By William Haderlie / October 25th, 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
17. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
16. Final Fantasy II
15. Final Fantasy III
The next core Final Fantasy game on my list is Final Fantasy III. To be clear, I’m referring to the Famicom game that was remade for the Nintendo DS and subsequent systems, not the masterpiece on SNES that was renamed for American audiences from it’s Final Fantasy VI official name. Like the previous game, Final Fantasy II, not only was this originally on the 8bit console, but it also took a very long time to get officially translated outside of Japan. This one took even longer to reach the United States, however, after being originally released in 1990 I was not able to play it until the Nintendo DS version in 2006.
I have gone back and played a fan translation of the original game, so I do have some reference to compare them, but this was a good game to finally see an official release. I can’t help but miss the old pixel art style of the original version, but the remake is a lot better than not playing it at all. This game was also subsequently released on several other systems, including the mobile phone. For my money, the best version to play is the one on Steam, but the UI frankly looks pretty horrible and was based on the mobile version of the game. Still, when I want to play this game again, of the three copies I own it will be the Steam version I choose.
Why would you even want to go back and play such an old game? Well Final Fantasy III made a huge impact on the series going forward. This was the game that introduced the job system to the series. The first game allowed you to choose a starting job, but the only change was when you got far enough in the game to turn that starting job into a super version (such as the Thief into the Ninja). This game finally allowed you to change your job within the game itself. This game wasn’t the first RPG (or even JRPG due to Dragon Quest III) to allow job changing, but this system featured prominently in many future Final Fantasy games.
This is a very early version of the job system, though, and even in the remade game it’s fairly rudimentary compared to later games like Final Fantasy V. The story is okay in this one, but I consider it to be one of the weakest in the whole series when compared against its peers. I actually liked the story in Final Fantasy II more than the one in this game. The characters in this game are also not as interesting as it’s Famicom predecessor, although neither game had very memorable party members.
So why would I rank this title ahead of the previous one? It’s almost entirely due to the way I play JRPGs. I frankly love to grind, especially when there are continuous rewards to be gained. Yes, there is not much in the way of carrying over between the classes, but that urge to master every class is very strong for me. As a result, any of the Final Fantasy games that has a class system is going to maintain my interest for a very long time. Sadly, because this was such an early example of this system, the classes are not even remotely balanced and there are some classes that are either ridiculously underpowered or very overpowered. But, it’s definitely a good game, and ranking in the top 15 of this heavy hitter list is nothing to sneeze at.
Final Fantasy IIIFinal Fantasy XVFinal Fantasy XV CountdownNintendo DSPCPS4Square EnixSteam