The Best of Final Fantasy

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A group of Final Fantasy fans divided against themselves cannot cast fire. Or so the saying goes. For too long we’ve been at war about which is “the best”. Sliding roman numerals around on a table until one of us gets upset and starts using bad language. Let’s end this, here, today. Let’s look at each other, earnestly, with open minds and opener hearts, and regard one another as friends, allies in a world that doesn’t understand us. Let’s look not to the past, but to the future!

And also at this definitive list of Final Fantasy games available on PC ranked in perfect order.

Don’t worry, there’s only nine of them.

All right, settle down. We know Final Fantasy defies a ‘Best of’ list. Fans have been fighting hard for decades, probably mounted on chocobos, to prove that the stomping magitek of Final Fantasy VI is more interesting than the puppet-like mages of Final Fantasy IX. Or the steampunkery of VII trumps the beast-taming of IV. In that sense, our own list is just another chuckling mercenary fighting in an endless conflict for supremacy. But come on, we’re all very tired. Let’s just agree that this is the correct list and go home to our children. They miss us all so much.

For this list, we’ve excluded the MMOs (sorry, Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV) because we’re only interested in the singleplayer games. But we’ve left the door open for spin-offs. Whether any of them actually make the list is another matter.

You can navigate this feature using the arrows that appear above or below the image on each page, or using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

Note: In the likely case the Eternal Argument keeps raging, you can summon your own opinions in the comments. But please remember to be a good adversary. Don’t just say: “No Final Fantasy Z?” That’s no use. Say why you think Final Fantasy Z is amazing. Talk about the part where you go Crystal sledding, or the village of the Carrot People, or that bit where Corupcion falls into a TV studio and you have to play the minigame where you pretend to be one of the Empire’s weather presenters. Man, why isn’t Final Fantasy Z on this list??

107 Comments

  1. onodera says:

    If emulation is allowed, FFVI is definitely the best one. FFT is the second best.

  2. milligna says:

    This seems like a piece from another website somehow.

  3. sektor666 says:

    your list is bad and you should feel bad. FFVI > FFVII > FFIX > heaps of garbage > FFVIII. how could you.

    • Shaun239 says:

      This. VIII is the one we don’t talk about – just like how the characters don’t mention having all grown up together and act like complete strangers until 2/3rds through the game.

      No wonder IX went back to the series’ roots.

      • GeoX says:

        Well, to be fair, the reason the characters don’t remember growing up together is that the guardian forces affected their memories. Hey, I’m not saying it’s a GOOD reason, but it’s not *completely* random.

    • jael182 says:

      Let me fix that for you.

      IX > VII > XII > VI

      • GeoX says:

        You didn’t fix it; you broke it :(

        (What a productive argument this is)

  4. ran93r says:

    Get out! Gullwing dress up party deserves better.

    • Mara says:

      It totally does, thank you!

      It kept everything that made the series and genre great, added a lot of new stuff that totally worked and was just fun.
      People just bounced off of it because it wasn’t an all-serious save-the-world type of thing from the start, like FFX.

  5. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    It remains very strange to see people talk about FFXII as the “most anime” entry. I just don’t see it. When I think “anime” I think school girls, wackiness, and over-the-top things like Dragonball Z, not political skullduggery about humans resisting the influence of gods to forge their own destiny, for good or ill. Indeed, I’d say that FFVII feels much more anime to me.

    Speaking of, FFVII has aged pretty atrociously, and even though I credit it (along with Warcraft II) for really getting me into video games, I think it’s ugly aesthetics and painfully hokey script are a serious turn-off. The last time I tried to play it I got as far as Tifa and Cloud’s first heart-to-heart after blowing up the reactor and thought, “This is the game I was so enamored of back then?”

    VII has an interesting battle system that was completely lost on me as a child, but after the first disc the story goes completely limp. Edea is a great villain, and the end of Disc 1 is one hell of a climax, but Edea isn’t the actual antagonist, and the reveals after that point are increasingly contrived and convoluted. None of the characters besides Squall really have an arc or much character, a plot twist about their shared past is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen, and Laguna and friends–the only likeable characters in the game–are barely in it. The gameplay is fine, but you have to sit through a lot of garbage to enjoy it.

    The best in the series are FFIX, FFXII, and FFX-2 (although you have to play X first to appreciate X-2). War of the Lions is the best game with the Final Fantasy name attached to it, however (it also takes place in Ivalice, by the way).

    • Tacroy says:

      … not political skullduggery about humans resisting the influence of gods to forge their own destiny, for good or ill.

      If that doesn’t scream anime to you, you’re watching the wrong anime. I prescribe a course of Gurren Lagann followed by a 10 ml drip of either One Piece or JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, to start.

    • SaintAn says:

      It seems you only know of the anime for young teens. Which is understandable since that’s what is most common these days. There’s a lot of really good stuff. Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shiki, Naoki Urasawa’s Monster (English dub is award worthy in this one, and it’s made by one of the best Manga writers whose other manga works should also be read. Be on the look out for the anime adaptation of his Pluto manga), Ghost in the Shell, No 6, Code Geass, One Piece, and many many more. Just do a search for complex anime or something to find more.

      Japanese writers are the best in the world at evoking emotion and writing imaginative and complex stories.

    • h3artlesstinman says:

      War of the Lions is imho the best Final Fantasy game. The original FFT did more in terms of shaping story expectations for me as a child than basically any other game (including FFVII). It’s basically Game of Thrones with body snatching demons.

  6. Stepout says:

    FFVI laughs at your four winds. She laughs from her mountain.

  7. Ben King says:

    True story, final fantasy eight is the only one I ever completed. Figuring out the junction system is a highlight of my childhood gaming memories but the title will also always be my go-to definition of “level grind.” if I ever have to listen to the electronic screech of the magic “Draw” system again I will lose my mind. It also might still be my favorite opening cinematic of all time.

    • Jalan says:

      VIII was the last one I finished thoroughly and enjoyed. I wish I could travel back in time before I began realizing that I was well in the minority of liking it (especially above the likes of IX & X – the combination of which killed my active attention in following the series as an active player). I’m not the type to deny the existence of its flaws, but at the same time I also don’t find that it did anything so offensive that it couldn’t be forgiven for them either.

    • Horg says:

      The magic system is made much more bearable (and overpowered) by utilising the GF abilities to refine magic from items, and in the case of Quezacotl, cards. It’s a sound strategy to set you GF’s learning those skills first. One of he best farming methods is to challenge the Queen of Cards in Balamb Town, right after you beat Ifrit, until she starts using the All rule. Beat her, then play other NPCs until All is spread to the whole region, then you can play several NPCs in Balamb Town and Balamb Garden for whole hands of tier 1-5 cards. Refine those cards into items and refine the items into magic. You can be running around with an inventory full of high tier magic before you’ve even set off on the SeeD exam, no more need to magic hoover unless you after something extremely rare like Aura or Ultima.

    • thekelvingreen says:

      I couldn’t finish VIII. I got to a bit — you know the bit — where I couldn’t defeat a boss without Game Overing, because of the way the character progression system worked.

      I do think it has a good story and the characters are some of the best in the series, but the game mechanics were so janky I lost all enthusiasm to try again.

  8. Xerophyte says:

    FF5 doesn’t even rank? Shame!

    I prescribe a minimum of two Four Job Fiestas when it starts up this summer. Preferably on emulation so you don’t have to deal with the naff port.

  9. Premium User Badge

    subdog says:

    I hate fandom gatekeeping but really if you’re going to make a ranking list and neither of you have actually played the one that everyone says is the best one… maybe hold off on publishing?

    Either way, I have yet to play a FF game on the PC that isn’t a straight up godawful port of an already bad port. You have 7 near the top of the list and playing it on the PC feels like trying to mow my lawn on a unicycle.

    • Jalan says:

      Square seems intent on doling out the hot garbage when it comes to their classics. I keep waiting for the time they release Final Fantasy Tactics (because eventually they’ll run out of other Final Fantasy ports to re-port and release) but my enthusiasm for it actually happening keeps waning knowing that it’s almost likely to be the mobile version of War of the Lions if it ever does happen.

      One day they’ll pretend like they’re listening to fans worldwide and not just the clattering of coin into their coffers and release something from their vault that isn’t a “well, here’s what we think you all wanted” cash-in.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Sure, there are many critiques to be made of this list, but given that you correctly identified the best Final Fantasy, why would I make them? :)

  11. FuriKuri says:

    While I may – through gritted teeth – admit that the accuracy of this list is probably fair given the technical inferiorities present in most of these ‘official’ ports, I do have to wonder if perhaps this stance misses the point.

    Since when are PC gamers limited to only what corporate overlords deign fit for us? Isn’t this what separates us from animals consoles? Is RPS arriving at a state where only that which is oozed direct from the rancid teat of Steam(tm) is given consideration?

    In short, play these on a emulator. If you’re reluctant due to some misguided sense of morality; a) rest assured that the devs involved in the original production are, like pets in beloved 80’s/90’s sitcoms, most assuredly dead by now and b) nothing stops you buying the crappy port then playing it on an emulator regardless.

  12. protorp says:

    Sooooo… say one had hypothetically never played any of them… would starting at number one on this list and working backwards work? How much crucial play X first to appreciate Y is hiding here?

    • dahools says:

      6,7,8,9,10 all completely unrelated you could pick any one different themes, characters and world’s.

    • dahools says:

      Oh and “hypothetically” if you were unemployed and had no family commitments there is probably 6months worth of gaming there depending on how “complete” you would want to leave them.

    • SaintAn says:

      This list is nonsense and I think it’s supposed to be a joke, don’t use the list.

      If someone has never played, their first should be either 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, or 12. (9 would be my choice for first if I could Eternal Sunshine my gaming memories away) 11 and Tactics are masterpieces, but they are different and much longer than the others, so they should be played, but played later after such a person has played through a few FF games. 11 has like 15 years of content and was developed with horizontal progression in mind, so it’s really really big. Tactics: War of the Lions is my absolute favorite though, and tied with Wind Waker, Breath of the Wild, Mass Effect 1, and Final Fantasy XI as my favorite game.

      14 is decent, not really a good MMO or a good FF game, but not a bad MMO or a bad FF game either. It has some really great translations, but some really terrible story writing, but also some likable characters and good parts too. So the good and bad balance it all out as a decent game. Play it after 11.

      13 through 15 are bad and should be avoided. The FF15 movie is pretty good though.

  13. dahools says:

    I think it depends how old you were when you played them as you say you were 11 when you played VIII. That is why it’s probably resonates so well with you. I really enjoyed VIII the gun blades, the card game and when the school began levitating out of the ground and turned into a ship.

    I was about 14 when VII came out so it was the first real one I played and I always look back at it and think was there anything it didn’t do? It reminds me of James bond almost. If you think of each Bond film they always try and throw some different way of him doing something or getting somewhere. Snowmobile, bunjee jumping, parachuting, skiing, car submarine etc. FFVII did everything. You cross dressed under cover and escape in sewers, you travelled over mine tracks, through mountains, on boats across oceans and find hidden islands. You ride chocobos, bikes, cable cars, submarines, planes, airships, snow boards.
    You visit cities, farms, towns, villages, lost temples, deserts, the north pole and explore under the oceans.

    All this before you talk about the characters, their back stories and the main story that tied it all in. How you almost die and can’t remember anything 2/3rds of the way through.

    I think of VIII which I liked alot and just think as good as it was it’s 25% the game VII was.

    Played X and a couple of the lightning ones after but I think the idea had moved well on then. Found them more of a slog than a journey.

    IX I didn’t gel with as it was a bit more fairy tail and I was getting older.

  14. dontnormally says:

    The biggest turn-off of Final Fantasy, for me, is the fact that they all blob together in my brain / there is no Title to use to tell them apart.

    Is FF XVXVI-2 really any different than FF VXVXI-3 ?

    • dahools says:

      After X they did start sharing themes, characters and I agree I could tell you which one was which. I only remember X by that blitz all basketball game thingy.

    • Nelyeth says:

      Meh, I guess Square’s relying on a combo of brand image, and the fact that if you play a Final Fantasy game, you’ll end up with enough hundreds of hours of playtime to remember the game’s number.

  15. Ansob says:

    You forgot FFXIV, which is the best FF and also the only good FF MMO.

  16. SaintAn says:

    No.

  17. mmandthetat says:

    The unskippable summon animations ruin Final Fantasy VIII. Ruin. If it weren’t for those, I might be willing to agree that it’s as good or better than VII, or at least respect that opinion.

    • Hieronymusgoa says:

      I really loved FFVIII but oh my god these GF summon animations! You are totally right -_-

  18. kud13 says:

    So, for someone who never owned a console and thus missed the JRPG craze (and a lot of other gaming trends, because until mid 2000s I was an RTS junkie. Then I discovered Deus Ex by accident and I’ve been broadening my horizons since), which of the games on this list are actually playable in their current Steam incarnations?

    I’m still kinda hoping that eventually Squeeenix will start porting it’s games to GOG, but I’m curious which of these remakes (aside of 15 and 12, which I understand to be decent ports) are actually playable for a novice?

    • hijuisuis says:

      FFX is great on pc, and is the one I recommend people new to the series play first. I think it has the most consistently good elements.

      FFXIII is also a great port and I enjoyed it but people love/hate it so I wouldn’t recommend starting there.

      I’m interested in other suggestions too because I haven’t played any if the others on pc.

  19. Don Reba says:

    Wait… Are you serious that Aeris is going to die?!

  20. jael182 says:

    Hahahahaha good one guys, now where is the real list??

  21. DantronLesotho says:

    RPS, I love you, but you’re bringing me down. VIII is awful. I could write a litany of complaints over that game, and I LOVE the final fantasy series. It’s just a total mess. They’ve said before that they couldn’t get it together after 7 and scope creep caused that game to be as uncohesive as it is. Ugh. I wonder if people like 8 because either they played it as their first one, or they only played VII before it. Because in a vacuum it’s not that bad, but compared to the quality of the rest of them it just doesn’t sit anywhere close with them.

    • Horg says:

      8 has some of the best NPC characters in the whole series, that’s why. Based on anecdotal evidence, 8 seems to have a fairly high completion rate among people who weren’t turned away by the mechanics because people got invested in the gang and wanted to see it through to the epilogue.

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      8 was great, better than VII. I played 6,7,8,9 in order. 10 I quit half way through for no discernible reason.

      FF game mechanics are complete trash anyway, so I don’t really take those into account when ranking them among each other.

      • MrEvilGuy says:

        I take back my comment about game mechanics. They were fun, I’m just jaded.

        The real reason FF XIII is the best is it doesn’t have stunted characters like 6, 7, and 9 have.

        • JarinArenos says:

          … “XIII doesn’t have stunted characters”. Man, the utterly nonexistence of any personality in that game put me off so hard. I tried, I really did, but when the offensive racial stereotype (lol black man hair like bird nest) is the only person with actual personality 20 hours in… I give up.

      • gnalvl says:

        Agreed, 8 was terrible. FF1 was the first one I played, but FF4 was the first I finished. After that I finished every major US Square release (Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, FF6, FF7, FFT) until FF8 destroyed by palate for JRPG’s for a good few years.

      • gnalvl says:

        I totally agree that mainline FF combat mechanics declined steadily after FF4, but the saving grace which kept them playable was that they didn’t get in the way and you could mostly ignore them. By FF7 I think I died to anyone besides the final boss and the optional Weapons only once or twice.

        Yet in FF8 you HAVE to engage with the combat mechanics to get by, because the enemy XP auto-leveling ensures that drawing and junctioning is the only way to keep your stats on par. There are also some aspects of the plot that exacerbate the problem; slogging through unwanted random battles is bad enough, but it’s even worse when the game just unexpectedly threw you in the shows of a seemingly-unrelated character you’re not invested in at all (Laguna). Who thought it was a good idea to make players fight their way through dozens of identical floors-worth of random battles in a prison… with THAT battle system? Insane.

        There are definitely chronically unsolved design problems with conventional JRPG combat systems which show across all the mainline FF’s, but 8 is definitely the worst offender there.

  22. Universal Quitter says:

    Trolling at it’s finest. Jokes on you, though. I actually like FF8!!!

    *slinks back into the shadows, with an evil cackle*

  23. Jovian09 says:

    At first I wondered why you’d bother ranking something as subjective as Final Fantasy games. Then I remembered I’d clicked through all of them because it’s the official RPS ranking of Final Fantasies.

    I have to say that while the tone and premise of X-2 appalled me, it has the most refined, glorious iteration of the ATB combat system. It has jobs, a tremendous breadth of strategies, and is genuinely rewarding to master.

    • Jalan says:

      In terms of sheer depth, V’s job system has yet to be topped. It’s almost at perverted sim/management levels in regard to how easy it is to become lost in.

      • JarinArenos says:

        So, uh, for general curiosity purposes, what particular sim/management games might you be comparing to here? <.<

  24. briangw says:

    Am I the only one around here who thought the later FF’s were just too weird and preferred the first ones? I played FFI and FFII when they came out while I was in high school and loved them. I bought FFVI in college and just didn’t get into it.

  25. GeoX says:

    FFIV and VI are the FFs of my childhood and therefore the best ones. I can present reasons why I’m very sure this is true, but of course, those of you who started with later games can likewise present arguments for the later games that you are equally sure are very true. But get this: I THINK YOU’RE WRONG!!!! Really, this is an extremely meaningful argument to have. We can all agree on that much.

  26. Viral Frog says:

    Fully agree with the #1 pick. Final Fantasy VIII was not the first one I’d played, nor the first one I’d completed, but it was absolutely the one I enjoyed the most.

    What I cannot understand is how XV managed to acquire any position on this list. XV compared to literally any other FF game, even the weird, unremarkable spin-offs, is just awful. I would have easily tossed XV off the list in favor of X. VI should also be much higher on the list, but I can’t fault it’s positioning since neither of you have played it, so I’ll gladly give kudos for being mindful enough to include the game in the list at all.

    • Viral Frog says:

      For anyone wondering (nobody is, but I’m going to tell you anyway :P), my favorites (in this exact order) are:
      VIII
      VII
      IX
      VI
      IV
      XII
      I
      X
      X-2
      Anything I didn’t include on the list is either because I didn’t play it or I just wasn’t that fond of them.

      • Unclepauly says:

        I love your ascending list. I coulda swore you woulda made it descending though. Meh

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      I wonder if I should order 15. There seems so much hate and dislike by lots of people but a few especially here on RPS like it somewhat.
      I like the premise of the bro-roadtrip though.

      • thekelvingreen says:

        XV is a bit janky, and I’m one of the rare people who prefers menu-and-turn-based combat in rpgs, but the protagonists make the game shine. They are a genuinely likeable bunch and the game is at its best when they are wandering about, ignoring the plot, and having the weirdest stag do ever. The summary in the article is spot on about the game’s charms.

  27. teamcharlie says:

    Thanks to this article, I have been inspired to write a detailed list of the best flavors of ice cream ever. Even though I’ve never tried chocolate, I assume it’s going to be on the list. Hmm. Seven? There we go. Number one is definitely rum raisin.

    • Brendan Caldwell says:

      Now you’re getting it!

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      You’ve never had chocolate ice cream?

    • Isendur says:

      Now that is a healthy approach if I ever saw one. Good day to you, sir.

    • Unclepauly says:

      Well, I made a list about what numbers are greater than others. Oddly enough they line up perfectly with how the numbers are actually counted so the list would be redundant to place here. So here it goes. (the list ascending)

      1. 1
      2. 2
      3. 3
      4. 4
      5. 5

      I could go on and on for days

  28. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Yeah any such list would be wrong from some angle.
    I finished 4,6,7,8,9 and think they are the best.
    4 had the Dark Knight lead, 6 had Kefka and dark story, 7 had some iconic new additions being a new gen game and Cloud and his fun bunch. 8 had a compelling weird plot, a mess but a charming mess except the junction system. 9 was ok.

  29. hfm says:

    IX
    Vivi
    That is all…

  30. malkav11 says:

    Weirdly, I largely agree with this list. I prefer X to VIII, and might maybe even plump for XII if I’d played enough of it to have a real opinion, but I love both and don’t -super- care about the ordering there.

    People who think VI is the best should get a bland, challenge free random encounter every second step for the rest of their lives, since apparently that’s their jam.

    • Hieronymusgoa says:

      It seems to be a very unpopular opinion but I didn’t enjoy most of FFVI either. A very close friend and my brother insist that it is one of their best video game experiences ever and of course the best FF. I think it is mostly nostalgia who makes people say that. I am even ready to accept the same explanation for my liking of FFVII and FFVIII.

      The best Square JRPG is Chrono Trigger anyway.

  31. emily riposte says:

    Ah, the ‘genius’ of FF8, the game where you farm max stacks of spells, then run around as unkillable demigods for the rest of the game.

    • malkav11 says:

      You say that as though there’s something wrong with it.

      Also plenty of people (like me) never actually stumbled into the complete destruction of the difficulty curve. I mean, I definitely got some cheesy tactics going, but that’s a fairly common Final Fantasy experience – e.g. wandering around with Knights of the Round in VII or whatever.

      • emily riposte says:

        The difference being you don’t get to destroy the difficulty curve with Knights of the Round in the very first dungeon. In Eight, whatever spells were available gave you absolutely ridiculous stats for the area if you just farmed enough to max out the stacks.

        • malkav11 says:

          Yeah, if you go out of your way to break VIII, it’s way more breakable. But I’m saying a lot of people didn’t even know that was an option, much less go out of their way to do it, so while there is broken stuff in the regular course of the game, it’s much more in line with broken stuff in the rest of the series.

          But like I say, is that so wrong? If someone would like to be able to just cheese everything and play for other aspects of the game, more power to them, I say. It wouldn’t even make VIII all that tedious (at least, for long), since you can fairly early obtain an ability that just completely turns off random encounters. (Except in one bullshit side dungeon, but hey.)

    • MisterFurious says:

      I remember when I figured out that there was nothing stopping me from drawing 99 of each spell and becoming a bad ass. I was initially elated. About halfway through the game, as I was obliterating everything in my path, I realized the downside of being an unstoppable juggernaut: it’s really, really boring.

    • thekelvingreen says:

      I broke it the other way; I got to a point where I couldn’t kill a boss without Game Overing because of collateral damage.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sihoiba says:

      A friend of mine broke the game by turning everything into a card.

      Everything bosses includes scales with party level. You can unlock the turn into card ability on a GF by level 8, carding enemies doesn’t give XP and neither do bosses.

      So you can maximum stats for junctioned magic while every single enemy is stuck at level 8…

  32. arthurh3535 says:

    And… there is nothing about Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2 and Lightning Returns, all of which I have on PC for replay value.

    A bit of a fail on the list of best final fantasy games PC, as all three of those are probably better (at least) than 3/4s of the ones on this list.

  33. geldonyetich says:

    Wow, you put Final Fantasy VIII at #1 on the list. The game that was so poorly received that Square-Enix went and made Final Fantasy IX a deliberate throwback because they felt they had to get back to the basics of the series and find out where they went wrong and also to appease the outraged fans.

    But I’ll be charitable and say that, after three generations (or so they claim in their own promo materials but I have no idea how 31 years constitutes space for three generations) Final Fantasy is its own thing and no single fan or even Square Enix itself really has any control over what’s best or worst anymore.

  34. ansionnach says:

    Since there are no good Final Fantasy games the order doesn’t really matter.

  35. Evan_ says:

    For 20 years I thought I was the only one who thought FFVIII was the best. I don’t think I shared that opinion with anyone. I always just said that the best FF game was the one they named.

  36. jomurph86 says:

    It is my secret shame, and not something I admit to my wife/kids/friends (just random strangers on RPS) but I love the whole “school days” vibe of VIII. Same goes for Persona 3.

    And, GOOD LORD, how can anyone play X with the sound turned on??? The voice acting kills me! And even the characters that sound OK, they clearly recorded their lines separately so the pacing and tone is all stilted.

  37. podbaydoors says:

    The fact that Final Fantasy Tactics hasn’t been ported to the PC is proof that we are alone in an uncaring universe.

  38. Abaleth says:

    FF8? I suppose I can see the Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw.

    • geldonyetich says:

      I see what you did there.

      You know, I could see as Final Fantasy VIII being good if you can overcome three pitfalls:

      Pitfall 1: Don’t lean on the summons. I think most people who played the game did this, because summons were so cool and incremental in Final Fantasy VII, but if you keep summoning in Final Fantasy VIII, you’re basically trapping yourself in cutscene hell until you never want to see the game ever again.

      Pitfall 2: Understanding the junction system enough to enjoy it. It’s a bit like subjecting yourself to something terrible until you can understand something that’s bad, but it’s doable and necessary to really enjoy the game.

      Pitfall 3: Get into the story and the characters. I mean, Final Fantasy VIII is the game where you might find yourself enjoying the weird inexplicable flashbacks to the adventures of Leguna rather than those of Squall. However, they do some pretty creative things in the main story, so if you can wrap your head around its loopy flow and elements then it’s an alright ride.

      So, if you get over it the major parts of what makes up Final Fantasy VIII, you can enjoy Final Fantasy VIII.

  39. snv says:

    Those multipage articles suck. I must be really interested in the topic to be motivated enough to click next. More often than not i don’t even start reading at all because i know that this form will annoy me too much.

    Just a little bit of feedback. Otherwise i mostly like your site.

  40. ultramagnus84 says:

    Ugh, I hate commenting on articles, and I’ve been reading this site for years, and only now does THIS TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE LIST FORCE ME to set up an account just to make a comment on here. Curses.

    And also at this definitive list of Final Fantasy games available on PC ranked in perfect order.

    Funny, if I do a search on Steam for Final Fantasy, I also come up with FFIII, FFV, and FFXIII. Where are they on this TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE LIST? What, you didn’t play them? But you can put FFVI on it? Heathens, you can put a list of 9 completely random things together and FFVI (even a terrible, terrible port) will rank higher than #8.

    Here, let me redo this.

    1. FFIX
    2. FFVI
    Really, you can go either way, they both have great characters, fast and deep battle systems (for an FF), a coherent plot (for an FF), beautiful worlds and soundtracks.

    3. FFV
    4. FFIV
    The other SNES FFs for their time were groundbreaking for their time. FFV wins because the Job system is one of the best things FF ever did.

    5. FFXII
    6. FFVIII
    Again, go either way on these. Now we’re starting to get into the “fun to play, just try not to think about whatever the heck is going on.” The sci-fi parts of VIII were imaginative, but XII has Balthier.

    7. FFVII
    8. FFX
    Don’t get me wrong, I loved VII back in the day, but it hasn’t aged well and seriously started us on the path of incoherency in FF plots. X is the only one I’ve played and not finished. I know I’m in a minority but I just found it tedious all the way up to Yunalesca, never beat her, and just couldn’t go back.

    Lastly… no, there is no lastly, because I don’t rank things I haven’t played. And Brendan’s commentary on VIII just goes to show that you all KNOW you’re wrong and just are… trying… to get … a rise out of us.

    Wait.

    • geldonyetich says:

      I like this list, well done. I nominate you as RPS’s consultant for knowing their Final Fantasies. You would likely fare the best in the scenario of trying to side with the winning unruly mob.

      Though it is sort of sad to have to let FFVII go like that, because I think it was one of the most creative ones that had some of the most endearing characters, but I have to admit it did not age well at all. So does Square-Enix, as there’s a remake in the works, but not sure if we’ll see that on PC any time soon, or at all.

    • GeoX says:

      Counterpoint: FFIV is substantially better than V, on account of having waaaaaay better story, characters, and music. Also (blasphemy warning), FFV’s job system is overrated.

    • Nemo1342 says:

      This is an excellent list. It seems like you’ve played some of these games. I’ll join in on the list game, because I have also played all of these games. I’ve never played 1, 2, or 3, or X-II and I personally don’t really consider 11, 14 or Tactics to really be Final Fantasy games, despite being excellent games in a lot of ways.

      1. VI

      VI is the best final fantasy game ever made. It’s not perfect, but it comes the closest to putting all of the elements together in one game. The next three could be put in any order, and I’d be comfortable with the result. From the choices, I think one can one can discern my prioritizing interesting systems over cohesive stories. That’s easy to do, because there aren’t too many truly compelling stories in FF games.

      2. XII (The Zodiac Age)
      3. VIII
      4. V

      Each of the above holds a place in my heart for various reasons. XII would have been at the bottom of this section prior to The Zodiac Age, but that radically improved it. VIII’s story and system are both good… if you can endure the Andy Dufresne-ian journey to appreciate them. V introduces some of the game’s best characters, and as has been said, the job system. After those, there’s a small gap to the next three. These are the games that have better stories than gameplay, which just nudge them down a little for me.

      5. IX
      6. X
      7. VII

      Then we have another fairly steep dropoff in quality to get to…

      8. IV

      I can’t really blame four. It simply doesn’t hold up well at all. Then yet another steep dropoff to get to…

      9. XV
      10. XIII

      Both of these are legitimate disasters. XV at least is partially redeemed by having some truly excellent fights, and one legitimately mind-boggingly amazing dungeon.

  41. MisterFurious says:

    “Instead of buying your way to success with throwaway trinkets, here you’re actively seeking out new monsters and growing together with them as a team, learning shiny new attacks from them and then passing those skills onto your friends.”

    And then you drain 99 spells from those monsters and stomp your way through the game with ease because the Junction system is completely broken. VIII sucks. It sucked when it came out and it sucks now. The villain was lame. The hero was lame. The douche with the tattoo on his face was lame. Gunblades are lame. The card game was pretty cool, though, but it’s telling when a mini-game is way better than the main game.

    • malkav11 says:

      Drawing spells from monsters was the slow, boring, ineffective way of breaking the game, FYI. If you really wanted to do that (and I wouldn’t, probably), refinement, especially with cards, is much more broken, much quicker.

      • Jalan says:

        The downside of card refining is… the temptation to refine the GOOD cards is often hard to ignore. Especially when you realize Triple Triad is actually fun and you begin to care about smashing those you challenge into oblivion.

  42. Spuzzell says:

    I always quite liked VIII.

    But IX is so good. It’s SO good.

    I hope the angry mob secretly change your WiFi passwords.

  43. Cheese21 says:

    Oddly enough, it was the characters rather than the mechanics that made me give up on VIII. I could stand the Junction/Draw system (as I realized early on that abusing it was an “I WIN” button, and I had a lot of patience back then), but coming off VII’s cast, VIII was a giant letdown.

    Squall had a badly-defined reason for trying to be a stoic loner and never really had anyone stick a pin in his tough-guy act like Cloud did in the Wall Market sequence. Rinoa just came across as blitheringly stupid (not the ballroom scene. She was trying to cheer up the gloomy kid in the corner, I get that. No, it was her plan to neutralize the sorceress that made me go “Oh for crying out loud!”) and in constant need of saving unlike Tifa and Aerith. Zell was much the same in the “blitheringly stupid” category, Selphie just tried way too hard to be way too cheerful even compared to that little kleptomaniac Yuffie, and IRVINE…where to start? Not saying anything when your former childhood friends show up and apparently don’t recognize you, not even an attempt, like “Hey it’s me guys! How’ve you been?” Not saying something about being raised by your assassination target, instead waiting until the moment you’re supposed to take the shot to wuss out? And his “chivalrous pervert” act was just creepy, even to high-school age me.

    I didn’t mind Quistis. She was an over-promoted teacher’s aide who screwed up whenever she was in the field, but I could forgive that. Her only moment I didn’t care for was her failure of judgement on the assassination mission, but everyone else did about as well (and Squall got stabbed for it), so it was just par for the course there. It was just a demonstration that if you want to kill a powerful target, don’t send a slapped-together rookie team to do it. Of course, that result was what certain parties wanted to happen anyway, but still…

  44. Phasma Felis says:

    I haven’t read the article or, indeed, ever played a Final Fantasy game, but your list is wrong and stupid and wrong and you’re probably all shills.

  45. mungo says:

    Is this some kind of mirror universe? How is VIII even among the top 10 FF games? :D

  46. thekelvingreen says:

    Not only is there a train in VI but if you have the right character in your party at the time, HE SUPLEXES THE TRAIN.

    XII is my favourite of the ones I’ve played, and I haven’t played IX yet, but my gosh, if that doesn’t make a case for VI being the best one, I don’t know what does.

  47. Premium User Badge

    Sihoiba says:

    I like the idea that FF12 and Vagrant Story are the same world especially as the later is set in the future of the former. It means the end result of completing the story and banishing the god like beings (or whatever the ending was supposed to mean) results in society regressing back from airships et all to the medieval dark ages.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sihoiba says:

      Also FF9 best alias for Princess Garnet is Princess, lots of accidental comedy dialogue results. The whole twist on who/what the main character actually is one of the other reasons it’s so beloved

  48. Ejia says:

    I wish to calmly register my disagreement with this list. link to imgur.com

  49. Gordon Shock says:

    Is this Gamespot or RPS….???

  50. umbravi says:

    The “best” Final Fantasy games? This is a pretty easy list.

    Ivalice is easily the best Final Fantasy setting. Not only does Ivalice pay homage to the history of JRPGs and the RPG source material by planting it’s theme deep in Sword and Magic Adventure, but it embodies the Magicpunk setting that Final Fantasy was founded and grew upon. Ivalice is a great place to live and play, no matter when you started in the FF series.

    Vagrant Story is the best Final Fantasy. This precursor to FFXII, in every literal way, is a game that stands the test of time. The characters have depth, the content of the story respects the intelligence of the player, the battle and gear systems are well before their time, it has NG+. Now, before you go saying that Vagrant Story isn’t a Final Fantasy, you should fact check; Vagrant Story is officially a Final Fantasy series game per Square. This game may be short, and the story may escalate quickly giving the feeling that more was planned, but the game is peerless none-the-less.

    Honorable mentions to Final Fantasy Tactics, VI, XII, VII, and II. There are many great FF games, and few ‘bad’ among them. If I didn’t mention your favorite of the FF series, it’s because it isn’t better than Grandia II.