By William Haderlie / September 30th, 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
The #24 game, The Final Fantasy Legend, was important for me due to nostalgic reasons. It was my first handheld RPG and it was a pretty good game in it’s own right, and I stand by my decision to rank it above the other games on the list. That being said, there is no question that it’s sequel, Final Fantasy Legend II, was a superior game. They dropped “The” from the title in the United States, but this was still a SaGa game in Japan.
There is one major way that this game felt like more of a genuine Final Fantasy game, though, and that was a much stronger story than in the first Legend game. This game was released less than two years after the first one, so I still wasn’t aware that this was a series that wasn’t even named Final Fantasy in other territories. But what I did know is that they took everything that I enjoyed in the first game and made it even better in the second. So even in that short turn around, they crafted a better game.
The story was remarkably similar to the first title, having you traveling up a tower once again. This time the tower was named something different, and the main god involved was Isis. You even were able to fight many of the same major boss characters that you had defeated in the previous game once again. But this time there was much more story and dialogue, and your main character had a lot more reason to climb the tower. This time you were not only trying to save the world, but the more prescient goal was to catch up to your father, who went to save it before you. This culminated in possibly my favorite GameBoy ending. The last boss wasn’t nearly as epic for me as Creator, but you have a genuinely heartfelt post finale scene.
The battle system was mostly the same as the first game, other than the ability to restart if you died in battle. So the main draw of the battles were that there was better character progression this time around. And there were new monster designs as well that honestly looked pretty good in black, white, and grey. There was much more variety in the spells and abilities, to go along with the increased variety in the lands that you could visit. Really this is one game that I wish they would make a full remaster of and release it on the PS Vita.
Final Fantasy Legend IIFinal Fantasy XVFinal Fantasy XV CountdownGameBoyJRPG