable characters. Even the story lacks momentum. The soundtrack is not very memorable, too. Basically, Final Fantasy XII lacks the best features that the Final Fantasy games are well-known for. Its saving grace is that it has some very cool exploration to offer players and one of the finest combat in gameplay.
Final Fantasy V
The fifth installment for the Final Fantasy franchise is somewhat overlooked by many players due to the fact that it lacked a Western release. But Final Fantasy V had some very good game features. It has a flexible Job system that was revamped even better. With it, players can participate into almost two-dozen classes and learn as many skills. Final Fantasy V also debuted Gilgamesh, the game's many-armed enemy. Its story is not so memorable though and so are most of its characters. But the idea of the two worlds being one is something that we get to revisit by the end.
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy IV is one of those titles in the franchise that has seen its fair share of remakes and remasters over the years, thanks to this title having multiple worlds for a setting. Players can easily go to a vast subterranean realm or go to the moon. Just like Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy IV debuted the Active Time Battle system, another feature that became a staple for the next Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy IV also brings the legendary story of Kain, the Dragoon knight chasing stolen crystals to prevent a villain hellbent on destroying humanity. The game's story is great, the combat ground-breaking, the graphics are classic and stunning, and the soundtrack is one of Final Fantasy's bests.
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII is a known-favorite among Final Fantasy players. The cinematic storytelling of the game is groundbreaking. It's also packed with the franchise's best characters to date. More than that, you get plenty of great moments and great music in Final Fantasy VII. The vast 3D world map is an awesome addition, too. No one can ever forget the city of Midgar or the Golden Saucer theme park. More than that, seeing the demise of Aeris at the hands of the villain Sephiroth is a sight to see. In short, Final Fantasy VII is one of the most iconic news in the franchise.
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy IX in two words is a 'perfect blend.' It's the title pitched with a perfect blend of the old and new Final Fantasy series. If the series were women, Final Fantasy IX will be the most beautiful. The pre-rendered backgrounds are without a doubt gorgeous even in a traditional setting. The chibi-styled cast is also something new for players. Final Fantasy IX is also very challenging with its turn-based battle syste and end-game quests. The story line is both lighthearted and grand and at the same time encompasses vast continents. With a theme giving important to loss and existence, Final Fantasy IX is otherwise one of the best titles among the Final Fantasy franchise.
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI is one of the most epic Final Fantasy titles in the franchise. In this game, we see game heroes go through all kinds of things just to make things right and prevent strife. They are also against one grand villain who has this plan of destroying the world and almost succeeded. Compared to other titles in the series, this game is huge and has a massive ensemble of characters. What's great about it is that each and every character is well-developed and the storyline itself will hook you from the first time. Besides that, Final Fantasy VI is the epitome of all great things for an RPG game. From memorable heroes and villains to fast and tactical combat, Final Fantasy VI is one masterpiece to behold.
We got wind of some early news about how Final Fantasy XV fares in gameplay. It's still early but we'll give you updates once we have more information with the latest Final Fantasy installment. So what do you think? Do you agree with our list? Or do you have some objections? Tell us your top picks for the best and worst Final Fantasy titles from the franchise by leaving your comments below.