Ranking Final Fantasy Games

At one time I had planned a whole series of posts that was nothing but lists, but I never got around to getting it started, leaving me with a handful of lists waiting for me to feel like posting them.  The Dragon Quest one already went up, I have a Mario one waiting for me to finish replaying the series to see how it needs to be adjusted and there are a couple more in various stages of being finished.  Lately I’ve been blitzing through Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age, so today I am tossing up my ranking of the Final Fantasy series. The main series; I also have a list of spin offs and direct sequels, but those are another beast entirely. I thought about swapping in some games to take the place of the not present MMO’s, but decided to just leave them off.  11, 14 and 15 are not the list because I haven’t played them.

12. Final Fantasy 2 – I feel like a bully putting this at the bottom, but while it is interesting, it’s just not good.  It is the only game in the series I’ve never felt compelled to complete.

11. Final Fantasy 3 – There is a lot I like about this game, but I’ve only played the DS version and it is a rough draft of the perfected job system from 5.  Still, even this far down on the list is a game I like.

10. Final Fantasy 13 – I actually like this game a whole lot even if it appears unfinished at times. It plays like a fairly unsuccessful combination of 10 and 12, but I enjoyed it well enough.

09. Final Fantasy – The original has a lot of charm even if options for playing it are either brainlessly simple or annoyingly tedious. For all of its faults, I still prefer the NES version. It is a simple game, but there is a lot to love here.

08. Final Fantasy 4 – My enjoyment of this game mostly came from reading Nintendo Power and wishing I could play it. Once I finally got the chance to play it, FF4 never quite clicked with me the way plenty of other SNES JRPGs did.

07. Final Fantasy 8 – I find the plot of this game to be a mess and the junction system is fiddly and breakable, but I still find the game wholly compelling every time I play it.

06. Final Fantasy 10 – It loses the feeling of exploring a real world, but it has one of the best realized stories in the series and a solid battle system.

05. Final Fantasy 5 – This has my favorite character building system in any game. FFV’s job system is perfection.  The story is nothing, but this is a perfect systems game.

04. Final Fantasy 7 – For a long time I had it out for this game. The love it got seemed to detract from what I felt, and still feel, are superior games in the series, like 6 and 9.  But I can’t let that blind me to the fact that this is a phenomenal game.

03. Final Fantasy 9 – It isn’t the best game from a story or systems point of view, but there is something charming about the setting and characters. It is the perfect synthesis of old and new Final Fantasy.

02. Final Fantasy 12 – Playing the remake has solidified just how much I like this game. The gambit system is brilliant and the world is the best in the series.  This is a game you can get lost in for hours and hours. It also has the most underrated cast in the series.

01. Final Fantasy 6 – Still the best in the series. It has a great cast, a terrific story and pretty great systems.  FF6 isn’t just my favorite FF game; it is one of my favorite games of all time.

2 thoughts on “Ranking Final Fantasy Games

  1. If you hadn’t put VI at the top of your list, I was going to come here to the comments and just lay into you.

    VI was my first FF game. I only picked it up because there was a miniguide in my most recent issue of Nintendo Power that made it look interesting. I figured it’d be an easy game to finish, especially with the miniguide. I didn’t expect to just completely fall in love with RPGs like I did.

    I’ve played I-VI, mostly because I haven’t had the time (or the systems, until recently) to investigate any of the other games. I want to play VII, because so many people say it’s better than VI, but I seriously doubt that. I enjoyed IV more than you seem to have; I only played the DS version, but I found it quite charming, and the voice acting was relatively good. III was just a mindslip for me, and it almost made me stop playing all together, but I toughed it out and finished it.

    • I had a strange road discovering the Final Fantasy series, with my first experience being reading about FFII (IV) in Nintendo Power before finding the original game in a bargain bin and then borrowing FFVI from a friend. I didn’t really fall in love with the series, and with rpgs, until I played FFVI and found it to be just about everything I could have wanted a game to be. Coming back to IV after building it up as something in my mind reading about it for so long and after playing VI made it hard for the game to live up to the idea of the game I had built up in my head. That probably explains its relatively low rating. That and it just can’t match FFVI.

      VII and VI are two of the most similar games in the series. There is a pretty big divide in terms of graphics, but they have a similar tone and futuristic fantasy setting. It is certainly worth a look, assuming you can stomach those early polygonal graphics.

      Thanks for the comment.

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