The Best PS1 Final Fantasy: The Definitive Answer

Hey fellow bomba-deers,

I have spent inordinate amount of time writing about Final Fantasy 8 and 9. I have written at least 5 blogs on Giantbomb on both games and I have played through each game at least 4 times each. At this point I think I am Giantbomb's resident expert on these two games in particular and I would like to provide you with the DEFINITIVE HOT TAKE on which game is the best. But first...

FINAL FANTASY VII IS NOT THE BEST PS1 FINAL FANTASY!!! JUST STOP IT!-- a ton of the writing and story in that game does not hold up. Cloud is a pretty flat character who's defining characteristic is not remembering things. Sephiroth is over-rated; he just goes from ordinary soldier to psycho killer way too abruptly. The materia system is fine but 8 and 9 have combat systems that are equal to or greater than 7's. I'm not a real graphics person, but 8 and 9 look like they were made for a different system in a different generation than 7 (and considering 7 was originally an n64 game, I suppose, they were). In short, 7 is the most iconic Final Fantasy game of the PS1 era largely by virtue of it being the first Final Fantasy of the PS1 era; it is by no means the best and if you think it is the best try to play it again and then see how much your nostalgia holds up.

(Sorry FF Tactics people, but that game is not a numbered member of the series. I know it is good and I know that it is the monkey wrench that people love to throw in this discussion, “Yeah Cloud, Squall, and Zidane are fine… but what about Ramza!” That game is great, but it is the king of its own little FF spin-off hamlet with Chocobo Racing and Chocobo’s Dungeon. Honestly the game is just completely different from a gameplay perspective and from a story perspective from anything else in the main line. If you prefer it to the main line Final Fantasies that is cool, but that means you like turn based strategy games and political dramas more than you like the character driven and turn based games of the main line.)

Now it is time for the main event: 8 vs. 9, reluctant hero vs. a thief with a heart of gold, and future steam punk vs. Elizabethan steam punk. To handle this as scientifically as possible I’m going to dissect each game into its essential parts, judge those parts, and then assign a winner. The game with the most points wins!

Best Story: In 8 we have five amnesiac orphans and one general’s daughter- turned terrorist- turned sorceress fighting against a sorceress from the far-flung-future to prevent the total smushing of all time into a single moment of frozen oblivion. Subtlety and restraint are not FF8’s strong suits, but what it lacks in subtlety it makes up for in balls-to-the-wall craziness. You get a school that turns into a flying bomb shelter, a half-disc long coma, and an impromptu rock concert. 8 somehow merges the cliché and the absurd into a surprisingly believable love story that moves you one way or another, it’s a real love it or hate it story. The biggest achievement in 8’s story is its use of playable flashbacks to slowly fill in the hidden and forgotten backstories of the games two main characters. Through controlling Laguna Loire and his friends the player is allowed to learn the history of Squall’s father and his failed relationship with Rinoa’s mother, Julia Heartilly. Thus, the player is allowed to play through both the forgotten romance of Laguna and Julia as well as the new love of Squall and Rinoa.

In 9 we have a tailed genome thief and a cavalcade of loveable misfits fighting against the living remains of an advanced alien world that is attempting to consume their planet by siphoning out all of the planet’s souls and injecting alien souls in their place, like changing the jelly filling in a donut. 9 also has its fair share of absurdity what with a princess that is revealed to be the last of a dying race and an underground mine that links two continents, filled with giant aquaphobic bugs. 9 takes its fantasy setting and uses it deal with mature topics like war, weapons of mass destruction, arms dealers, and genocide. Of course, the game deals with these topics by making all of the weapons magical and the victims of genocide rat people. 9’s story does not do anything as crazy as 8’s flashback gameplay, but it does do a great job of diversifying its story. Where 8 had a laser like focus on Squall and Rinoa’s relationship, allowing little breathing room for the rest of the cast, 9 gives the entire cast some moments of story focus to develop. Freya gets to react to the ruins of her home of Burmecia, Amarant rebels at Ispen’s Castle; heck, even Quina has some scenes here and there. It is also worth mentioning that 9 has a bit of a meta-story since it is the last FF game that Hironobu Sakaguchi worked on. 9’s story is as much about celebrating the history of the FF series as it is about the main story of Zidane and his party.

The Verdict: 9 definitely has the more mature story and the more varied story, but the singular focus of 8 on the relationship of Squall and Rinoa definitely has its own appeal. In the eternal struggle between soap opera and pure drama I am going to have to go with 9’s mature story by committee over 8’s love novella.

Best Cast: 8 has 6 main party members and really only 2 of them develop: Squall and Rinoa. Selphie stays a bubbly caricature. Irvine stays a lecherous ladies man. Zell stays a spaz. Quistis stays a bookish big sister. Laguna is more developed than any of the main cast members not named Squall or Rinoa and he is definitely my favorite character in the entire game for his mixture of a bumbling personality with strange political competence. At the end of the day 8’s cast isn’t great and its villains are not that compelling. The cardboard cutout cast fits the soap opera story well, but they don’t hold up when examined seprately.

Look, Vivi all by himself is a more compelling and endearing character than anyone in FF8. Vivi is the youngest character in FF9 and he is forced to grapple with his mortality and being created to kill. Spoiler Alert: 9 actually has the stones to kill off its youngest and most vulnerable character at the end of the game AND SHOW YOU HIS DYING THOUGHTS AS A PORTION OF THE EPILOG! Vivi is so well developed that he might even be the main character of the game. As I mentioned in the story portion, the cast of 9 is very well developed and each of the characters shows some form of growth over the course of the game; they make mistakes and actually grow from them, unlike the majority of 8’s cast. Kuja is a much more compelling villain than Seifer or Ultimecia and Queen Brahne is a much more compelling villain than Edea.

The Verdict: 9 in a land slide. It’s not close. Squall is cool and all, but let’s be real.

Best Gameplay: This is probably the toughest category of all because each game has a great combat system, but they are each trying to achieve drastically different things. 8’s junction system is easily the most exploitable and flexible character building system in the FF series. A knowledgeable player can easily have a party with over 4000 hp per character before even fighting a single battle if they so choose. This is because levels have almost no value in FF8, all enemies scale based on Squall’s level and character stats do not grow as fast as enemy stats do. Character growth is instead dictated by the ability to gather and “junction” magic to stats. Since magic can be acquired a number of ways, FF8 is one of the only FF games where character strength has almost no correlation to the amount of battles a player completes. The wide open junction system gives FF8 a ton of replay-ability since your party configuration can be so different and so weird, it makes for fun speed runs and challenge builds like beating the game with your party at level 1.

While 8 chooses to have a system that makes the characters largely interchangeable, 9 uses its combat system to further develop its characters. 9 has a strict class based character building system where only two characters have any overlapping active abilities (the two white mage/ summoners). Each character has a defined role in combat that is tied back to the classes created in games like FF1, 3, 4, and 5. However, 9 uses active and passive abilities as tools to develop its characters. For example, Zidane is a thief with largely traditional thief abilities like Steal and Flee; however, he also learns the passive ability Protect Girls early in the game. Protect Girls allows Zidane to take damage in the place of another character, like a paladin or a knight, but he will only do so to protect a woman. This shows that Zidane will put himself in harm’s way to protect others, but it also says that he is a bit of a flirt since he will only do so for a lady. FF9 has a number of abilities that similarly help to define its characters. Now aside of these interesting story implications, 9 has a fairly vanilla combat system when compared to 8.

The Verdict: I love how 9 uses abilities to character build, but 8’s gameplay is so unique and so special that I have to give it the nod.

Best Card Game: Triple Triad is one of the many keys to breaking the combat system of FF8. The cards in FF8 can be converted into items that can be used to create broken weapons and magic that makes the combat system trivial. Triple Triad also happens to be really, really fun and addictive, at least a quarter of my play time in any FF8 playthrough is spent playing Triple Triad. Not only is the base card game really good, there are a ton of rule sets and different ways to play. If only this game had some kind of online Triple Triad multiplayer, GET ON IT SQUARE.

FF9’s card game, Tetra Master is fine. It is a serviceable card game and playing it well can earn you a good accessory at one point in the game. But it is nowhere near the game that Triple Triad is.

The Verdict: Triple Triad > Tetra Master

Best World: The world of FF8 is crazily detailed for how little the game forces you to explore. There are multiple towns, like the Shumi Village and Winhill, that you literally never have to see, several of which are homes to cool side quests and people. There are awesome side quests that are available on the world map like the creature in Obel Lake and Cactuar Island. The cities of FF8 are very imaginative and cool to see, such as Fisherman’s Horizon, Esthar, and Deling City. Even the Garden and the Ragnarok are really cool vehicles. 8 does not have the thematic consistency of 9, but it more than makes up for it in scope and creativity.

The world of FF9 is just as detailed as the world of FF8, but it does not have the sense of exploration or the variety that 8 has. 9’s towns and cities are all some variety of steam punk or ren-fair. There is no location as crazy as Esthar or the Cetra Ruins of FF8, but there is a consistency of tone and aesthetic that lends a real sense of cohesion to the world of 9. For example, the kingdoms of the Mist Continent have similar technology and cultures that make each kingdom feel distinct, but not out of place. Whereas Esthar and Galbadia seem like they are on entirely different planets. The peoples of Gaia are more interesting than the people of FF8, with civilizations like the dwarves of Conde Petit, the black mages of the Black Mage Village, and the rat people of Burmecia and Clyra. Each civilization is distinct, but they are not so different that they feel thematically inconsistent like Esthar does.

The Verdict: This is another tough, tough call but I’m gonna have to go with the world of 8. The visual creativity and the sense of exploration in 8 is just something special. Secret places like the Island Closest to Heaven and the Island Closest to Hell just are not around in FF9.

Best Side Quest: 8 has a bunch of good side quests, but no single side quest that stands above. There is the creature in Obel Lake and it’s missions. There is the Deep Sea Research Facility and the monsters there. There is the Cetra Ruins and its optional bosses. There is the Shumi Village and its strange people. All good and interesting but none as good as…

The chocobo side quest in FF9! This side quest is great, it unlocks a bunch of great equipment, it unlocks the hardest boss in the game, and it ties into the Mognet sidequest. It even has a guest appearance from Chubby Chocobo aka. Fat Chocobo aka Fats Choco. This side quest is how you unlock most of the game’s best weapons and it prompts the player to explore every inch of the world of FF9. IT EVEN HAS TREASURE MAPS!!

The Verdict: TREASURE MAPS!!!

Best Protagonist: It all comes down to this… Squall vs… Vivi? Yeah that’s right. You remember how I said you can make the argument that Vivi is the main character of 9? Well I’m gonna make that argument. Vivi is introduced not five minutes after Zidane is and he is an original party member. Vivi is as much the game’s focus in the first two discs as Zidane, with the entirety of Brahne’s war exposing Vivi to the horror that he is an artificially created tool of war. He is forced to see the slaughter his enslaved brethren enact in Bermecia, Lindblum, and Clyra. He is the focus of the entire Black Mage Village scene in the second disc. Even Zidane’s time on Terra parallel’s Vivi’s experience with Black Mages. Vivi isn’t the focus of the game’s main romantic plot, so what? Vivi isn’t the character who the player controls, so what? Vivi doesn’t get the most screen time, so what? FF9 encompasses Vivi’s entire maturation, from childhood to adulthood to death; the game begins with Vivi’s first exposure to society and ends at the end of his life. If Zidane has to be the main protagonist then Vivi is 1a. The game is as much Vivi’s game as Zidane’s.

So now that I got that off my chest I guess we can talk about Squall. Squall is a reluctant hero of the highest order and his whininess has put of plenty of people from finishing FF8. I don’t find him especially detestable, but I think that is because his brand of whininess is largely adolescent angst, and I was an adolescent when I first played FF8. He gets more melodramatic every time I play through FF8 and that isn’t a good thing. He is not a terrible character but…

The Verdict: FF9 wins, it’s over. Call it. Just to be clear Zidane is better than Squall too, but Vivi is just so much more likeable and believable.

The Final Verdict: FF9 wins by a hair 4-3. The science proves it. You can’t argue with science. In the battle between great games someone had to win. Sorry if you don’t like the outcome, but life is hard sometimes. Love 8 too, but 9 is the superior game.

121 Comments
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Posted by thatpinguino

@marokai: I "ignored" VII because it would not have won any of these categories and because what I was writing was long enough without having to write about VII. VII is a good game that is buoyed by nostalgia. It has the flattest characters of the three, it has the most simplest story of the three, it has a fine combat system but not a better combat system. I mean it doesn't even HAVE a card game; how can I take a game seriously if it doesn't have a card game?

Edited by 8Bit_Archer

Good Answer. IX is my personal favorite but I will not argue with anyone who says otherwise. All three were great games. I didnt care for VII as much but, I still believe it was good.

That being said....its a close fight between 4 or 6 as the best FF game.

Posted by thatpinguino

@8bit_archer: I played IV on the ds and I don't know that the gameplay in IV holds up anymore. The battle system in IV is really inflexible and the story moments that are the high point of IV, like literally half of your party sacrificing themselves at one point or another, are a little wonky.

Edited by hermes

Meh...

I get your arguments, and they are fairly well presented... But Final Fantasy VIII is still my personal favorite of that generation.

Posted by KoidZine

I am sure I am not the first one to point this out, but:

VII is the only main FF in which you can play as Vincent, so it is unarguably the best Final Fantasy. Also, this.

I really like FFVII.

Posted by DifferenceEngine

@marokai: I "ignored" VII because it would not have won any of these categories and because what I was writing was long enough without having to write about VII. VII is a good game that is buoyed by nostalgia. It has the flattest characters of the three, it has the most simplest story of the three, it has a fine combat system but not a better combat system. I mean it doesn't even HAVE a card game; how can I take a game seriously if it doesn't have a card game?

Henceforth, all Final Fantasies not featuring a card game shall be rendered onto the ash heap of gaming history regardless of the quality of their gameplay.

Posted by thatpinguino
Posted by Silvergun

@thatpinguino: That was really well thought out and well written. I'd love to see you dissect some of the other games in the series.

Posted by thatpinguino

@silvergun: I linked to some of my longer essays on 9 and 8 at the top of the blog post. I am thinking of writing about 10, but the newer games don't really compel me and the older stuff hasn't grabbed me as much.

Edited by GoliathAssassin84

As a reader, it has always been fun reading your posts because of the quality of writing and the obvious love you show for the FF franchise on the whole. That said, I have a major disagreement with your article right off the bat. While I don't fault you for excluding FF Tactics (it is a very different style of game than the rest) I believe it was wrong of you to leave 7 out of the race at the starting line like that. I happen to believe that FF7 is not the best game of the PS1 era, mostly because the developers just didn't have the same grasp of the technology that they had when it came back around to making 8 and 9. I agreed with almost all of your harsh statements about 7. Cloud was a weak lead and Sephiroth went off the deep end pretty quick. People remember the game so happily because it was graphically better than 6 at the time, but if you go back and play it now, the game just does not hold up at all visually, and the audio feels a bit dated as well. The only thing you had to say about 7 that I did not agree with was this:

"The materia system is fine but 8 and 9 have combat systems that are equal to or greater than 7's."

No, not really... You have a right to express your opinion, just as I now have the right to express mine. I love FF9, but like you said, its leveling system was very vanilla. With me, it scores as worst of the three in terms of overall quality. I do love its simplicity as a good "starting-point" game into the series however. It was the first FF I ever played, the first I helped my wife play, and quite honestly, the first I plan to help my kid(s) play. There's so little going on and it's all clear-cut. Very good to learn on, but not as deep or exploitable as 7 or 8.

I clearly don't think as highly of 8's battle system as you do. 8 did invent the Magic Draw system and the Magic/Stat Junction system, but it did not invent the Esper junction system by any stretch of the imagination. 6 was the revolutionary game that 8 stole from and actually downgraded in order to get to the GF system they achieved. Sure, you have things added in like GF compatibility and multiple different types of GF skills to learn... but it's all done completely backward. In FF6 you take a diety-like magical being and assign it to a player character. After an appropriate number of battles, the player character then begins to learn some magical ability from the diety-like magical being that it appropriately already knew. In FF8 you take a diety-like magical being and assign it to a player character all the same, right? But somehow through the battles ahead, the diety-like magical being gains experience toward its own set of skills based on the experience it has earned fighting alongside the junctioned player character? WHAT?!!! So if I am Ifrit... and HAVE BEEN Ifrit for like over 5 franchise titles now... and you junction me to Squall... then naturally the experiences and insights that I have learned whilst fighting alongside this emo gun-blade toting whiner will lead to me becoming a better Ifrit with a plethora of new abilities that I have never had before? It's preposterous! Player characters learn abilities from summons who already know them, it does not believably work the other way around. The FF8 gameplay/leveling system is very ambitious and it offers a great deal more depth and customization than 9, but I still find it ridiculously flawed in concept, rather than execution.

For my two cents, the Materia system owns all in the PS1 era competition for best gameplay/leveling mechanic. And for that win alone, I believe you should have given 7 a chance to run this race fair and square. (Pun intended) I agree it would not have come out on top anyway. It is a very dated game and it struggles to keep up with later titles on the same platform, but it did do something right to capture the hearts and minds of a whole generation of fans. It wasn't the graphics. It wasn't the basket-case main protagonist. It was the gameplay, and specifically the materia system. You can dump hours into the different combinations and uses and set-ups and equipment slots, etc, and just when you think you got it all figured out, your green status materia throws a whole different kind of status at you to master, or your yellow command materia opens up into a different command. It's pretty genius, dude. Calling it "the best" is purely my opinion. Calling it genius is just plain fact.

Best Protagonist: Lol, you didn't have to go there. It's kind of a low-blow, but it's honestly the truth. If Vivi were the main protagonist, he'd still be a better character than Squall. I happened to like Zidane better than Vivi for his insightful one-liners. "the sly eagle never shows his talons," or something like that. But Vivi was easily one of the most lovable characters in 9. Squall whined so much that I honestly wished Seifer would put him out once and for all. He didn't care about anything, didn't want to do anything and basically didn't want to interact with anybody... except for that one chick.

Best cast: You were right when you said that Squall and Rinoa were the only ones to change in 8. Unfortunately, they both did this so late in the game that I already could not be won back to either one of them. I actually cringed during their kissy moments because it was so cliche sub-par. Laguna, Kiros and Ward were the best characters in the game. Selphie and Irvine were actually my fav player characters which made me happy when they got together at the end. I have no compliants about any of the FF9 characters, party or NPC. Everyone was generally written very well. Exceedingly well actually. My favorite was Quina! If anyone felt a little lacking, it might have been Garland. But he was part android after all.

Best card game is complicated for me. I liked Tetra Master a lot better as a game, but it did not bring nearly the same rewards as Triple Triad. I thought that some of the rules in Triad were very stupid later on. I mean elemental rules are cool, but freakin' Random? Really? I don't even get to play my cards in the order I want? the CPU has to pick them for me? If they'd have left out some of those more radical card rules then I might have liked Triad better, but I stand by Tetra Master. Just too bad there wasn't a way to refine things from cards in 9 like there was in 8. THAT was one genius idea 8 had that I'm surprised did not stick with the franchise in general.

I'm getting inspired to do a little ratings system of my own across part of the FF franchise. Maybe 7,8,9,10,12? Five titles doesn't seem too hard. Might get a bit long, but... I'll kick it around and see what i come up with.

Edited by thatpinguino

@goliathassassin84: Well you just did a better job of explaining the materia system than I would have done, and I agree that it is the part of 7 to champion. I bypassed 7 because I just don't have the affection for it and honestly I would take more heat for giving it less attention in each category than I have for bypassing it. However, I think what makes 9's combat system so different is that, while it does not focus on making the gameplay especially flashy or intresting in and of itself, it does the best job of using the gameplay to develop the characters. For example, take my protect girls example or my blog on Amarant, in each instance the developers took the conventions established in FF 1-6 and applied those mechanics to flesh out the personalities and dispositions of the characters in 9. They take the known and adjust it to fit and accentuate 9's cast. 9 is exploitable, but not nearly to the extent 8 or 7 are. I mean you can really break those games sideways if you want.

Posted by GoliathAssassin84

I will have to take a look at the blog on Amarant, but as for tonight it's a lost cause. I need my sleep if I am going to read and appreciate another blog. Truly, there is no other FF that uses character class and ability sets to accentuate the specific attitude of the character who owns them... But much like 10, I wish there were a way to maximize the given role first and then later branch out to customize to your own liking in the endgame. Every time I play FF9 it feels like every other time ive played FF9. That is why I purposely do not play it every year. I give myself enough time to forget about what makes it so great from a story perspective so that I can be delightfully surprised again. The replay value, however strong, is therefore driven completely by love of the story. FF9 game mechanics do not add replay, and this does sadden me a little. But it's still my fav in the series.

Posted by GoliathAssassin84

@koidzine said:

I am sure I am not the first one to point this out, but:

VII is the only main FF in which you can play as Vincent, so it is unarguably the best Final Fantasy.

And that... almost works. Almost.

Posted by thatpinguino

@goliathassassin84: The replay value for me comes from switching up my party composition and favoring different party members. I think the ideal party from a battle efficiency standpoint is Zidane, Garnet, Steiner, and Vivi, but I tend to use Freya and Amarant for their playstyles. Next time I'll need to use Quina... I still haven't given he/she any love on any of my playthroughs.

Posted by mrfluke

k

Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx

While we're making blanket statements then allow me, Final Fantasy wasn't all that great until 7 and died after 10, it's ever so slowly resurrecting but it's going to need a lot of phoenix downs.

Final Fantasy VI, and Phoenix Downs heal being knocked out they don't resurrect anything.

Posted by CircleNine

FF8 is the best because of the Squall Is Dead theory.

Edited by thatpinguino

@circlenine: I personally hate it when a story needs an elaborate theory that completely re-frames the events of the plot just to make some kind of sense of everything. But as far as those crazy re-imaginings go, the Squall is Dead theory is my favorite.

Posted by GoliathAssassin84

@thatpinguino: Freya and Quina are my favorite people to play as. Freya, for her attack strength and Reiss's Wind, is automatically one of the safest characters to have around. Add in Lancer, White Draw, Dragon's Crest and the Jump command and BAM! Instant classic. People are incredibly put off by Quina's personality and it's just a shame that it hinders so many players from truly experiencing his/her functional greatness. As Quina's attack is variable, sometimes Quina hits for crap... but I've found that if you go in expecting every hit to do crap damage, you'll be delightfully surprised to find that a good 60-70% majority of Quina's attacks actually hit with damage comparable to fighting classes. You can offset this greatly by striving to capture an exorbitant amount of frogs early in the game until Quale comes and gives you the Bistro fork. In this respect, Quina actually has earlier access to his/her more powerful weapons than do any other characters. Plus you're maximizing Frog Drop, one of your best damage dealing spells, right off the bat.

There's a good trick to flesh-out Quina's blue magic list immediately after he/she's been optionally acquired for the first time. After you have your little talk with Quale and Quina joins the party, the best thing to do is immediately start learning blue magic in the marsh itself. Gigan Toad teaches Frog Drop and Aqua breath can be learned by just about everything else. Here's the trick that not many people get: Backtrack through Lindblum Dragon's Gate, through the city, and right out the front door. This clifftop portion of the world map between Lindblum Castle and pinnacle rocks is a very easy and exploitable area that's full of blue magic for Quina. For insance, learning Lv3 Def-less from a carve spider is tons easier than trying to learn it from Lamia. Limit glove can easily be learned from Axe Beak, and Mustard Bomb can be learned from the Bombs in that small forest area. (Ragtime Mouse spot.) This is by far the earliest you will ever learn this ability. Otherwise, you have to wait until the point of the story where you are fighting Red Vepals, Grenades and Wraiths. After backtracking to this easy magic gobbling spot, you can begin to digest creatures in the King Ed Plains Serpion teaches Mighty Guard, Hedgehog Pie and Lady Bug both teach Pumpkin Head, Ironite teaches Angel's Snack, and Vice teaches Vanish. (This is by far the most annoying blue magic to obtain early, but parting with a couple measly potions is not a huge risk.)

By this time, without having to move the story along even one box of dialogue text, you have already learned 9 of Quina's 24 Blue Magic spells. That's almost half! And not even that much effort or travel required. If you've done your homework up until this point, there's really nothing for Quina to learn in Gizemaluke's Grotto, so you can just stroll right through. Staying ahead of Quina's learning curve like this can allow you to learn most blue magic spells in groups, one after the other, and many times during "grind spots" that appear in-between scripted story segments so as not to hinder your game and leave you scrambling for the next save point. If you're ever interested, I can teach you another Quina-focused FF9 exploit that allows you to completely own the Grand Dragons and Garuda that inhabit the Popo's Heights area (accessed by climbing the vine in the moogle room in Gizameluke's Grotto.) Thus, you can learn the White Wind Blue Magic spell before ever visiting Cleyra, at a time when your party should not be able to stand a chance against those monsters. Quina is very easy to make into a game-breaking powerhouse of a character if you actually do choose to put some effort in. The hitch is, he/she will never just be a superior character automatically like Steiner or Freya might. And like I say, lots of people hate the character's personality... which I find to be the most egotistical and hilarious of them all! Quina is often confused, but rarely ever frightened. "I do what I want! You have problem?!"

Posted by XpressTuning

@8bit_archer: I played IV on the ds and I don't know that the gameplay in IV holds up anymore. The battle system in IV is really inflexible and the story moments that are the high point of IV, like literally half of your party sacrificing themselves at one point or another, are a little wonky.

There are a lot of problems with FF IV, but to be honest i'd take that simplistic, inflexible combat over the gut wrenchingly slow combat of VIII and IX.

The loading times on each random encounter, the poor framerate in the battle mode, the obscenely-long and time-consuming summons & spells, really made the combat unbearably boring in IX and VIII.

Posted by thatpinguino

@xpresstuning: I agree with the load times and the general battle pace, but I think IX cleaned up some of the animation time issues that were started by VII and VIII. I mean VIII's summon animations were so long that there was a boost system designed to occupy you while you watched. IX's summons have two animation sets, a long one and a short one. Unfortunately the long version is way stronger so the game actually incentivizes you to watch the long version, but even the longest summon in IX is not as bad as Eden or Bahamut in VIII.

@goliathassassin84: I never knew that trick about getting Quina's blue magic early. I always double back through Gizmaluke's Grotto because that is the only way to max out the chocobo side quest rewards before Clyra, but I have only ever done that to max out Vivi. But putting in the early work on Quina seems like a way more fun way to use her/him. I think Quina is a little like Amarant and Freya, in that they each do so much so well, but don't really snugly fit into one firm role.