In continuation of Final Fantasy week here at The Koalition, we decided to make another “Top 6” list! This time, we shift the focus away from the best heroes and guest characters and instead choose to focus on the overall 6 best games in the entire main-line franchise. Yeah, there are lots to choose from – over a dozen, in fact, if you include the two MMOs – so not even half of the games will make the cut. If you’re bold, brave warrior, go ahead and scroll down to see our picks for the top 6 Best main final fantasy games!
6) Final Fantasy I (NES, 1987)
The game that started it all. Without the original Final Fantasy, not only would Square probably not exist today (instead, having Enix Soft take its place???) roleplaying games may very well be entirely different as well. The original Final Fantasy game, in many ways, defined the JRPG genre and its influences can be still seen showing up in modern games. Of course, it borrowed a lot from its chief competitor (now brother) Dragon Quest (Dragon Warrior), but it also iterated on that formula in huge ways. Playing the NES original today is quite a chore, for obvious reasons, but if you’re interested there is an excellent PSP port of the game with updated everything I recommend checking out. If you don’t ahve a PSP lying around anymore, you can also pick the up on the PSN as part of the “Final Fantasy Origins” collection for PS3 or Vita as a PS1 classic. It’s a timeless, albeit generic, story of adventurers saving the world, but it’s a great look into what started it all.
5) Final Fantasy IX (PlayStation, 2000)
Similar to Final Fantasy V, this is an often overlooked entry in the franchise. Unlike Final Fantasy V, a lot of people would rank this one as their #1 overall entry in the franchise. Part of that is probably due to the fact that it released at the very end of the PS1 life cycle, after the PS2 had already released, in fact, and the next game in the series released just a year later. While it may be typically overshadowed by the games that preceded and followed, Final Fantasy IX is still a strong entry in a series that’s full of quality games. In many ways, IX is a throwback of sorts after the changes to combat seen in Final Fantasy VIII. With a remarkably memorable cast, some of the best side and main characters ever seen and a truly thought provoking story, this should be high on more lists of the best Final Fantasy games. In fact, for all the old-school tropes it successfully employs, it breaks just as many new boundaries as well. Once again, the game can be downloaded on the PSN for Vita or PS3 as a PS1 classic.
4) Final Fantasy VI (SNES, 1994)
Unlike most games in this series, one of the greatest strengths of Final Fantasy VI is that it’s actually difficult to point your finger to who the definitive “main protagonist” of the story actually is. Sure, Terra is probably the most important and relevant to the plot, but everyone gets the spotlight so evenly, it truly feels like the most balanced game in the series narratively. The stellar main cast, combined with one of the most memorable villains in series history, and you get a recipe for what easily ranks as not just one of the best Final Fantasy games, but as one of the best games of the entire 16-bit era. As previously stated with other games on this list, this one can also be downloaded for your PS3 or Vita as a PS1 classic on the PSN store right now.
3) Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation, 1997)
Of course this game made the list, almost out of necessity alone. What still, to this day, stands as one of the greatest RPG stories ever told, has to be in the top 3 of best Final Fantasy games. Cloud is an eternally badass character, Sephiroth is one of the coldest and most ruthless villains of all-time and one scene in particular will surely make even the most cold individuals in the world shed a tear. Final Fantasy VII is probably the most talked about game in the series, for lots of good reasons, with several follow-up spin-off games and even an entire anime movie based on the characters. While it doesn’t make the top of our list, Final Fantasy VII receives lots of respect for its long-standing popularity and quality over the years. Once again, you can download this game for your PS3 or Vita right now on PSN, but you can also get it on Steam as well if you like playing JRPGs on your PC…for some reason.
2) Final Fantasy X (PlayStation 2, 2001)
For a long time, this not only ranked at the top of my list of favorite Final Fantasy games of all-time, but my favorite turn-based RPG of all-time. All of the characters are so fantastic, the visuals are still incredible to this day, and I will never forget how engaging and unique the story remains after several years. The ending is still, hands-down, the best I’ve ever seen in a game. Tidus is an exceptionally crafted protagonist and we are finally about to be graced with a wonderful HD update for PS3 and Vita very soon. While it’s unlikely this game will turn you into a Final Fantasy fanatic if you hate the series now, but it’s a great excuse to dive back into one of the greatest stories ever told.
1) Final Fantasy IV (SNES, 1991)
Words cannot describe my love for this game, but I guess I have to give it a shot. As stated, this hasn’t always been my favorite of the Final Fantasy games. I always liked it of course, but since I originally played it when I was very young it was a bit foggy in my memory. Having revisited the game in recent years, I can now definitively say that this is, in my opinion, the best that the Final Fantasy series has to offer. The main protagonist is not only awesome, but conflicted and relatable on so many levels. Several party members are amazing enough to deserve their own games. The plot points throughout the game are so expertly crafted, it’s hard to believe that gaming reached such peaks on such old (SNES) hardware. From start to finish, this is my favorite entry in the long-running franchise and it will take quite a lot to ever top it. You can currently get this game on a whole variety of platforms, most notably the PS Vita/PSP as Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection which includes the subsequently released Interlude and After Years content.
Which Game is Your Favorite?
Hopefully you aren’t too upset that I didn’t pick the “correct” entry for the top spot on our list of the best Final Fantasy games, but I did my best. If you disagree with the selections, or want to emphasize your adoration for Final Fantasy IV along with me, then please leave a comment down below!