By William Haderlie / October 6th, 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 its 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 meantime, 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 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
33. Final Fantasy Record Keeper
32. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
31. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
30. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII
29. Dissidia Final Fantasy
28. Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
27. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
26. Final Fantasy XIV
25. Final Fantasy Adventure
24. The Final Fantasy Legend
23. Final Fantasy Legend II
22. Final Fantasy Legend III
21. Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift
This is the first Tactics game on this list, but it certainly won’t be the last. This side series to the main Final Fantasy series is actually one of my favorite game series of all time. So naturally, because it shares the Final Fantasy name, it will feature prominently on this list. Because of the way that I’m doing this list, the one I like the least will appear first. But I do have to admit that my opinion about this being the lowest of the Tactics games is not shared by everyone. And, for me, the main reason that I liked it least is more the weight of expectations rather than the quality of the game itself. It is a very well made game on its own, and definitely worth the play.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift is the sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. They shortened the name to A2, but a lot of the reason for that was because the game was also no longer on the GameBoy Advance, it was on the Nintendo DS. Other than the tactical battle style and being largely set in Ivalice, this game stands apart from its predecessor. Other than a surprise cameo, there is no major story connection between the two games. The main character, Luso, is from a more modern world and a book transports him to the world of Ivalice.
For me, that world and it’s different races and characters are the highlight here. The whole world of Ivalice holds a very special place in my heart and a prominent place in the history of gaming. There are 7 different races in this game, even a new one that was not in the previous games set in this world. Not only do the different races have different speaking styles and behaviors, enough to strain relations between them, but they also can master different classes. Humans can master more classes than the other races, but there are specific classes that you will only have access to by having characters of that race.
But that is one way this particular Final Fantasy Tactics falls behind the previous two entries for me, you can’t quite master everything with any one character and become a true god on the battlefield. Creating god characters is one of my favorite parts of the Final Fantasy series. In this game, they changed up the class system drastically to make it more like Final Fantasy IX, where you gain abilities from equipment. However, you can only equip certain items based upon your class. Add this to some nerfing of bringing other class abilities over to your current class, and I never felt as much compulsion to grind my abilities to become super powerful.
But a couple more changes placed roadblocks in front of me grinding out those abilities as well. The first is that your quests and sidequests were given time limits, which were quite annoying. But the major issue for me was that the Judge system was so random that it really started to annoy me, it started to feel like a chore to play the game instead of a pleasure. The Judges add random limitations to every battle that you engage in, such as not being able to use any Fire magic or not use any Spears. Even with tactics games, I love to zone out and just grind away. That has made the original Final Fantasy Tactics and the Disgaea series of games my main go to games in the tactics style. It was also annoying to not be able to shift the camera around, as my characters were often almost invisible on parts of the maps.
The main reason that this one ranks as my lowest of this series is that the main character Luso was largely uninteresting to me, and the overall story was on the short side and not nearly as epic as the other two games previous to it. Also, the ending has certainly stayed with me as leaving a bad taste in my mouth. It felt like they were just having him go home so they could be responsible parents and not convince kids to run off to their own world. There was absolutely no reason, to my way of thinking, for him to abandon his friends and his potential love interest and return to his own world.
Final Fantasy TacticsFinal Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimiore of the RiftNintendo DSSquare EnixStrategy RPG