Best Final Fantasy Games: The Top Best of All Time

Best Final Fantasy Games
Image Source: The Nerd Stash

There aren’t many video game franchises that can compare to Final Fantasy in terms of sales or influence on the industry. The series has been influential in the development of its genre for over 35 years, with each new volume contributing a wealth of fresh concepts. The best Final Fantasy games go above and beyond this, making an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of gamers everywhere. These games have impacted the lives of millions of people with their fantastic soundtracks and hard-hitting stories, and as such, they deserve to be acknowledged just as much as some of the industry’s other heavy hitters. In this article, we will discuss the best Final Fantasy games in order, of characters, and story narratives

Brief History Of Final Fantasy Games

Square Enix (formerly Square) currently owns and is developing the Hironobu Sakaguchi-created Final Fantasy media property. The franchise is based on a set of role-playing video games that focus on fantastical and futuristic settings. Since its inception in 1987, the series has seen the release of 16 main installments with sequential numbers.

The series has now expanded into various media, including computer-animated movies, anime, manga, and novels, as well as other video game genres such as tactical role-playing, action role-playing, massively multiplayer online role-playing, racing, third-person shooters, fighting, and rhythm games.

The main Final Fantasy titles are all self-contained RPGs with their own unique settings, stories, and protagonists; nonetheless, the series as a whole is connected through a number of shared features, such as gameplay mechanics and character names. Each story focuses on a unique band of heroes who are fighting an evil force and delves not just into their external conflicts but also their interpersonal dynamics. Many cultures’ myths, lexicons, and pasts serve as inspiration for the names of fictional characters. Each game uses a conventional warfare mechanism on conventional maps.

Both critics and consumers have embraced Final Fantasy. The series is one of the best-selling video game franchises, selling over 180 million copies worldwide. Several installments are considered to be among the greatest video games. The series’ originality and visual excellence come from FMVs, lifelike character models, and Nobuo Uematsu’s music. It has helped spread the RPG genre beyond Japan and popularized many of its staple elements.

Best Final Fantasy Characters

One of the most remarkable features of this iconic RPG franchise is the caliber of its cast of characters, which is only one of the many gifts that Final Fantasy has given to the gaming world.

You probably know at least one Final Fantasy character even if you’ve only played one or two games in the series (or maybe just picked up bits of the series through its prominent place in gaming culture). What makes some RPGs so memorable are the characters, both playable and non-playable, who drive the action.

Is there a clear favorite among Final Fantasy characters? Fans may never agree on an answer to this issue, but I guarantee at least a few of these fantastic characters who have become icons of this franchise, this genre, and gaming are on most people’s shortlists. Here are the best Final Fantasy characters.

#1. Bartz Klauser 

The heroic characters of many Final Fantasy games are tortured spirits that bear the weight of an unjust world. There’s nothing intrinsically bad about that kind of personality, but being around that kind of person constantly can be exhausting.

That’s why we welcome Bartz Klauser with open arms. Bartz didn’t ask to be thrust into a war or a great adventure when he set out to fulfill his dying father’s dream of traveling the world. Despite the unbelievable things that keep happening to him, he has a good attitude, keeps laughing, and keeps supporting his friends and allies. 

#2. Squall Leonhart

Squall’s status at the very bottom of any list of Final Fantasy characters once seemed unmovable. Although his notoriety has decreased, many Final Fantasy fans still hold a strong dislike for him. He is self-conscious, rips off other characters, and is nasty to his closest pals.

Still, Squall has an allure that can’t be ignored. Design-wise, Squall is instantly recognizable thanks to his unique appearance and the gun blade he wields, but what really sets him apart in Final Fantasy 8 is the opportunity to see him mature throughout the course of his journey, something that rarely happens to the franchise’s protagonists. Squall is the game’s unifying element—a surprising reality—in an otherwise insane Final Fantasy adventure.

#3. Zidane Tribal 

Although fans hold a special place in their hearts for the gloomy characters of Final Fantasy 7 and 8, they were ready to welcome the return to medieval fantasy and the slightly brighter personalities of the series’ protagonists in Final Fantasy 9. 

A Final Fantasy protagonist with a lighter tone than most, Zidane is not just a throwback to a simpler time. His efforts to improve as a person and a leader (and his determination to have fun whenever feasible) are all the more compelling because of the shadows cast by Zidane’s remarkably rich background. 

#4. Cidolfus Orlandeau 

Cid has to make the cut in some form, but which version is the best? Sure, you could make a case for Cid from Final Fantasy 7, Cid from Final Fantasy 14, or Cid from Final Fantasy 9, but the Cid who gets my choice is one who steps outside the norm for this recurring character. 

Although the fact that Cidolfus Orlandeau, the protagonist of Final Fantasy Tactics, is a fighter in a series where so many other Cids are engineers, teachers, or even political leaders is intriguing in and of itself, his exceptional strength is what truly sets him apart. In terms of backstory and in-game powers, this is one of the game’s most overpowered characters. In a weird way, his amazing strength seems like a testament to the entire Cid “lineage.”

#5. Zack Fair

While it may appear that Zack Fair’s popularity has just risen in the last few years, many fans of Final Fantasy 7 have always adored him; they simply had no method to express their feelings for this once-minor character before the advent of the Internet. 

Millions of people fell in love with Zack Fair long before he was the main character of his own game (the mostly overlooked PSP title, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII). He did this by being optimistic, friendly, and certain that he could fight to make the world a better place. In many respects, he personifies conventional notions of bravery and valor.

#6. Celes Chere

Celes Chere’s emergence as the game’s de facto protagonist after all these years is all the more impressive given that Final Fantasy 6 is hardly short on memorable heroes (or antagonists). 

It’s easy to write off Celes as a cold enemy commander who only agrees to help the player’s party because they’re all working together to defeat a shared foe. Once we reach the game’s infamous opera scene, though, we begin to see Celes for who she truly is and even begin to sympathize with the traits we had viewed as fatal. One of the earliest Final Fantasy characters, Celes, was instrumental in demonstrating the medium’s narrative potential.

#7. Lightning

While it’s true that Final Fantasy 13 deserves a lot of its frequent criticism, it’s always been a shame that the game’s controversial (and sometimes negative) reputation has meant Lightning hasn’t always gotten the recognition she deserved. 

Even while Lightning doesn’t have the most convoluted past in Final Fantasy, her simplicity is one of her best features. All Lightning needs to set off on an amazing adventure and perform incredible things along the way is the desire to protect her sister, and this is all the motivation we need to sympathize with her. Lightning is the kind of courageous, strong, and determined individual that many of us like to imagine ourselves to be under similar circumstances. 

#8. Balthier

The similarities between Balthier and Han Solo are unmistakable, and it’s easy to see why so many Final Fantasy fans have drawn that comparison. Because, after all, Balthier is a snarky, sophisticated sky pirate who finds himself in the middle of a conflict. The parallels are so obvious that even a broken brain could see them.

It doesn’t lessen Balthier’s appeal as a character, though. It’s hard to argue with Balthier’s assertion that he’s the true protagonist of Final Fantasy 12’s all-time great story, as he’s easily the most interesting and enjoyable character in the game and one of the most interesting and enjoyable in the series’ entire history.

#9. Tifa Lockhart 

To what extent does Tifa’s personality contribute to her status as a fan-favorite in the Final Fantasy Characters? Could it be her warmth? Do you mean her skill in battle? Is it the fact that, depending on the circumstances, she can switch roles as effortlessly as she can switch between leading and supporting? 

In a word, “yes.” Tifa has the sort of skills that make her a great playable character in video games, but she’s also human, with the same vulnerabilities, conflicts, and fears that any of us would have if we were in her shoes. She deserves her place as a fan favorite because she has a lot going for her. 

#10. Auron 

Auron has all the hallmarks of a “cool” Final Fantasy character, at least at first glance. One could say that Auron, with his huge sword, samurai-esque philosophy, and mystery vibes, is a representation of some of the “tropes” we sometimes associate with the most famous fighters in this franchise.

He is more than just a (very impressive) warrior, though. More of the fantastically odd and shockingly complex story of Final Fantasy X is revealed with Auron’s history. Auron’s charming and terrible past distinguishes him from other characters, despite his coolness.

Best Final Fantasy Games

It’s not easy to make a list of the best Final Fantasy games. It is one of the longest-running and most significant games in the history of video games, and it is frequently used to demonstrate the capabilities of new generations of gaming consoles. As a result, opinions vary widely on what makes a great Final Fantasy game, with some people praising the game’s setting and story, others praising its characters, and yet others praising the battle system’s execution. It’s hard to say, but I attempted to consider everything when making this list of the best Final Fantasy games.

The release of Final Fantasy 16, a PS5 exclusive, has resulted in an update to this list due to the game’s emphasis on real-time fighting. For the most part, I’ve avoided including fantastic spin-offs (sorry, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance) or ports in favor of focusing on the mainline Final Fantasy games. This list of the top Final Fantasy games can help you find a new game or relive some memories.

#1. Final Fantasy 6

It’s widely agreed that Final Fantasy 6 is one of the best video games ever made. A homage to the original games’ emphasis on story and adventure, and a massive improvement upon the depth of systems introduced in the games that came before it, this entry is a celebration of the whole series. Final Fantasy 6 remains a true achievement, a masterpiece that set a new standard for the RPG in 1994, and the game that all that have followed are ultimately judged against because of its memorable narrative and cast of characters, and its best-in-class turn-based combat system.

#2. Final Fantasy 10

There was a time when only a Final Fantasy game could sell the excitement and potential of a new generation of gaming consoles. The last time this was the case was in 2001 with Final Fantasy 10, a role-playing game that single-handedly boosted PS2 sales with its stunning attention to graphic detail and use of color. Also mysterious is Final Fantasy XII. 

It not only acts as a farewell tour of sorts to the traditions that had underpinned the series from the beginning but is also responsible for shifting the franchise forward, introducing faster combat encounters and a more engaging leveling system (the Sphere Grid remains one of the best representations of expressive character customization and progression). Even if you ignore the terrible voice acting, Final Fantasy 10 is a timeless masterpiece.

#3. Final Fantasy 7

The release of Final Fantasy 7 is often cited as the catalyst for the genre’s explosion in the Western market. The list does include Final Fantasy VII, but not because of the game’s significant impact on the industry. This installment was the first in the series to feature stunning 3D graphics and polished full-motion video cinematics, allowing Squaresoft to create a more evocative world and present a more memorable cast of characters, while also breathing new life into the series’ trademark turn-based combat and providing a truly stunning soundtrack to help tie the adventure together. Final Fantasy 7 is a must-play for everyone interested in the series of games, whether they are a longtime fan eager to get back into the swing of things or a newcomer looking to get their feet wet. 

#4. Final Fantasy 14

Due to its nature as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) rather than a traditional single-player RPG, Final Fantasy 14 is sometimes overlooked when considering the series’ finest entries. As one of the most content-rich and well-put-together titles in the genre, however, it would be doing the game and its designers a huge disservice to overlook this wonderful title.

There’s no denying that this is a radically different experience from what longtime fans of the series are used to, but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Final Fantasy 14 is a departure from previous entries in the series, but it does a superb job of recreating the awe and grandeur that made fans of the series passionate in the first place. It does it in a way that is both familiar and fresh, which is a big plus.

#5. Final Fantasy Tactics

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, one of the top tactical role-playing games at the time, served as an inspiration for many aspects of Final Fantasy Tactics. However, Tactics is a must-play for aficionados of the Final Fantasy games, even though some may question if it improves upon the original sufficiently.

Despite the occasional difficulty spike, the game’s excellent design of battle settings and gameplay make it one of the most approachable tactical RPG experiences of its generation. Adding the proverbial cherry to an already wonderfully frosted cake, the world-building and story are up to the standards of a Final Fantasy game.

#6. Final Fantasy 9

With Final Fantasy 9, the franchise’s first 3D period comes to a satisfying end. It’s been impossible, if not very contentious, to determine where the original PlayStation trilogy of Final Fantasy games ranks. Even so, Final Fantasy 9 delivers a gripping journey packed with emotional depth and heroic characters; it’s no wonder that Zidane, Vivi, and Freya are still regarded as some of the best in the series. Alexandria may not have had the scale or diversions of its forerunners, but Square made up for this with a beautiful visual style and a powerful score. Final Fantasy 9’s ability to surprise and thrill players after all this time is a testament to the game’s robust combat and thunderous pacing.

#7. Final Fantasy 5

What JRPGs would be like now if not for Final Fantasy is a mystery? From perfecting turn-based combat to helping to develop many of the most notable JRPG cliches, the long-running franchise has made significant contributions throughout the years. However, probably the most recognizable aspect of the series is its job system, and Final Fantasy 5 is the best example of this.

The 1992 classic introduced a refined job system that gave players more alternatives to fit their play style. Despite the series’ lackluster plot and characters, Bartz, Lenna, and Faris are fun to hang around with.

#8. Final Fantasy 7 Remake

To give credit where credit is due, the task of reproducing one of the most beloved video games of all time would be extremely difficult for most people, but Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s audacious design choices clearly imply otherwise. The team would have been labeled heretics if they had revealed their plans to alter the story beforehand. The majority of the series’ followers, however, were more than willing to accept these additional story narratives, or at the very least put up with them.

Only about a third of the original is included in the remake, so drawing similarities between the two is difficult. Although it is simply the beginning of the story, it does not feel incomplete. In fact, several of the alterations made to Midgar and its inhabitants—especially the additional work done to develop Jessie and the rest of Avalanche—likely qualify as enhancements.

#9. Final Fantasy 12

It was previously thought that Final Fantasy 12 was too radical an innovation to be as successful as its direct predecessors. With the benefit of hindsight, though, we can now appreciate it for what it truly was: a visually spectacular, intelligently conceived representation of the reasons why so many people adore this brand. Ivalice (a returning world from the Tactics games) was given fresh life because of the more explorable surroundings, and the cast of characters is among the best in the series so far. However, the AI-governed Gambit system and the classic Active Time-fighting system make up the meat and potatoes of Final Fantasy 12’s tactical fighting system, a structure Square Enix would continue to experiment with in subsequent games.

#10. Final Fantasy 16

Final Fantasy as a series has always been willing to experiment. Some are successful, while others fail miserably, but the series’ determination to always try something new has kept it at the forefront of role-playing games for almost 35 years. It’s a positive trend that has to be supported and praised so that the gaming market doesn’t become dominated by soulless open-world sandbox games, generic battle royale shooters, and comfortable farming sims.

The battle system and the implementation of the RPG concepts in Final Fantasy 16 are two examples of how the game stands out from its predecessors. The gameplay is more God of War than Final Fantasy, but that’s not always a bad thing, especially for approachability. However, there are also many characteristics that are instantly recognizable from previous Final Fantasy games. This includes the tale, the environment, and the characters.

Which Final Fantasy Game Is the Most Futuristic?

The Final Fantasy 13 series, then. To be fair, Final Fantasy 7 is an anachronistic mash-up of cyberpunk, steampunk, and the Wild West, while Final Fantasy 8 and 15 are, without a doubt, futuristic. The metropolis looks like a 1980s cyberpunk city and the Wild West of the 1900s and 1920s.

Best Final Fantasy Story

For nearly four decades, the Final Fantasy series has been one of the most popular line JRPG titles. Final Fantasy, developed by industry giant Square Enix, has undeniably made its imprint on the gaming world with its several iconic installments. Final Fantasy has withstood the test of time and remained relevant, adapting to the always-changing climate of video games, as evidenced by the upcoming new addition to the franchise, Final Fantasy XVI, which features fast-paced action combat like those found in most games today.

Consistently fantastic stories, interesting characters, and challenging gameplay are all hallmarks of the Final Fantasy series. Every new installment took fans deeper into a fantastical world teeming with fantastic animals, stunning landscapes, and rich lore. Many Final Fantasy games, however, really shine when it comes to the depth of their stories, which go far beyond simply following a hero or a band of adventurers as they try to save the world. The following are some of the best story narratives from the Final Fantasy series.

#1. Final Fantasy IX 

Despite being a staple of the Final Fantasy series, its ninth installment, Final Fantasy IX, rarely comes up when discussing the series’ best games. However, among friends and acquaintances, it has a reputation for having an excellent story. Zidane, a tailed tribesman, is the protagonist of the game and becomes embroiled in a scheme to abduct the princess.

Zidane’s love for Princess Garnet puts him in the difficult situation of needing to protect her from impending doom. In addition to having one of the series’ most intriguing protagonists in Zidane, Final Fantasy IX also features a cast full of trademark Final Fantasy charisma.

#2. Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV’s incredible story, which spanned years and a complicated political situation, was told across a large game, an animated film, and a comic book anthology.

Prince Noctis is banished after his country is invaded, and he fights for the chance to return to the throne. With the help of his friends, Noctis leaves his home for the first time to try and recover his fortune. Final Fantasy XV is a fantastic game that succeeds where its predecessors failed and deserves to be considered among the series’ finest entries.

#3. The Final Fantasy VII

The Final Fantasy VII games are among the franchise’s most popular entries, and the prequel game, Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, recounts the story of Zack, a fallen soldier, back to his homeland.

Also explored in detail in Crisis Core are the early stages of Sephiroth’s descent into villainy, Cloud’s backstory, and Tifa’s inspiration for the next installment. Crisis Core is not only a great game, but it also does a great job of elaborating upon one of the best stories in JRPGs. There was just a remake of Crisis Core, and it has impressed enthusiasts.

#4. Final Fantasy X 

Final Fantasy X is an independent story that had a huge effect on the Final Fantasy community. Players immediately become attached to the game’s ensemble of characters as soon as they are immersed in Spira’s turbulent universe.

Final Fantasy X features one of the most diverse groups of characters in the Final Fantasy series, and its great story is full of unforgettable moments and layers upon layers of meaning. Aside from Cloud and Aerith, the love tale of Titus and Yuna is just as well-known.

Final Fantasy Games in Order

Final Fantasy, the first in the anthology series, was released on the NES in 1987. 

Since then, Square Enix has been active in both capacities. Each installment offers a unique take on the main role-playing mechanics of the series. Furthermore, each contribution features an original narrative, musical composition, and cast of characters.

What this franchise has done for role-playing games as a whole is incalculable. FFI, FFIII, FFVII, FFX, FFXIII, and FFXIV are just a few of the series’ best entries, and they’ve made important contributions to the genre.

The majority of Final Fantasy games are commercial and critical hits. Sales of the series have been on the rise. Over 164 million copies of the main titles have been sold so far.

As a further advantage, numerous major Final Fantasy titles have been best-sellers for their respective years or system generations. The most popular entries in the series are Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and X. Here are the final fantasy games in order.

  • Final Fantasy I (1987)
  • Final Fantasy II: 1988
  • Final Fantasy III – 1990
  • Final Fantasy IV – 1991
  • Final Fantasy V – 1992
  • Final Fantasy VI – 1994
  • Final Fantasy VII – 1997
  • Final Fantasy VIII – 1999
  • Final Fantasy IX – 2000
  • Final Fantasy X – 2001
  • Final Fantasy XI (ONLINE) – 2002
  • Final Fantasy X-2 – 2003
  • Final Fantasy XII – 2006
  • Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings – 2007
  • Final Fantasy XIII – 2009
  • Final Fantasy XIV – 2010
  • Final Fantasy XIII – 2 – 2011
  • Lighting Returns: Final Fantasy XIII – 2013
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (ONLINE) – 2013
  • Final Fantasy XV – 2016
  • Final Fantasy VIII Remake – 2020

Is It Worth Playing Final Fantasy in Order?

Not at all; it makes no difference which order the Final Fantasy games are played in. Aside from sequels like Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy 13-2, and Final Fantasy 13-2, the stories in each game are unique, while sharing features such as Chocobos, Cid, crystals, etc. You can pick and choose whatever games in the series you want to play.

How Long Does It Take to Beat Final Fantasy 7?

About 36½ Hours. Final Fantasy VII lasts roughly 36 and a half hours if you stick to the main story or narrative. If you’re the type of gamer who likes to see everything, the full experience should take you about 82 hours to complete.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need to Play All Final Fantasy Games?

In short, no, you don’t need to play previous Final Fantasy games in order to enjoy Final Fantasy 16. There are a total of sixteen main Final Fantasy games, each with its own story, cast of characters, and setting. Despite the totals, the primary series does not form a linear story.

Innovative gaming systems and a complex storyline made Final Fantasy 7 a landmark in the RPG genre. The game pioneered a new style of gameplay that combines turn-based and real-time combat. In spite of its strategic sophistication, it manages to remain accessible and entertaining.

Similar Articles

  2. TOP MOST POPULAR MMORPG OF 2023 ( Reviewed & Ranked)
  3. Best Resident Evil Games: Top 9 of All Time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like