I’ve “only” played IV, VIII, IX, X, XII, XIII, XIII-3, and XV but VIII is definitely my favourite. There used to be a time when I played it every year start to finish. It maybe just hit me at the right stage of my life–I grew up quiet and was also starting to get angsty. Good times.
IX by far. Gameplay has never mattered much to me in FF unless it actively gets in the way of my enjoyment, it’s all about the world and story. VII, X, and X-2 rank up there as well. Really looking forward to the XII remaster so I can finally give that one a shot.
VI, X, and XII.
VI is the best of the traditional series by a longshot, XII has a beautiful and engaging world and combat system, and X has gorgeous ambiance and music.
I can never remember the story in XII but I remember the dungeons/ruins feeling unimaginably ancient and dear god the Ultima dungeon was beautiful and tedious. And the gambit system! I wept that it was not in XIII and XIV.
This really should have been a poll. The poll system allows for 20 options, and there are more than 20 Final Fantasys, but less than 20 that matter.
Anyway, the answer is XII. Coming off of playing I, II, and VII in the year and a half before XII came out I was so incredibly happy to be able to set up a series of if-then-else logic to automate the menu hero combat that I was growing tired of. The License Board system is basically a deep and varied skill tree. It looks great, has great music, you aren’t forced to use any one character, so it really feels like it’s the party’s story.
XII. Partly because it’s the only one I managed to finish…
6 and 9 for me. I really enjoyed 15 and think it takes 3rd for me, narrowly edging 4.
FFVIII for sure. I remember watching a pixilated MPEG of the opening movie the size of a Triscuit, smuggled out from TGS or God knows where, and actually tearing up because it looked so beautiful. It’s not the best FF by any means (but it does have the best mini-game in Triple Triad), but I don’t know, it was just the right thing in the right time for me.
VI. But XII is very close.
Both has that same sense of wonder and exploration.
Bravely Default, I guess?
I think it’s the closest game to Final Fantasy that I’ve actually completed.
I almost finished Xiii, and own several others (XV, XIII-2, X, X-2, & VII)…
They’ll probably continue to sit in my pile of shame forever.
I’ll allow it!! I love Bravely Default but having only like 2 people on my friends list really made the ending anticlimactic lol. Someday I’ll get back to Bravely Second, though…
So it’s easier to list the FFs that I haven’t finished: III, V, IX, X-2. I’ve also not played any of the MMOs or Lighting Returns. I’m a weirdo in that my favorite is probably VIII. I’m a scifi fan and the psuedo-modern setting and more grounded college-age characters made it my favorite by far. Yeah the game ends in time travel nonsense, and yeah, you can totally break the combat system with junctioning. It also had the best card game and best airship. My best friend in high school at the time had hair just like Squall’s, too. It was pretty funny.
I need to get back to Bravely Second, too…
Vi is definitely my favorite by far. Wonderful characters and music, a lot of moments that still stand out all these years later.
I also really like VIII and X for aesthetics.
Favourite (1) to least favourite of those I’ve played a decent amount.
- Final Fantasy X - my absolute favourite game of all time, I adore it. I feel such a kinship with Tidus. I won’t go into depth right now, but I will say that this is the most important piece of media from my entire life. It helped me significantly through my childhood, and helped me cope with many illnesses that ripped years and friendships away from my life. FFX’s sincerity speaks to me still. I love the music (Besaid Island is my favourite song of all time), the battle system, the sphere grid, the item system, the setting, the characters, and the general charm of the story.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Love the story of this (and the time/alternate ending framework). The battle system is like a refined version of XIII (which I already liked).
- Final Fantasy XIII - I like the structure a lot (it’s very similar to X’s linearity) and enjoy it throughout. The world-building and set pieces are some of the best in the franchise. The battle system is fantastic too.
- Final Fantasy XII - The most unique of the main ones I’ve completed. Once accepting Vaan’s story isn’t so important, it really gets into high gear. Balthier, Ashe, and Basch steal the show. The Gambit system really preys on my OCD (and I mostly enjoy that)
- Final Fantasy X-2 - While not thrilled with all the fan service and mini-games (or the villains), I do like this game a lot (especially for the story of Yuna and the expression of Spira free from the shackles of sin). Also, the best ATB battle system in the franchise.
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII - Still need to enter the final day and see the epilogue/New Game +, but the Majora’s Mask-like lonely surreal tale is very compelling.
- Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII - I dislike a lot about this game, but Zack’s endearing self-doubting heroism hit me hard when I played it.
- Final Fantasy XV - I’m only on Chapter 3 as I’m a slow player, but I’ll definitely return to it to flesh out my thoughts.
- Final Fantasy VIII - FFVIII has got to be the most ambitious game in the franchise. It may make some massive mistakes, but you have to respect how it just keeps pushing despite it. Really underrated in my opinion (and I only saw the game completed on a charity stream yesterday - since I didn’t get very far in myself on PS1)
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call - it’s a pretty fun rhythm game of FF music - job done.
- Final Fantasy VII - I stopped on Disk 3 when I saw the 4th disk had smashed. My memory of this game is faint (these characters are very forgettable).
- Final Fantasy VI - I’ve only played for a couple hours. Going back to a 2D Final Fantasy game without growing up on them is very difficult.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy - it’s an enjoyable fighting game.
- Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII - Has it’s moments, but mostly bullshit.
- Final Fantasy Tactics - bounced off when I realised it didn’t fill my strategy-game interests which align more with Fire Emblem.
- Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light - this is one of the most forgettable games I’ve ever played.
- Final Fantasy III - played the DS version for a dozen or so hours. Might just be that version, but it was truly terrible. The characters are outright annoying. The combat is slow and boring. The story wasn’t compelling in any way what-so-ever.
Bold = Completed; Italics = Unsure of placement/need to play more.
<3 Final Fantasy is such an important franchise for me. Putting this list together had it’s difficult moments. Places 4 through 9 could easily be rearranged if I argued with myself enough. FFX will always be my favourite game of all time though.
My favorite is definitely IX for sure, with a soft spot in my heart for IV, as it was the first one I both played and finished. I think the only Final Fantasy that I’ve played and actively disliked though is XIII. Every other one that I’ve booted up has at least a couple of things that I enjoy/appreciate about it.
Such an extensive list! Thank you for sharing!
Tactics, the best one.
VIII. It’s world is such a fresh and abstract take on sci-fi, and it just feels good.
IV is my favourite. I get that objectively there are probably better titles, but man the music and story hit me hard.