Final Fantasy games are often seen in different ways. After all, it has no linear story from one mainline entry to the next. You can start from Final Fantasy XIV and have the same appreciation for the franchise as someone who began from Final Fantasy II. While this approach made welcoming newcomers a breeze, it has also become the epicenter of the debate. Which Final Fantasy game is the best?
Ahead of the impending release of Final Fantasy XVI, we aim to look back at the storied franchise. Which titles made it out of the scramble and set a name for themselves? Which of them made the most impact on gamers worldwide? Can you tell which are the diamonds in the rough? Without further ado, here are our top 5 picks for the best Final Fantasy Games today.
How many Final Fantasy games are there?
As one of the longest-running video game franchises today, one may ask: How many Final Fantasy games are there? As of today, there are over 90 different Final Fantasy games that can be played across multiple platforms.
There are the 15 mainline entries, the direct sequel/s to both Final Fantasy X and XIII, and countless other spin-offs. This includes games that strayed away from the RPG genre itself, including fighting games, rhythm games, and more. Not to mention, Square Enix also has the habit of remaking their most successful franchises.
With that out of the way, let us get on with the list.
Top 5 Best Final Fantasy Games
TOP 5: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, true to its name, was built upon its ashes. Square Enix’s second foray into MMORPGs (Final Fantasy XIV) failed miserably and was dead even before it walked. However, this failure did not deter the developers behind A Realm Reborn. It fueled them to do better. Years later, it is now among the highest-rated MMORPGs in history.
To this day, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is getting constant updates and gameplay tweaks to keep everything fresh and welcome even more players. This game has successfully incorporated the things we love from the classic Final Fantasy games into the modern MMORPG formula, and we love it all the more because of it.
TOP 4: Final Fantasy VI
Over three decades have already passed since its release, but many still argue for Final Fantasy VI as the best Final Fantasy entry. It made a name for itself back then by mixing strong narrative focus with technically sound gameplay. This title epitomizes the phrase: ‘learning from the past to build a better now.’ It took what worked from the previous 5 entries and made one that fans wouldn’t want to forget.
We also cannot talk about Final Fantasy VI without mentioning its truly remarkable villain: Kefka Palazzo. This maniacal clown stands to this day as the best villain in the whole series. He was such an integral part of what made the game great that many recognize him better than any of the game’s main characters.
TOP 3: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
The remastered version of the original Final Fantasy XII set the bar of what remasters should be. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age did not just improve on the original game—it made it a must-try! The game’s unique Gambit-focused combat system is still a marvel by today’s standards. While it admittedly takes some time to get used to; mastering it is truly addictive. If you want a unique, fresh take on turn-based Final Fantasy combat, we cannot recommend this title enough.
TOP 2: Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X is the true stepping point of the franchise to become a wonderful cinematic experience. Square Enix made this game with the approach of having it stick with the players for as long as possible. They aren’t just out to give gamers a way to have fun anymore. They now also want to give them a one-of-a-kind experience akin to movie features.
Final Fantasy X is a major departure from the formula we fell in love with. Not only is it the first entry to feature full voice acting on the PlayStation console, but it is also the first to have a dedicated sequel.
TOP 1: Final Fantasy VII (Original & Remake)
Ask a hundred people what their top Final Fantasy game is, and chances are they’d mostly answer with Final Fantasy VII—us included. The seventh entry in the storied franchise has successfully become a cultural phenomenon all over the world. So much so that even non-gamers recognize who Cloud and Sephiroth is.
Of course, Final Fantasy VII wouldn’t be this popular without being an excellent game first. It built upon the core concepts of its predecessors while introducing a myriad of new approaches. This amalgamation of classic gameplay elements and new, intuitive technologies made for a very unforgettable game. Notably, Final Fantasy VII also served as the advent of the new generation of 3D Final Fantasy games.
However, its greatest strength is undoubtedly its memorable characters. Cloud and the gang are so fleshed-out that they stuck with gamers even decades after they were first introduced.
With all these in mind, we are confident to put Final Fantasy VII at the top of our list. It is not just among the best Final Fantasy games out there; Final Fantasy VII is among the top games in history.
Awesome list and of course I have my bias, but FFVII and FFX are my top 2 respectively. Hoping FF16 turns out great!