Every Mainline Final Fantasy Game, Ranked
Among JRPG fans, there is no developer bigger than Squaresoft (later Square Enix.) Their success story is legendary and an inspiration to many. The company developed many undersold titles before finally creating the right mix of ingredients that resulted in the game that rescued them from bankruptcy, Final Fantasy.
Of the entire franchise, the most love and care goes into developing the main series of games. They are the culmination of the blood sweat and tears of some of the greatest minds the company has brought together. While they’re all worthy of praise and respect, this list will rank them based on which ones are most deserving of your praise and provide insight into each game. A special mention to the Final Fantasy MMOs that won’t be ranked: Final Fantasy XI (a landmark MMO from the Golden Age of MMOs that contributed much of the initial design for XIV) and Final Fantasy XIV (a great testament to the entire series in MMO form that brings Final Fantasy together in same banner).
13/13 13/13 Final Fantasy 2
Final Fantasy II isn’t necessarily the “worst” game in the series, but in terms of legacy and influence over the rest of the mainline games, it just doesn’t stack up. Its story is definitely the weakest as it’s basically the first entry where well-defined characters were present. And as first attempts usually go, it wasn’t exactly the crème de la crème.
It is however important to note that without 2, there would be no 3, 4, 5, etc. Without bottom, there can be no top. Even more important to note is the fact that this game was the birthplace of the iconic Chocobo (among other things). Even though it is the last, that alone elevates it above other video games without Chocobo.
12/13 12/13 Final Fantasy I
Alongside Final Fantasy II comes Final Fantasy I. Being the progenitor entry of the series, it is the very foundation upon which the entire series is built. Core gameplay elements, many more basic original monsters, classes, and basically the general theme around which every Final Fantasy game is built were conceptualized with this title.
However, what puts it at the bottom of the list is the exact same fact. All of these ideas were rudimentary and had yet to grow and evolve into everything we know and love about the show today. There have been remakes and reimaginings of the inventive gem of a game, but as it stands, the original remains as antiquated an experience as you’d expect.
11/13 11/13 Final Fantasy XIII
Potentially a highly controversial entry, Final Fantasy XIII is placed just above two of the founding fathers for essentially the exact opposite reason. It’s a modern title that did a lot of things…in an interesting way. For as many things as he does well, he does so many less well.
Although not universally loved, the combat system was probably one of the most satisfying elements of the game. In terms of level design, it is very widely referred to as “corridor” or “corridor simulator” because it is notoriously linear to a defect. On a more subjective note, the characters are a bit flat in terms of identity and motivations.
10/13 10/13 Final Fantasy XV
Remember how Final Fantasy XIII was linear to the foul? Another polarizing entry, this game came across as the exact opposite, being considered open world just for fun. As such, it is colloquially referred to as the game where “four friends go on a road trip”.
To its credit, however, this can also be seen as the edge it has over Final Fantasy XIII, as the cast of characters is easily the game’s strong point. They’re not quite more memorable than most. fan favorites from other games, but playing them makes the game even better when you watch said friends spend time together and get to know each other and their bond takes them through many trials and tribulations.
9/13 9/13 Final Fantasy IV
With Final Fantasy IV, the series really began its growth to become a household name among RPG fans. The major point to remember in this title is the depth of the story and its characters. While the gameplay isn’t amazing, this game cemented the series as one full of impactful ideas and moments.
While somewhat sappy, the grief felt by nearly every character you meet makes you take them seriously (or maybe not, depending on your perspective). Common dungeon-crawling sections aside, gameplay for the most part acts as a conduit to lead you to the next story point, whether it’s a cinematic event or a challenge that blocks your path. While it’s not quite there yet, this is where the formula began to be perfected and set the series in place to start exceeding expectations.
8/13 8/13 Final Fantasy III
The legacy of Final Fantasy III is similar to other titles in the first four. The first entry laid the groundwork for the rest of the games and the second was an experiment on how to build on it. While the fourth game was a study in how a Final Fantasy story should be, Final Fantasy III was a study in how gameplay should be. The jobs, classes, abilities, it’s all there. What this game lacks in its light story is that it kicked off probably the most fun aspect of the series, which is the gameplay variety.
How does it stand on its own, though? Decently. The original sold well in Japan, a telling sign that they were on the right track. The DS remake for the game, however, updated the classic in every way while preserving that unforgiving NES/SNES difficulty that makes revisiting those older games a definite treat.
7/13 7/13 Final Fantasy XII
Although each entry is ranked, it is at this point in the list that each entry will become a clear question of “Which of these great games is the greatest” as it would be easy to envision any of these titles claiming the number one place for someone different. First up, however, we have Final Fantasy XII, decidedly the most underrated of this half.
The story is complex, the characters are complex, and the gameplay? While it’s fairly straightforward in terms of depth, what really shines is all that’s packed into this title. The amount of time you can spend doing secondary content in this game is pretty staggering. With all types of quests and items to find, the game perfectly exemplifies the classic RPG spirit of getting carried away with things other than the main quest.
6/13 6/13 Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy VIII is a beast that’s hard to describe, which is one of the things that makes it great. For better or worse, it’s one of the more creative games with plenty of deviations from the usual Final Fantasy elements. The coin toss system, join system, and how summons work are all unique to this game.
The gameplay wasn’t the only thing that differed either, as a good portion of the game is spent both watching and controlling an entirely different cast of characters with different abilities and character dynamics. This sometimes makes the story a bit confusing to follow, but in the end, it all comes together. Is it good? Yes quite. How good exactly, is different for many.
5/13 5/13 Final Fantasy IX
The last game released on Playstation 1, Final Fantasy IX was released at an odd time in the year 2000. Most notably, it was released after the release of the PS2, which technically makes it the last generation from the start.
However, that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things as the game itself remains loved by those who have played it. It was a return to form after Final Fantasy VIII that was much appreciated. He doesn’t rank high because of his heritage, but because of his ability to hit every note right. It has the combat people loved from Final Fantasy VII, the quality of cutscenes from VIII, the fantasy influences of previous titles, and a host of deep characters with intriguing stories to tell.
4/13 4/13 Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy V is essentially the culmination of everything Squaresoft learned from the previous four games. They combined the storytelling methods of Final Fantasy IV, but with a much more humorous approach this time, with the successful gameplay additions of III, and boom. A perfect storm of Final Fantasy elements that remains one of the most replayable entries to date.
The summarized story is relatively simple, four characters embark on a strange crystal-guided journey to defeat the evil warlock Exdeath. The magic comes in the shenanigans that ensue along the way. Even better is how much the working system has been refined since its implementation, giving you an unlimited variety of games.
3/13 3/13 Final Fantasy X
In terms of storytelling, Final Fantasy X probably has the best outward appeal of any Final Fantasy game on paper. While the world of Spira is still a world of fantasy and technology, the cast of main characters is so down-to-earth and relatable in the real world that it’s impossible for most people not to get sucked into it. .
Even though the gameplay and storytelling elements aren’t all flawless in their execution, it all turns out to be a net positive. If it has one edge over the other top three games, it would be its commitment to providing the player with many hours of enjoyment, whether through the fun mini-games, the atmosphere of the cutscenes, or the uniqueness of its soundtrack.
2/13 2/13 Final Fantasy VI
Most people would consider Final Fantasy VI the magnum opus of Final Fantasy and for good reason. Whenever the question “Can video games be art?” is asked, it’s usually one of the examples that people bring up. If you consider Final Fantasy V a triumph in gameplay, then VI would be the series triumph in storytelling. It is so good.
With deep characters with complex motivations as well as stellar art and musical direction, most flaws can be forgiven as positives more than make-up for them. The gameplay doesn’t lag behind either as this is the last mainline game on the NES and SNES before the company’s foray into the modern generation of game consoles the developers were in their prime and offered the best possible experience for games of this period. .
1/13 1/13 Final Fantasy VII
The lasting impact Final Fantasy VII has had on the series is immeasurable. The original game has the most sales, it has the most sequels, prequels, side games, as well as even a movie, and it has attracted the most players in the Final Fantasy series as a whole. . You might argue that it might not be the “best” Final Fantasy game, but it came at just the right time and the perfect moment in the series to become Squaresoft’s lucky number seven.
It’s a roller coaster of emotions told over three discs on the Playstation 1 and features some of the most iconic scenes, characters and monsters from the overall franchise. He has aged quite well and plays as well now as he did then. This is the purest form of active-time battle and the materia system offers a nice amount of character customization.