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11 Best Final Fantasy Games, Ranked

In homage to one of the best role-playing franchises of all time.

Final Fantasy is a JRPG franchise that was launched by Square Enix (then known as Square Soft) back in 1987. Despite it having more than 15 mainline titles and even more spin-offs, sequels, and mobile games, no two Final Fantasies ever feel the same—and long-time fans like myself are always rewarded with a unique experience with each release.

But even in such a content-rich collection like Final Fantasy, some games are more enjoyable than the rest. That said, here are my best Final Fantasy games, ranked.

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Best Final Fantasy Games of all time

11. World of Final Fantasy

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World of Final Fantasy is a hard sell for anyone who hasn’t played a lot of mainline Final Fantasy games. But if you want to go around and self-insert yourself in your favorite characters’ stories, get this game (I swear it's more interesting than it sounds). Some iconic scenes even turn out differently, and for the better, with your intervention. The dungeons just get a little repetitive the longer you play, but overall, it’s a very unique 40-hour monster training RPG.

10. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is not a game that will appeal to a large player base, but if you enjoy resource management, action battles, and taking control of your own story, give it a try. In fact, consider it an offline MMORPG. You’re even free to design your own characters (or set of characters).

The story revolves around protecting your village from the Miasma that plagues the world, and you need to journey every couple of years to restore the power of the crystal that protects your home. When I played Final Fantasy XVI, this was the very first game I remembered giving me a familiar vibe. So, for those claiming FF16 isn't Final Fantasy—it is, trust me.

9. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy

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Final Fantasy isn’t consistent with a lot of things, but if there’s one thing that lands in every game, it’s the music. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is your way to experience all of that in this cute but, admittedly, challenging rhythm game. Players will have to swipe, tap, button mash, and control the circle pad, among other things, to play. Most songs are also disguised as a “fight,” so it is still a JRPG (kind of). It has all of your favorites, as well as obscure tracks that’ll probably be your new favorite, from Uematsu’s iconic One-Winged Angel to Final Fantasy XIII’s rock rendition of the Chocobo Theme.

Related: Games like Beat Saber on Nintendo Switch – Best rhythm games

8. Final Fantasy IX

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After the modern influences found in VII and VIII, I was super psyched to see Final Fantasy IX go back to its fantasy roots. And out of all Final Fantasies I’ve played; I’d say that this one is still one of the best traditional fantasy titles I’ve played (the other being FFXVI). If you enjoy turn-based battles, magic, beast creatures, romance, and other traditional elements that make a JRPG what it is, Final Fantasy IX is the best one to play.

7. Final Fantasy VI

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If you’re looking for the best classic Final Fantasy game to play, the title easily goes to Final Fantasy VI. It has an excellent story, a colorful cast, and an amazing soundtrack. Terra and Kafka are easily the most interesting pairs of protagonists and antagonists that you’ll meet. The game also satisfies a very specific guilty pleasure plot point of mine that turns the whole story around.

The steampunk setting and the tension-filled conflict between an oppressive empire and the rebel faction make the world very interesting as well. I'd talk more about it, but the best part of FFVI is the story—and that's something I want everyone to experience for themselves.

6. Dissidia: Final Fantasy

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As a plot enjoyer, seeing Dissidia tie in its story into Final Fantasy canon lore is very impressive. It’s a tale about a tale about world that can only survive on battle energy, so it summons protagonists and antagonists from other dimensions to wage war on its lands. I didn’t want to say “heroes and villains” because Dissidia blurs the line between the two so well, no one is either. The plot of the original game for the PSP (and Duodecim to complete the story) is arguably much better than its PS4 sequel, but you can give both a try.

The action gameplay is not for everyone, but I personally found it exhilarating. You have to try it; it isn’t even a long game.

5. Final Fantasy XVI

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As a turn-based enjoyer, I was surprised by how much I thoroughly enjoyed everything that Final Fantasy XVI's gameplay has to offer. The action feels good, and the options never feel overwhelming, even if there are so many to choose from. Also, this couldn't be me growing up, but there's just something relatable about this 30-year-old man learning to navigate life when he couldn't get all those years. In terms of plot, this game's the embodiment of the quote, "if there's a will, there's a way"—for better or worse. It's also very big on familial themes (whether it's platonic, romantic, found family, and more), which I'm personally weak to.

4. Final Fantasy Tactics

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If you enjoy strategy tactics and deep themes of oppression, revenge, and justice, then Final Fantasy Tactics is a must-play. This game, until today, is genuinely still one of the most challenging JRPGs I've ever played, and it will probably continue to hold up well with the remastered version out. Plus, it contains a lot of elements that impact the plot in some way, like character favorability, choices, and even birth dates. It can get a little difficult, but that’s one of the things that makes it so engaging.

3. Final Fantasy VII / Final Fantasy VII: Remake

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More than gameplay, however, I'm a HUGE story buff. And in terms of narratives and plot executions, no game does it better than Final Fantasy VII. It takes the concept of "unreliable narrator" to a whole new level and makes players constantly about who's telling the truth and what version of it is real. Remember, there's a reason why Cloud and Sephiroth are two of the most recognizable characters in video game history, and it has ALL to do with this game's story.

For this spot though, it's difficult to just pick either Final Fantasy VII and Remake. Their storylines are similar, and both of their gameplay are interesting in their own ways. The materia system present in both games is a pleasantly intuitive choice, providing every character with extra versatility.

2. Final Fantasy XIV

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Final Fantasy XIV is an MMORPG that’s so well-written, well-designed, and well-supported that it saved Square Enix from bankruptcy at some point. In terms of its, well, everything—it's the most Final Fantasy game of Final Fantasies you're going to get. There's rich lore, god killing, power of bonds, and more. If you prefer playing alone, FFXIV is also one of the few MMOs that make the experience just as enjoyable.

If you’re reluctant to play it, just know that the main game and its first award-winning expansion, Heavensward, is completely free to play up to level 60.

1. Final Fantasy X

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There’s so much good about Final Fantasy X that makes it such a good RPG and not just a good Final Fantasy game. I want to start off with the fact that it has such smart storytelling. Everything about the game, from the dialogue to its music, adds to the narrative in some way. The whiplash I got from hearing the final boss OST for the first time is something I will never forget.

Your character builds are also super customizable. FFX uses an ability tree-like system to build characters any way you want, which adds so much versatility to the game. It certainly helps that it’s moderately difficult (and I say that with a lot of face scrunching; it’s a hard game).  You really have to strategize and equip your party properly to defeat many optional and final bosses.

Though the plot does mandate you take a linear path before you get an airship, you’re free to explore things after that and get rewarded for the amount of effort you put into your explorations. This is my personal favorite Final Fantasy game, and no other title after this has been able to claim the spot.

For more posts about Final Fantasy, check out some of our other articles here at Pro Game Guides.


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Author
Image of Bianca Versoza
Bianca Versoza
Bianca Versoza is Pro Game Guides' Weekend Editor. With over three years of experience in gaming journalism, she specializes in anything remotely turn-based and strategic, like Pokémon, Final Fantasy, and Honkai: Star Rail. Bianca is a huge fan of Square Enix, RPGs, party games, and visual novels, but will play anything with a banger OST. She's a proud early bird.

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11 Best Final Fantasy Games, Ranked

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