By William Haderlie / October 14th, 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
18. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
If you read my previous Countdown article, you would not be very surprised to see this as the next game on the list. Both Final Fantasy Type-0 and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII have a lot in common. They were both originally developed for the Sony PSP, but more importantly, their combat system and game structure were both very similar. This game was always more likely to come to the West, though, because of the massive popularity of the Final Fantasy VII brand.
The protagonist of this game is Zack. It is actually possible to play through the entirety of Final Fantasy VII and not really know anything about Zack. Almost all mentions of his name and story scenes involving him are entirely optional. Other than the revelation that Zack is the person which Cloud has been confusing his past with, you may not know that Zack was Aerith’s first boyfriend, or that Zack saved Cloud from the laboratory he was being held in.
Because of his service in Soldier, as well as his romantic relationship with Aerith, you will meet almost all of the characters who were originally involved in the story of Final Fantasy VII. This is a really smart tactic for this game to make use of. This allows the developers to insert the story between the margins of what we already knew, and they already have all the characters (and some of the art assets) already developed. Of course, the disadvantage of this design decision is that we already know how this will end, especially if you loved Final Fantasy VII enough to see all the optional content.
Because I knew how it would end, and because I normally dislike depressing endings, I was a bit apprehensive about the story going into this game. Any further discussions of the world story, I will save for the Final Fantasy VII article. But, I did end up enjoying this story a bit more than the Final Fantasy Type-0 story. After much thought, however, I have decided that if this game came out without any of the Final Fantasy VII story and character building attached to it, the order of those two games on the list would have been switched. If this story was taken as a solo entity, I would have liked it less. But it benefited from a large amount of character and world familiarity outside of the game itself.
As such, I will be quite surprised if we don’t see an HD version sometime in the next few years. Especially with the HD Remake of Final Fantasy VII coming down the pipe, that will restore even more interest in this world. Personally, I would probably buy an HD remake, but likely only on a sale. While I’m not the biggest fan of this story, the main reason I would not be all that interested is that I didn’t like the combat very much. I won’t rehash my complaints from the previous article, but I will say that it really concerns me that the next game, Final Fantasy XV, seems to be taking so many cues from these previous games. They will have to do a lot to convince me that this fighting style is worth my time.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VIIFinal Fantasy XVFinal Fantasy XV CountdownJRPGPlaystation PortableSquare Enix