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Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

List time. No Top 5 today. No, instead, I'm doing a series ranking. What series? Final Fantasy. Now, this is only with the core series. No spin-offs. And I've never played XI, so it isn't going to be on here. But how do the other games in the series rank in my mind? Read on, my friends, read on...

#11: Final Fantasy II

The only thing that this game did right was introduce the Chocobo to the world. No, seriously, that’s it. Nothing else about this game was really worth a damn. It is what Zelda II is to the series. Kind of ironic, considering they were both the second in their respective franchises. But at least Zelda II had something worthwhile. This game has the stupidest leveling up concept in the world. Gone are the traditional (and beloved) EXP level gaining processes. Instead, you have to beat yourself to death, or near death, just so you can raise your health and strength. What? The leveling system was so bad that I just up and gave up on this game, though the story wasn’t inviting enough to even attempt to get me to stay.

#10: Final Fantasy V

People love this game. Critics love this game. I want to know why critics love this damned game. I can understand the fact that it was what really refined the whole job system, but Final Fantasy III, which came before, did it better, and Tactics, which came after, did it way better. Other than that, it was a piss poor game. You only get five characters throughout the entire thing, and one of those characters actually dies. Most of the time, when there’s a death, you want to feel something. I didn’t feel a damned thing. Why? Because the story does nothing to help me feel anything for these characters or what they do. Maybe the translation sucked. In fact, it probably did, but still. Bad game. Bad, bad game.

#9: Final Fantasy VIII

Coming after the supposed messiah that is VII, this game had a lot going for it. Hype was massive. Massive. Expectations were high. Did the game deliver? Nope. Don’t get me wrong, there were things worth noticing in this game. Rinoa. Eyes on Me. That dance CG cut scene which still kicks ass 9 years later. The card game which was so much fun once I really understood what the hell I was doing. But what was it about this game that sucked? A lot. Drawing Magic. Selphie. Irvine. The fact that you never knew which characters would be used for the templates when you went into the Laguna side stories, thereby making it possible that you would get a severely underpowered party. Oh, and the whole ‘we grew up at an orphanage together but never knew it!’ thing. That’s when I threw down my controller in disgust. Sometimes I want to finish VIII. Then I remember the orphanage and the urge goes away.

#8: Final Fantasy

The first. That which started it all. The crystals started here. That beautiful opening theme that takes me back started here. It all started here. But that doesn’t mean that it was all great from the getgo. The story was decent. Really good for the time. The battle system, on the other hand, left much to be desired. Everything was far too expensive to buy, even in the first town, and you had to fight like 20 battles just to get your characters to level up to level 2. By the time you got to level 2 you barely had enough money to buy a basic sword for one member of your party. This was in the NES version. Thankfully, the remakes tweaked it so that the level grinding wasn’t the death of the player any more. But that NES version… damn, I love leveling up more than just about anyone, and even I was like ‘okay! Too much!’

#7: Final Fantasy XII

This is the only game in the series to get a perfect score from Famitsu. One of seven, I think, games to get the perfect score from Famitsu. You would think that it would be higher because of that. It isn’t. I didn’t even finish this game. Part of that reason was because I was too busy playing my Wii and Zelda (which got a 39 out of 40 from Famitsu) two weeks after this game came out. Zelda trumps all. But that’s not the only reason why I stopped playing. I hated the fact that it was a Star Wars rip off, rolling my eyes at the sand people and force ghosts. But what pissed me off the most was the skill system. I like my characters to be unique. XII’s characters can all be exactly the same, with the exception of Espers and Limit Breaks. They can use the same weapons, they can cast the same spells, they can do anything and everything the same exact way. I don’t like that. I want individuality!

#6: Final Fantasy III

I played this game on an NES emulator where the translation was horrible and only like 5% of it was actually translated. So, I stopped pretty damned early. But I enjoyed it. Fast forward 5 years and I got to play it on the DS, with enhanced graphics and story and stuff. This was the first game to do the whole class system on a large scale. You could change classes of any character you wanted whenever you wanted. It was a very good system. I hate the idea of buying spells, and I hate the idea of having spell slots and not MP, but overall this was a very decent battle system with a good story. III gave us Moogles, too. And I love me some Moogles.

#5: Final Fantasy VII

See? I don’t hate this game nearly as much as people think I do. In fact, I don’t hate VII at all. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: As a game, VII is good. Great even. But not the best. As an entity, VII is the most horrible thing to ever hit the Final Fantasy world overall. Yes, it brought the series recognition and sales that were unheard of in any country but Japan, but what else did it bring? Idiot fans who swear up and down that the series begins and ends with this game. If it wasn’t for the CG, most people wouldn’t care. That’s the truth. People don’t want to admit it, but that’s the truth. I would have cared, but that’s because I’m a member of the old guard. Now, as to why this game doesn’t rank higher. Again, it has more to do with the lack of individuality. Materia meant that everyone could be nearly carbon copies of one another. Just not to the extent of XII. Obviously, until you mastered some of them you could only have one character cast a certain spell, but if you spent that much time you could have a lot more people doing it. This signaled a change in the series in a lot of ways. Most of them weren’t that great. Though CG cut scenes are pretty…

#4: Final Fantasy IV

The first 16 bit game of the series. It’s a gem. It truly is. A captivating story. A horde of characters. It introduced Spoony Bard to the lexicon, and for that we will always be grateful. It’d be higher than this if it weren’t for one thing: You lose so many characters along the way. Granted, a lot of them are characters that I couldn’t care less about. Tellah. Cid. Edwin. Yang. Pretty useless all around. But then there were the twins. And I loved the twins. I wanted them to stay with me forever. They didn’t. They got turned to stone, and my ire for the fatality system (though they were all pretty much said to be alive again towards the end, you never got to use them again) in this game became immeasurable. Is it petty, my reasons for demoting this game? Maybe. But I shed tears for those twins, dammit. I cared!

#3: Final Fantasy X

It was the first to give us voice acting, which truly helped us connect with the characters in ways that were previously not utilized. It was good voice acting, too, Wakka aside. The voice acting helped make the already beautiful story that much more impacting. That final cut scene reduced many a player, including me, to tears. More than that, X has the best leveling up system the series has had up to this point. The sphere grid rocked, plain and simple. I loved being able to move those little grid things around and watch my characters grow stronger by the minute. At first, the sphere grid made for some unique characters, but once you got to the point where you finished a character’s ‘set’ path, you basically got to start making mini-clones. It was still fun, don’t get me wrong, but watching Auron cast a black magic spell just didn’t feel right.

#2: Final Fantasy IX

A lot of people hate this game. It didn’t sell well. I love it. I love it a lot. I love it because it’s a nostalgic throwback to the time when I was one of the few people around who actually knew and loved this series. It had crystals, it had castles, it had black mages. It had everything that I wanted in a Final Fantasy game without all the stuff that got thrown in later as sensationalism. Okay, it had the cut scenes, too. Beautiful cut scenes. I loved the system in this game. It returned 4 people parties, which is thus far the only game to do so the series started being on the Playstation. 4 people parties meant that my dream team was possible. More than that, characters got back their individuality for the most part. With the exception of Dagger and Eiko, nobody else had the same skills. They could have the same passive skills, but that was it. Plus, there were all those humorous side stories. Speaking of humor, IX is undoubtedly the most amusing game in the series. Eiko’s crotchless jumpsuit makes me want to hide my eyes and I’m sure it made pedophiles do something else entirely, but I digress. This was a damned good game. Almost the best. But not the best. The best can only be…

#1: Final Fantasy VI

If you know me, either online or in person, then this shouldn’t surprise you. It was my first Final Fantasy. I got it on Halloween of my 6th grade year. I played it at my grandmother’s house right after I bought it. And I fell in love. I was horrible at this game at first. Didn’t know how to blitz for the life of me. But I got better. I fell in love with the characters. I fell in love with the story. I fell in love with the music. This soundtrack is the only soundtrack in the series that I own, and behind the music for Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana, ranks up there as my favorite video game music ever. Kefka is the greatest series villain ever. Anyone who thinks otherwise take note: this crazy bastard destroyed the world and then took it over. Yeah, sure, he lost it all again later, but did Sephiroth do that? No. He got his ass beat. Everyone else did, too. Respect Kefka. If there is one fault to this game, and there is, it is the fact that it was one of the first games that started the trend of skills being available to everyone. This was only in magic, though. Only Locke could steal. Only Mog could dance. Only Sabin could Bum Rush someone and basically kill their ass almost instantly. But they could all eventually cast the same spells. Nonetheless, VI is the greatest game in the series. People clamor for a remake of VII, but this is the game that really deserves it. The Opera Scene, in full blown CG. Think about it. And then pick up the drool after. And then pick up my drool, because I can assure you that it will be more than yours.