It’s no secret that Final Fantasy is one of my favourite game franchises. Hell, just check out the About Us section and I have Final Fantasy VII listed as my favourite game ever. It was FFVII (the first FF game I ever played incidentally) that directed me down the road of the RPG gamer that I have become. However I’m not so blind in my Final Fantasy fandom to deny that there’s been some clunkers in the series – because there has – especially amongst the more recent titles.
With that said here is my list of the worst Final Fantasy games so far up to Final Fantasy XIII.
There may be spoilers below so BE WARNED!
Note: I am only including the “mainline” titles in the Final Fantasy series, so no X-2, no Dirge of Cerberus, no Crystal Chronicles, and definitely no smegging MMORPGs.
1. Final Fantasy XIII
I cannot complete this game. Not because it is too hard but because it doesn’t grip me in the slightest. The game is linear beyond belief, the characters aren’t likeable (except Sazh), the Crystarium offered no real choice, the paradigm system (think dressphere without the perviness) was incredibly limiting, the combat system overall wasn’t involving, and the nouns chosen as names for many of the key figures in the game (Cie’th, L’Cie, fal’Cie) were almost identical to the point I was never quite sure what was being talked about. And the crowning turd in the water pipe was that the actual story – what Final Fantasy is best know for – was dull beyond belief.
On a personal level this was all compounded by the fact that when I reached Gran Pulse, where the game “opens up” in the loosest sense of the term, my saved game data corrupted. As much as I love the Final Fantasy series I just can’t ever see myself choosing to play this game again and that in itself should say everything that needs to be said about Final Fantasy XIII.
Still…it looked nice.
2. Final Fantasy VIII
I was 13 years of age at the time Final Fantasy VIII came out. At that point I had done everything there was to do on FFVII many times over and was eagerly awaiting its sequel. Even though I’d only played Final Fantasy VII at that point I knew that each Final Fantasy was a standalone game so I wasn’t going in expecting to see Cloud vs. Sephiroth II.
And it didn’t hit me the first time I completed the game, or even the second. By the third time though I realized the story of Final Fantasy VIII is one of the most stupid, ridiculous and lazy of any RPG game I’ve ever played. I might have been slow but I got there eventually. Unlike some who didn’t get there at all. I know two people who say that Final Fantasy VIII is their favourite game…not just of the series but of any game ever! I have since distanced myself from these people.
You play as Squall the emo teen from Hell who is, without doubt, the most unlikeable main character of any Final Fantasy game. He whines, he moans, he wants to be left alone. Unfortunately the rest of the cast don’t grant Squall’s wish as they drag him through a nonsensical plot involving meaningless trips to the past, mind control, forgotten childhoods, and a sickeningly sweet love story (seriously don’t play this game if you’re diabetic).
There’s also the ridiculous draw system for magic whereby you have to draw spells from enemies before you can cast them. Where the hell do you keep 100 fire spells? In your pocket?…they’d burn. Or is it a mental thing? Who knows? Who cares?
The only reason I put this below Final Fantasy XIII is that at least it had a few interesting moments and a lady with a whip.
If you want an in depth look at the stupidity of Final Fantasy VIII then check out this epic ELEVEN part review by Spoony – http://spoonyexperiment.com/category/game-reviews/final-fantasy-viii/
3. Final Fantasy I
Now I’m sure that the original Final Fantasy was innovative at the time but I wasn’t born when it was released. When I finally got around to playing it I was 20 and it was the last of the classic Final Fantasy games I had left to play.
By then the allure of running around a map encountering random battles galore on the search for orbs had long worn off.
To be fair this is more a victim of its age and mine when I played it.
4. Final Fantasy III
See above but replace orbs for crystals.
5. Final Fantasy XII
While Final Fantasy VIII may have had the most annoying main character of the series, Final Fantasy XII had the most pointless. Vaan and his sister/friend/girlfriend (I’m not sure their relationship was ever explained) Penelo have no impact on the story whatsoever. That’s no hyperbole either, they could have literally been removed from the game and it wouldn’t have made a difference…in fact it would probably have made it better.
In doing research for this article I actually discovered that Vaan wasn’t the original main character and didn’t come about until late in the games development which explains a lot. Game developers take heed don’t shoehorn characters into prominent positions at the last minute!
The story is a familiar one if you’ve ever watched or even heard the story of Star Wars in passing. There’s an evil empire bent on world domination and it is up to your motley crew to stop it from happening. Effective if a little stale.
It’s not that Final Fantasy XII was a particularly bad game…it just wasn’t a particularly good one. For some reason it just didn’t feel like a “true” Final Fantasy game. Perhaps because it was the first FF game to abandon the turn-based fighting system (one I miss from RPGs) and instead use gambits whereby you can program how each party member acted in various situations…kind of taking the control away from the player.
Taking control away from the player? Take note Square Enix because that is precisely where the Final Fantasy series has gone wrong. It started with XII and only got worse in XIII.
Remember, before you send your hate mail, this is just my opinion.
Which are your least favourite Final Fantasy games? Let me know by leaving a comment.