Whitch FF to start with?

#1 Posted by johnwaynegacy (28 posts) -

I've never played any of FF games. Actually my experience with jRPG is close to absolute zero, except for old Chrono Trigger, Zelda and Pokemon. Now that almost all classic Final Fantasy games are on sale in my Playstation Store with some 'cheaper-than-your-cigarettes' price tag on I find them hugely tempting.

And here's my question to you - which one should I start with? I was thinking about the most legendary Final Fantasy VII, but I'm a bit worried with it's PS One graphics and interface. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy coming back to old games I used to love no matter how ugly they look now, and I appreciate a good story and beautiful game design more than high-end graphics. But right now I have no feelings for Cloud and his folks and I want to make the beginning of this relationship as smooth as possible.

#2 Posted by Demoskinos (16433 posts) -

I'd say go for some of the SNES ones 2-D holds up better than 3D does. And Final Fantasy VI is better than VII anyways.

#3 Posted by ToxicFruit (1890 posts) -

You can start with any one of them , seeing as they each have their own story. If you are worried about graphics i am going to recommend FF 9 because that is the last ps1 final fantasy game and it is pretty good :)

#4 Posted by Grillbar (1977 posts) -


#5 Edited by WilltheMagicAsian (1547 posts) -

If you're playing on the actual hardware like a SNES get Final Fantasy III (which is Final Fantasy VI) or Final Fantasy Anthology for PS1 which contains both FFV and FFVI in which both of those are great FF games to start out on.

Edit: Oops, I should have probably read your whole post. Yeah, anyway pick up V and VI off PSN.

#6 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7597 posts) -


I would recommend the older ones, but the Playstation ports are absolutely horrible. Badly translated, buggy and actually manage to get slow down.

Also, the Anthology contains different games depending on where you live. The US has V and VI on it, in Europe it's IV and V.

#7 Posted by Xel (232 posts) -

I'd normally recommend someone to start with the first, but that's not practical with FF. Instead, I recommend V on the SNES, followed by either VI or VII. You can't go wrong with IX either.

#8 Posted by KamikazeCaterpillar (1160 posts) -


PS1- VII or IX

PS2- X or XII ( I really like XII even though no one else does).

#9 Edited by M_Shini (561 posts) -

After watching through Brono Trigger i cant go back and play any of the 2d ff games i do think the large majority of the storys are boring and terible and the dungeons and boss's dont require much tactic for the most part compared, i think 7-10 are great starting points if you dont mind graphics.

#10 Edited by joshthebear (2704 posts) -

I'd definitely say start with either IV or VI. The SNES games hold up the best because of their artwork still being good and the stories being absolutely fantastic. As far as the PS1 games go with VII and IX, but skip VIII as it is complete garbage.

#11 Posted by ZenaxPure (2584 posts) -

Since you're specifically talking about the PSN sale I will only mention the games I believe that are on there (1, 2, then 4 through 9 iirc). If you want a story driven game from the sale pick any random game between 4 and 9. All of those have nearly identical gameplay structure (really the only thing that changes between each game is character leveling/customization) and it really comes down to which one seems the most interesting to you. Basic premises are as follows:   

  • FF4: Typical medieval-fantasy setting with mages, paladins, knights, etc. Classic Final Fantasy use of crystals and bad guy who wants to destroy the world. Gameplay-wise all characters are confined to their one role and learn skills and abilities through the story. Probably the weakest in the series as far as character customization is concerned.
  • FF5: Similar setting to FF4, also similar plot structure with the crystals and world saving. However, some Sci-Fi stuff gets thrown in there as well. 5 featured the return of the class system from 1 and 3 but taken to crazy levels with something like 20 or so different classes you could swap between outside of combat and play it near any way you want. 
  • FF6: Steampunk setting, crazy ass magical robots n' shit included. IIRC the largest cast of characters in the series and the plot moves between different playable characters for a very heavy chunk of the game before they all come together. In combat all characters had their own set of unique abilities but were still customizable thanks to a Summon system that allowed for you to work on magic/stats as you mostly saw fit.
  • FF7: Kind of cyberpunk-y setting, way more serious and dark than the previous games in tone. Plot evolves and changes quite a bit as the game goes on, but it's basically about Cloud and friends wanting to figure out/kill shit. Used the materia system which let you do whatever you wanted with each character. Magic, passive abilities, summons, and even some stats were all confined inside materia which was placed in weapons and gear.
  • FF8: Sort of a fantasy take on modern life. Stuff like cars, subs, hot dogs, and basketball make the world realistic, but still has plenty of stuff like magic and flying buildings. The main cast of characters are students at a mercenary for hire organization that acts like a central hub for a large part of the game and focuses on them going out and doing missions and stuff. Also some heavy romance and time travel to boot. Character customization was probably one of the most confusing at the time (to my childhood self anyway). Abilities and stats were obtained from equipping summon creatures and then augmented further by placing magic in slots to give stat/weapon bonuses (for example equipping silence to a weapon would give your weapon a chance to put the status effect on foes). Magic was sort of like an item in that you had "uses" you had to restock, but you "stole" it from enemies and occasionally floating orb things on the map.
  • FF9: Return to classic form of older games and just a throwback in general. Involved crystals, fantasy, airships, fantasy, references to old games, and well - more fantasy. Characters donned clothing iconic of older games and the game in general is much more appreciated if you've played all the games before it. Gameplay was fairly simple with weapons and armor giving bonuses that were learned when enough XP was acquired for them from fighting. Similar to way earlier in the series each character had a defined role and could not stray outside of that, customization came in the form of picking which 4 (out of 8 characters) you wanted to use and dedicating yourself to which abilities you really wanted (since most took quite a while to learn permanently)
So yeah, that is basically a nice premise for each of the heavy story driven games. I'd honestly save 9 for last but otherwise you should start with the one that sounds most interesting to you personally. As for 1 and 2 only visit those if you want to see the early roots of JRPGs. The gameplay is somewhat outdated at this point and there is a lot of required grinding (for example in FF1 you start out with less money than you need to properly equip all of your characters and must spend a good 10 to 20 minutes grinding money before you even do anything).
#12 Posted by SirOptimusPrime (2037 posts) -

Avoid the PS1 ports like the plague. Sure, as a kid you'd ignore that shit, but now it is so incredibly frustrating to play those games on the PS1 versions.  
So, probably either VIII or IX. VIII can be broken too easily, but if you just play the game casually it is fun and the story is pretty good. IX has an alright story, but the characters are overall some of the best. 

#13 Posted by sungahymn (1084 posts) -

As I understand, IV, VI, VII, VIII, and IX are all pretty great. I think IX is best 'cause that was the most interesting walkthrough on Youtube I saw out of VII and VIII.

#14 Edited by Doctorchimp (4172 posts) -

IV, VI, IX, X, and XII....and Tactics for the PS1 or the War of The Lions remake for PSP.

Don't let anyone tell you different.

Those are the ones that age the best.

VII and VIII aged terribly.

#15 Posted by IBurningStar (2205 posts) -

Start with IX. It is fun, streamlined, well paced, and has an extremely awesome cast of characters. I mean, Vivi is the best character in the entire series and Steiner is fucking amazing. The entire game is worth playing all the way through for those two guys alone.

#16 Posted by mwng (1031 posts) -

I started with X-2, and have been confused ever since.

#17 Posted by McGhee (6128 posts) -

@johnwaynegacy: FF8 is my all time favorite, but I would start at 6 and go forward from there.

#18 Posted by TwoLines (3142 posts) -

Don't play the SNES ports on PS1. Play IV and VI on SNES, then VII and IX on PS1. You can check out VIII and X (PS2) if you want to, they're not as good as the rest though.

VI is pretty damn great, the characters are interesting, the battle system is... okay I guess, the music is awesome, the story is... eh, it's pretty good. Okay, maybe on paper it doesn't sound that hot, but it's actually really interesting and immersive,

VII is better at storytelling than VI, it's more involved and dynamic. Some of the characters are a little bit flat, but they're still entertaining. The materia system is he best FF system up to date, but the battles are a little bit boring. Again, the music is REALLY good. Probably the best in the series.

IX has the best story, characters and world. The music, while still bad ass, is not nearly as good as what you'll find in VI VII or VIII. The gem system is pretty bad, the battles are boring. Still, worth playing through if you like a good story.

VIII has great music, but a terrible, HORRIBLE drawing system that will bore you to no end. It also has a really goofy story and an irritating main protagonist.

Same goes with X, but it has a sphere system which is way better than the drawing system, and the protagonist (even though a little bit grating) grows on you after a while. It has the best battle system out of all FF games. Also, X has a pretty good story. The music is forgettable though.

So yeah, that's my take on the series.

#19 Edited by Dallas_Raines (2269 posts) -

Play IV, then VI and then forget about the rest of the series.(Okay, IX and X are pretty swell too.)

#20 Posted by 400lb_Gorilla (25 posts) -

I really can't agree with everybody saying to play FF IX first, because a large part of that game is nostalgic elements that will mean much less to you if you have not played the previous games in the series. You absolutely should play it, but I would get a few others under your belt before you jump into IX. If you can't get your hands on the SNES or GBA (or DS for III or IV) ports i would say start with VII then go to VIII. VII has aged very badly graphically, but the basic game play holds up and it is a pretty traditional FF. VIII is such an oddball in the group (even if I would count it as my favorite) that I wouldn't recommend you start out with it, if for no other reason then to not give you an improper notion of what the rest of the series is like.

#21 Posted by Neurotic (635 posts) -

Well, if you're really worried about the blockiness of VII then start with IV, VI or IX.

Frankly, I don't understand all the fuss about IV but it is when the series started to get good at story-telling and it's decent enough. However, that game has an absurdly high encounter rate so don't expect to be exploring dungeons quickly or without running away.

VI is a great game but it's when the series started to get dark, which some critics reckon is a bad thing. It's a pretty easy game though so it should ease you in nicely.

IX is my personal favourite. It tells a great story and is a departure from the grimdark, more modern settings of VI-VIII. It's lighter but still knows how to turn on the drama. It's also a pretty easy game to ease you in. Also, it's referential to the earlier games but only in small ways that are kinda just a nod and a wink so don't let that put you off.

If you get into one or all of those, you could then try VII just to say you have even if you still don't like the blockiness. I haven't played much of V so I can't recommend it and I wouldn't recommend VIII to anyone.

#22 Edited by BoG (5390 posts) -

You can really start anywhere. The SNES versions are what I recommend, as they introduce you to the concepts that make the series. IV or VI are great starting points, as is V. On the PS, the first would be IX, followed by VII. VII is the most popular, but I put it last on this list because I think it's aged a lot relative to the other games. If I have to name one: Final Fantasy VI.

#23 Edited by LordXavierBritish (6651 posts) -

I know this isn't a popular opinion, but I'd say play them in order.
The most recent iterations of the original games are incredibly playable today, and more importantly still fun, and it will give you a much better appreciation of how the series evolved.
That said if you just want to jump to the good part start with IV and continue from there.

#24 Posted by sickVisionz (1299 posts) -

I started with 13 and had a blast with it. None of them are related (excluding the "-2" games) and most of them are designed with different combat engines than the previous ones so there is little crossover or learning curve that playing a previous game will help you get over.

#25 Posted by Bocam (4041 posts) -

@LordXavierBritish: But FF1 is really bad

#26 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6651 posts) -
@Bocam said:

@LordXavierBritish: But FF1 is really bad

You're a crazy person. A crazy person who hates good games. It's the only FF in the series that let's you create a party at the outset, you can play that shit with four fucking Black Mages if you want. It's grindy and a bit simple, but it is still a ton of fun.
Is it inferior to its progeny? Yes, but it is still a great game if you love old school NES-era RPGs.
#27 Posted by NobodyHIFI (104 posts) -

start with spelling better on your thread titles


#28 Posted by gorkamorkaorka (507 posts) -


People hate VII because it's cool to hate things that are popular.

#29 Posted by Bocam (4041 posts) -

@LordXavierBritish:But I like my JRPGs to have incomprehensible stories, tons of sexual innuendo, and metaphysical rape.

#30 Edited by Hunkulese (2968 posts) -

I'm pretty sure you'd hate FFVII if you played it now. It was incredible when it came out but it has aged horribly. The main selling point was the visuals and as you can imagine a 15 year old game doesn't look so hot right now and the game spends way too much time trying to show you how cool it looks. By the end of the game you'll just be watching this over and over.

If you played VI, X, XII and XIII you'd get a good idea of the different things Final Fantasy has tried to do and what the series is all about. It's not really important where you start.

#31 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6651 posts) -
@Bocam said:

@LordXavierBritish:But I like my JRPGs to have incomprehensible stories, tons of sexual innuendo, and metaphysical rape.

FF's story is pretty incomprehensible, and they rape the time space continuum.
And you could give your characters colorful names like DICK and CUNT.
#32 Posted by FateOfNever (1863 posts) -

Start with FF1 and work your way up the ladder (skipping 2 and 3 and going to 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, skip 10-2, 12, 13.) Go all the way man! All the way!

#33 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8020 posts) -


#34 Edited by thisguyrich (98 posts) -

13. Or 10. Theyre the only one ive played besides 12, which i did not like at all. That said, I've never actually beat a ff game, and yet I still feel like i got my money's worth.

#35 Posted by StarvingGamer (9185 posts) -

IV > VI > IX > X > XIII

Skip the rest.

#36 Posted by Icicle7x3 (1245 posts) -

Final Fantasy Legend II

#37 Posted by dibdab (77 posts) -

My recommendation would be to go 7 first. It was my first entry into the world of final fantasy and I think has the best balance of Story and game play.

8 is my personal favourite but it is a different style from 7. If graphics is important to you 8 might be a good starting point.

#38 Posted by McAwesome (54 posts) -

I started with VI, now I am about 15 hrs in and its great.

If you are starting with VI, i'd advise using a walkthrough now and then, to minimize wandering about. because there are too many random encounters. It can be unbearable sometimes.

#39 Posted by Mihos (46 posts) -

When did it become cool to hate VII?

Screw all of you, it is still my favorite.

#40 Posted by Zelyre (1406 posts) -

IV, VI, Tactics

Those three are the king of the FF games, playable and enjoyable if you like anime or not. Tactic's story gets preachy and anime-y, but the meat and potatoes of the game is its combat.

Then 9,7,10. Not great titles, but good for their time.

There are many who may disagree with that; they most likely have an anime collection bigger than a late 90's Suncoast video store.

#41 Posted by johnwaynegacy (28 posts) -

Thanks for all the answers. I'm going to buy parts VII - IX now that they are on PSN sale (after all it's only 4 euro each, bargain buy) and I'll probably start with IX. Meanwhile I'll be trying to find my old GBA and some SNES ports on eBay. I dare this series to be as great as it's fame.

#42 Posted by dagas (3078 posts) -

@johnwaynegacy said:

Thanks for all the answers. I'm going to buy parts VII - IX now that they are on PSN sale (after all it's only 4 euro each, bargain buy) and I'll probably start with IX. Meanwhile I'll be trying to find my old GBA and some SNES ports on eBay. I dare this series to be as great as it's fame.

Playing it now won't be the same thing is my guess. Hard to say though. One of the big problems with all the PS1 FF games is the time it takes to start a battle. Compare FFIX with a newer game like FFX-2 and you can really tell the difference. the combat is one of the few things I liked about FFX-2 since they went back to Active Time Battle (from the pure turn based system of FFX), but is was so much faster than FFVII-IX. Just a couple of seconds and then you are fighting. FFIX is probably the worst offender and I'd say it takes almost half a minute for a battle to fully start with the camera panning around several times.

Also how you view FFVIII will depend a lot on how much you tolerate playing an emo kid. I was 13 when I played FFVIII so Squall was the coolest man on earth with his "whatever..." as a response to anything. I even acted like him on during parties and stood like him against a wall and waited for someone like Rinoa to come and talk to me so I could act all cool and say the things Squall says in that scene. Now though I really don't like that type of character in a video game.

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