By William Haderlie / October 11th, 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
20. Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
19. Final Fantasy Type-0
As I have said in my outlined rules, I will be deciding from what I consider the best version of the game when there are multiple editions. For this particular title, Final Fantasy Type-0, that was a rather easy decision. Even though this game came out in Japan clear back in 2011, I was never able to play that particular version. I do love my PSP, but for an RPG I really want to be able to read the story (even if I always prefer the Japanese voice acting). So, I ended up waiting for the HD version, which was released in 2015.
Honestly, for the first few years after release, it did not look very likely at all that we would see this title in the West. It was originally developed as a part of the Final Fantasy XIII world story, but it has now extended (in some ways) into the Final Fantasy XV world. So there was generally a lot of excitement when this one was announced. And for a PlayStation 4, fairly early in its cycle, it was able to fit into an RPG niche that had not been utilized much on the system, as of yet.
This is not the turn-based RPG that many Final Fantasy fans have come to expect, though. In some ways, it was almost an action-RPG, and while you do bring a couple party members with you, almost all your actions focus on the character you are currently controlling. That being said, it’s not a true action-RPG at its core. Position and movement does make some difference, but not as much as you would see in a Zelda game, for example. Still, dodging was important, especially for some of the more difficult (optional) fights.
At the end of the day, the game within the series this most resembles is another PSP title, Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. That would stand to reason, not only was the console the same, but much of the development team was the same as well. It is fairly obvious at this point that I have played that game significantly, but you have not seen it on this list yet. However, I will reveal that you will be seeing that one on this list very shortly. So I won’t write about how I feel about that particular game quite yet.
So why is this game not any higher on the list? Well, I won’t rehash the whole thing about this being a list of Final Fantasy games and not any old RPG. So I do genuinely like this game, and I am glad that it finally saw the light of day here in the West. But it’s not any higher on the list because I just don’t like the combat system very much. It occupies this strange place of trying to make combat more action filled (something that I have never needed from my RPGs; Dragon Quest and Etrian Odyssey are two of my favorite RPG series), but also still maintain some of the RPG mechanics that the series has been known for. And for me, that balance has never quite worked out all that well. In my action games, I want more precise control and hit boxes and challenge. In my RPGs, I want more strategy and stat growth and build choices.
Perhaps the more interesting question is why this one does not rank above Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core since they are so very similar. Well, I almost put it above that game, but if I did it would be merely for the HD upgrades. Overall I just enjoyed this one a little less because I was not fond of the story. The story was a bit grimdark, which is not really something that I look for in Final Fantasy, and that was part of the problem. It’s not objectively bad, I just like these stories a bit less. I’ve certainly seen war first hand, but I did not enjoy it to the degree that I would necessarily look for it in my fantasy games. I respect them for trying to go all “adult”, but it felt more like teen angst than a genuinely mature story. But the world was really cool, and if they had a wonderful epic romance set in this world, this would have ranked higher. Even then, however, I still wouldn’t have been the largest fan of this type of combat.
Final Fantasy Type-0Final Fantasy Type-0 HDFinal Fantasy XVFinal Fantasy XV CountdownPS4PSPSquare Enix