My Top 3 Final Fantasy Games

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The Shameful Narcissist is currently running a poll asking readers to vote for the best Final Fantasy game of all time. As a response to that post I have decided to jot down my three favourite RPGs from Square-Enix’s legendary series. Just missing the cut are Final Fantasy 8 and Final Fantasy 14. Eight was a great game although the system of drawing magic from enemies, to boost stats, was far too easy to exploit. Fourteen deserves praise, as Square managed to salvage the game after a terrible launch. At the time of writing FF14 is one of the better MMOs money can buy… and I am not just saying that because the servers are populated with cat girls.

3rd) Final Fantasy 10: For many people this was the last great Final Fantasy game. It’s the title that convinced me to buy a PlayStation 2, which was the first console I ever purchased (all of my other systems were gifts from relatives.) Tidus wasn’t the greatest protagonist perhaps, but the rest of the cast was cool – particularly badass Auron. Aside from the story itself I sunk many hours into Blitzball, because I am a sucker for sport management sims. Heck, when I rebought FF10 for the Vita I never beat the last boss. Screw saving the world, I just want to grind for cash so I can play season after season of underwater soccer.

2nd Final Fantasy 6: Also known as Final Fantasy 3 in the States, as some of the earlier FF games weren’t localized (or perhaps because Yanks can’t count.) Final Fantasy 6 took a while to win me over. I originally played it on an SNES emulator and gave up on it after a few hours. Years later I gave the game another chance on the PlayStation One and got hooked once the ability to customize what spells your party can cast became available. It’s impressive how many playable characters you can recruit when you consider the game’s age. Easily the best of the retro Final Fantasies in terms of gameplay, story and quotable lines. If you think otherwise you must be more insane than a spoony bard.

1st) Final Fantasy 9: The top spot goes to the game that got me into the RPG genre. It’s one of my favourite games of all time thanks to its beautiful soundtrack and memorable cast of characters. Steiner the bumbling knight, Zidane the rogue with a Goku like monkey tail and Vivi the adorable black mage. If you don’t like Vivi you don’t have a soul. They just don’t make Final Fantasy games like this anymore. Now all Square cares about is fast paced combat, sci-fi worlds and photorealistic graphics. It’s technically impressive, but lacks the charm of FF9’s four man parties, medieval setting and chibi character designs. Modern day Final Fantasy has forsaken me, so I’ll have to rely on Bravely Default instead to satiate my hunger for traditional turn based RPG goodness.

So there you have it. Those are my three favourite Final Fantasy titles. Feel free to list your own picks in the comments section below. I look forward to reading how my opinions are wrong, just because I omitted a certain release that features a spikey haired cross-dresser and a flower girl slayer with mommy issues.

39 thoughts on “My Top 3 Final Fantasy Games

    • Great minds think alike. It’s currently beating seven? Wow, that’s a surprise. A lot of people rank FF7 as one of the best games of all time whilst FF9 was missed by a lot of people as it came out late in the PS1’s life cycle.

  1. Well as much as we all know that Dirge of Cerberus is the clear best final fantasy game for a mile maybe one of the best games of all time (wow that was actually hard to write even satirically), I love your choices! The only one I haven’t personally played is Final Fantasy 6, to which I have consistently heard great things about. I still remember buying FFIX at an EB Games and charging through the game with its multiple discs. Vivi is forever one of my favourite FF characters, I love the journey he/she takes. My favourite FF game if I had to pick one would have to be FFXII. Even if it doesn’t get as much love as other games I still loved the characters from Basch to Fran, even the whole aesthetic choices for the judges.

    • I haven’t played Dirge of Cerberus, but based on your comment I guess that is a good thing. Final Fantasy 6 is good, although it’s a tough sell for modern gamers due to its age. Out of all the NES and SNES games it is the most accessible one though.

      Basch to Fran are the best part of Final Fantasy 12. I completed that game eventually, but it was a bit of a struggle as I didn’t like how radically different the gameplay was when compared to the PS1 titles. It’s a bit like a single player MMO that you can program to play itself. If you liked FF12’s aesthetics I suppose you’ll like the Tactics games too.

  2. My top FF has got to be 6 (or 3 in the US). The story is so gripping and expansive, especially for the time it came out.

    I stopped playing after 8 (so missed out on 9 and 10) and tried to get back into the series with 13 (big mistake).

    I actually just started 15 over the weekend. My first impression is that the systems are a bit overwhelming. I would be very deterred if I were a first time FFer.

    • I bought FF15 a few weeks ago, but have yet to play it. The box sits on my pile of shame still in its shrink wrap.

      Yeah, FF13 isn’t a great place to reacquaint yourself with the series. Those linear levels and combat were you bash on X gets ponderous.

      Final Fantasy 9 and 10 are worth checking out. They both have remasters in case you are interested. Nine on PC and Ten can be played on PS4/Vita.

  3. It’s a common refrain that most peoples favourite Final Fantasy is whichever try played first. Tht certainly true for me, because I played 8 first and it’s one of my favourite games ever. I liked 7 and 9 well enough, but don’t like 10 at all, probably because I played it like a decade after it came out, having confused 10 with 12. I’m still planning to play 12 when it gets the re release, plus 15 of course.

    • Yeah, it’s hard to be unbiased when you have fond memories of your first Final Fantasy experience. My head was telling me to give first place to FF6, but my heart won the argument and gave the crown to nine.

  4. Hmm… you know I’m not a big Final Fantasy fan, but I can say my favorite one is definitely part 9. Great, underrated game in my opinion.

    Didn’t care much for any of the the other ones though so I guess my second favorite is 7 by default since I never bothered to play through any other title all the way through.

    • Glad to hear that despite your overall views of the series Nine manages to get get praise from you. The franchise has been in a slump ever since the Square and Enix merged so I suspect there are many people out there who agree with your FF sentiments.

      • Part 9 was great. I had a lot of fun playing it back in the day. Not so sure how I would feel about it now, but I remember loving it back in the day.

        Final Fantasy 14 is a great MMO, but paying $15 a month doesn’t really appeal to me so I only played it for two months.

        I don’t hate Final Fantasy, but Square Enix has a lot of work to do if they’re going to get me back into the series. I’ve played too many bad ones over the last few years to care about the series anymore.

        Hope that makes sense :).

  5. I’m really looking forward to playing FF IX this year, hopefully. It really looks amazing! Let me get behind cover before I reveal my list:

    3) FFVII – I didn’t enjoy it as much as most people because I knew a major plot detail before I played it (someone kills someone, haha). I liked the sarcastic dialog moments and the story to save their planet from an evil corporation/creepy abomination.

    2) FFX -This was the first Final Fantasy I ever played. The ending almost made me cry, and I agree with all your reasons for liking it. And no, it was not the last great Final Fantasy to me because…

    1) FFXIII – Yes, the game everyone hates the most is my favourite *flees from angry internet mob* I enjoyed the combat, loved the story, and the characters were awesome. I also played it during a dark time in my life, and discovering a character who is just like me in IRL really helped me out (Lightning in case you didn’t know already, haha). Yes it was linear but I’m tired of seeing so many damn open world games these days. I had fun beating up monsters while being shown a great story I had no say in. I loved this game and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I also respect everyone who disagrees with my view. We all have our own opinions and it makes the world a more interesting place. 🙂

    • I mean, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, even if it’s the wrong one ;).

      Jk jk.

      That’s really cool though that it means that much to you. I also have played certain games during specific difficult times of my life and been more or less “saved” by the experience. Even if FF13 was also my least favorite of the titles I can see how it would still have a special place in someone else’s heart. Good on you for standing up against the internet masses :D.

  6. Every Final Fantasy game does one thing really well and one thing really badly. For instance:
    I – Good: Boss Structure / Bad: Game Direction
    II – Good: Character Interaction / Bad: Status Effects
    III – Good: Chocobos & Summons / Bad: Main Characters
    IV – Good: Story Narrative / Bad: Final Dungeon
    V – Good: Job System / Bad: Scattered Story
    VII – Good: Twists / Bad: Sprite Design
    VIII – Good: Main Character Development / Bad: Abusable System
    IX – Good: Soundtrack / Bad: Trance Activation
    X – Good: Setting Design / Bad: Dialogue
    XI – Good: Online Cred / Bad: Character Design
    XII – Good: Exploration Hunts / Bad: Main Character Development
    XIII – Good: Cut-scenes Quality / Bad: Gameplay Interaction
    XIV – Good: Scope / Bad: Bugs
    XV – Good: Open World / Bad: Camera Angles

  7. I think for a lot of people who may prefer the more traditional charm of Final Fantasy, 9 was truly the last game in the series that even tried (and successfully) replicating the traditional and medieval charm of past Final Fantasy titles. For that alone 9 really is an excellent title. It’s a really hard pick between 7 or 9 for me, actually as I feel those two are really ahead of it’s competition in the series. 7 was also my first Final Fantasy game so that may also have something to do with it though, lol.

    • Final Fantasy 7 was groundbreaking because the storytelling and visuals were leaps ahead of its SNES/NES predecessors. I would sing its praises more had I played the game when it was originally released, rather than many years later. It will be interesting to see if the remake can live up to the super high expectations.

  8. Numbered entries aside, Final Fantasy Tactics is the FF game I’ve logged the most hours in. I loved the class customization and maxed out the game timer leveling up sub-classes and building the perfect army.

    Number-wise, I’d say VIII is my favorite. I know I’ve left this comment on other posts asking the same question, but VIII was the first Final Fantasy that I played as an adult when things like love, jealousy, depression, etc., made a little more sense. It resonated with me a lot more by way of understanding their meaning, more than just viewing them as words sprawled across my screen as a young teenager.

    X would be 2nd. I loved the world design and the characters (even Tidus, sometimes). What I loved most though was the combat system and how it made every member of the party significant. The core of the game is having the group protect Yuna on her journey, acting as a cohesive unit, and the battle system personified that. Swapping characters in and out to deal with specific threats just made me appreciate that aspect a hell of a lot more.

    Third is a toss up between VI and XIV. I love, love, LOVE VI for many of the same reasons everyone else does, but I had a blast during the year or so I played XIV extensively. The characters, the world, the story, the combat, the music, the raids, it’s all fantastic. My answer would largely depend on my mood that day, whether I’m more interested in a modern MMO or one of the best solo RPGs of all time.

  9. Hey, no making fun of mommy issues! Some of the best people I know have them 😉 My third favorite would be a toss up between IV and VI. I really can’t decide. VI was the fist Final Fantasy I played, and it got me into the series, so I should by rights pick that, but IV has my favorite male main character Cecil (VI has my favorite main female: Celes, and I can’t decide between them either). IV also has that layered manipulation paradigm that FF loves, asking the question of “Who’s holding the puppet strings” and making you sympathize with people you were initially just gung-ho about annihilating.

    IX is my second favorite, because tbh its darker, deeper story reminded me a lot of VII (they both have the Tree of Life thing going on, too…VII you have to dig for it, but it’s there I swear! Also both IX and VII did something completely different with the whole idea of alien invasion…just realized that :O) and again the whole who’s really pulling the puppet strings/what’s going on. While Zidane and co (once Z got over his existential crisis and geez what an existential crisis) knew they had to save Gaia from becoming invaded by the souls of Terra, he, most of all since he was one of them, understood the genomes were innocent victims of another’s whims, and while Garland was sinister, he was just doing the job he’d been set to do by the people of Terra. Then each character had their own personal struggle in trying to find meaning outside of what they’d either been created for, born into, or sworn to do, and all of this was set on what appeared to be a more cartoonish world. THAT was so deceptive, because you don’t think it’s going to be as serious as it is, and I love the incongruence.

    My number one is VII (which I’m sure you know hehe). There’s personal reasons for this, but I’m also a huge fan of darker stories and the seventh is the darkest (pretty close with IX though). It’s more subtle than IV in they sympathy for the devil department, but what I love about VII is how it makes you delve deep in to really know what’s going on/what the story’s about. I mean if I were mentally manipulated by an alien, eldritch abomination I’d been told was my dead mother, I’d be pretty messed up, too. And the truth never comes out! It’s like this hanging preposition or unresolved seventh (ha), not to mention the real world parallels with environmental destruction for the sake of corporate greed and the complete lack of care for the impoverished (…I’m an American. I don’t even want to go into how messed up and accurate this parallel is right now).

    I’m happy I inspired you to do this though! And I appreciate the tag 🙂

  10. Pingback: Final Fantasy Friday: Favorite Main Character | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks
  11. You know, I never got into Final Fantasy IX very much. I don’t know why exactly, save that it didn’t have the same ‘spark’ for me that most of the other great Final Fantasy titles did. I liked it alright, just found it hard to dive into the same way I did, well, X and VI.

    And Final Fantasy VII, yeah, that’s a divisive one. And I think a lot of feelings for it come down to when and where you were in your gaming life when you picked it up. If you’re grabbing it some time after it came down and you have that hype building up expectations in you that it may not be able to meet, yeah it’s going to disappoint a bit. The game is quality. Through and through. But the fervent, rampant hype for the game took it’s expectations beyond even that, and now that were past the era the game was born in, the standards of the medium have aged beyond it, and that changes they way you receive it a bit, though.

    If you can put yourself in the mindset of when this game was released, though. FFVII was a revolution. It was an absolute turning point for video games’ abilities to tell stories. I consider it one of the most important video games to ever be released. The fact that it’s a highly competent game mechanically certainly helps but the plot and lore and most of all the way it was presented blew away everything we had seen up to that point. And yeah, if you’re not immersed in what games were up until then, that impact is blunted because of just how many of its innovations have become completely common now. But when you look at it in the context of it’s day, and what a huge leap it was, it’s not surprising it still blows people away just on the strength of that nostalgia.

    That was one of my favorite moments of this “beat every game I own” challenge I’m on. This was the first game of the PS1/N64 era I played in this particular adventure, meaning that before I picked it up, I had spent months playing nothing but 8- and 16-bit sprite-based titles. I didn’t get full on hard like everyone back in the day did, but my jaw still dropped at the opening cutscene alone, and I couldn’t stop myself from restarting it a few times just to keep up with that. I had a thrill going through me at every major story beat. It’s a shame that the changing environment in modern video games has robbed it of the impact it enjoyed in its prime, but man, this was a moment in gaming history.

  12. I’m just starting the journey of FF10 remastered for PS4 and I’m super excited! As of right now, I think my favorite Final Fantasy might be Type-0 HD for PS4. Regarding, I still need to play Final Fantasy 6 but I am waiting for the re-release on PS4 for it!

  13. I don’t know if I should compile a list myself, as I haven’t played FF IX or FF XII – and I *really* want to play the latter, my fingers are crossed for its remastered edition to hit Steam – but having played all other ones, bar XV, here goes:
    1) FF VI
    2) FF X
    3) FF VII

    • That’s a tough question to answer because my fave games are from the PS1 era, but I understand that it is tough to play old games if you don’t have nostalgia for them. If you don’t mind retro gaming you might want to try the FF9 remaster on PC or FF10 remaster on consoles.

      World of Final Fantasy is fun if you like Pokemon style games, although some of the references may go over the head of a FF newbie. Final Fantasy 15 is a solid MMO. I would still be playing it if my free time wasn’t so limited.

      • I actually have FF15 but my Xbox One doesnt have enough memory to install it. Im thinking of trying the ps1/ps2 games at some point.

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