A Concise, Highly
Opinionated View of Games in the FF Series
(Because being opinionated is fun.)
This is mostly following the Japanese
numbering of the games, and is reviewing only the numbered games. I've
played some of the other ones, but never finished 'em, so... Here ya go.
FFIV (4) -- I played this game
twice, and yet all I can remember of it is that it kills off more
characters (and then doesn't) than any other game I can think of. And
it liked to change the airship around a lot. What else was there? Oh,
yes, that's right. The girls in this game were incredibly annoying. As
was Edward. By the end of the game, I started to wish they'd killed
off more characters.
FFV (5) -- Mm, pirate-y.
Alright, I tried playing this on the gods-awful Playstation port, but
didn't make it too far. I had to gameshark the thing. And if you play
it, I suggest you do too. ::ahem:: The job system was...well, not
exactly flawed, but it could have been done a lot better. It would be
another half dozen games before Square finally figured that out. Now,
the story and the game itself are alright, a bit predictable, but okay
for an early FF game. The dragon was cute too. I thought it was
interesting that by the end of the game, most of your party is female.
Faris was the best. Even in the bad over-pirate-y English version,
she's still the best. Yay for purple-haired crossdressers! (And yes, I
can think of others.)
FFVI (6) -- [Technically the
first FF game I played (though I finished IX first), I'll start this
summary off by saying that this game would have been a better port to
the GBA than Tactics. Nya.] Possibly the longest game of the series
(or at least it felt the longest), I still like FF6 because it is a
prime example of what this series is good at: mixing drama with
humor. The sprites give it a charm that I think would be lost in
a revamp to the PS2. (Unless they used the improved facial engine from
FFX-2, and had really really good voice acting. Then, it still
wouldn't be any good if Kefka didn't hop around angrily. And bitch
about sand on his boots.) This game also features whom I felt was the last
good purely evil villain the series has seen.
The Playstation port for this was...nearly awful. It was still the
game and all, but the menu screen and battles were incredibly,
painfully slow-loading. I even played through the whole game on the
Playstation, how's that for determination? ...or stupidity. Something
FFVII (7) -- [Alright, so I'm a
naysayer. Everyone hails this game for its revolutionary graphics, but
compared to other polygon based games that game out in the same time
period, it's not that great. Decent, but not the best.]
This game has what's probably the most confusing storyline in the
series, but also one of the best storylines. It leaves you thinking,
and it makes you replay the game to try and understand it better.
Coming off of a double play of FF9, I was very reluctant to play this
game at first. The beginning can be quite loathsome. It doesn't get
better until you're locked in jail, and wake to find Sephiroth's path
of destruction. I can still remember my roommate and I's first
"holy crap" reaction to the bloodied scenery. We were left
wondering, just what the hell was Sephiroth?
Once you're let loose outside of Midgar, the game picks up
considerably. There are plenty of interesting little side things to
do, and plenty of character backstory bits to explore. And, there's
the chocobos. The chocobo mini game in FF7 rocked. ::hugs her gold
And, we got Sephiroth as the bishie villain to end all, it would seem.
Yes, he was screwed up, but he looked so good doing it. Additional FF7
perks showed up in other games, such as E...that fighting game, KH,
and the upcoming Advent Children sequel movie thingy.
FFVIII (8) -- A lot of people poo-poo
this game, because it's romance based, and because it has an unbelievably
logic mocking plotline. While these facts are true, the
game is still playable. The hero character set, while not being very
diverse, is still likeable. For the most part. There's a good
male/female ratio, and interesting weapons. In an another wise dark
and confusing story, there's also a lot of humor. (Look at
overthinking Squall, cute Laguna, the moombas, or Fujin and Raijin's
antics as examples.) The chocobo mini game was, sadly, easy to miss,
and not that great once you did find it.
The summons were also interesting to use, as the was the magic system.
While I admit that I usually got through the game without really
summoning or casting a whole lot of magic, the Draw and Junctioning
systems were really interesting and fun to use, once you figured them
out. (It took me a few tries.) Also, there were some great limit
breaks in this game. While I spent much of the game wanting to hit
Squall with a gunblade, he was a really good fighter. So, go angst
FFIX (9) -- A tribute to all
that came before it, in the simplest sense. It suffered a bit,
graphics wise, because it was the last FF game on the Playstation.
(Jumping between 9 and 10, you can sort of tell they slacked a
bit.) I fell in love with this
game the first time I played it, and oddly didn't grow attached to the
shiny shiny villain until nearly the end of the first time I played
it. However, now I've played the game so many times that I can't stand
to touch it with a ten foot pole. Not for a few more months at least.
(I'm a walking player's guide for that game. Much better than the evil
official one.) I still love the game, despite its slightly annoying
music. Why? Why do I love it? Well, I'm not totally sure, but there
are a few reasons. Kuja, chocobos, and shiny shiny airships. The
chocobo mini-game in FF9 is the only one that I've experienced that
comes close to surpassing the chocobo goodness in FF7. The Tetra
master game was pretty fun...or engaging, at least, once you got the
hand of it.
Zidane's booty may have something to do with it too.
Okay, who am I kidding. Kuja and the chocobo mini game are the main
reasons I'll replay this game. This game doesn't have the best set of
heroes, the best story, the best ending, the best systems.... But it
does have Kuja, it does have the last best functioning world map ship
controls, and it does have the chocobo hot and cold game. And Tetra
Master. (And no, Kuja may not be the biggest badass, or the most evil,
but he's still Kuja. That's all I need.)
FFX (10) -- FFX and its sequel were, as
I like to think, experiments into the thin line between innocence and
ignorance. More on that later. The two games, together, have
probably received even more bitching and flak than FF8. It's bruising
that they don't deserve. FFX is a departure from earlier FF
games, in a few different ways. The general world map was done away
with, as was the wandering chocobo and airship ability, as were the
traditional fighting and leveling up systems. The chocobo mini-games
were a bit lacking, and the game also was stuck with a painfully
linear and religion based storyline. (Hell, the airship didn't even
have a name.)
However, the game still had a lot going for it. The beautiful graphics
and somewhat improved (though still a bit tired) soundtrack were a
definite plus. The chocobos were the cutest yet. The voice acting was
well done (even if the lip-synching was persistently off, it wasn't
annoying). The sphere system was unique, and fairly easy to use once
you got the hang of it. The battling system allowed for another
first--the switching out of characters during a battle. Heavens knows
how much I've wanted to do that in other games. The battle theme never
really got annoying either, another plus.
The story of the two games is also somewhat romanced-based, which
throws some players off. (Unless you're into slashing characters, then
it's fine. Really. Have at it.) However, I think the games are saved by the
fact that the romance story isn't the only thing going on in them.
Which brings us to the sequel...
FFX-2 (10-2) -- This game got bitched
about even more, just because it's a sequel. And it really really
doesn't deserve it. No, not even because of the sometimes scantily
clad heroines. This game diverges from its predecessor in
several ways. The old leveling system has returned. You have access to
everywhere in the world from the beginning of the game. And, most
notably, you play with only three characters, each who can use the
dresspheres and garment grids to become little powerhouses. Yuna,
Rikku, and Paine, like it or not, kick a lot of ass if you use them
properly. The dressphere system does not suffer from the same problems
as the job system in FF5 did.
The story is very non-linear, which can get a bit confusing
at times, but it's a lot of fun. Unlike FFX, the game doesn't take
itself very seriously. This makes for a fun time. The music is
notably...well...a lot better than in previous games, matching the
upbeat moods of the game perfectly.
As for the innocence and ignorance mentioned earlier, this game picks
up where the first left off. Spira has had its eyes opened to just how
naive they've been about what's going on with Yevon. Also, FFX-2
echoes back to FF7. Aside from catching chocobos and having a kid
named Shinra on board, near the end of the game you can view a scene
where the group ponders the future possibilities of using the spirit
energy of the planet for power.
I could go on, but I'll just say that getting 100% is worth it, if
you're a fan of FFX. (And the new game+ option rocks.)
FFXI (11) -- Get that out of my
Kingdom Hearts (KH) -- I know this
isn't a FF game. But it still needs to get listed, in my opinion,
simply because of all the FF characters in it. I don't like Disney,
and I still loved the game. Go figure. I'm greatly looking forward to
If you're a Sephiroth fan, his inclusion in the game makes paying the
$20 for the game worth it. (It's a Greatest Hits game now, yo, so you
have no excuse not to go find it.) Sephiroth is...well, incredibly
fast, and very yummy. Go see it for yourself.
(Cloud and Squall were wonderfully in character too, both being very
amusing. Tidus, Wakka, Selphie, Yuffie, Cid, Aerith, the moogles, and
whoever else might be floating around were....okay too.)