Rankings of Final Fantasy games

The Man

Great Old One
AKA
Aaron
#26
FFV has objectively the best gameplay in the main series. You can make a legitimate case for Tactics being better, but Tactics isn't a main series entry. There has never been a better character system in Final Fantasy than the job system, and FFV has the best implementation of it amongst the main series.

Story-wise and character-wise, it doesn't really stack up to a lot of the other entries in the series, but if you play RPGs solely for the story, you're doing it wrong. They're called role-playing games for a reason.
 

looneymoon

hedgehog pandacat
AKA
Rishi
#27
Oh jeez I completely forgot about FFX! D'oh.

It took me a long time for that game to grow on me, as it was the only FF release I actively anticipated the whole way through. Even still, I agree I would put it just under my top three (VI, VII, IX) but above the ones I consider mid-tier.

I still haven't played FFV.
 

Novus

Pro Adventurer
#29
Controversial TLDR:

VI is a good game, putting it at the top of the list is just being facetious though. There isn’t a single scene in VI that isn’t executed better or has more depth than those games that follow it from the Golden age (VII-X).
For me the list is ranked in terms of narrative although I still put VII at top just because of the sheer experience of it. Obviously all this is IMO, but you don’t need to be told that:
(Note spoilers for all FF games and Vagrant Story follow.)

VII-VIII

VII is obviously the better game, but I'm ranking them on how well they tell their story. VIII for me works better as a visual narrative than VII. VII has moments of brilliance that outshine the entire series but then there are moments of clumsiness that it down: Biggs and Jesse character models appearing in flashbacks; the insanity of Corel’s (the original town) location.
Dramatically, the show is fine, Sephiroth is a great western villain, although underneath everything his motives are a little primitive. Ultimecia in her final state was a much better villain for me, from her viscous (preferably Japanese dialogue) opening lines to the final 'and...'. VII obviously does more with its playable characters, even the side characters like Yuffie get a major plotline designed to deepen your relationship with the world (Wutai becoming a tourist site).

VIII's use of FMV with in-game action was revolutionary at the time, and I believe I said before, just equip high Junctions (use GF’s boost) and it becomes a visual interactive novel. The storyline itself is touching, and the characters being orphans and knowing each other their entire lives makes sense for when they time travel to the future. The GF storyline and amnesia could have been expanded on more but that's my only crit. VIII's space scenes obviously aren't as meditative and frightening as 2001's Hal arc that inspired them, but I'm sure the 'Rinoa was lost in space forever' scene will be reconsidered as one of the best scenes of the series.
The whole party setup is also why I rank a couple of the other games lower (VI and IX), because the silliness of it gets in the way of the profound. I can accept it in VII, and XIII because the characters are terrorists and need all the help they can get.

X- I rank this fairly high, mainly due to the relationship between Tidus and Jecht, it also has the best ending of the series. It's also the gateway to newcomers of the series, I doubt anyone would try FF7 today (except for enthusiasts) without trying this out first.

IX- Definitely has the best thematic structure of the series. So much so someone wrote a book on it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Final-Fantasy-Philosophy-Walkthrough-Blackwell/dp/0470415363. As written in the book, the most explanatory scene was the black mages going with Kuja to extend their lives whilst two stay behind to look after the Chocobo egg. Necron being the main villain makes sense when you consider what the game is trying to say. I actually liked its memory philosophy too, there are definitely real world traits that carry over from parent to child.
VI- Celes’ suicide, the opera house, Serpents trent, Cyan’s family being murdered, the rafting, Shadow’s end… This game is insane, the FLCL of the series, but in terms of art, slow and steady wins the race.

XIII- There is a criticism I’m going to point out in the linearity I don’t think has been touched upon before. There is an attempt here to make stat building or what is now known as ‘farming’ the actual narrative as opposed to an abstract metaphor for the struggles the player faces. Basically the main villain or villains are training their Fal’cie to become strong enough to destroy them. I have seen this done before in Vagrant Story where one of the antagonists is responsible for the presence of monster in order to setup a successor worthy of inheriting his powers, (perhaps others can cite other examples). I really like the Orphan boss and the overall amount of ambition put into the project. The Proud Clad (or is it Clod?) battle was better for me than VII’s rendition.
Major error in plotting: Hope’s mother dying from the same fall Snow has straight after. Obviously it isn’t impossible, but in terms of visual drama it sticks out and screams censorship.

XII- STAR WARS :P I enjoyed the Venat and Cid storyline, the fact Cid wasn’t redemptive at all in the face of death, ‘the pleasure was all mine’ makes it better than ‘Return of the Jedi’. Venat’s end was also intelligently done in terms of game plotting, ‘you will not walk this path alone’. Other than that the game is a little dead.

V- I’m putting this above four, purely because of its influence and popularity. My personal thoughts are that I liked Galuf’s world, and all the monsters at EX-death’s castle were pure cheesy fun. Ex-death transforming into a splinter and Gilgamesh are tributes to the ancient stories FF was pioneered on. Faris is an interesting character. I’m tempted to place it higher but I personally didn’t get a lot out of it.

IV- One character is possessed by another who is possessed by another who is- eh. If you ever play Legend of Dragoon you will know this convoluted sense of plotting well. I’ve been told the television series 24 works in this way too. Decent world though, I look forward to playing the remake someday. Most memorable scene? The Dolls and the mutilated parents!!!


III- Never played it. It looks really good though, someone PM me a link since I’m too stupid to find it. It looks more interesting than the two below it though.

II- I sense there is something more to this game, I completed half then watched playthroughs for the rest. I like IX’s rendition of a certain scene in this game, when told back through Ramuh. If a novelisation exists I’ll read it.

I- I guessed the twist before the end. Most memorable scene: The pixel animated brooms.
 

Octo

KULT OF KERMITU
AKA
Octo, Octorawk, Clarky Cat, Kissmammal2000
#30
VII is obviously the better game, but I'm ranking them on how well they tell their story. VIII for me works better as a visual narrative than VII. VII has moments of brilliance that outshine the entire series but then there are moments of clumsiness that it down: Biggs and Jesse character models appearing in flashbacks; the insanity of Corel’s (the original town) location.
Bit of a nitpick here, but I thought the Biggs and Jessie character models being used in flashback was somehow intentional, to add some sort of poignancy as they'd just been killed? Even though technically its difficult to determine how old they're supposed to be as we never get told their ages.

But yeah I agree about the Corel thing, they sure dropped a bollock when constructing the world map there :lol:
 

Tennyo

Paladin of Voltron
#31
I'd rank VIII way lower. The story was good, imo, but the combat system was beyond irritating. I haven't played XII nor XIII so I can't say if they should be lower than VIII or not in my personal rank.
This.

And actually after a while I got sick of the story, too.

XII is leaps and bounds way better than VIII in all respects. :P

XIII is dubious. Much better story, but the gameplay got old and no fun after a while.
 

Novus

Pro Adventurer
#32
Bit of a nitpick here, but I thought the Biggs and Jessie character models being used in flashback was somehow intentional, to add some sort of poignancy as they'd just been killed? Even though technically its difficult to determine how old they're supposed to be as we never get told their ages.

But yeah I agree about the Corel thing, they sure dropped a bollock when constructing the world map there :lol:
My post was casually written off top of my head (already formulated ideas) with brief google checks (I can't even remember the flashback, just that the character models made them an anachronism). So yeah you could be right there. There are a few other problems as well though, like how on earth hadn't Shinra already discovered the Promised Land? By Promised Land I mean the physical location identified as 'Great Cave' or 'Northern Cave'.
The old man in the shack could easily have got there before the elite post space-age world domineering power.
Reading the articles here about 'Book of Jenova' makes me think there were two drafts for this: the first being a more fantastical Welles'esque odyssesy exploring the planet and the second one being based on more recent dystopian fiction. So yeah, more map problems...

VIII and IX understood themselves better, although IX also understood itself as a checklist to represent everything from the other games, which meant stuff like Deathguise or whatever it is called ends up in the Crystal World as an afterthought. Whereas VIII understood itself as a romantic high school light novel.

VII will probably always overshadow them though, like Mozart and Salieri.
 
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Novus

Pro Adventurer
#33
Another crit on VII I don't think has been raised before>
The Ancient Key section, basically there is a key missing in the city of the ancients. So naturally the party scour the bottoms of the ocean and incidentally find a passage that leads to the Key.
LOL! Why would it be there? How long would it take to find such a thing?
I bet when and if the fan-web series if made (see forum up or below for the thread) gets to this section they will ignore it.
VIII's literal game play could effectively function as a paper back. The only plot elements un-lockable in VIII as a game is seeing Raine's Ghost and Shumi Village, maybe the Deep Sea Research center at a push.
 
#34
7
9
10
6

5
13
12

4
8
2
1
3


*These three rotate constantly. It frequently comes down to which of the three I've played most recently. I settled on that order for now, but they're basically a collective second place

*These two are hard for me to place as well. Objectively speaking, XII is the better game. It is better crafted with more attention paid to exposing you to the world. But...honestly, at the end of the day I simply find XIII more fun to pick up and play.

Anyway, yeah I think 13 being at the very bottom is laughably silly and clearly butthurt. There is literally no reason to play III, ever, as far as I can tell. It has no plot, and the job system has been done better now by 3 other games (5, Tactics, and 10-2).
 

Flintlock

Pro Adventurer
#35
VIII's use of FMV with in-game action was revolutionary at the time, and I believe I said before, just equip high Junctions (use GF’s boost) and it becomes a visual interactive novel. The storyline itself is touching, and the characters being orphans and knowing each other their entire lives makes sense for when they time travel to the future. The GF storyline and amnesia could have been expanded on more but that's my only crit. VIII's space scenes obviously aren't as meditative and frightening as 2001's Hal arc that inspired them, but I'm sure the 'Rinoa was lost in space forever' scene will be reconsidered as one of the best scenes of the series.
:O

That is probably my least favourite scene of the series. On top of being cheesy, everything that happens is completely ridiculous. I think I've studied too much physics to think otherwise, but anyone who can recite Newton's laws of motion should know why that scene is completely impossible.

Yes, I know it's a fantasy game, and they can bend the rules as they like, but good fantasy storytelling relies on suspension of disbelief, and I can't suspend mine for that scene at all.

Great post otherwise, by the way, I enjoyed reading it :)
 

Novus

Pro Adventurer
#37
:O

That is probably my least favourite scene of the series. On top of being cheesy, everything that happens is completely ridiculous. I think I've studied too much physics to think otherwise, but anyone who can recite Newton's laws of motion should know why that scene is completely impossible.
Well if you remember all the spacemen working on Adel's tomb, and around the entire section operated without wires. In that scene Ellone teleports Squall to Rinoa and they just drift into the Ragnaroak.
A magic crystal initiates the lunar cycle which brings space monsters down to earth. So I just took it that most of Esthar's technology was based off the earlier centra civilization, the others escaped using their gardens, whereas others took most of the technology and developed there at Esthar. Is the underwater breathing okay in FFX or is that nonsensical?
As for cheesiness, I found it more touching than anything, granted there is a fine line between the two. The scene is an example of interactive storytelling that communicates an effective enough atmosphere that is probably going to be replicated in continuous independent art games to come.
If you interpret that as cheesy though I’m not sure how you get through the other plot heavy games VII, X, IV, IX without thinking that. VIII seems to subdue itself long enough to allow these huge melodramatic sequences to occur.
 

Lex

Administrator
#38
I think Flint's referring to the the fact that Squall can somehow move around in space while also floating there. Which is a bit ridiculous. Rinoa's movement isn't quite as bad, since she seems to at least be going in the same direction at the same speed. Being able to move Squall is silly though, unless he had some sort of thrusters on his suit. He doesn't, but headcanon. Also the spaceship just showing up randomly and then them landing on it. OK then >_>
 

Novus

Pro Adventurer
#39
I think Flint's referring to the the fact that Squall can somehow move around in space while also floating there. Which is a bit ridiculous. Rinoa's movement isn't quite as bad, since she seems to at least be going in the same direction at the same speed. Being able to move Squall is silly though, unless he had some sort of thrusters on his suit. He doesn't, but headcanon.
I didn't think Squall could move much at all, he just moves his arms which effected where he drifted to in the direction of Rinoa so she could fall into his arms. He is close enough and in falling range of Rinoa thanks to Ellone and then he misses half the time anyway causing the player to reset it. Watching it back there is a brief scene where it looks like he has control of his direction when he moves into Rinoa.
Though the other space-men (I think) could definitely move around freely.

You guys would hate 1960s Doctor Who btw, they have tons of scenes like this.

Also the spaceship just showing up randomly and then them landing on it. OK then >_>
Isn't this the sense of destiny that is ever prevalent throughout the game? Its the same idea of being marooned at sea and being picked up by a passing ship. Yeah the Ragnarok seems to drift towards them in the FMV, not sure.
 

Flintlock

Pro Adventurer
#40
I think Flint's referring to the the fact that Squall can somehow move around in space while also floating there. Which is a bit ridiculous. Rinoa's movement isn't quite as bad, since she seems to at least be going in the same direction at the same speed. Being able to move Squall is silly though, unless he had some sort of thrusters on his suit. He doesn't, but headcanon. Also the spaceship just showing up randomly and then them landing on it. OK then >_>
Yes. All of that.

There is no way that they would be able to alter their orbit to coincide with that of the spaceship. In fact, there's no way Squall would be able to alter his orbit to make sure he reaches Rinoa. Moving his arms would make no difference. He would basically have to take a guess at how to push off from the escape pod, and the chance of being correct would be virtually zero. Even if the spaceship was somehow in the same orbit as them, it would be moving at a phenomenal speed (the ISS orbits the Earth at 7.71 km/s, for example), and if the two of them were moving at even a fractionally different speed, we'd have a SQUISHED TOMATOES.

Also, when they first step inside the spaceship they can walk around without touching the floor, without touching anything. Where's the equal and opposite reaction to the force they exerted to move forwards? Nowhere, that's where.
 
#41
Who cares if 3 didn't have a plot and didn't do the job class system as good as later games? It's still a fun game, and in the end all that really matters with a game is how enjoyable you found it. And let's be honest, it still has moar of a plot than I.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#42
The speed of the Ragnarok versus the speed of Squall and Rinoa when they collide I can chalk up to the whole fate thing working in their favor to ensure forces would be balanced from the moment the ship went into space.

While VIII's space physics will forever be questionable barring the assumption of some property of the suits of which we're unaware, I can't hold that against it. It's a beautiful sequence.

Also, monsters from the freakin' moon that lacks an atmosphere kind of overshadows anything else that might be curious in that portion of the game.
 
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AKA
The Engineer
#43
^^Not to mention where the Propergators came from in the Ragnarok (no oxygen for decades?) or how Adel's prison stops radio waves (but not other electro-magnetic waves) from working. I kinda stopped wondering how physics worked in that game all the way back when it turned out GFs could be stored in a computer.

I still like FFVIII more then FFIX and will load previous savegmes to play Triple Triad (this needs to be brought back) and to curbstomp Ultima Weapon and Ultimacia.
 

Flintlock

Pro Adventurer
#45
Also, monsters from the freakin' mood that lacks an atmosphere kind of overshadows anything else that might be curious in that portion of the game.
Some moons have atmospheres.

I do take your points that there are lots of odd things in the game, though. I mean, Time Compression is another huge mindfuck that is never explained thoroughly enough for my satisfaction. That's one reason why I quite like the
Squall is dead
theory; although that's got a few loose ends as well, it basically gives a free pass to everything that happens in the rest of the game.
 
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#46
Space is HUGE.

Finding anything in there is ridiculous. Conveniently finding two things is square ridiculous. The speeds being convenient as well is cube ridiculous. But, you know, plot. I'm not VERY bothered by THAT. Whenever something like that happens in a story (videogame, book, anime, movie, ...) I always assume it's that "element of luck" which you always need in life. Even if it's "chances were 1/100000000 but we made it".

I mean, I guess when I'm playing, I try not to think TOO much and just enjoy what's given to me, but that doesn't stop me from seeing certain things can be ridiculous. I mean, while part of me likes the whole "they knew each other all along", there's another part of me that screams "OH C'MON!".

RE: dead Squall theory: After the end of disc one, there's certainly a lot of odd stuff happening. I absolutely love certain parts of FFVIII when it's taking itself seriously; "soldier" training, "military" mission, helping a small group against the dictatorship; assassination attempt, and even some of the stuff after that. But there's a point at which things get too crazy, and it goes meh. And I, for one, hated the junction system. There, I said it.
 

Flintlock

Pro Adventurer
#48
  1. VII
  2. IX
  3. XII
  4. X
  5. IV
  6. VI
  7. VIII
  8. V
I've finished IV and VI since writing that list, so it's time for an update. I'm taking V off the list because it's the only one I haven't completed. It would be an unfair comparison. Here's the new list, with the version(s) of each game that I've completed given in brackets:

1. VII (PS1)
=2. VI (GBA)
=2. IX (PS1)
4. XII (PS2)
5. X (PS2)
6. VIII (PS1)
7. IV (DS)

Edit: just realised how similar my list now is to Dark and Divine's. VI, VII and IX in the top three, X and XII in the next two places, then IV and VIII in the two after that. It's nice to know there's someone else on here with similar taste :)
 
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The Man

Great Old One
AKA
Aaron
#49
1. VI
2. IX
3. V
4. VII
=5. IV
=5. X

I didn't like any of the others I played (I, II, III, VIII, X-2) enough to finish them so I don't feel comfortable listing them, but you can safely assume they're below the ones I listed here. VIII might improve somewhat if I gave it more of a chance. I haven't played anything past X-2 at all.

I probably already made a list like this somewhere but whatever.
 

Skan

Pro Adventurer
AKA
dief
#50
My own biased list:

1. VIII
2. V
=2. X
4. VII
5. VI
=5. XII
=5. IX
100. X-2

I don't actually remember enough about IX or XII to say accurately. I did finish them, and I don't recall hating them -- in fact, they might even have been enjoyable -- but it's like a complete void in my head.
 
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