Ranking the Top 10 Best Ever Final Fantasy Games

Since the first Final Fantasy came out in 1987, where the Warriors of Light saved the day, Square Enix has come leaps and bounds to where they are together. A total of 15 other mainstream Final Fantasy games had arrived, coupled with many many others remastered and remakes being developed.

Are all FF games equal? Of course not. So let us rank it out for you so that you can spend the time on the best of them all. 

10 – Final Fantasy IX 

Final Fantasy IX follows the journey of Zidane Tribal, a charismatic thief, and a group of unlikely allies as they embark on a quest to save the world of Gaia from destruction. The story begins with Zidane’s attempt to kidnap Princess Garnet Til Alexandros XVII of the kingdom of Alexandria, setting off a series of events that uncover dark secrets about the world’s history and the true nature of its inhabitants.

As Zidane and his companions traverse the diverse landscapes of Gaia, they encounter powerful adversaries, uncover ancient prophecies, and confront their own personal struggles, ultimately uniting to face a formidable threat that threatens to plunge the world into chaos.

The remastered version is a good graphics upgrade to compliment the fantastic storylines, diversified characters and fun gameplay. 

9 – Final Fantasy VIII

The story follows Squall Leonhart, a loner and top student at Balamb Garden, a prestigious military academy. He and his team are assigned to assist a resistance group fighting against Galbadia Garden, a nation led by the sorceress Edea Kramer. As the story unfolds, Squall discovers a deeper connection between Edea and a powerful entity known as the sorceress Ultimecia. They embark on a journey to defeat Ultimecia and unravel the mysteries surrounding her plan to compress time and control fate itself.

The game features a unique “Love Interest” system where the character Squall can develop a closer bond with one of the female party members based on player choices throughout the story, influencing certain events and scenes.

Players can acquire magic spells by “drawing” them from enemies or draw points scattered throughout the game world, allowing for customization of characters’ magic arsenals.

Another interesting feature of the game includes the Triple Triad, a popular card game featured in Final Fantasy VIII, which players can collect and play throughout the game world, offering rewards and opportunities for interaction with NPCs.

8 – Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

“Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age” is a remastered version of the original Final Fantasy XII, released for PlayStation 4, PC, and later for other platforms.

The game begins with Vaan dreaming of becoming a sky pirate and navigating the skies of Ivalice aboard his airship. However, his plans are put on hold when he becomes embroiled in the resistance against the Archadian Empire, which has occupied his homeland of Dalmasca. Alongside a diverse cast of characters including Princess Ashe, the former Dalmascan ruler seeking to restore her kingdom, and Balthier, a charming sky pirate with a mysterious past, Vaan sets out on a journey to liberate Dalmasca and uncover the truth behind the empire’s actions.

One of the unique features of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is the Zodiac Job System, which allows players to assign each character a specific job class, such as knight, black mage, or monk, providing a deeper level of customization and strategy in combat. The game also features an expansive open-world environment with vast cities, dungeons, and landscapes to explore, along with real-time combat that combines traditional turn-based mechanics with the ability to freely move and position characters during battles.

Additionally, The Zodiac Age includes various enhancements and improvements over the original version, including high-definition graphics, remastered soundtracks, and streamlined gameplay mechanics. With its engaging story, memorable characters, and strategic gameplay, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age offers both new and returning players a captivating journey through the world of Ivalice.

7 – Final Fantasy V

Final Fantasy V follows the journey of Bartz Klauser, a young adventurer who becomes embroiled in a quest to protect the world’s four elemental crystals from the malevolent sorcerer Exdeath. Along the way, Bartz is joined by a diverse cast of characters, including the princess of Tycoon, Lenna Charlotte Tycoon, the pirate captain Faris Scherwiz, and the mysterious mage Galuf Halm Baldesion. 

Exdeath, the primary antagonist, is a powerful sorcerer seeking to harness the power of the elemental crystals to achieve ultimate power and control over the world. Together, the heroes need to uncover and stop Exdeath’s sinister plans.

I have to be honest, I do not think FF5 has one of the best stories, but boy does the job system save the day for them. The job system is one of the defining features of Final Fantasy V, allowing characters to switch between various job classes, each with its unique abilities and attributes. Players can customize their party’s abilities and strategies by mastering different jobs and combining them strategically in battle.

Some of the most iconic bosses such as Gilgamesh, Omega Weapon and Shinryu are found within this game. Final Fantasy V also features a wealth of optional dungeons, bosses, and side quests for players to discover, providing additional challenges and rewards for those seeking to explore the game’s world fully.

6 – Final Fantasy XVI 

The latest addition to the FF franchise, Final Fantasy XVI does not disappoint and we ranked it within the top 10 accordingly. In the world of ever technological graphics enhancement, we were concerned that FF16 would be more “Style” over “Substance”, and were more than delighted to know we were wrong. It has both “S”. 

The story unfolds in the continent of Valisthea, divided into six nations vying for control of the Mother Crystals – powerful magical sources coveted for their ability to grant various advantages. Amidst this conflict, we follow Clive Rosfield, the firstborn son of the Archduke of Rosaria. Witnessing the destruction of his homeland and the tragic fate of his younger brother, Josh, who was chosen as a Dominant (a human capable of wielding the power of an Eikon – a powerful summoned creature), Clive embarks on a quest for revenge, vowing to unravel the truth behind the tragedy and stop the escalating war.

You basically take on each Dominant and their Eikon, such as Titan, Bahamut and gang, throughout the narrative, demanding strategic approaches and testing Clive’s abilities. The game’s narrative tackles themes of loss, revenge, and political intrigue through a more mature lens compared to previous entries, offering a compelling experience for seasoned players.

Continuing from FF15, FF16 too implements real-time action combat, and coupled with the power of the console’s graphical prowess makes Final Fantasy XVI a joy to play. 

5 – Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X follows the story of Tidus, a star blitzball player from the futuristic city of Zanarkand. During a blitzball tournament, Zanarkand is attacked by an entity known as Sin, and Tidus finds himself transported to the world of Spira, where he meets a group of guardians led by a young summoner named Yuna. Yuna is on a pilgrimage to defeat Sin and bring about the Calm, a temporary period of peace in Spira.

As Tidus joins Yuna on her journey, he learns about the cycle of death and rebirth perpetuated by Sin and the teachings of the Yevon religion. Along the way, they encounter memorable characters such as Wakka, a blitzball player and devout follower of Yevon; Lulu, a stoic black mage; Kimahri, a Ronso warrior; and Auron, a mysterious swordsman with ties to Tidus’s past.

The plot delves into themes of sacrifice, fate, and the nature of existence as the group battles against various foes, including, Sin, the monstrous entity terrorizing Spira, whose origins are deeply intertwined with the world’s history. Yu Yevon, the true mastermind behind Sin, manipulating events from the shadows to maintain its existence, as well as Jecht, Tidus’s father, who is revealed to have become the current incarnation of Sin.

Interesting mini-games of the game include Blitzball, a fully playable underwater sport within the game, offering tournaments for players to enjoy.

4 – Final Fantasy IV

“Final Fantasy IV” follows the journey of Cecil Harvey, initially a Dark Knight and later a Paladin, serving the kingdom of Baron, who begins to question his king’s orders to collect the powerful crystals by force. As Cecil seeks redemption for his actions, he embarks on a quest to protect the world from the dark forces manipulating Baron and threatening to unleash chaos.

Some of the most notable bosses of the game are the Four Elemental Archfiends – Scarmiglione, Cagnazzo, Barbariccia, and Rubicante, who serve Golbez and pose significant challenges throughout the game. Together with Zeromus and Golbez, they make Final Fantasy IV an emotional storytelling game.

3 – Final Fantasy XIV

Square Enix’s Multiplayer Online (MMO) has come a long way, and Final Fantasy XIV Online: Endwalker is the best there is. Long has it tried to gain into the space once monopolized by Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, with its first MMO FFXI a good competitor, while FFXIV has brought it to different heights. 

The story of Final Fantasy XIV revolves around the ongoing conflict between the people of Eorzea and various antagonistic forces threatening the realm. Players embark on a journey as adventurers, exploring the vast landscapes of Eorzea, uncovering its rich lore, and undertaking quests to protect the realm from impending doom.

The main storyline unfolds across multiple expansions, each introducing new threats, allies, and plot developments. From the struggle against the Garlean Empire’s imperial ambitions to the battles against primals—powerful beings summoned by fervent believers—the narrative of FFXIV is rich in political intrigue, epic battles, and emotional storytelling.

As with MMOs, there are tonnes of stuff you can do.  Players can purchase and decorate their own homes in designated housing areas, fostering a sense of community and personalization within the game world. Players can also join together in Free Companies (guilds) to socialize, collaborate on content, and work towards shared goals. Free Companies can also purchase and customize their own estates for additional social and recreational activities.

All-in-all, this Final Fantasy XIV will easily rank into the top 10.  

2 – Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VI, also known as Final Fantasy III in North America for a while, is a beloved RPG released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). It’s widely considered one of the greatest games of all time, praised for its compelling story, memorable characters, and innovative gameplay mechanics. 

Final Fantasy VI is set in a world where magic coexists with technology. The story follows a diverse cast of characters, each with their own unique motivations and backgrounds, as they band together to stop the Gestahlian Empire from seizing control of powerful magical beings known as Espers. The game’s narrative delves into themes of hope, redemption, and the consequences of war as the party confronts the empire’s tyranny and battles against a malevolent entity known as Kefka.

Iconic characters such as Terra Branford, a young woman with amnesia, initially under the control of the Empire, who discovers her true identity as a half-Esper and becomes a key figure in the fight against Kefka, to Locke Cole, treasure hunter and member of the Returners, a rebel group opposing the Empire, driven by a desire to protect those he cares about, strongly builds the narrative in this epic Final Fantasy game. 

The way it switches to having the world destroyed, just to enter another “new” World of Ruin is also a fabulous twist to the game. Add in one of the most recognisable and maniacal antagonists around in Kefka Palazzo, you will have one of the best games around. 

1 – Final Fantasy VII Rebirth / Remake / Remake Intergrade

Now, the vintage version of the Final Fantasy VII is able to easily clinch a top 10 spot amongst the table, now with the revamped and hugely upgraded version in both gameplay and graphics, it just blows almost everyone away. The scale is so huge that the “Reboot”  is a trilogy in the making, with Rebirth as the second part and Remake being the first. 

One can easily imagine this latest FF7 as a more detailed gameplay within Midgar (in Remake), and the world outside (in Rebirth). One can also easily sink in the vast description of almost everything the world has to offer. 

Of course, what originally set this game apart would be the spectacular storyline as well as the fantastic cast of characters which you can choose from the game. Who can ever forget the iconic Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockhart, as well as Aerith Gainsborough, the first ever character whom you can only play halfway before she passed on. Together with Sephiroth, one of the baddest bosses and villains around, makes Final Fantasy VII the best ever game to ever grace the legendary series. 

By Aldo