Having one of the most laughable misnomers in modern entertainment, the Final Fantasy series recently released it’s 14th iteration. While these numbered sequels never relate to each other in any way other than name (taking place in unique worlds and depicting their own characters), they are all RPGs and all tell fantastical stories on a grand scale. Outside of the numbered sequels there are countless spin-offs, sequels, and experiments that grasp the vibe of Final Fantasy without being beholden to the specific RPG tropes. I’ve played a few of these (and plan to complete a few more) so without further ado, here are some overdue reviews!
The first FF game that I played back on my SNES was not actually a full-numbered FF game at all. It was instead an “American” release intended for the less RPG inclined Western world whom the Japanese developers decided were not ready for a fully featured RPG. Nevertheless, Mystic Quest was a great starting point for my young self and successfully got me hooked on the genre. Looking back, the lack of random encounters actually foreshadowed future FF iterations. The simplified combat system and simple story could have used some more polish, but Ben’s quest for the crystals will always have a fond place in my memory.
3 stars out of 5
Unlike most people who played this game, I played on the PC instead of the original Playstation. This allowed me to avoid the risk of losing a save and keep it safe on my PC. The game itself was an enthralling tale of self-discovery, love, and time travel. Squall may be the most emo main character in any FF game that I’ve played but in the end, it was hard not to root for him. The active battle system kept the game engaging and the story, while overtly complicated like most FF games in the end, had you fighting for all of time and existence in the end.
4 stars out of 5
A game that many rightfully call the greatest on the PS2, my favorite FF game. Tidus and Yuna’s story exemplifies great Tolkein-esque story-telling in a way that doesn’t seem overwrought. The story moves forward at a brisk pace that never forces you to spend too much time simply wandering or wasting time. The combat system is turn-based and calmer than other FF games (a relief when there are so many different abilities and spells to try out) and the revolutionary sphere grid upgrade system allows virtually complete customization of every character. If you play one FF game, make it this one.
5 stars out of 5
The black sheep of the FF games that I’ve played, Crystal Chronicles promises fun but fails to deliver. The game allows you to connect your Game Boy Advances to the GameCube via a linking cable and encourages cooperative combat with another player. Even if you manage to utilize this expensive setup however, the game never becomes anything more than a chore. You are forced to carry along a glowing orb throughout the game the effectively incapacitates one player. The other player is forced to smash through enemies in tedious hack-and-slash combat that never feels quite right. The music, twangy guitar and flutes, and art style, soft colors and angles, are the only redeeming features of this otherwise too ambitious game.
2 stars out of 5
That’s it for now but hopefully I will find some time to sample some other Final Fantasy games in the future and write some reviews!