Final Fantasy VI is a beacon to the series. For what it did, the landmarks it set, the standards it raised. And not just for its impact, but for itself. Final Fantasy VI is almost flawless. An extended and developed cast, a great storyline, awesome villain and good battle system. A true gem in the series
Well developed and deeply memorable characters, an epic and grand plot, simple but effective battle system, FF9 had it all. It took what the six Nintendo era games had done and distilled and refined it into a work of excellent fantasy. Games since have continued in the sci-fi direction, and little wonder, obviously the fantasy angle hit its pinnacle here
Final Fantasy XII is an epic story if there ever was one. The characters, the voice-work, the dialogue, the expansive world, XII just immerses you in its storyline in a way I never felt from any other game. And compared to the old-fashioned ATB systems, the new real-time system is well done and great
Never have I seen a game fail so totally at everything it set out to accomplish. With bad gameplay, bad music, bad characterization, and an insultingly bad story, XIII-2 is an insult to the franchise and should be remembered only as an example of how not to make a video game.
I cannot recall ever being challenged by a Final Fantasy game (fairly, FF4 DS!) as FF13 did. The Paradigm system made battle fast-paced and action pack, forcing me to observe my enemies, be knowledgeable of their attack patterns, and adjust my party's behavior accordingly with well-planed paradigm shifts intended to usage in specific situations, like quick and sturdy defenses to endure hell, or an all-out assault on a weakened foe. For once you couldn't just choose your favorite party members, load them up with overpowered skills and equipment, and expect to coast through the game. This is the battle system for the strategic and intelligent gamers.
Final Fantasy XII's License system is a game in itself. Being able to take specific abilities whenever you like, and being given access to certain new abilities depending on which you take, was awesome. You can grow your characters and their powers however you like, and since you can hoard LP, whenever you like. The real-time system was also very well done with assignable Gambits, and the new Quickening system added a new level of interactivity to Limit Breaks.
The Materia system is very well done. Not only can you equip any character with any Materia piece, but those Materia pieces grow alongside their users due to the synergy between the shard and the equipment piece it's on. No other Final Fantasy combined weapon and magic skills like this, and it added a new dimension to gameplay. The Limit Break system was also awesome and helped keep the characters from becoming copies of each other, which with Materia was so easy to let happen
No equipping weapons or armor, only twelve spells and armor and weapons each, and most of them become entirely obsolete once you acquired the next-level spell/item. Combined with the turn-based system, painfully simple enemies and bosses, and the highly restrictive two-person party, and this game's battle system is beyond hope. Even NES games had better battle systems than this piece of crap
Zidane is one slick operator. He's got a relatively simple personality to understand, but that's not intended to be an insult. Cool, confident and playful, he's a totally different spin on protagonists. At a time when the series had become known for "emo" heroes, Zidane took the role of protagonist in a new, awesome direction. With his flirtatious attitude, great musical themes and smart-alec quips, you can't help but like the guy. I see a lot of people say they hate Zidane because of his tail, hairiness, height, and general appearance. They're just jealous they can't make that look as cool as Zidane did
I read a magazine article that said "Lightning" from XIII is the first female hero. I hope those people burn for forgetting the original leading lady. Gender aside, Terra was an excellent protagonist because her backstory was so horribly tragic, and with her amnesia and mysterious powers you couldn't help but want to learn more about exactly who and what she was. I don't think anyone quite expected the answers to be what they were, but it just added to the intrigue that is the only half-Esper child in the world
A lot of people dismiss Squall as a whiny, brooding, angsty emo with a stupid weapon, but Squall is a deeper person than some people realize. Deep down he really is a nice guy, he acts like an asshole on purpose to push people away so he doesn't have to experience the pain of losing those he cares about. FF8 follows him overcoming that fear and letting people in. And while I disagree with that I understand and respect it. So, for having character depth that often gets tossed aside once the "e-word" is tossed in, Squall gets a mention here.
Another stain from the scourge of my soul. Benjamin has absolutely no backstory, no personality, no motivation or goals. He's just a blank slate, he isn't a silent protagonist but he may as well be because nothing he ever says shows any hint of a real character. Benjamin not only doesn't deliver, he never even takes the order down. We're at the counter ordering a good protagonist, he's out back smoking a bong staring at his hands
Zidane was already listed, but he's here again. Really, he's so cool! Zidane takes what was normally reserved for secondary characters and makes it center stage. He looks at Edge and Edgar, learns what they did, perfects it and makes it his own. Zidane kicks ass
The game's awful puns and symbolism about his name aside, Home grew from a wimpy, angsty teen into a strong and courageous young man, able to stand tall and fight with the adults and maturing to the point you could forget he's only 14. He was also invaluable in battle, combining offensive magic, support buffs and Cure spells to form an excellent supporting for Light and Fang while they cleaned house
Balthier is Ivalice's answer to Zidane. Smooth-talking, witty and confident, Balthier's self-proclaimed title is one he's worthy of in every way. Just don't try to pronounce his real name
Wakka is an racist jackass. He spends the game bitching about the Al Bhed when Yuna is half-Al Bhed, imagine how she must feel. Not to mention that really annoying "ya" habit, and his voice isn't anything to brag about either. Top it off with the fucking annoying Blitzball shit, and I just wish Wakka would roll over and die.
For so long I had trouble choosing between Terra and Rydia. Dissidia tipped the scale - after seeing Terra in her cutesy, sweet, bad-ass Esperkin glory in 3D and with voice actor, I knew there was only one Final Fantasy femme worthy for the top spot.
Lady Ashelia is the true protagonist of XII. She's heir to a powerful legacy, and is badass enough to look the gods in the eye and tell them to piss off. Not to mention that miniskirt and the high-kicks she performs in it...
Maybe I was too hasty naming Cloud FF7's version of Terra, because Aerith has that going on too. With a good backstory and personality, Aerith is a great character, and she's beautiful and indispensable in battle. And while I didn't cry when she died, it was still horribly tragic. Aerith is a very cool woman to have around
Stupid, annoying, childish, naive, and useless. Rinoa is an example of how not to write a female character, unless you want her to be loathed.
Kefka is awesome. With his trademark cackle, Joker make-up and penchant for destruction, he's the villain you love to hate. And he aimed high. I don't know if it was always his plan, but he became a god. The God of Magic itself. And yeah he got taken down by mortals, but he was still a God for a good year. That's more than a lot of villains can claim
Some villains try to take over the world. Barthandelus already has, and every citizen in it, directly or indirectly, willingly or not, exists to further his goals, and there's little the party can do to stop him, he's just that skilled. Throughout the game, Barthandelus was two steps ahead of everyone and he made sure to rub it in their faces.
Zemus can go screw himself. Golbez is to Darth Vader as Kefka is the Joker. With his badass black armor, awesome dark powers and cool backstory, Golbez is truly an intimidating villain. Kefka, you have to understand who he is and what he's done to understand why he's a good villain. Golbez? Just look at him and you know he's a powerful foe. Don't screw with the Badass in Black
A villain sue of the worst kind. He's gonna destroy all existence, but he's sympathetic and complex, or at least I'm supposed to think of him that way. No, Caius is just a petty, annoying brat of a man who thinks the life of one person is worth the damnation of all existence.
Shinra were the true villains of FF7, along with Jenova. Sucking the life from the planet, ruining the lives of every party member and slowly taking over the world, Rufus Shinra and the Turks are always there to cause trouble, like a true FF villain should be
While Vayne was busy being a bad villain and Cid was in his lab, one by one the Judges rose to fight you. Each distinct in appearance and personality and each very cool. Naturally Gabranth reigns supreme, in fact were it not for Cid I'd consider him the main villain. But the other Judges are badass too
Though he came into the game late, Garland still got a homerun. Revealing so much critical backstory for the world, and the mastermind of Kuja and Zidane's lives, Garland didn't need much time to make his influence known. He wasn't around long, but when he had the spotlight he made the most of it
They were in The Game Which Cannot be Named. And yet, I cannot totally cast them off, for one of them actually has a pretty cool dungeon and is the only enemy in the game with an actual chance to kill you. Pazuzu, for being the only worthwhile enemy in the game, I tip my hat to you sir
Beatrix is the coolest Paladin this side of the Sony era. With her rocking White Magic, killer swordplay skills and ability to crush your party three times in a row without breaking a sweat, Beatrix is easy the coolest badass I've had the honor of controlling for a short time
Leo may not have Beatrix' magic, but he does have awesome sword skills. At a time when you're lucky to be doing over 1000 damage unless hitting a weakness, Leo wails on enemies for upwards of 1500 damage. A pity the only battles he fights are ultimately pointless and unwinnable
There's a small handful of half-way cool characters in FF8 - Seifer is one of them. His Limit Breaks kick ass, especially since he can use them much easier than the other party members. And while he doesn't have Beatrix' 3-0 record, you still have to admire his persistence
The Ghost was just filler, but even as filler it sucked. It can't kill anything and can't be healed in battle. Its only purpose is to Possess that monster-in-a-box miniboss
The King of the Dragons is easily the coolest summon around. Summons are meant to conjure powerful beasts to blast enemies with intense magical attacks. Bahamut is the textbook definition of this
Oh sure she's not as strong as other summons, but Shiva is still a reliable partner for Summoners still wet behind the ears. And the ice maiden isn't hard on the eyes either
Asura may have only appeared in one game, but she was useful. When the party was vaped and the healing was too much for Rosa alone, Rydia and Asura were there to pick up the slack and save my ass
I never understood instant death or status moves - anything they affect I can kill on my own. Odin is usually found too late in the game to be of use, by that point you probably already have stronger summons and he doesn't always work anyway
For a time, OWA was all that Sephiroth had to make me like him. Then I heard this. And now he has nothing. Long live the Mad God as he dances the wild dance of a charming star to the tune of a hundred voices screaming in unison.
Terra's theme is soft, haunting and lovely, just like her. It's a very beautiful tune and something I like to hum on occasion. I just feel bad for not knowing it was her theme at first, and thought "Awakening" was her theme. Easy mistake to make, right?
Zidane's theme is truly awesome, slow and melancholy but with a nice guitar rift to keep it just upbeat enough to be fun to listen to. It's usage in FF9 during his mental shutdown is truly a case of the music adding that little extra touch to a scene.
Why the hell does this loser have his own theme? No one else in the game does, probably because none of them deserve one, and that includes the guy who can't spell his own name. The memory used for this lousy theme should have been used to wrap a real plot around the game.
I just heard this piece, but I adore it. Goes right up there with Terra and Aeris as one of the most sad pieces ever. If You're Not Alone wasn't here, it'd be Aeris's Theme, and after that, this.
When you think of Chaos - the ultimate evil, the overarching villain of the entire series, you couldn't come up with a more fitting character theme. Combining latin vocals with a magnificent orchestra for the first part, then a kickass rock theme with lyrics telling the story from Chaos' point of view...it's incredible.
This is a perfect battle theme. Starts out strong and foreboding, fast-paced and epic, and it doesn't stop. Nothing like good music to great the blood pumping for a brawl with the Big Bad's primary enforcers. The second you hear this music you know you're in for a hell of a fire.
Gilgamesh's theme, Clash on the Big Bridge is an all-around awesome song with some great remixes, but the original is just as cool as needed. It's practically a crime to include it in Dissidia when Gilgamesh is reduced to a mere summon. The devs must have been hitting the oxyale on that one
This theme is just....blah. It doesn't sound like a battle theme, it sounds like some sort of fanfare. It's just...nothing really. It's unfitting as a battle theme.
Mystic Quest's one saving grace is the awesome music, and the Dark King battle theme gets a mention for being a good final boss track. They also orchestrate it in-time with the events - the music kicks in as you speak to the Dark King, and usually by the time you read through it and the fight begins, the rock rifts kick in at that exact moment.