A look at the Final Fantasy series from best to worst

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Without question, Final Fantasy is easily the most famous and prolific console RPG series of all time, introducing several generations of gamers to the concept of turn-based side by side battles as heroes attempt to overthrow kingdoms and protect magic crystals.

The coming next-gen remake of Final Fantasy 7 was one of the biggest pieces of news to land from E3 this year, but it's not all we have to look forward to, with the anticipated part 15 arriving next year and slated to shake up the formula quite a bit.

Ranking these games from best to worst is a monumental task, especially considering the sheer number of titles released since the first Final Fantasy way back 1987. To keep things manageable, here I'm focusing on base single player games in the main series, with two spin-offs included solely because of their iconic nature. The mobile phone games, spin-offs, sequels, MMORPGs, and Legend / Adventure titles on the Game Boy are all being left off this time around.

Even by culling all those extra games and whittling it down to the 14 titles included here, ranking them is harder than you'd think, as most of the Final Fantasy games have been re-released in alternate versions, some with major graphical and gameplay changes. The first game alone has come out in no less than 11 separate releases from the NES to the PlayStation to mobile phones and most recently for the 3DS.

For consistency's sake, these are all being ranked based on their original versions and not on the later re-creations.

Published Nov. 23rd 2015
  • Crashbgamer
    FF13 was great, great combat, great graphics, I enjoyed the story, sigh, fanboys ruin franchises
  • Yaru_1593
    FF13's combat system is the my favorite in the series. I know it's pretty shallow and not as deep but there was just something got mean fun about about it - at least when playing as Lightning. I do think the other characters are more boring to play as though. For the combat I think the biggest issue I had with it was the lack of ability to change leaders for most of the game. Each leader has a significant effect on how it plays and I think the only fun character to play was Lightning. The combat system was really made for her.

    Also, I have to disagree about the music. I think the battle music and boss battle music are some of the best I've seen in the series.

    I'm half-half with the story though. There are some good mini stories with the characters but I do agree that some characters are annoying. I do however ever think that Snow is more annoying than Vanille. The storyline IMO was pretty good when everyone was still not on the same page and was sort of disjointed but once everyone came together it just felt pretty boring. It sort of like how I felt about the first Avengers movie.

    I did however really really hate the linear map.
  • Jon_8626
    Putting 6 as best and 13 as worst excuses any potential mistakes in between
  • Jon_8626
    "Spoony Bard" is a great insult. Means Edward's body was too damn skinny for his giant head. I don't get why no one gets that
  • Ty Arthur
    Featured Contributor
    This got shared across some forums lately and I've been following some very interesting conversations about this. I like the diversity of viewpoints present - some people think 7 should be at the top, others hate it and feel it should be at the bottom. Some can't understand why 8 wouldn't be above 7, and others were so filled with rage that I didn't like 13 they couldn't see straight :) As Gordon mentioned I think a lot of it has to do with what you were exposed to first and what you have fond memories of, whether the gameplay and story have actually been topped before or improved on since then.
  • Yaru_1593
    As much as I love 13, I can sort of understand why some people would hate it though. Even for me it wasn't a flawless game even if I did enjoyed the hell out of it,
  • Gordon Siu
    Featured Contributor
    After trying to experience the older games in the series, it would probably be contrarian for me to say 10 was actually my favourite, though i think it's probably because 10 was the first one I've ever played as a kid.
  • JosephSeraph
    Wow, I'm surprised Final Fantasy 8 ranked so low. It should have been at least above 7.
  • Yaru_1593
    Personally I prefer 8 a lot more than 7. I'm not sure why though but I like the characters and the battle system more in addition to the romance and story.

    Not to say that 7 was bad, it was good but I never really felt as much connection to it like I did 8. I've played 8 around three times while I only did it once for 7.
  • Kuro_6807
    XIII below Mystic Quest. Good one.

    Not gonna rank best/worst FF games since I treat all of them as separate entities, but I can say which one my favorite is. FFXIII.
  • Mathenaut
    I rather enjoyed 12 alot. I kinda feel that 9 is often overrated, to boot.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    FF9 is still my favorite all around. The story is just so good.
  • Ty Arthur
    Featured Contributor
    For me VI has still never been topped on the story front (both in the main storylines and all the character's side storeis), but part 9 was definitely a great entry and a welcome return to form. I'll never forget Vivi or Steiner, that's for sure.

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