While there are a number of franchises in the JRPG genre, one is the biggest. Final Fantasy has a legacy that spans decades, and while there have been a handful of missteps, the series’ heights are high. With memorable music, epic stories and intimate character development being the mainstays of Final Fantasyof success, there is anticipation for Final Fantasy 16 in its later stages of development.
Until that game arrives, fans have fifteen other mainline titles to enjoy, each bringing its own unique flavor. From steampunk skylines to medieval architecture, Final Fantasy has rarely followed a set format despite series staples like Chocobos, Cid, and Hi-Potions. As a result, each game differs significantly in quality, and finding out which ones are worth playing isn’t always a straightforward task.
Final Fantasy 7: The first of many entries to be released on Sony hardware, Final Fantasy 7 remains at the tip of the iceberg from Square Enix (then Squaresoft). Its iconic characters, world-building, and twists leave the journey players embarked on in 1997 still considered not only one of the best Final Fantasy games, but one of the best JRPGs ever made.
Final Fantasy 14: A Kingdom Reborn: Although its initial release in 2010 was a mess, Final Fantasy 14 reappeared three years later and took the MMO genre by storm. His approach to social connectivity and online elements was incredibly polished, but FF14The story of shone the most compared to other MMOs. The base game, along with four separate expansions, developed its characters in ways many could only dream of.
Final Fantasy 6: Although its sprite-based aesthetic is old-fashioned for modern tastes, Final Fantasy 6 holds up well in 2022 thanks to its exceptional cast of characters and heartbreaking story. Kefka Palazzo is one of the best villains in the series to date, with the goal of preventing him from taking unexpected turns. Final Fantasy 6 was the first in the series to feel truly unique, and by raising the bar for future entries, it also set a new standard for the JRPG genre as a whole.
Final Fantasy 15: The latest installment in the franchise has been a long time coming. Originally announced as Final Fantasy Versus 13title changed to Final Fantasy 15 before its release in 2016. Telling the story of future King Noctis and his friends’ journey through the land of Eos, the game prioritizes fun over everything else. The way the party interacts with each other is engaging, the battles are simple yet exciting and FF15The story of – although somewhat convoluted – is full of epic moments. It’s a divisive game, but there’s no denying its fun core experience.
Final Fantasy 9: Back in a medieval setting after Final Fantasy 8, Final Fantasy 9 it looks like a comeback. The framework is grounded, its core mechanics less ambitious but much more streamlined. His characters are also likable compared to Squall, aloof and often rude. Fans can’t wait for a remake of FF9and with the recent success of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, it may be possible.
Final Fantasy 10: The first game to arrive on PS2, Final Fantasy 10 ditched the Active Time Battles of previous titles in favor of something more traditional, but broke the mold with its approach to voice acting. Both changes were appreciated, although the latter was implemented inconsistently. Final Fantasy 10 is a favorite of many, as protagonist Tidus’ journey has been filled with iconic music, emotional moments, and epic action. Final Fantasy 10 was the first step into a new era, and the show wouldn’t be where it is today without it.
Final Fantasy 4: Final Fantasy 4 is considered one of the best sprite-based Final Fantasy games, released for the Super Nintendo in 1991. In the West, it was given the name Final Fantasy 2, but while that naming was somewhat confusing, the story stood out. The game draws on tropes typical of the JRPG genre, though they’re well executed and presented in a much more prevalent way than previous entries. Cecil is a great character, and the supporting cast is still nice, but it doesn’t reach the heights that come later in the series.
Final Fantasy 12: Recently remastered and titled Zodiac age, Final Fantasy 12 was largely overlooked until it returned to stores in 2017. It’s a great entry with the typical save-the-world affair replaced by a much more humble, if somewhat slow-paced, story. However, while its story is engaging, the clunky menus and awkward presentation quirks keep it from being in the esteemed company of more polished installments.
Final Fantasy: The one that started it all was a revolutionary game, as it advanced the formula dragon quest forged a year ago. Final Fantasy introduced players to many of the series’ iconic elements, including mages, turn-based battles, and beautiful music. However, its simplistic gameplay has been greatly improved, so it’s a difficult experience to relive years later. It’s a game that’s a product of its time, but should be considered a pioneer.
Final Fantasy 13: Although he has fans, Final Fantasy 13 is not without problems. The story is bland and the characters, while beautifully crafted and well-acted, are nothing special. The risks he takes with his gameplay haven’t left a mark in future entries either. It’s a game that’s been beaten by people like Tales of Arise with its sci-fi fantasy approach, and although its direct sequels 13-2 and 13: Return of the lightning improve the formula, it’s an entry that most are likely to overlook.
Final Fantasy 5: Sandwiched between two big games, Final Fantasy 5The shortcomings of are more obvious compared to what came later. Its gameplay was superb, with Job’s system returning from Final Fantasy 3 in a more advanced state. It gives the game more replayability, but it’s the story that brings Final Fantasy 5 on a peg, because it’s never as interesting as mechanics. It’s far from bad, but with the adventure of Terra, Locke and Celes on the horizon, the worst Final Fantasy 5 could be is boring.
Final Fantasy 3: Final Fantasy 3 was the most ambitious of the three NES titles, and its working system was so innovative that it is included in Final Fantasy games to date. Dungeon design is good and replayability is high, but the story is nothing out of the ordinary, especially compared to later entries. Its biggest problem is in the final hours, as the Crystal Tower is so taxing that players often have to work for hours. Final Fantasy 3 was a step in the right direction, but that’s about it.
Final Fantasy 8: Perhaps the biggest problem with Final Fantasy 8 is that it was preceded and succeeded by two of the best JRPGs ever made. It’s the PS1 intruder Final Fantasy games, because the stories of Cloud and Zidane are much more enjoyable. Squall is often seen as a dull, brooding, and unlovable character. His gunblade is cool though, and the music stands out as the best quality in the game. That said, the join system isn’t well implemented, and the story gets so ridiculous that it’s hard to stay engaged. Final Fantasy 8 has fans, but it also has many issues that prevent it from being a very good JRPG.
Final Fantasy 2: The sequel to the 1987 classic refined the Final Fantasy formula in many ways, but it also took a few steps back when increasing in size and scope. Its leveling system is weird and the characters are cliched, but its story was intriguing and there were little narrative inclusions like Key Terms that did well to draw players into the story. Final Fantasy 2 is proof that the series has suffered tremendous growing pains on its way to greatness.
Final Fantasy 11: A precursor to 14, Final Fantasy 11 is a game that tried to forge something new and enduring, but it was so long and obtuse that it became hard to enjoy. He approached the MMO genre two years before World of Warcraft revolutionized shared worlds, and while its ambition is to be recognised, the clunky nature of its gameplay holds up poorly in 2022. Still, there’s more FF11 story expansions that have been released recently, so it clearly still has a fan base.
Final Fantasy 16 is in development for PS5.
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