By William Haderlie / September 1st, 2016
The next major entry in one of the most beloved video game series of all time was due to arrive in September of this year, after a long gestation period. However, Final Fantasy XV has now been delayed until November 29, 2016. While I, like most people, find this news to be a bit disappointing, I would also rather see this major entry be in it’s most complete form when it sees the light of day. So I err on the positive side of the delay reaction, more than the negative side. I will be reviewing the game for Operation Rainfall when it does arrive later this year (I’m going to assume for now that it will not see another delay).
In the mean time, I will be posting my top list of Final Fantasy games as a countdown until the release of the next entry. I can almost guarantee that our lists will be different, and I encourage the discussion. This will also let our readers know some of the history of this franchise, and my own personal thoughts on it. This ranking is my own opinion and does not represent the views of the rest of the Operation Rainfall staff, but it is a creation that I am proud of. So I stand behind it.
Countdown List Rules
These rules are rather arbitrary, but I had to decide on a list of them just to make it more concise and clear. The first rule is that I will only put one version, the best version I’ve played, of each game. And the second rule, and possibly most contentious, is that I am listing any game that contains Final Fantasy in the American title of the game. That does mean a couple games featuring Final Fantasy characters, but not having that title, will not make the list. Examples of games featuring characters would be Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon or Ehrgeiz: God Bless The Ring. And that also means that there are other titles which were not originally Final Fantasy games in here as well, such as Final Fantasy Legend. Other than that, this list is just to have some fun and have a conversation while we wait for the next release in this classic JRPG franchise. There are 34 entries on my personal list, even discounting the different versions, so plan on a long series of articles, and I hope that you enjoy them.
Top Final Fantasy Game Countdown
34. Final Fantasy XI
Right off the bat, and I would bet this selection will be a bit contentious for some of our audience. But I want people to remember two things about this list. The first is that these are my own experiences with the games and are not reflective of any obligation to objectivity in a review. And the second is that even the bottom game on a Final Fantasy list for me will rank quite high compared to other games out there. I have enjoyed other MMORPG games out there more than Final Fantasy XI, but I’ve also played a lot worse.
My own experience with this beloved game is rather small. I have only played this game for 3 months. And while that may seem like a lot to anyone who doesn’t play MMO games, that is a pretty small sampling size for a game this huge. This is one reason why MMORPGs are notoriously difficult for gaming sites to review. Combine their sheer size with the way they change over the lifetime of the game, and it’s a rather amorphous entity. Back when this game first came out, I was knee deep in another MMO, Star Wars Galaxies. So I was slow to convert over to this one. After I finally became a Jedi in that game (which was originally a monumental task), there was little desire to drop that sort of time investment for another game. However, my experience eventually soured on that game when the developers made Force powers easily obtainable by anyone. Being a long time fan of Final Fantasy, this was the game that I went to on the rebound.
My initial reaction to the game was very bipolar. The classic Final Fantasy hooks were there, and they certainly did their work in grabbing me. However, they were rather few and far between in my experience. The music was wonderful, and the world was an upgrade to what I was playing before. But, to be honest, this game felt much more like Everquest with a Final Fantasy skin. And for some people, that is what they wanted. For me, that wasn’t what I was there for. I only played it for a month before dropping it and playing World of Warcraft. Once I went to that side of the MMO landscape, it was a long time before I left.
Eventually I needed a break from Warcraft, and a few expansions had been released for Final Fantasy XI at that point. So I decided to go back to it and play it for more than a month. I was determined to love this game, as I had loved every Final Fantasy before it, to at least some degree. I tried more than one class, I explored the crafting system, after my experience with WoW I also decided to try to get into the player economy (which was horribly broken due to gold selling sites), and I tried to start from a much more interesting starting zone (the forest instead of the desert). I had varying levels of success with trying to enjoy the game more. So I ended up playing the game for two months this time, instead of just one.
But after two months, I just couldn’t do it any more. And one major thing held me back more than any other. A theme that you will see throughout this countdown list. I just plainly do not enjoy playing with other people very much. Socializing I can take or leave, I enjoy it sometimes but do not have a deep seated need to engage in it like most NT(neuro-typical) people do. But most of all I’m a bit of an elitist with my own performance. I hold myself up to a very high standard of play, and it frustrates the hell out of me to have my own performance negatively impacted by other individuals. To be clear, I’m never a dick about it. I would never lambaste someone for poor performance. I would just cease wanting to play with them. And, as anyone who has played this game extensively can tell you, there is very little you can do in this game solo. At least, when I used to play it. Supposedly the game has gotten better about that over the years.
And my last major complaint is that the main reason I love the Final Fantasy games so much is for their stories. And I just did not get much of a story that I enjoyed here. So it fits in at the bottom of my list. Not because it’s a bad game, but just because it’s something that I do not personally enjoy. Feel free to contribute your own thoughts on this game in the comments. You won’t convince me to love this game, but you may convince others to give it a shot and let us know why you love it or not.
Final FantasyFinal Fantasy XIFinal Fantasy XVFinal Fantasy XV CountdownSquare Enix