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[]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. ::cough:: 
    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 like that.

  • 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 chocobo:: 
    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 boy.

  • 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 sight. Now.

  • 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 the sequels.
    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.)