The best Final Fantasy games for series beginners and RPG newcomers

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Final Fantasy is, to many gamers, a series that needs no introduction. The games span more console generations than you can count on one hand, and this is easily one of the most prolific and highly regarded series in all of gaming.

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With the next game in the series, Final Fantasy 16, well under development, there has never been a better time to check out this great franchise.

But what if you’re looking to get into the series for the first time? There are so many final fantasy games and spin-offs that it can be really hard to know where to start, and starting with the first game in the series isn’t necessarily the right answer, depending on whether What kind of experience are you looking for? for.

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To make things easier if you’re a newcomer, we’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be the most ideal entry point to the series. The following games are not only representative of the console generation they debuted on, they are also great games in their own right, and absolutely not to be missed if you want to indulge in Final Fantasy.

Final Fantasy 3 Pixel Remaster (PC, iOS, Android)

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While Final Fantasy 3 debuted on the NES, it only did so in Japan. A true western port was not provided until very recently. There was a complete remake on the DS, but it’s really its own beast, with additional narrative elements and 3D graphics. If you want a classic experience, Final Fantasy 3 Pixel Remaster is the way to go.

Available on Steam, iOS, and Android devices, the pixel remaster of this classic refreshes the game’s visuals, while keeping (mostly) everything else intact. Some quality-of-life elements also help elevate the experience, such as an on-screen map and a full tracker for the treasure chest.

So why Final Fantasy 3 in particular? Simply put, it was the best Final Fantasy of the NES era and introduced the now iconic job system that lets you swap your party members’ class and set abilities on the fly. This means you have a lot of freedom to experiment with character creation, without feeling locked into a single square, and without losing progress on the one you’ve already leveled up.

Final Fantasy 6 (SNES)

While a Pixel remaster for Final Fantasy 6 is on the way, the original SNES release is barely a day old. Featuring utterly stunning pixelated graphics, an overwhelmingly well-written story, and lots of lovable characters, Final Fantasy 6 is one of the best RPGs of the period.

FF6 eschews the above job system in favor of fixed classes that better suit each character and their personality. It also means that they all have unique elements that help them stand out, which makes them far more memorable than the blank slates of Final Fantasy 3. It was also the first game in the series to feature a female lead in Terra Branford.

And of course, Final Fantasy 6 wouldn’t be nearly as memorable if it weren’t for its villain-in-chief, Kefka Palazzo, a literal clown whose madness and insane power elevate him to become one of the most iconic opponents. . The whole series.

If you’re interested in playing Final Fantasy 6 (and really, why you wouldn’t), we strongly recommend that you wait for the Pixel Remaster Edition. The version, currently most readily available on mobile devices, is far from ideal, giving the game’s characters a cartoon-like look that doesn’t fit the grittier tone.

Final Fantasy 9 (PS1)

While Final Fantasy 7 is certainly the most prolific game of the PS1 era, a stronger case can be made for Final Fantasy 9 as being a better game. It’s also visually striking for a game coming to Sony’s 32-bit machine.

FF9 drops the tough science-fiction angle of 7 and 8, trading it for something more fantasy, and thus more similar to the final fantasies of old. What it achieves is a bunch of cute and diverse characters, but don’t let that fool you. The story is one of the more mature ones in the Final Fantasy 9 series, and despite the sheer aesthetic, it certainly isn’t afraid to go dark when the narrative calls for it.

Playing Final Fantasy 9 today couldn’t be easier. The game is readily available to download on all platforms including PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

Final Fantasy 10 (PS2)

One of the best games on PS2, Final Fantasy 10 was arguably one of the best looking titles of all time at the time of its release. FF10 featured a more linear, character-driven storyline than its predecessors, but mixed it with a turn-based combat system so you can see your face in it.

FF10 mixed things up even more with its unique Sphere Grid system, which abandoned traditional leveling for a massive board where you could assign stats and perks to each individual character. It’s certainly a quirky approach to the State Building, but there’s great fun in its novelty.

Final Fantasy 10 also featured the controversial Blitzball mini-game, which can be pretty exciting if you let yourself learn its complex mechanics. The modern day counterpart would probably be The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from Gwent, in that blitzball was almost big enough to be a game in itself, completely distracting the player from the main story if they wished.

Final Fantasy 9, just like 10, is readily available across all platforms thanks to the Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster, which packs the FF10 and its oddball sequel into an affordable package. It also significantly improves some aspects of version 10, including adding an entirely new sphere grid for experimentation.

Final Fantasy 14 Online (PS4, PS5, PC)

If you’re after a game you can play in the long run, look no further than Final Fantasy 14 Online. The game got off to a pretty rocky start when it launched in 2010, but since 2013’s A Real Reborn relaunch, the popular MMO (massively multiplayer online game) has continued to soar to new heights.

FF14’s most recent expansion, Shadowbringers, blew players away with its heartwarming story with new gameplay improvements and surprising areas to explore. The upcoming fourth expansion, Endwalker, looks like it will do the same when it launches on November 23, 2021.

Final Fantasy 14 excels in many areas. It’s a love letter to the wider series, with countless references and story beats that call back to even the series’ oldest games. It’s, quite frankly, one of the greatest soundtracks ever courtesy of Masayoshi Soken, featuring everything from whimsical tunes to rag-roaring, rock-infused battle themes.

As an MMO, the learning curve is a bit steep when it comes to learning how FF14 stacks up. Its cooldown-based real-time combat and control methods are unlike any of the games before it. But if you’re keen to learn the intricacies of making the FF14 work, you’re in for one of the best online experiences on the market, with an incredibly friendly community to boot.

The best part? Final Fantasy 14 is extremely accessible. If you’ve never played before, Final Fantasy 14 offers a free trial that includes the entirety of A Realm Reborn, along with the award-winning Heavensword expansion, which allows you to play up to level 60 without any restrictions on playtime. allows.

And no worries about locking yourself behind a single square. Featuring the series’ iconic job system, you’re free to play all classes on a single character, though note that some are locked in until you’ve purchased each expansion.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake (PS4, PS5)

One of the latest and greatest Final Fantasy series of all time, it might be controversial to say that Final Fantasy 7 Remake blows the original out of the water, but it’s true. And while we love FF7’s PS1 roots, its remake takes one of the series’ most incredible settings and gives it the grand overhaul it deserves.

The road to Final Fantasy 7 Remake was not an easy one, and the game has a notoriously troubled development history, originally slated for a PS3 release. However, Square Enix made the right call to release the FF7R only when it was ready, as the end result is nothing short of phenomenal.

Midgar and its characters look utterly stunning in 4K, and the game either recreates or recreates iconic scenes respectfully and often unexpectedly. The level of care taken in this project is simply mesmerizing, from the fast-paced strategy of the enhanced materia system and combat system to the wonderfully remixed soundtrack and recognizable locations.

While Final Fantasy 7 Remake is the first of many parts (containing most of Disc 1 of the original game), it takes the relatively short first part of the original and turns it into its own thing. The Intergrade DLC on PS5 expands this even further, adding Yufi as a playable character to play through his own campaign.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake is what all remakes aspire to be. It successfully breathes new life into an aging favorite, but it goes much further than just extra story beats, a revamped combat system, phenomenal writing, and more. While you’ll want to play the original before checking out the remake, it’s certainly not necessary, as the game also shines as a standalone product.

final fantasy spin-off

The following titles aren’t necessarily the best ones to add to Final Fantasy, but serve as great complements to the main series if you’re jumping in for the long haul. Unfortunately, not all of these games are readily available, but all are worth tracking in their own right.

Final Fantasy Tactics (PS1)
Tactics is not your average Final Fantasy. Set in the multi-game-expanding world of Ivalice, Final Fantasy Tactics is a turn-based tactical RPG where you command a small army on an isometric playing field. Brutally difficult and with a tragically dark story to match, Tactics is one for the hardcore.

Chocobo Racing (PS1)
For something more light-hearted, Final Fantasy’s answer to Mario Kart might be worth a look. It certainly isn’t as polished as Nintendo’s stalwart Racer, but is a decent enough spin-off that cleverly…

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