Final Fantasy is a franchise that has been with us for a long time at this point, and we would be surprised if there was ever a time when it would be gone for good. It has managed to spit out some absolutely fantastic games in the past, which is why it is a name that is so fondly spoken about in video gaming circles. However, there are many times that the developers have put out games with the Final Fantasy name that were clearly unable to live up to the legacy that had been placed down before them.
What we wanted to do was take a trip to Metacritic and see which of the main Final Fantasy games rated the highest and which rated the lowest. This is a chance for people to walk down memory lane while also taking a look at whether their own opinion on the games matches up with that of the critics out there. Let's not forget that this is all just opinion, really, so there will be people who didn't like those highly rated and which loved those poorly rated!
So, we think it's about time that we dived right into the mainline Final Fantasy games to see which of them ended up getting a good score in the end. We're not going to pretend that we've liked every single Final Fantasy game out there, but let's not forget that this is down to the scores given by Metacritic, not by us!
14 Final Fantasy XIV Online (49%)
The concept of taking a game like Final Fantasy and putting it online is one that appeals to many different players out there, but in the end it just didn't turn out as well as the developers were hoping. Not only did they fail to bring the grand universe to an online service in a way that kept everyone happy, but the way the game played was boring and slow. Despite the fact that quite a few people ended up buying and playing this game, it has to be said that it comes as no surprise to us that it has a score as low as this one!
13 Final Fantasy XIII (65%)
When this game first came out, it was infamous for not meeting the high expectations that had been made by the franchise up until this point. While a lot of people had put up with a huge number of hours being in the way of getting to the good part of other Final Fantasy games, like with Final Fantasy VII for example, XIII was just asking for far too much dedication. It would take a long time to get anywhere near a good part of the game, and even then it wasn't much better than the more boring game that had been played up until that point!
12 Final Fantasy XI (66%)
Before XIV, there was XI, and even though this online multiplayer experience certainly does score better than the game that would come out three installments after this, there were not a lot of people that actually enjoyed making their way through the various fetch quests that people found themselves coming up against in this video game. Sad to think that people can't even take a look just at how boring this game could be now that the creators of the game have shut down the dedicated servers that allowed players into the world.
11 Final Fantasy III (68%)
Anybody that has any knowledge of Final Fantasy will know that many of the early games weren't released outside of Japan, meaning that the game that came to be known as Final Fantasy III on the SNES in the west was actually the sixth game in the series! It wasn't until years later that we got a port of the game with updated visuals, and there weren't a lot of people that actually ended up enjoying it, so they were probably right not to release the original in the West, instead giving us a game with the same name that we enjoyed much more!
10 Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn Of Souls (79%)
Okay, so we know that this is two games in one, and that it's a remake of the originals, but we don't think that should be so much of a problem. Yes, this is widely regarded as being the definitive version of this game, a collection that managed to breathe new life into what had become an incredibly antiquated game. For many, this was a chance to get into what had otherwise been particularly difficult games now that they had become old, and many people used this foundation to play through the later games in the franchise as well.
9 Final Fantasy XV (81%)
Being the most recent main game in the series, the fifteenth installment decided to go for something a little different, essentially offering players a chance to take on a road trip with the main character and his friends, as well as using a different type of combat system than pretty much every earlier game in the series. It goes for something much more action focused, a change that a lot of people liked but a lot of people didn't like either. Most people felt there was enough to enjoy here that it was worth giving it a high score though.
8 Final Fantasy V (83%)
This was one of the many Final Fantasy games that didn't make it to the West when it first came out, but it wasn't long before they decided to port it. Once it made it onto the PlayStation and the Game Boy Advance, many different people decided to give it a go and they found that they had been left behind! One of the gameplay options that people still love about this game is that it offers people a chance to customize a lot of things about the characters that they control, which a lot of RPG games need to take a note from.
7 Final Fantasy IV (85%)
This was originally released in the West as Final Fantasy II, and unlike the first games that came before it which stayed fairly similar, this game took some pretty big leaps, changing things up in a way that would follow the series for a long time after. It was the first game in the series that saw the party constantly changing, with each character in the player's party having set classes, rather than having ones that could be manipulated by the player directly. It also placed an Active Time Battle system into the game that would be used for at least the next five games!
6 Final Fantasy VIII (90%)
After the huge success of the seventh Final Fantasy in the West, the developers decided to make all games after that one available in the West as standard, or at least all of the main installments in the franchise anyway! This one follows a bunch of mercenaries that end up being pulled into a conflict well beyond their capabilities as a team, with the leader Squall having to come to terms with his limitations while also balancing the relationships he has with the cast of characters that makes up the game's party throughout the fantasy narrative.
5 Final Fantasy XII (92%)
One of the things that a lot of people can agree on, even those that absolutely adore the Final Fantasy franchise, is that random encounters just are not fun, especially if the player find themselves having to grind their way up a bunch of levels before they can take on the final boss like in a lot of these games. Part of the reason that this game was so well loved by both fans and critics was the fact that it removed random encounters from the entire equation, instead letting people see the enemies on the map, giving players a chance to avoid them.
4 Final Fantasy VI (92%)
Released as Final Fantasy III in the West, this game got a lot of respect for the amount of story that the developers were able to fit into it while never having to sacrifice the gameplay. Not only did it gain a huge amount of critical acclaim at the time, but people continue to look back at it as a landmark title, not only for the SNES but for the RPG genre in general. Seriously, if people like this franchise but they've never given this individual title a chance, they have to buy it and have a look to see what they think for themselves!
3 Final Fantasy X (92%)
This was the first time that people were able to play a Final Fantasy game in full 3D rather than as a pre-rendered backgrounds. Not only that, but the characters were given voice acting as well, meaning that people didn't have to watch the subtitles scrolling across the bottom of the screen like in the previous games. While a lot of people didn't feel that the story was anywhere near as good as any of the games that came before it in the Final Fantasy series, it was good enough to keep people coming back afterwards.
2 Final Fantasy VII (92%)
We understand that a lot of people would argue that this is the greatest Final Fantasy game of all time, but it would seem that the Metacritic score doesn't agree with this. This was the first Final Fantasy game that many people played, and they found a huge narrative that focused on a cast of characters trying to make a change in a world that desperately needs them to save it. With so many different twists and turns along the way, people decided to stick around after the game finished to see what the rest of the series had to offer!
1 Final Fantasy IX (94%)
Some people won't be able to believe that this game has made it to the end of the list, as there is a genuine debate about which Final Fantasy game should be allowed the top spot in places like this. We know that some people will always put Final Fantasy VII at number one, but for a lot of people Final Fantasy IX brings the best gameplay and story out of the entire franchise. This is why both we and Metacritic agree on this one getting the top spot, so people better finally get over it and take a look at which game in the franchise is truly the best!