Countdown to Final Fantasy XV

Monday, September 12th, 2016

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Final Fantasy XV Countdown Feature Image

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

Dirge of Cerberus Final Fantasy VII Countdown Image

And here we have the first Final Fantasy VII based entry on this list, the first but not the last. It will surprise basically no one that this is the lowest ranked entry. However, I am almost certain to shock people with where I rank the primary game of this sub-franchise. But I will get to that one at a later date. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII marked a first for the series in a couple ways. It was the first of several entries in the continuing Final Fantasy VII saga (or the company’s saga to please the rabid fan base for this game). But, more than that, it was also the first time there was a direct sequel or prequel to any Final Fantasy game. There have been many titles since this time that have done so, but it’s easy to forget that before this Square was known as a company that always reinvented themselves with every release.

In some ways this was still a re-invention, especially with the gameplay style. While not their first shooter, as any rabid NES fan knows, it was their first 3rd person action shooter. So even though the story takes place a short time after the events of Final Fantasy VII, there was a lot different about this one. You will meet several of the other cast members, but the only one you will be playing as is Vincent. There was initially a lot of puzzlement in the gaming community over their decision to continue Vincent’s story. But I was never all that surprised over it, Vincent’s major shtick was always the dark and brooding gothy vampire-like character. But he did not have a really strong or apparent story in the original game. That left him a lot of room for some further character development.

Dirge of Cerberus Final Fantasy VII Screenshot 1

The choice of character didn’t puzzle me, but the style of the game did. When I initially played this one, it was almost like it was trying to be two games at the same time. The mix of a Resident Evil 4 style, a light gun game style, and some Final Fantasy VII role playing trappings did not mix very well. Later on I read that the RPG mechanics were added afterwards so as not to alienate the fans of the original game too much. That was not particularly surprising since they did feel a bit tacked on.

But, strangely enough, it was those tacked on RPG mechanics that I ended up enjoying the most. Without that carrot on the stick aspect of gaining new gear and gaining levels it would have felt a lot more empty than it was. I did enjoy the story more than I do most shooters of that time period, but then again I’m pretty easy to please on the story front in most cases. I just need to find a character that I can really enjoy, and for the Final Fantasy VII group of games Vincent is one that I mostly like. My favorite character of the crew will probably always be Yuffie, though.

Dirge of Cerberus Final Fantasy VII Screenshot 2

Now that they have been making classic PlayStation 2 games available to play on the PlayStation 4, this is one I would like to see on that list. But it’s more just to go back and have some fun and remind myself of the story beats again. It’s not by any means one that I would tell people they absolutely have to go back to play. And certainly not worth getting a classic PS2 and trying to locate an original version of the game. I mean, there are some seriously rabid Final Fantasy VII fans out there, but that would be going to the extreme.

What I appreciate the most about this game is that Squaresoft finally gave us fans another opportunity to enjoy the characters from a game that we already loved. I really do still appreciate their ability to tell a whole new story in a whole new world to this day. But I would like to have it both ways as much as possible. Give me some of the old, and also blow my mind with some of the new. With this entry they started to also give us some of the old, and later attempts to do so will rank much higher on this continuing list.

About William Haderlie

Born in the 1970's, I've been an avid participant for much of video game history. A lifetime of being the sort of supergeek entrenched in the sciences and mathematics has not curbed my appreciation for the artistry of video games, cinema, and especially literature.