Final Fantasy Games: The REAL List.

I have seen a couple of lists about which Final Fantasy titles are the best, in what order they should be given ranking... and have disagreed with all of them. This is the TRUE list- read it and weep. (also includes FF games that are not numbered and ONLY console titles, no handhelds) And remeber this: all of the scoring is based on WHEN the game was released as well as overall (don't want to hear any haters comment on graphics not looking good anymore for older titles)

Explaination of criteria
Story- how well written the events of the game are
Pacing- is the story well-paced or does it drag and how much
Characters- are the characters memorable and iconic
Linearity- is there much exploration and is that good or bad
Length- is the length of the story too short or long
Epicness- how "big" is the scope of the work

Visuals- the way the world, characters, enemies look and feel
Display- relates to the menus, text, etc.- how good they look
Music- is the soundtrack part of the greatness of the game
Sound FX- are the SFX lively and fitting

Ease of Use- how easy is it to control everything, easy=good
Innovation- did this installment break new ground
Replayability- when it is over, do you want more
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1.
Final Fantasy VII (1997 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.6/10 X  
A former soldier from an evil company joins a mercenary clan to fight the company he once served.
“ Story- 10
Pacing- 7
Characters- 10
Originality- 10
Linearity- 7
Length- 7
Epicness- 10
"Story-Based" Section Avg- 8.71/10
The story of FFVII is just outstanding, it touched so many people for various reasons, and set THE BAR for all FF titles PERIOD in terms of cinematic quality.

Visuals- 8
Display- 10
Music- 10
Sound FX- 7
"Video/Audio-Based" Section Avg- 8.75/10
While blocky characters may suck now, at the time of release it looked unreal, plus the FMV's were simply haunting. And the soundtrack... COME ON! The only one that rivals it is maybe FF6... MAYBE...

Ease of Use- 9
Innovation- 10
Replayability- 10
"Playability-Based" Section Avg- 9.67/10
Honestly, this game was SUPER EASY to control, about as basic as they come, AND to top that it was probably the biggest leap forward for FF titles with relation to exploring anything new. Plus no matter how many times you play it... it just stays good.

Total- 90.44% ” - Trtreiber
 
2.
Final Fantasy III (1994 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  
A mysterious woman joins a group of Mercenaries in order to find about her destiny and find means of saving the world from an evil madman.
“ Story- 10
Pacing- 9
Characters- 9
Originality- 9
Linearity- 7
Length- 7
Epicness- 10
"Story-Based" Section Avg- 8.71/10
The story of FF6 might just be as good (if not slightly more epic than FF7's)- that's debateable. But the sheer magnitude of the events that occur to the plethora of characters gives this title a monsterous (almost overbearing) amount of individuality. Who is the better arch-villain?: Kefka of Sephiroth? It's just a matter of opinion really.

Visuals- 9
Display- 8
Music- 10
Sound FX- 7
"Video/Audio-Based" Section Avg- 8.5/10
This is probably the best looking RPG for the SNES, maybe not even just RPG's but in general. The character's show emotions, the backgrounds, scenery, menus, everything that pulls it together is artful and amazing. And the soundtrack; each character having their OWN theme- stunning to say the least.

Ease of Use- 6
Innovation- 8
Replayability- 8
"Playability-Based" Section Avg- 7.33/10
The only shortcoming for this title (and it's a small shortcoming at that) is the ease of use- it's a little more involved because of the sheer amount of characters to work with. It makes up for it with great strides in refreshing the old formula of "save the world, kill the bad guy". You can't have everything.

Total- 81.33% ” - Trtreiber
 
3.
Final Fantasy IX (2000 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
When bandits try to kidnap the princess, they discover that it's the princess who wants to be kidnapped. But they are chased by an evil queen and an even more powerful entity.
Director: Hiroyuki Itou
“ Story- 8
Pacing- 5
Characters- 8
Originality- 6
Linearity- 8
Length- 10
Epicness- 8
"Story-Based" Section Avg- 7.57/10
This installment was all about nostalgia... and that's a good thing! It took what the original few games established and hand-picked the great things from them in order to make the ultimate "old-school" FF game. While some of the concepts are great, they are a bit dated though, however the story is still enthralling either way.

Visuals- 9
Display- 8
Music- 9
Sound FX- 8
"Video/Audio-Based" Section Avg- 8.5/10
What the older games lacked, this game delivered on- GRAPHICS. This IS the best looking FF game on the PSX when it comes to both in game graphics and FMVs and on top of that it also had a simply melodic soundtrack that sticks with you after you turn off the game.

Ease of Use- 8
Innovation- 5
Replayability- 4
"Playability-Based" Section Avg- 5.67/10
While this title didn't really pave the way for anything new, it did refine older mechanics and made them REALLY easy to implement. Though because of the sheer length of the game, it may not have the replayability the other titles did.

Total- 72.46% ” - Trtreiber
 
4.
Final Fantasy XII (2006 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
War is on the horizon. Seeking to strengthen its base of power, the great Archadian Empire has been invading and subjugating its neighboring kingdoms...
“ Story- 4
Pacing- 6
Characters- 4
Originality- 6
Linearity- 7
Length- 7
Epicness- 7
"Story-Based" Section Avg- 5.86/10
This happens to be the low-point of the scoring. This game is basically Star Wars with Chocobos. Vaan=Luke, Balthier=Han Solo, Fran=Chewbaca?... the point is, the story was convoluted and overblown and completely ripped off "a galaxy far, far away". Plus it was plodding and lackluster in the end.

Visuals- 10
Display- 9
Music- 7
Sound FX- 9
"Video/Audio-Based" Section Avg- 8.75/10
But... the one thing this game does have is GREAT VISUALS! Everything looks amazing; the backgrounds, the towns, the character designs and models, the animations of monsters, EVERYTHING is beautiful in this game. It's where this game shines to put it simply. And... the soundtrack isn't half-bad either.

Ease of Use- 9
Innovation- 8
Replayability- 3
"Playability-Based" Section Avg- 6.67/10
The mere fact that you can "auto-set" battles and they are all in real-time makes this title probably the easiest FF game to control. You don't have to do ANYTHING if you set things up correctly. But... the journey is really only worth one trip sad to say.

Total- 70.91% ” - Trtreiber
 
5.
Final Fantasy Tactics (1997 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
The story of a heroic squire religated to the lost pages of history.
Director: Yasumi Matsuno
“ Story- 8
Pacing- 5
Characters- 8
Originality- 7
Linearity- 5
Length- 6
Epicness- 8
"Story-Based" Section Avg- 6.71/10
Well the "epicness" of the story; a rivalry between waring countries mixed with magic, dragons, etc, made this grand in scope... too bad it's actually much shorter than most people think. But truthfully the chracters were bad-ass... especially T.G. Cid.

Visuals- 8
Display- 10
Music- 10
Sound FX- 7
"Video/Audio-Based" Section Avg- 8.75/10
This is another example of a FF game looking like a precious piece of artwork found in the most prestigous museums. It's not surprising that the director of this also directed Vagrant Story and FF12. And the soundtrack of this game... It's like Mozart and Bethoven had a Dragon Baby and he *beep* out a full orchestra. EPIC WIN!

Ease of Use- 5
Innovation- 6
Replayability- 6
"Playability-Based" Section Avg- 5.67/10
This game is difficult to control, more so than the other games listed here but it's also not a straightforward RPG; it's a Strategy game at its core. And while it was innovative for FF games, Tactics Ogre was doing almost the same thing years prior.

Total- 70.44% ” - Trtreiber
 
6.
Final Fantasy VIII (1999 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A group of mercenaries rescue a mysterious girl, who some say is the sorceress who wants to govern the universe.
“ Story- 8
Pacing- 5
Characters- 8
Originality- 7
Linearity- 7
Length- 5
Epicness- 8
"Story-Based" Section Avg- 6.86/10
Two things hold this title back in the story section- A. the pacing is odd; characters split up and don't see each other for LONG periods of time, plus you have to deal with annoying "dream sequence" set pieces, and B. this title is IN FACT... the shortest FF title period. You could easily blow through it in maybe a day or so if you really wanted.

Visuals- 9
Display- 6
Music- 9
Sound FX- 7
"Video/Audio-Based" Section Avg- 7.75/10
The visual style of the game was more sophisticated than FF7 for sure, but the menus were UGLY and bland. It marred the detail set by the world in which it was set. Sets it back only slightly though because the musical score was triumphant.

Ease of Use- 6
Innovation- 8
Replayability- 4
"Playability-Based" Section Avg- 6/10
This game almost turned into Super Mario RPG with how much you had to do timed attacks on enemies... but far more serious of course. And since the story is SO SHORT, there's little reason to replay this one over and over; you're not going to get any more out of it, trust me.

Total- 68.69% ” - Trtreiber
 
7.
Final Fantasy X (2001 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
Tidus is a star athlete in his city. He is famous, has all the ladies, and simply loves his life. However...
“ Story- 5
Pacing- 7
Characters- 4
Originality- 9
Linearity- 6
Length- 9
Epicness- 7
"Story-Based" Section Avg- 6.71/10
So... the characters are either silly- Tidus, Wakka- or over-sexualized- Lulu, Riku. YES... Auron is a ULTRA bad-ass, but not cool enough to carry the other lame-o or buxom characters. And while the story was very original for the series, it just didn't have the pinache and style of the previous installments.

Visuals- 10
Display- 7
Music- 6
Sound FX- 9
"Video/Audio-Based" Section Avg- 8/10
And much like FF12, this game has BOMB graphics, though they definately could have done some better synching of mouth movement and dialogue... but hey, it was their first attempt at ACTUALLY having their characters speak. Unfortunately, the music was odd for the world in which it was set (or just for a FF title in general)- Rammstein anyone?

Ease of Use- 6
Innovation- 7
Replayability- 2
"Playability-Based" Section Avg- 5/10
Another low point for this title came from the less-inspired timed attacks for limit breaks, along with having to deal with a camera that may not always work with how you're wanting to move on the map. Plus it just lacked that draw to come back for more due to the combined lameness of it's low points.

Total- 65.71% ” - Trtreiber
 
8.
Final Fantasy XIII (2009 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In a futuristic city, a group of adventurers must fight the government forces controlled by an alien force to stop its plan to destroy the world.
“ Story- 6
Pacing- 4
Characters- 4
Originality- 6
Linearity- 3
Length- 8
Epicness- 6
"Story-Based" Section Avg- 5.29//10
As the series has continued on, it is (mildly) understandable that stories become harder to flesh out, make new and fresh, not become BORING as *beep*... and it shows here. This was by far and large the MOST linear FF title so far, so much so that the term "shooting the tube" has been uttered more than once when describing it.

Visuals- 10
Display- 8
Music- 5
Sound FX- 10
"Video/Audio-Based" Section Avg- 8.25/10
Yet again, this game continues the trend of exceeding the last titles ability to inspire awe with its visual style. It really is amazing to look at the character designs, the world in which the story it set, all of the little details that make this realm unbelievably realistic and beautiful. But this game was ALL style and little substance. Hopefully this trend will end but we can only pray...

Ease of Use- 8
Innovation- 6
Replayability- 2
"Playability-Based" Section Avg- 5.33/10
And ALSO yet again, the trend continues with making this easier to control. And while the "Paradigm Shift" system was semi-inspired in order to get the player more "into the action" that FF12 did, it kind of fell flat after a while due to the constant management needed. And honestly... who wants to go through that more than once?

Total- 62.9% ” - Trtreiber
 
9.
Final Fantasy V (1992 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
When the magical crystals which keep the elements in balance begin to shatter unexpectedly, a ragtag group consisting of a wanderer, a princess, a pirate captain, and an amnesiac old man must band together to save the world.
“ Story- 6
Pacing- 5
Characters- 6
Originality- 7
Linearity- 7
Length- 6
Epicness- 5
"Story-Based" Section Avg- 6/10
While the story in this installment is slightly better than the two newest versions, it still lacks that epic feeling the other SNES and PSX versions did. Fun, but forgetable in the end for pretty much every part.

Visuals- 8
Display- 5
Music- 5
Sound FX- 5
"Video/Audio-Based" Section Avg- 5.75/10
The visuals in this game are actually not half bad; the character desgins are better than FF4 with more emotion and charm, but the other parts kind of pull it into the bland area and make it feel like only a half-assed attempt at something bigger.

Ease of Use- 6
Innovation- 7
Replayability- 3
"Playability-Based" Section Avg- 5.33/10
The biggest push in this section was the innovation part; having job classes you can change and bring over skills from. It was a nice deviation from having a set class, but it's really not enough to make it easier or more replayable.

Total- 56.94% ” - Trtreiber
 
10.
Final Fantasy II (1991 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A dark knight questions the ruthless actions of his king and undergoes a quest to redeem himself and save the world.
“ Story- 7
Pacing- 3
Characters- 7
Originality- 7
Linearity- 9
Length- 7
Epicness- 7
"Story-Based" Section Avg- 6.71/10
The bright shining point here is the story- it really is very inspired and epic in scale and design. Most of the characters are great, memorable even, but this game is SOOOO SLOOOOOOOW... too slow to be great. Plus there are WAY too many random battles. Ugh.

Visuals- 6
Display- 7
Music- 7
Sound FX- 5
"Video/Audio-Based" Section Avg- 6.25/10
Another so-so area here. Everything kind of falls in the middle- it's not ugly looking. but also not stellar. It's not a crappy soundtrack, but it's also not awe-inspiring. It's like a Strawberry Beer... it's "OK".

Ease of Use- 4
Innovation- 7
Replayability- 1
"Playability-Based" Section Avg- 4/10
Worst part of it all. It brought all of the annoying problems of the previous FF titles; being not user-friendly control wise, over and splashed a slightly better coat of paint on it. And did I happen to mention this game was SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW? Yeah, not worth a 2nd trip.

Total- 56.55% ” - Trtreiber
 
11.
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (1992 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Kouzi Ide
“ Story- 3
Pacing- 1
Characters- 3
Originality- 3
Linearity- 1
Length- 4
Epicness- 4
"Story-Based" Section Avg- 2.71/10
This has to be the dumbest story, the most elementary, child-like interperatation of an RPG ever made. And the linearity of this game make FF13 look like World of Warcraft.

Visuals- 4
Display- 5
Music- 5
Sound FX- 5
"Video/Audio-Based" Section Avg- 4.75/10
Didn't this title come out AFTER FF4? Yes... yes it did. Wasn't there any improvements made at all? No... No there was not. "Blech" is the only term that comes to mind. It looks like the game was made by a five-year old using Windows Paint.

Ease of Use- 10
Innovation- 2
Replayability- 2
"Playability-Based" Section Avg- 4.67/10
The ONLY saving grace (if there was one) for this title was how DAMN EASY it was to control. Man, if only all I had to do was hold down the B Button for every FF title when it comes to almost everything...

Total- 40.44% ” - Trtreiber
 
12.
Final Fantasy (1987 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Magic-using warriors discover an Evil god.....
“ For all games after this point I will simply give a brief synopsis as opposed to breaking it down into parts.

While this was the original, it's certainly not the best. The control scheme is horrific, far too involed. The visuals were (for the time) ok but washed out and boring. The sound was... well it was Nintendo so you can't expect much truthfully. And if you're looking for a great story... look elsewhere. ” - Trtreiber
 
13.
Final Fantasy II (1988 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A group of youths escape from their hometown of Fynn as it is invaded by the evil empire. This is the story of their life-changing journey.
“ Slightly worse than the original, more confusing for jobs and classes, and just plain old not as fun. While both this and the first were redone for the newer systems, looking back on the oldest versions is really painful. ” - Trtreiber
 
14.
Final Fantasy III (1990 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Four orphans seek to restore the balance between light and darkness in the world.
“ More of the same, but still not enough. This final title for the NES versions was maybe a bit better on story than the 2nd and 1st, but it's lack of innovation was hindering and showed it's age terribly. ” - Trtreiber
 
15.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (2011 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Lightning has disappeared, and her sister Serah travels through time and alternate realities with the help of a moogle and a mysterious boy named Noell who claims that Lightning needs her help to defeat a powerful, immortal foe.
“ The mere fact that this game is just as gorgeous, if not more so, than the first FF13, gives it an edge... but not that much. Any "sequel" titles just cannot stand up the originals for a myriad of reasons. Sorry kids. ” - Trtreiber
 
16.
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (2006 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Set a few years after Final Fantasy VII : Advent Children, this PS2 game tells the tale of Vincent Valentine.
“ Much harder to rate this on the same level as the other FF titles due to it's lack of RPG elements, but the effort in terms of visuals and sound was nice. Too bad it was poorly paced and had little to do with the amazing game it was inspired by. ” - Trtreiber
 
17.
Final Fantasy X-2 (2003 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Convinced that Tidus is still alive, Yuna embarks on a quest to find him.
Director: Motomu Toriyama
“ Cutesy... ugh. Girl power? This ain't the Spice Girls man. While the visuals and sound were great just as in the original FFX, the ass-backwards costume system and ULTRA happy story-line was just off-putting. Shouldn't even belong with the other FF titles... but alas. ” - Trtreiber
 
18.
Final Fantasy XI (2002 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Vana'diel is a prosperous land, divided between four kingdoms: The Republic of Bastok, home of the inquisitive humes and powerful Galka...
“ Ok... Final Fantasy does not belong ONLINE. Blizzard does it RIGHT with World of Warcraft, but Square Enix made a super boring knockoff and EPIC FAILED. ” - Trtreiber
 
19.
Final Fantasy XIV (2010 Video Game)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Director: Nobuaki Komoto
“ Like I said... Final Fantasy DOES NOT belong ONLINE! And this is an even worse version of FF11, and while the graphics are AMAZING (as they should be for new titles), this game just straight up BLOWS! ” - Trtreiber