Final Fantasy is legendary game series synonyms with many foundational periods in gaming history ever since Final Fantasy I was released all the way back in 1987. The series has grown in leaps and bounds since then and culminated in many major releases that have received critical claim and ensured a dedicated global fan base. Developed by Square Enix, Final Fantasy was the brainchild of Japanese born Hironobu Sakaguchi who went on to oversee over a dozen Final Fantasy titles in his career before leaving Square Enix in 2003 to start his own game devleopment studio.
Today we’re taking the time to celebrate the best Final Fantasy games you can play today from recent titles all the way to old classics. Final Fantasy games have taken many shapes and forms over the years so you can be sure there is a Final Fantasy game out there for you.
5. Final Fantasy VIII (8)
Final Fantasy VIII was a critically acclaimed Final Fantasy that was released all the way back in 1999. More recently in 2013, it was finally re-released for PC on Steam to critical reception from the Steam community as well. Although slightly different in style to many other Final Fantasy titles, it’s unique and compelling characters, mysterious plot and incredible soundtrack give it a sure spot on our Top 5. Final Fantasy 8 brought a more realistic and less cartoon-like look and feel to the Final Fantasy series for the first time, a concept that has been juggled to various degrees since in other Final Fantasy games.
Another “remaster” was also released in 2019 to mixed reviews for its limited changes and updates on the original game. It included limited graphics and UI updates but some users felt the updates were far too limited and in the process lost some of the original releases charm.
4. Final Fantasy X (10) and X-2
Final Fantasy X is another landmark in the series released shortly after Final Fantasy VIII in 2001. It received glowing reviews across the board for enhancing on previous Final Fantasy games in almost every way, including graphics, storyline and music. It also introduced many innovative changes to combat and character development, leading it to be one of the most critically acclaimed Final Fantasies of all time.
It was also the first Final Fantasy game to have a direct sequel in Final Fantasy X-2 which was released in 2003. It scored nearly as well as the first game and was another instant success. Final Fantasy X was finally released again for PC in 2016 on Steam in the form of a Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 combined remaster. The remaster has received extremely positive reviews on Steam.
3. Final Fantasy XIV Online
Final Fantasy XIV Online was one of the next big movers and shakers after the golden era of Final Fantasy games which occurred around the turn of the millennia. It introduced the first-ever massively multiplayer Final Fantasy experience in the form of a subscription-based MMORPG. The game was actually created after the original single-player Final Fantasy XIV became a commercial and critical failure.
This “version 2” of the game received a ton of positive reviews for its complete turnaround and addressing all of the failures of the original, including a complete overhaul of the game engine and polishing virtually every aspect of the game itself. This created a double whammy where the game had not only addressed all the gameplay issues of the original, but had also added the complexity of allowing immersive multiplayer gameplay.
Although perhaps still not quite as polished as the ultimate greats, the addition of multiplayer in Final Fantasy XIV Online makes it a deserved winner in third place as one of the best Final Fantasy games to play today. It had a rocky launch on PC but, after many changes, eventually won over critics with a complete overhaul and the releases of three expansions including the expansion Shadowbringers which received the best reviews yet.
2. Final Fantasy XV
The most recent Final Fantasy title, released in 2016 for consoles and 2018 for PC, Final Fantasy XV combined the enhancements of gorgeous modern graphics with the age-old recipe for a great Final Fantasy game. Although not praised quite as much as golden era titles, Final Fantasy XV sure comes close and its game engine left fans knee-deep in unseen before eye candy for a Final Fantasy game.
One of the biggest new features is the refinement of the open-world dynamic, allowing players to travel around freely in the world in real-time. The game also introduced some fast-paced and high-intensity real-time game mechanics which is a change-up from many previous titles. Characters and voice actors were praised and, despite some critics calling out a relatively shallow main story arc compared to some previous titles.
The biggest plus is of course it’s gorgeous graphics compared to older Final Fantasy titles. If you have a newer graphics card and would like to take it for a spin an incredibly large and detailed Final Fantasy universe then Final Fantasy XV is a great option and a deserved winner of our second place spot.
1. Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII is one of the most famous and widely loved classics from the golden era of Final Fantasy and was first released in 1997. It received reviews from many critics at major publications stating it was up for contender as the best video game of all time thanks to an extremely polished combination of the best graphics, audio design, and story writing many reviewers had ever seen in a video game. Square Enix took all of the best elements of previous games and polished them down to a tee then combined them with the cutting edge graphics suddenly made possible by the original PlayStation.
The result was a game that stole the hearts of millions of fans and culminated in Square Enix doing a complete remake which was finally released in 2020 including modern graphics and a complete overhaul of various aspects of the game including gameplay, expanding on lore, and new music. The Final Fantasy VII Remake received positive reviews from most critics and ended up becoming one of the fasting selling Playstation 4 games of all time. Unfortunately, it is yet to be released yet for PC but rumor has it the Playstation exclusive license lasts for a year, so look-out for news in 2021!
We strongly recommend the original as if the hoards of fans tell you anything, it’s that this is the kind of game that people may still be playing again for another 20 years to come earning it the top spot in our list of the best Final Fantasy games of the moment.