Looking for a new series to jump into? Final Fantasy might not be a new thing, as the first titles in the franchise came out a few decades ago, but it’s one of those classic franchises that anyone can play and enjoy. Each title is incredibly different from the other, and all of them are generally considered good. Of course, some are better than others, though that’s pretty subjective with a series like this. In this list, you can find all the Final Fantasy games in order, ranked.
Are Final Fantasy games connected?
Everybody has their own favorite Final Fantasy, because most of the games are not connected and don’t take place in the same universe. The closest thing to a sequel in this series might be Advent Children, the movie sequel to Final Fantasy 7, as well as the prequel Crisis Core and its upcoming spinoff Ever Crisis. Each one has a different universe, different characters, different story, and different gameplay.
With which Final Fantasy game should I start?
The one you play is pretty subjective. If you like MMOs, you might want to check out Final Fantasy 14, which has all the elements of the series but in the form of a multiplayer game. For your high-quality turned-based game, Final Fantasy 6 is a great option. Story and romance tend to be more present in the later games, if you’re into those elements.
Final Fantasy (the best classic)
The original Final Fantasy isn’t too complex, but everyone should play it at least once, because it’s truly the one that started it all. It’s very simple—but does it need to be anything else? Games like these, with their Chibi-style characters and lower-bit graphics, just bring that feeling of nostalgia like nothing else can. Also, if you hate long games, this one is perfect, because it’s sort of short and sweet.
Final Fantasy 2 (the best sequel)
Final Fantasy 2 is where they took the elements of the first and expanded them into something of a plotline. This sequel tells the story of a civil war with the Palamecian Empire and the 4 people affected by it, which are the main characters whose journey and struggles you follow. If you enjoyed the first one, you will love the sequel and its expanded features. Also, this is the one where chocobos were introduced!
Final Fantasy 3 (the best trendsetter)
In Final Fantasy 3, you have the same aspects as the first two, with 4 main characters who have been chosen to save the world from darkness. New features in this one include the possibility to choose and change warrior classes. Tired of combat and want to try magic? Just change your class to a Mage! This system is what inspired so many other games, and without Final Fantasy they probably wouldn’t exist.
Final Fantasy 4 (the best first male character)
Did you ever wonder where the inspiration for characters like Cloud and Tidus came from? Final Fantasy 4 introduces the iconic character Cecil, a knight who goes on a path of redemption. In the story, he’s a knight for the king who dons black armor and carries out his bidding. However, he begins to question the ethics of his boss, leading him on a journey of soul-searching. It’s a must-play. You can check out either the original version or the 3D remake—both are good, kindly ignore the purists.
Final Fantasy 5 (the best mechanics improvement)
Loved the job system of the previous games? If so, you will definitely want to play the fifth installment in the series, which improved and expanded the mechanics. Final Fantasy 5 takes inspiration from both the early games and the more central plot that FF4 had. The seamless job system keeps you busy and makes the flower of the game extremely smooth and enjoyable.
Final Fantasy 6 (best turn based format)
Final Fantasy 6 takes a bit more of a focus on magic this time around. In the plot, a war caused magic to be gone from the world for 1000 years, a period in which people became modern and used machines. That all changes when a person with special powers comes to the world one day.
The steampunk theme here feels like a fresh, unique twist from the usual medieval settings, paired with a fantastic group of characters. It can be hard to execute that when there are multiple characters, but FF6 does it perfectly. It also has one of the best turn-based systems in the series, standing up to even the later games. This one is also where the franchise started to experiment with more mature themes.
Final Fantasy 7 (the best iconic installment)
Whether you like it or not, one can’t deny that Final Fantasy 7 is probably the most popular and well-known of the series. You’re either a Tifa or Aerith lover, there’s no in-between. Cloud is a great protagonist, and of course Sephiroth is the iconic villain we all love to hate. We’re far away from the medieval setting here, with motorcycles and guns used in what seems like a post-apocalyptic world. Stick to the remake for this one, as the old version is a little bit dated and might be hard to maneuver.
Final Fantasy 8 (the best character development)
Honestly, Final Fantasy 8 doesn’t deserve the hate that it constantly receives. It only gets that because FF7 was incredibly iconic and hyped up. Is the plot a little weak at times? Does the Triple Triad take forever? Absolutely. It’s not a perfect game by any means, but it’s worth playing if you’re a true fan of the franchise. Plus, it’s got one of the best character development journeys in the tale of the grouchy Squall maturing from his edgelord ways. It’s a great story you should see for yourself. And a dance scene here is among the best in the entire franchise.
Final Fantasy 9 (the most underrated)
Final Fantasy 9 take a break from the modern style this time around. It’s the classic story of saving the princess, going on an adventure, and stopping an evil wizard from releasing a darkness on the world. The plot twists here are incredible, most of which you will definitely not see coming. FF9 is probably the most underrated of the games, so let’s finally give it the attention it deserves.
Final Fantasy 10 (best cheesy shonen)
Final Fantasy 10 is where the series started to experiment with isekai. In this one, the main character, a celebrity athlete named Tidus, gets sent to a mysterious world where he forms a connection with a summoner girl named Yuna. The world is threatened by a mysterious villain called Sin. FF10 is probably the closest thing in the series to a shonen anime—it’s very cheesy, its plot revolves around people with mega powers, and the protagonist is a loveable himbo. Despite those, it’s still a classic.
Final Fantasy 11 (the pay to play)
Final Fantasy 11 is completely different from the past games because it’s an MMO. You choose and customize the character you want, and you live the adventure you want. It’s a pretty old one, so there are a lot of expansions you can try out. However, note that it does have a significant number of paywalls, so it might not be for you if you’re not prepared for that. Honest opinion? Skip it. It’s not worth your hard-earned money.
Final Fantasy 12 (the best strong protagonist)
Final Fantasy 12 goes back to its traditions with the story of a torn kingdom. Here we met Princess Ashe, known as the absolute girl boss, who fights to take back her home from the Archadian Empire. Life puts her through the ringer, but nothing can stop her from pursuing her goals. It is her incredible journey that makes this game so iconic—the protagonist might be Vaan, but this is definitely Ashe’s story.
Final Fantasy 13 (the worst gameplay)
While the story in Final Fantasy 13 is beautiful, you just don’t get to enjoy the game itself because of the gameplay. The battle system in it is very strange—think of it all as kind of like walking in a tight hallway in a shooter game, but the system is turn-based. It’s not user-friendly, and if you’re new to the series, you should definitely avoid this one. There’s just so many other better ones you can play.
Final Fantasy 14 (the best MMORPG)
If you think you’re not into MMORPGs, you should check out Final Fantasy 14. It’s not as much a traditional MMO as it is a Skyrim and Final Fantasy fusion, though: there’s a ton of quests for you to do, and it can be enjoyed either in single player or with friends depending on your preference. There are a lot of options for character customization and plenty of cool mounts to get, like a Chibi style sheep.
Final Fantasy 15 (the best open-world experiment)
Final Fantasy 15 is very different from its past predecessors, so if you’re one of those people who have a meltdown when the series tries something new, this game may not be for you. It’s an open-world game that is basically Square Enix’s answer to Breath of the Wild, from the era when all developers were wanting to jump on that bandwagon. It’s not a bad game at all; there are good characters, side quests, and lots to explore—it’s just not really a traditional Final Fantasy. Don’t let that deter you, though, and give it a shot!
Final Fantasy 16 (the best take on a classic)
Final Fantasy 16 is the newest game in the franchise, and it goes back to the tradition of medieval-esque themes. We’re not going to describe it too much, since it’s still new, to avoid spoilers, but if you like long RPGs with political Game of Thrones-like stories, you will definitely enjoy this one. It is very, very story-heavy, so it’s best to go in without knowing too much about the plot. But you should mostly play it for the cuteness that is Torgal, the wolf companion.
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