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411 Games Top 5 2.16.14: Best Final Fantasy Games
Posted by Sean Garmer on 02.16.2014

Hello everyone, I hope it has been a good week for all the readers out there. A fantasy only becomes final to the spirits within, or so Square-Enix would have you think.

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With Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII having come out on Tuesday, this week, the 411 staff were asked to give out lists for their Top 5 Final Fantasy Games. Anything with the Final Fantasy name was allowed, as long as it was not another series entirely. So, things like the Final Fantasy Legends series or Final Fantasy Adventure don't count because they were other games entirely that Square just put the Final Fantasy name on so it would sell.

Stephen Randle (Games Zone Reviewer, Quizmaster of Four Player Co-op, host of "Cooperative Multiplayer" The Official 411 Games Podcast, Writer of Wrestling News Experience)

Honorable Mention:

Final Fantasy X - I still can't decide whether I actually enjoyed this game, or if I was swayed by flashy graphics, voice acting, and the fact that I actually got under 0 seconds on that goddamned chocobo race. Also, it's the only FF game on this list that I've never tried to replay, and maybe that says something.

5. Final Fantasy Tactics - Sure, this gave us the world of Ivalice, and indirectly, Final Fantasy XII, but I'll let that go in exchange for what was a really good turn-based strategy RPG, which brought back the job system, and provided an unique story full of intrigue and inventiveness. Plus, it was so easy to break the game.

4. Final Fantasy IV - Believe me, you young people don't know, but back in the day, there were battle lines drawn over the two North American SNES Final Fantasy releases, this one (aka Final Fantasy II in these parts) and Final Fantasy VI (aka III). Obviously, you can guess which side I came down on. However, this one's still really, really good, it just wasn't my favourite. Plus, it gave us the ATB combat system, which in my mind, has never been equalled in a JRPG.

3. Final Fantasy VII - It's unfortunate that this game has come to represent the beginning of a lot of things that I now hate about FF, (the increased shift towards sci-fi settings over pure fantasy, a combat system that made the characters easily interchangeable and thus less unique, and pretty boy villains who can't hold a candle to Kefka, and so on.) because I actually really liked this game and think it still holds up today. It's not the best game ever, but it was a great way to get a lot more people into the franchise. It's too bad it was mostly downhill from there.

2. Final Fantasy IX - I said "mostly downhill" because this game came afterwards, and I will go to my grave maintaining that it got thrown under the bus in the aftermath of the polarizing FFVIII and the upcoming Spirits Within movie that would nearly destroy the company and force the merger with Enix. As a result, not nearly enough people have played this game, and that's a damned shame, because it exemplifies a lot of the things that got me into the series in the first place. Unfortunately, it proved to be a one-time nostalgia trip rather than a continued direction for the franchise.

1. Final Fantasy VI - Absolutely nobody is surprised by this, and they shouldn't be. It was the first FF game I played, and it is the best FF game that Square ever made. It had the best roster of heroes, the best villain, the best story, the best combat/magic/summon system, and the best Mode 7 graphics. Okay, the last one is a stretch, but the rest is still true. If you only play one JRPG in your life...play Chrono Trigger. But if you play two, this should be the other one. The only sad thing is that I don't see the series ever reaching this high of a point again without some radical changes happening.

Jeremy Thomas (411mania.com Editor)

Honorable Mention: Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy XIII

5. Final Fantasy - I'd been playing tabletop RPGs for eight years at the point when the original Final Fantasy was released in North America, but this was the first video game RPG I'd ever played. Suffice it to say, it was far from the last and most of that was thanks to this. Final Fantasy was one of my all-time favorite games released on the NES. It was everyting that was right about RPGs--engrossing, detailed, challenging. Beating this was a moment of greatness for me on that console and it set the stage for my love of the rest of the franchise.

4. Final Fantasy VII - Everyone loves Final Fantasy VII. And they should. The first Final Fantasy to be released on the PlayStation was a huge success, both critically and commercially, for its use of 3D CGI and the enormous storyline. I would say that I love it slightly less than most but it is still an amazing game for its time. Sephiroth is a bad-ass, the death of Aerith is a moment that most gamers of that generation remember fondly and the storyline is incredibly well-done. I get why some people have disdain for it, but I don't think that its quality as a game can be denied bacause of that.

3. Final Fantasy VI - Kefka. Setzer. Locke. Terra. If you played video games in 1994, these were names that resonated with you for various reasons. Final Fantasy VI/III was the game that showed the true heights regarding what the franchise was capable of. The heroes were amazing, the villains were characters you hated (in the appropriate way). The storyline was a thing of beauty and took the right step at every turn. Final Fantasy was the game that opened me up to the world of console RPGs. Final Fantasy VI was the game that hooked me for life.

2. Final Fantasy VIII - Ah yes, we get to the one that people are going to scoff at. Final Fantasy VIII is one of the most polarizing games in the franchise. Obviously, you see which side of the field I stand on. This is a deeply underrated game that suffered primarily because, in my mind, it followed up Final Fantasy VII. Does it have flaws. One or two minor ones (the card minigame drove me nuts). But the storyline is truly fantastic and the Squall/Seifer rivalry is one of my favorite dynamics between two characters in the entire series. There isn't a single character that I don't love in this game, and that counts for a lot in an RPG, when you're focused on the storyline and the dynamic between these characters. Easily my favorite game in the main series.

1. Final Fantasy Tactics - My love for Final Fantasy Tactics knows no bounds. It is one of the very, very few games I have ever double-dipped for, buying it on a different console/device. As much as I love the storyline of Final Fantasy VIII, this is my favorite single storyline. The War of the Lance plays out in a way that fascinates, and to be frank it is more more complex and engaging as a sixteen year-old than many RPGs made for consoles today. But when you add the tactical style of gameplay in, that really pushes the game to the top of my list. I loved the turn-by-turn style of this game and the sheer amount of replay value that acquiring the various jobs has to offer. Anyone who has played this game says the name "Wiegraf" with a curl of the lip because of that epically difficult fight, and the "easy-to-learn, hard to master" style of the Jobs system is beautifully done. It's my easy #1 for this list.

Sean Garmer (Games Zone Reviewer, Games Top 5 Organizer, Regular Contributor to "Cooperative Multiplayer" The Official 411 Games Podcast, WWE Roundtable Organizer)

5. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: If anyone has followed me on these Top 5's, you know that I love rhythm games. So, putting one of my favorite franchises on the DS in rhythm game style is a no brainer. The music of Final Fantasy is so awesome that it has its own Orchestra series that I've seen twice. I've recently picked this up after getting my 2DS last weekend and I haven't been able to put it down.

4. Final Fantasy X: This was the first Final Fantasy that I ever played, It was purchased for me for Christmas along with a PS2, NHL Hitz 2002, and SmackDown Just Bring It. From the opening scene to the final boss, I was enthralled with the fighting system, the sphere grid, and the characters. I still don't understand the story, but I still am thinking about by the PS3 HD remake because I loved this game so much. I actually used my love for this game to go backwards and collect every FF game on the PS1 (except the MMO FF's.)

3. Final Fantasy Tactics: Before Tactics, I never even thought about Strategy Games at all. They were these things you played on PC and tried to conquer nations. After Tactics, I love games like Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, and others. Tactics was awesome because not only did it introduce many to the Strategy RPG, but it had a great story in its own right. I wish Square would make more games with the Tactics franchise, hell, they could make this its own platform and just keep making new maps, jobs, and characters. Please do this Square-Enix!!!

2. Final Fantasy IX: My favorite Final Fantasy game period. I've probably replayed this three or four times and each time I enjoy it even more. It was a return to the old school format of Final Fantasy with explorable lands, great characters, and a very well done story. Plus it had Vivi and he makes the whole game even more awesome.

1. Final Fantasy VI: If for some reason you still haven't played this, GO DO IT NOW!!! When I think of a RPG echelon this would be on my mount rushmore. This is the best all around game in the Final Fantasy game and Square has never been able to match this. Every character had their own story, you could every character matter, the story was deep, and it wasn't convoluted either. Just everything about FF 6 just works to perfection and is unmatched in the FF realm.

Twitter Break


Fun Links To Checkout

Wrestling 2 the MAX Podcast. Go listen to episode 77 and tell us what you think at wrestling2themax@gmail.com this week, we reviewed RAW, TNA IMPACT, and NXT. We also discussed the ROH legacy in WWE article that was posted on WWE.com and see what the influx of ROH guys has done for a style change in WWE's performance in the ring and led to a focus creatively on wrestling more than before. We also discuss what new tag teams WWE and TNA could make out of who is available on their rosters.

If you are a fan of W2M make sure to listen live on Monday Nights at Midnight ET on Spreaker.com And you can always call-in at (972)-591-8636 And make sure you join our ever growing facebook group as well. W2M Facebook

You might want to visit the W2M facebook page this month as every week we will ask a new trivia question and the first five to answer correctly will be entered into a random drawing that takes place on February 23rd after Elmination Chamber ends. The person selected in the draw will win a six month subscription to the launch day edition of the WWE NETWORK! On us. So, don't miss out.

The Trivia Question this week is: Which wrestlers on the current roster have participated in ROH. post your answer on the appropriate post on the Wrestling 2 the MAX Facebook page or email us your answer at wrestling2themax@gmail.com You have until Monday 02/17/14 before RAW begins to send us the answer.

If you don't listen to the Official 411 Games Podcast "Cooperative Multiplayer" you should! Right now, Stephen Randle is taking a little break from the podcast due to expecting a baby very soon. So, between Robert Cooper, Daniel Anderson, and I, we discuss the games we've played this week, the gaming news of the week, and just having a lot of fun too. Here is this week's episode…

Games Coming Out the Week of 02/16/14

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

Strider (PS3 & PS4)

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag : Freedom Cry (PS4 & PS3)

Earth Defense Force 2025 (Xbox 360 & PS3)


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