Have You Played… Final Fantasy III?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

The Final Fantasy games are finally arriving on PC. A while ago, I decided to play through every game in the series, in order. It’s currently possible to play through 3-9 and I’m happy enough to begin at three, given that many fans had told me it was a good starting point. I’ve played for around an hour – 64 minutes says Steam – and have absolutely no desire to continue. Have you played it? Am I wrong to give up so quickly?

My main issue is the necessity of grind (The Necessity of Grind also the name of a lost Jean-Paul Sartre novel). I’ve reached a point that seems to require the repetition of earlier dungeons, farming random encounters, in order to progress, as the monsters guarding my next objective wipe out my entire party after three rounds of combat.

Is this correct? Is grinding there to artificially pad out the game’s length, or is it something that people actually enjoy? Maybe these games simply aren’t for me. I’d like to unlock the job system, at the very least, before abandoning the game.


  1. killias2 says:

    You sure people weren’t recommending FF6? It was originally released as FF3 in the U.S., but it’s easily one of the most beloved entries.

    FF3 is good too, though I’ve only played the Famicom version. I’m not sure it’s the best starting point, but it has a decent iteration of the jobs system.

    Personally, I’d suggest finding one of the better versions of FF6 and starting there. Not the recent PC release, which is eye cancer.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Yeah I hate these mobile 3D graphics revamps that they’ve done of the older games, it just doesn’t look or feel right. 3D graphics doesn’t make a game better ffs.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        *EDIT* Maybe it works better for 1-3 because they are kinda sketchy 8-bit affairs but 4-6 looked perfectly fine with their 16 bit graphics. They didn’t need to change that imo. For new players, it’s still old fashioned 3D graphics that isn’t gonna wow people. For old fans of those games, well they are just too far removed to give the nostalgia effect and I would rather play the SNES versions.

    • Barchester says:

      Sounds like people meant FFVI instead of III, yes. Everyone should really, really stop using the old US numbering by now, now all the games have been released with their proper title numbers for ages.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Absolutely, the SNES final fantasies had some great graphics. I am not really a fan of the 3D versions.

  2. Timmeh1333 says:

    Let me begin by saying I was a huge Final Fantasy fan. I played the original on the NES when it was new, and I’ve played the huge names such as 7, 8, 9, 10, 10-2, 12, 13 and 14 (I despised 8, 12 and 13, loved the rest).

    I have 3 for the Nintendo DS, on my shelf right here. I cannot for the life of me remember playing it, though I know I did. If someone really wants to enter the Final Fantasy world, I say start with the original if they can find it for sale. If not for sale, then get an emulator. Otherwise, FF9 just hit on Steam, go try that (though it is arguably one of the more complicated FF titles.) Or, wait for the 7 reboot and get it in HD!

    • killias2 says:

      Finally, someone else who hates 12! Also, if you haven’t played 4-6, you really should.

      • lamaravish14 says:

        Omfg really dude !? You had to hate on ff 12. ? It’s literally my favorite game, and I don’t understand why people have to hate it , years ago people weren’t used to the mmorpg like battle system thus giving Bing up

      • lamaravish14 says:

        Omfg really dude !? You had to hate on ff 12. ? It’s literally my favorite game, and I don’t understand why people feel the need to hate it , years ago people weren’t used to the mmorpg like battle system and the uknown thus giving up on the game early in the story , the game is brilliant and I’m dying for the day square Enix finally decides to pull their heads out of their ass and remaster it for ps4 and vita , but thanks to people like you and comments like this , makes square Enix believe their extremely underrated MASTERPIECE is actually a failure , so please leave ff xII alone, a lot of us loved that game and had the privilege to experience one of the most polished well made rpg In the history of games.

        • SomeDuder says:

          Don’t worry – SE doesn’t care about its customers (or titles, for that matter), so nothing we say will prevent them from vomitting more mobile games, bad ports and blatant cashgrabs onto the digital storefronts.

        • Kala says:

          “Omfg really dude !? You had to hate on ff 12. ? It’s literally my favorite game, and I don’t understand why people feel the need to hate it”

          I see this sentiment pretty often in gaming.

          Not everyone needs to like the things you like, for the reasons you like it. If they hate the game, that’s valid too. Their lack of enjoyment is as valid as your enjoyment.

          Your phrasing suggests you think your opinion of FF12 is the objective truth and other people just aren’t admitting that for reasons you can’t fathom. The explanation – they just didn’t like it – is much simpler.

          Telling someone they *shouldn’t* hate something because *you* like it isn’t really accounting for taste. And that they should never voice their dislike publicly in case Square sees it and that puts them off making similar games…well, that’s a trifle unrealistic.

  3. fearian says:

    I would say, NO.

    The final fantasy games started on the NES and have grown along with games since. As a result earlier games are often rough around the edges to our modern eyes. While they hold a similar ‘structure’ it’s more like a sub-genre than a series and you don’t get anything from playing them in any particular order.

    Generally speaking, most fans believe the series peaked during the playstation era, and that FF 6, 7, 8 and 9 are various people favorite. Final fantasy 6 (on SNES) is often thought of the greatest final fantasy story but you have to play it through the lens of SNES sprites. Realistically, everybody’s favorite FF is the first they played. (Mine is 7!)


    Start with Final fantasy 9. It’s the most polished of the ‘top four’, it’s a honestly fun story with characters you fall in love with and it’s very, very, Final Fantasy.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      I’d agree tbh. 9 or 7 would be the best starting point. 8 did some things differently that some didn’t like, even though I love that game.
      One thing that maybe makes 7 the best one to play first, is that it has by far the best beginning of any of them. 8 and 9 are kinda slow to get going, 7 throws you right into things at the start and is a lot more exciting of an opening, which can be beneficial while you are figuring out how the series works. It manages to avoid the “Slow starting RPG” problem, which the others don’t do as well.

  4. fearian says:

    Short post: Start with 9.

    • theapeofnaples says:

      I’m going to need a little more information from you before I make my choice.

      • Veles says:

        I started on the PS1 FF games and 9 was my favourite of all the FF games I’ve played. The PC version has the most underrated feature of effectively binning the save point system. Every time the game transitions to a new screen, it creates a checkpoint. If you quit or die, you will go back to that checkpoint rather than your last save point save like you used to have to do on the PS1 version. These save points are often very far apart, so being able to pick up the game for 10 minutes and put it down again rather than having to commit to an hour or more of playing. It’s the most playable a JRPG has ever been.

  5. Craven says:

    After years spectating this post made me register and comment! I’m a long time FF fan and played almost everything post FF3 (DS remake) and that is the only one I did not see to completion, I found it really brutal and pretty much unpleasant to play, honestly try any other later entry in the series (can’t speak for 1 or 2). Six is a personal favourite, nine was good fun too.

    Seven’s visuals have not aged well to my eyes and is hard to reccomend on that basis but it’s undeniably a really solid game.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I didn’t play VII until looooong after release, but it was my first FF, so there’s probably SOME nostalgia in this comment. Regardless, I quite like its visuals, there’s a certain charm to the way they tried (with varying degrees of success) to convert the style of the SNES era titles to 3D, and I adored how frequently the game switched back and forth from fmv to gameplay almost seamlessly. The hand-done backgrounds are also utterly gorgeous. My main complaint with its visuals is how inconsistent they are – there’s like four different visual styles for characters depending on the situation, and I never liked that so much.

      • SomeDuder says:

        My favorite FMV is the one where Tifa is rushing a wheelchair-bound Cloud away during a quake – in most FMVs, the characters have proper hands and fingers, but they chose to keep the square blocks that are meant to represent character’s hands and appendages for this scene and it looks absolutely fantastic for some reason.

        Fake edit: THIS ONE. THIS IS THE ONE:

        link to youtu.be

        • SomeDuder says:

          (Greatness starts at around the 4:00 mark, seems like the timecode didn’t get embedded)

  6. Alfy says:

    Story wise, III is where things get – relatively – serious, as I and II were seriously lacking in that regard. But it’s an old game, despite the new looks, it’s incredibly rough around the edges, and yes, grinding is essential to get through.
    VI is really the first one where you can just about get to the end level-wise by just following the story, and I would still call it a fairly rough experience. I still liked the whole series, but I played them when a long time ago, when I was much more forgiving. Not sure if it’s worth your while, unless your into archeological gaming…

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Yeah it’s definitely not the best starting point. Play the PS1 era games first imo. If you then come to love Final Fantasy and get more familiar with the series, the earlier ones are much easier to enjoy. Going fresh into FF3 just sounds like an exercise in frustration to me.

  7. Theirn says:

    I did! Years ago, on the NDS (so the same version as the PC one, but on a smaller screen). I liked it! Never finished it, though, the grinding got the better of me at some point in the second map.
    I’ve played a fair bit of Final Fantasy IV (NDS, again), and been meaning ever since to finish it and play the others. They’re so long, though…

    • PenguinJim says:

      I had the exact same experience!

      FFIII has held up quite well – it’s likeable enough – but there’s nothing to make it stand out today, and I would say it can safely be skipped.

      Just go IV, VI, VII, VIII and IX for now. (FFX may be on Steam by the time that lot’s finished!)

  8. vorador says:

    I wouldn’t recommend to play the NES ones. They haven’t aged well.

    Personally, i would recommend playing only IV, VI, VII and IX. Arguably, X and XII are also good ( i myself didn’t enjoy them much) but they’re not available on PC. And VIII only if you’ve got a thing for sappy love stories and discombobulated plot.

    Oh, and IV: The After Years is shite.

  9. PancakeWizard says:

    I played it recently for the first time, and it’s certainly got its charms but damn do you a hit a progression wall often.

  10. Eight Rooks says:

    XII, Tactics and Tactics A2 are the only ones worth bothering with. The hardcore fans will recommend just about all the others as essential for one reason or another (i.e. the ones that didn’t dare rock the boat) and it’s all nonsense. I’ve tried to play IX just recently and eleven hours in I’m struggling to continue – mediocre plotting, terrible writing, shallow, saccharin world-building (probably not a coincidence it was used to shill Coke in Japan), paper-thin characters, gratingly un-funny comic relief, archaic, badly-designed gameplay mechanics (which were archaic even back then), difficulty spikes and grind, grind, grind. The line-dancing turn-based old-school JRPG outstayed its welcome years ago, and it’s only kept alive by the faithful who mistakenly equate the form itself with purity, or exoticism, or True Gaming or some such nonsense. I beat Breath of Fire V just recently and for a near-fifteen-year-old game it still pounds every other FF into the ground in comparison, unless you absolutely have to have that big-budget Squenix sheen.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      EVERY Final Fantasy “rocked the boat” in one regard on another. In setting, or in systems, they all did something that the others didn’t. Just because the rest of them weren’t TRPGs or real-time, doesn’t mean they were all the same.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        However I will give you Breath of Fire V.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        Ha, no. Gameplay tweaks and extra flash don’t count as “rocking the boat”. They’re all based around the same fundamentally broken system, they all have either non-existent or insultingly stupid stories (based around the same tired motifs), they all enshrine busywork over any kind of meaningful engagement with the mechanics – Square knew exactly what the fanbase were after, which is why they released game after game after game from the very same mould, and even when they got bored of that they kept screwing things up by trying to stop people innovating and go back to the basics. People criticise XIII for being a linear corridor for 35 hours or whatever; X was exactly the same, they just tarted it up with fancier particle effects and meaningless plot twists. Rocking the boat? Jesus. And it’s not as if Squenix don’t know how; Chaos Rings rocks the boat more in three games than Final Fantasy’s done in thirty years, for example, for all its fanservice silliness.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          Whatever you say. So long as you’re enjoying whatever you ARE playing, fair enough. I and many other people will be over here not discarding an entire storied and successful series as “not worth bothering with”, and having a great deal of fun. Which, yknow, is the point.

        • batraz says:

          I’m always amazed by the huge number of people who seem to know exactly what a “good” plot or story is… I would like to believe those people have many novels or games written behind them, or at least, that they have studied literature, mythologies, rhetorics for long years. Every blockbuster or epic-oriented game sees a flourishing of uneducated censors telling you how the plot should have been. For instance, I’ve heard that Aronofsky’s bible epic “Noah” had a stupid script, from people who probably never opened a bible,when the script is a cleaver exercise of using the tiny bits of story the original texts presents, and making something coherent out of it. Don’t get me wrong, anyone can thinks the movie’s lame, and I don’t love it myself, but its script is certainly not “stupid” or “silly”.
          Mostly, I guess, uneducated people have a problem with stereotypes, which in their idea, stand for lack of invention or lazyness. I can’t answer anything to that, except, go study (ancient epics, medieval tales, victorian novels, whatever) and come back with a fresh mind as it comes to stereotypes : many things will seem more interesting to you.
          I guess, in any case that people who wrote the FF scripts did that kind of studies.

          • batraz says:

            Another funny habitude, with a hint of neo-puritanism, is calling plain erotism “fan service”… that’s how even libido gets reified.
            So keep giving me silly stories and fan service, video games, I will know how to enjoy them :)

          • bonuswavepilot says:

            Back in the rapidly receding day, I worked in a bookshop. The most aggravating customer I ever had (and as with any retail gig, there were a few competitors for that title) was a woman who wanted a recommendation for a book, but couldn’t name a single other book or author that she enjoyed.

            She got more and more annoyed with me as I did my best to recommend a title based on stuff I liked, or books that were popular at the time, until she took umbrage with my last suggestion (Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth” if memory serves) and her parting shot before storming out was “No! I just wanted something that’s *well written*!”

            If only the owners of the shop had thought of only stocking the well-written stuff, I could have avoided the whole palaver.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Ding ding ding.

      The Final Fantasy Tacticses are almost essential, but in the rest of the series, by and large, the grinding is the *fun* part because at least you’re not listening to the idiotic story. The best parts of many entries in the series were the mindblowingly shiny graphics, which today just look dated and lumpy.

  11. Kaeoschassis says:

    I haven’t played III, oddly enough, so I can’t comment on that. I’ve played IV, V, VI, VII, IX and X through to various levels of ‘completion’ and of those, IV is the only one that particularly gets grindy – and even then, not hugely so by any means. If III IS big on grind then I’m less likely to ever get around to playing it – I like taking time out to buff up my characters but I loathe being forced to do so to follow the plot.

    What I’m getting at here is, hopefully someone else can tell you whether or not persevering with III is a good idea, but I’m telling you I hope this doesn’t colour your view of the series as a whole.

  12. Merus says:

    If you are going to play Every Final Fantasy, you should definitely play FFI. The Dawn of Souls versions are slightly cleaned up, particularly when it comes to bugs, and it’s a fairly light, breezy game that is definitely of its time, but definitely made by people who wanted to give you a fun time.

    Definitely do not play FFII.

    FFIII is very grindy, even with the remake. FFIV on PC is also a “remake” that’s pitched to people who played FFIV inside and out. It’s absolutely not the way to play that game – encounters have been retuned to be extremely punishing, and there’s a new advancement system that expects players to know who’s going to die ahead of time.

    FFVI and FFVII are the high points, but FFIX is also a fantastic game that also serves as the swansong for the charm of Final Fantasy. (FFXII borrows a setting from this period, and they get very close to making it work. Sadly, the skill levelling system’s a bit pants.)

  13. ansionnach says:

    Played III on the NES. Enjoyed it quite a bit. You can customise your characters quite a bit and change their class from quite a selection. I think it introduced the job system (where you could change a character’s class mid-game). This was developed further in Final Fantasy V, which I’m currently on in my own quest to play them all up to and including IX (so VI and IX to go). Out of all the games I’d recommend III and then perhaps V. The worst one I’ve played of the originals was IV. Its trite storytelling, constantly changing cast (so you can’t really plan) and many terrible game design decisions (like having one or more surprise bosses after a boss to cheaply kill you off) make it worthy of ridicule. My own play-through of the earlier games had gone well up to IV but I hated it so much that I stopped for about fifteen years. When I finally played it all the way through I ran from all the battles and was still able to beat all the bosses except for the cheesy final one at extremely low levels. Terrible game.

    • ansionnach says:

      Oh – Ultima III is far superior to all these games that effectively ripped it off, streamlined it for controllers and added animé influence and “storytelling”.

  14. mogwaimon says:

    FF6 is my favorite FF, maybe even game, of all time. If you play, don’t play the Steam version; the original SNES version has much more charming graphics (Probably better music, too).

    FF7 is also a great jumping on point. It’s also a superb game, a bit highly overrated but it’s a quintessential JRPG.

    FF8 is, along with FF2, probably one of the few main series games to really shake up the mechanics. I only recommend beginning here if you are the type who likes to put time into making your characters super OP before the story even starts. You can conceivably get ultimate weapons for each character and even high stats on disc 1.

    FF9 is great as well, but it’s sort of a callback to earlier entries, as Square was trying to recapture the spirit of older FFs at the time after the FF8 anomaly. You can play it on its own but it likely wouldn’t have the full impact unless you play at least one or two others first.

    FF1 is a classic. Best played using either the PS1 or PSP ports, depending on if you just want an updated version or updated with extra content. PSP version has quite a few uber-dungeons over the PS1, but PS1 is more faithful to the original in terms of content.

    FF4 is pretty highly regarded, but it was in my blind spot as a kid and I never ended up playing it. It’s worth a shot. PC version is a port of the 3DS version and is quite different from the original; if you want to get as close to the original as possible without a SNES I would say the PSP version is the way to go. It even has the sequel/expansion/whatevers that Square released in the late 2000s.

    FF5 is a game that not many people recommend, but it’s great if you like switching your character’s classes around. It uses a job system similar to FF3, but the game isn’t anywhere near as brutal in difficulty because it was designed in the SNES era.

    Finally, FF Tactics isn’t part of the main series, but it’s a pretty complex SRPG that has a pretty dedicated community even today. I would recommend the original PS1 version over the PSP remake; the PSP version does have extra content but there’s some extreme slowdown when casting spells, even on an overclocked system. There’s a patch that can get rid of this, but I don’t think I’m really allowed to link to it or speak too much of it here.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Worth noting, especially in regards to FF4-6, also kinda applies to 9, yeah technically not entirely legal but playing them on emulator is a great way to experience them now. You can even up-res the graphics a bit and have it play super smooth etc, on your PC. The difference between the original SNES versions and the recent re-releases is quite big and to me doesn’t have the same sort of charm.

  15. Det. Bullock says:

    I did.
    I have it on the DS and it becomes obscenely grindy at a certain point so I dropped it.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Waltorious says:

    I’ve never played Final Fantasy III, but I did recently go back and play Final Fantasy I (via emulation) and wrote about it on my personal blog:

    link to waltorious.wordpress.com

    I was struck by how much less grind was needed than what I remembered. I still had to retreat back to town sometimes when the going got tough, but I never really needed to just grind battles over and over like I remembered doing. It’s possible that the later entries like Final Fantasy III got worse in this regard.

    I did find Final Fantasy I to be really interesting to play in terms of historical interest, however, so I recommend checking it out.

  17. zsd says:

    Definitely would not recommend 3 as a starting point, with its Vancian magic and overall roughness.

    If I had to suggest a single game to capture the FF experience it would be 6. Preferably an emulated SNES version as the PC version looks a little washed out and characterless.

    I’d also highly recommend 7 and Tactics.

  18. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    The grind is not worth it unless you want to approach it like the old-school 1980’s RPG it is under all those fancy new graphics.

    If you feel like playing Ultima 3 or one of the original Wizardry games, it might be for you. Otherwise… nah.

  19. fenriz says:

    Ofc grind is necessary, in FF. It’s a console game, playing console games means you’re there mostly to waste time doing one thing over and over and to spectate a story.

    • ThricebornPhoenix says:

      I’ve beaten most games in the main series, as well as Tactics, without ever grinding (beaten IV, VI, and XII without grinding or purchasing any equipment; I & II on GBA, V, VII, and IX should be easy enough, VIII is harder if you grind levels and X may as well not have item shops). I haven’t played FFIII or IV on the DS/PC (nor XI, the XIIIs, or XIV) so I can’t comment on those.

      Generally, feeling a need to grind in FF means that you’re neglecting your resources or misunderstanding a system… although some people seem to consider fighting any random battles grinding, so of course they have trouble with mandatory battles after running away from the experience and cash they were expected to accrue on the way.

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      Have you ever actually played a console game? Like, any console game?

  20. Dugular says:

    If it’s the skeletons that are wiping you out, then that’s not a required dungeon. Threw me off as well. Carry on to the main castle in that area.

    (Also, in FF, undead creatures can be heavily damaged by ‘curing’ them)

    Still, FF3 hasn’t aged well for those new to the series.

  21. hemmer says:

    As others have said, your friends probably meant FF6, which was marketed as FF3 because it was the third one release in the US at the time and the numerology still sticks with a lot of people until today.

    To answer the question: I have played three, both the original in fan translation as well as the remake and I had to put both down not far in. I just did not care a bit about the world or the characters, it wasn’t interesting to look at and the combat system – while great for the time, yay Job Systems – has gotten very, very stale.

    I don’t think anybody would really recommend FF3 as a starting point, anything between 4 and 10 is loads better in pretty much every respect, 6-10 in particular being the bee’s knees, as weird people like to say.

    The FF9 steam remake is notable for being the first one they haven’t fucked up majorly on, it runs well and looks as well as sounds good without any mods, though I’ve heard complaints about the interface size for whatever reason. Not perfect, but a better starting point if you’re PC-bound and emulator-averse.

  22. MyKeyboardSucks says:

    Your about to be bitterly disapointed if you come from a background of CRPG’s. Do yourself a favour and Skip to FFVI or IX, presuming you’ve already played VII. All of the rest are a bore in comparison and you will be wasting a hell of alot of time either grinding or pushing through identical dungeons.

  23. Yeargdribble says:

    I’m in the clear minority, but I actually do enjoy grinding. It’s oddly comforting. It lets me turn my brain off and just watch numbers go up when I don’t have the mental stamina to really engage.

    As for FFIII, I was a huge fan since way back and as a result actually played the NES version emulated long before it was available on DS. I excitedly bought a DS just to play it there. I’ve since played it on iPad and even bought and played it on PC.

    It’s definitely one of the grindiest FFs, but that’s part of it’s appeal to me personally, though I understand that’s not appealing to most.

    I think FFVI is a much safer entry for someone with no experience with FFs though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Risingson says:

      I hate eating the same thing over and over. I hate routines, being stuck in the comfort zone, coming home at exactly the same time. You can imagine how I feel about grinding.

      • batraz says:

        Not everyone is an Indiana Jones… And repetition doesn’t always induce boredom ; ask people who enjoy gardening or listening to the Spacemen 3, they’ll maybe tell you that they find something hypnotic and soothing to it.

  24. theblazeuk says:

    6 – fight through the end of the world and be a sky pirate. Awesome.
    7 – nuff said. Though I find it gets a little tough going midway.
    8 – my favourite (controversial). Loved the different mechanics at work,the story appealed even where it got confusing, and the characters and art all worked well.

    Missed 9 and was put off kind of forever by X and that bloody blitz ball.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Similar standpoint to me tbh. I loved 8, the characters felt more realistic, no huge men with gun arms or talking dogs etc. Just a group of 6 humans who were supposed to be a bit older than me at the time. Kinda still at school (although a weird, interesting school), like me. I guess I connected with them at the time.

      I also didn’t mind the mechanics changes like some people, I actually found it preferable to lvling up materia constantly (grinding?). Stuff like the trigger mechanic and the various limit breaks were awesome too. Mostly though I just loved the feel of the world compared to 7 (those were the only two I’d played at the time). 7 is still awesome but I think I’ll always prefer 8, although I know it’s not a common or popular opinion.

  25. mpb says:

    I’d like to unlock the job system, at the very least, before abandoning the game.

    From a plot perspective, I am not sure it matters what order you play FF games in.

    I’ve played 7, Tactics, 12, and Tactics Advance.

    I am not sure if I played Tactics before or after 7. I loved Tactics. If you want to explore a job system, Tactics has a wonderful job system, and you encounter it fairly early on. Tactics was a little grindy in the mid to late game. I’m not sure if there is a way to avoid this grind. Even so, the grind was somewhat interesting as you could try to grind as efficiently as possible, and choose what new skills to grind towards. Tactics also involved a fair amount of repetitive button pushing, but the enjoyment per press was higher than 7. I also liked the tactical combat. If you do play Tactics, I think there are 12 hidden dungeons that you probably will not encounter with a walkthrough. I’ve never played them.

    I enjoyed 7, but abandoned it near the end. I think there was a maze I did not want to map. Today, I’d just look up the map in a walkthrough and continue on. After playing 7, I decided it had way too much button pushing, just to repetitively select the attack option, again and again. I decided not to play any other FF games because of that.

    I played 12 because I read that it had automated routine actions. No more repetitive button pushing! Yay! I have yet to finish 12, mostly because I don’t play with my PS2 anymore. After Playstation and PS2, I discovered Steam and switched back to PC gaming. If there was a PC version of 12, I would buy and play it.

    Tactics Advance did not grab me the same way Tactics did. I’m not sure why. I do remember that it (the jobs system?) felt slightly more restrictive. I have not used my GBA in years, but still have the game.

    I would certainly recommend that you check out Tactics and 12. 7 if you want to. Tactics is probably better with a controller with buttons, rather than on an iPad. I’ve been thinking about buying 13 for PC.

  26. A7ibaba says:

    I played all final fantasy in their time, including every RPG on SNES and playstation 1,2,3. Last RPG i finished was Ni no kuni wrath of the white witch. Do i need psychotherapist? :D

  27. bill says:

    I’ve played for around an hour .. and have absolutely no desire to continue

    This sums up my experience with every FF game I’ve tried. Though I only actually remember FF6 and FF7, as they were the two that I really WANTED to like.
    I’m sure I’ve tried several others though.

    It feels like a broken record at this point, but the random battles are the thing that always do for me. FF6 has a lovely NES-era intro, and then about an hour or two into it I ended up getting 3 random battles in an empty 10m hallway in a house.
    Needless to say, I never bothered getting to the end of that hall.

  28. ffordesoon says:

    What fool suggested FFIII as a good starter FF?

    Here, I will tell you the ones you need to play:

    • FFIV, because it doesn’t require too much grinding, it’s charming as hell, the story is high-camp melodrama of the best kind, the number and variety of locations you visit is pretty delightful, and the combat system is simple and fun. It’s the game which defined what my generation thinks of when we think of FF.

    •FFVI, because it’s the one that shoots for the moon and tries a bunch of bonkers stuff, and it has a fun villain and giant robots and a ton of cool characters and stuff.

    •FFVII, because it’s basically the most important JRPG ever made and explains why the genre is the way it is today.

    •FFIX, because it’s the actual best one, full of charming characters and interesting systems and optional storylines and all the stuff you’d expect from a PS1 FF, and the soundtrack is amazing.

    Those are the only mainline games you need to play to understand what FF is and what people like about it, though I’d make a case for FFXII as another very good entry that’s worth playing. The two Bravely Default games are also interesting takes on the pre-X FF games which are probably more accessible than any of the older games, and Chrono Trigger is probably the pinnacle of Squaresoft’s RPG design.

    • mogwaimon says:

      I haven’t played the second Bravely Default yet, but I would second the recommendation to play the first one. However if anyone does actually play it based off this, be wary of the second half of the game. Though it may be dull, it’s worth finishing it.

  29. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    Oh please no. My flatmate is right now playing 12 and the random encounters with the same horrible battle music that trigger every few seconds of walking are such a poor design decision that I want to keep away from there as far as I can.

    Though I haven’t played 9 yet, the rest of the saga are pure routine to me, just to use one neurone and do the same stuff for days.

    • Premium User Badge

      Risingson says:

      Btw, if you did not like 3 you won’t like 6. It’s flashier, the steampunk is awesome, it has embarrassing but somehow cute scenes like the opera, but once the novelty wears off (mostly in the second part of the game) and there are no new surprises, random battles are just that: work.

      Apart from the good old transphobia, if course.

      • mogwaimon says:

        I gotta be honest, I don’t remember any transphobia or even any trans characters in FFVI. Yea, FFVII has the Cloud cross-dressing scene, but I don’t remember anything like that in VI and I’ve played through it quite a few times.

  30. Spaceman Moses says:

    Hi Adam, thanks for calling.

    > Have you played it?

    No I have not, but I have played a horrific amount of JRPGs.

    > Am I wrong to give up so quickly?

    No, you are not wrong. There are so many JRPGs that you might as well play the ones you like first, then when you ‘get the idea’ come back to see if Final Fantasy appeals more.

    It is okay to “bounce off” games (in the parlance of Quinns).

    Here are all the other ‘JRPG’ games you could be playing that I do like: Chronotrigger, Breath of Fire 1 & 2, Earthbound (when you can speed up the auto-combat ie emulated), Suikoden (1 not 2, a bit grindy but good story), Paper Mario (not trad, no grinding iirc), Legend of Zelda Ocarina & Wind Waker (not trad, no grinding, but the latter can get a little boring on the high seas), Demon Souls (not trad, immensely grindy, but I like the combat), Shining the Holy Ark (not trad, & you fire pixies at enemies, awesome), Skies of Arcadia (pirates! but a bit grindy), Fire Emblem (not trad)

    Is grinding there to artificially pad out the game’s length, or is it something that people actually enjoy?

    Apparently a lot of people like it, especially in Japan, which led to games being ported over with less encounters to Western markets.

    I personally play grindy RPGs to get at the story. I would therefore enjoy them better if they had less combat. But that’s me, that’s what I want to get out of the game.

  31. apocraphyn says:

    Guess I’ll chime in as well. FFIII is a terrible starting point! I’ve played and completed all of the Final Fantasy games and can tell you straight out that the first three (and V) are the grindiest of the lot.

    FFIV is a personal favourite of mine – though I have an inherent bias for it, since it was the first one I played, back on the SNES. It was the first to introduce the Active Time Battle system, a turn-based battle system where enemies still act if you take too long to make a decision. It was also the first to introduce a properly coherent story and characters to the mix and still holds up very well to this day, having played the PSP version to completion a year or so ago.

    As far as the others are concerned…FFVII is a classic, featuring a dieselpunk world full of magic, monsters and sinister big corporations. FFXII is basically Star Wars retold from a fantasy perspective, minus lightsabers, plus MMO hotbar combat. FF Tactics is a great tactical RPG that bears little in resemblance to the main numbered titles, but definitely warrants playing. The latter two are set in the fantasy setting of Ivalice – and if I were to recommend one title to play at all, it would be Vagrant Story, another Ivalice title. That game has an excellent combat system, story and dialogue. (Granted, I think the only way to play that outside of the criminal act of emulation would be the original Playstation, or one of the current consoles through their sanctioned avenues of emulation.)

  32. Kala says:

    “Is this correct? Is grinding there to artificially pad out the game’s length, or is it something that people actually enjoy?”

    A little bit of column A, a little bit of column B.

    I’ve never particularly minded and it’s never taken that long to progress. (The exception was getting them up to 99 to kill weapons in 7, but that’s purely optional completionism)

    I think most games have things artificially there to pad them out… E.g puzzles in Alundra. But! Some people genuinely enjoy puzzles. I found it a frustrating impediment to plot progression ;p

    Anecdote: When I started going out with my partner, he made me go to a football match with him, and I made him play FFX. He loathed it with a fiery passion. He wrote 6 blog posts castigating it.

    For him, it was everything wrong with games; particularly offensive to him was how the story was delivered (exposition where there’s nothing to do) and the battle sequences (coming out of nowhere, just clicking through to kill things).

    I tried to explain that the important things were the world, plot and characterisation (you know, all that DIALOGUE you keep SKIPPING) but no – it just wasn’t for him, really. I think it’s different if you’ve grown up on jrpgs and have some context.

    (He concluded with the charming “Not only do I fail to under­stand why people have wasted hours of life on this low-grade shit, I even find that my opin­ion of them is dimin­ished by the know­ledge that they like it.” Yes, we’re still together many years later. Somehow.)

  33. kittycatgirl2k says:

    I love Final Fantasy III. The DS update was lovely and matched charming graphics to the game. The job system was fun and I had little trouble getting through it when I played it years ago.

    FF9 on the other hand, really annoyed me. I didn’t particularly like anything about it and V was so boring ans grindy, I couldn’t finish it.

  34. speaker says:

    i actually think this game is great, i finished, from the ones (1-4, and 7) it’s my favorite, but the complexity only open up when you unlock the job classes, so do stay until than if you care at all give this game a fair chance. granted it is old-school and unforgiving, but it’s not stupid and grindy about it (that whold be 2). there’s no need to go back to older deungeon to grind if you’re decent at the game and cautious. probably you didn’t trigger something that you should have to advance the story or something like that, this game can be a bit abscure at times.