Which Final Fantasy game is best for a newbie?

  • 78 results
  • 1
  • 2
Avatar image for reykenobi
ReyKenobi

3

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#1  Edited By ReyKenobi

I'm pretty new to Final Fantasy; I've only ever played XIV: A Realm Reborn and was super into it for a few days but then lost interest.

I really, really want to get more into Final Fantasy, though, since I have such a huge respect for the series and I really want to get to know the characters and stories better.

What game is best to start with? Not just according to what's typically thought of as best, but also taking into consideration play time (preferably not super long), system, and story.

I don't own many older systems, so it's a little limited what I can play. Anything on PSP, PS2, PS Vita, or Nintendo systems like DS, 3DS, Wii, Wiiu (not sure if there are Final Fantasy games on these systems, but hey! I may be surprised!)

Avatar image for tobbrobb
TobbRobb

6616

Forum Posts

49

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 13

My gut reaction is definitely 10. It's neither the hardest or the longest, the HD version is very easily available and it has less convoluted or confusing mechanics (lol sphere grid) than many of the older ones do. Same goes for 13, but I personally consider 10 the better game.

But honestly, with some patience you could get into any one you want to. The setting and story changes significantly between games, and a large part of the appeal of the series is the worlds and the characters. So I'd recommend just looking at the games and see if one appeals to just purely with aestethics. Just to throw out some examples: 13 is basically some alternate universe sci-fi, and 4 is kind of cookie cutter fantasy. 7 has this weird dystopian thing going on and 12 is a more traditional war story.

It hurts me to say this, because I love 9. But that is probably the hardest "modern" FF game you could play. It's a great game, but it can be very punishing, especially if you aren't used to this style of game and it's own weird quirks. Any other game from 6 and up should definitely be managable. 4 as well.

Avatar image for imhungry
imhungry

1361

Forum Posts

1241

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 3

I suppose I'd point towards either FF4 or FF6 for series newcomers. Provided you don't mind engaging with 2D sprite graphics then I'd go with FF6 which has fantastic characters and a good story that generally moves along at a steady pace. The downside is that I believe it's only been re-released on the GBA(which is a pretty darn good port) and on mobile, which doesn't sound like the best experience but that's probably my dislike of mobile gaming speaking. Not sure if there was a VC release of it, but you could check!

FF4 similarly has great characters and story and comes with the added benefit of seeing wide re-release. They did a full remake for the DS with polygonal models and voice acting which was pretty alright when I played it, though might have aged significantly due to the nature of DS graphics. There's also a port for the PSP which is cool because, though it's in 2D, it also includes episodic sequel Final Fantasy IV: The After Years for when you finish the game and inevitably need more of a fix, though I've never played The After Years so can't attest to it's quality.

Personally, my first FF game was FF7 which I still think is pretty good but, as with the rest of the post PSX games, probably falls into your definition of super long playtime. If you're willing to tackle something a bit meatier, I'd suggest FF9.

So far, the 3 I've mentioned are all pretty similar systems-wise, being pretty standard turn-based combat with not too interesting character progression. I think the remakes of 4 and 6 even retroactively added the Active Time Battle (ATB) system of FF7+ games which helps to update them slightly. If you're looking for something a bit more interesting mechanically, you could try FF12, which is where the main series started flirting with MMO-style real time/turn based hybrid combat but has a story that is a bit too long and drawn out for me personally, or even FF8 which is still standard turn-based ATB combat but has some pretty interesting mechanics on character progression and a great story (though @zombiepie might disagree about that...).

At the end of the day, I don't think you can go too wrong with your choice of first FF game to play, as long as it's not FFX-2. Because that game is bullshit.

Avatar image for facelessryan
FacelessRyan

3132

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

I'll also say 10, though because it was the first numbered one I played. I'm not by any means a Final Fantasy aficionado so I know that other people will have more detailed replies about their choices, but I think it's the most accessible compared to the few others I've played; 7, 12 and 13-1.

And also because Lulu.

Avatar image for zeik
Zeik

5434

Forum Posts

2

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#5  Edited By Zeik

That's not an easy question to answer, as they can vary pretty wildly from game to game and it often comes down to personal preference. Few fanbases are as divisive as FF when it comes to ranking their favorites. It will also depend on your personal background with RPGs and how you feel about some of the more dated aspects of some of them.

But I will go ahead an recommend FF9, as it is the only one I truly love and thus the only one I feel comfortable unequivocally recommending. Good story and characters. Relatively easy to understand systems that are not too dated but not overly complex. Long, but not out of the ordinary for FF.

@tobbrobb: Maybe I'm not the right person to say this, since I was already pretty experienced with JRPGs by the time 9 rolled around, but I don't feel like anything about it is particularly punishing. There are challenging parts of the game, but I don't feel like any of it is much different than your average Final Fantasy. And I feel like the mechanics are the most straightforward of anything on the PS1 or beyond. Learning new skills from your gear is very simple to understand compared to the ridiculous junction system of FFVIII or the obtuse looking Sphere Grid of FFX. (Which isn't actually that complicated, but it definitely took me awhile to wrap my brain around when I first played it.)

Avatar image for tobbrobb
TobbRobb

6616

Forum Posts

49

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 13

#6  Edited By TobbRobb

@zeik: It's been a very long time since I played it, and I was not experienced with Jrpgs at that point, so the truth is probably somewhere inbetween? It's definitely the one I struggled most to beat, that's for sure. Might be time for a revisit once the steam version rolls out. :D

Avatar image for belegorm
Belegorm

1858

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@imhungry: 4 and 6 had the ATB system to start with. I forget if it started with 3 or 4.

I'm going to throw out the oddball one here: Final Fantasy 5. Not sure if it ever made it to the virtual console, but there is a good PS1 port of it that would run on your PS2. And there's the way most of us have played it... *cough* emulators *cough*

It's a bit lighter on story than most, it's really a parody of the older FF stories and says how simple they are. However, the gameplay is really solid and holds up very, very well. It's essentially an improved FF3, with the Job system: You level up specific jobs for each character, and at any point you can switch jobs and use cross-class skills between them. The cross-class abilities of FFXIV (and FFXI and FFT) are modeled upon this system, but it works better in FF3, FF5 and FFT than in the MMO's.

FF5 has easy systems to jump into and a great deal of customisation on how you want your party and characters to play. The story isn't crazy convoluted like the later ones, and it makes fun of the simplistic stories of the earlier ones.

If you want the best story in a FF game play Final Fantasy Tactics.

Avatar image for liquiddragon
liquiddragon

4134

Forum Posts

978

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 18

Not 8.

Avatar image for savage
Savage

809

Forum Posts

21147

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 86

#9  Edited By Savage

Everyone has their own favorite FF games, so there's not really a clear-cut consensus where you should start. Each game has self-contained story and characters, making each one a fresh starting point where you can jump in. I'll give you my suggestions, being as impartial as I can, with a little reasoning for each.

Final Fantasy VII - The most broadly popular FF game. Hybrid of the old (2D-era exaggerated chibi characters) and the new (3D cinematic graphics). Some parts still hold up (e.g. music/atmosphere), others are very primitive (e.g. 3D models), and some are debatable (e.g. story). The best version is probably the PS4 re-release that adds some quality of life features like speeding up random battles. Without a PS4, your best option I guess would be the PSOne Classic version on Vita, which is simply an unenhanced straight port of the original game. About 40 hours long (according to howlongtobeat).

Final Fantasy X - Sheds the chibi acting of the old games and embraces more realistic-looking (but still exotic) characters. First FF game with full voice acting. Some find the story too melodramatic, while others can get on board with it find it to be one of the more emotional FF games. Distinctive among FF games for having purely turn-based battles where you can bring any of your characters freely into battle, not just the few in your current party. The best version is again probably the PS4 re-release, but you can go with the original PS2 version just fine. About 50 hours long.

Final Fantasy XII - Unique for being about the closest that FF has gotten to being open-world. Gameplay is structured a bit like an MMO's. Story is more about politics than personal relationships. The localization is particularly high quality in both writing and voice acting. Only version is the original PS2 one. About 60 hours long.

Final Fantasy Tactics - The most popular spin-off title from the FF mainline series. It shares the same world setting as FF XII as well as its politics-heavy style of story. It also uses the classic job system from FF V that FF XIV is based on). It's technically a Japanese Strategy RPG rather than a classical JRPG. The version to play is the PSP-exclusive enhanced version called Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions. About 50 hours long.

Avatar image for asilentprotagonist
ASilentProtagonist

738

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

VI. Trust me give it a try its timeless. Best RPG ever made if you ask me.

FFX

FF Tactics is one of the favorite games of all time. Story is one of the best ever told if not the best of that genre. The lore, characters, story is insanely rich, and full of detail.

Other great spin offs -Crisis core is great, and Dissida is so good.

Avatar image for frostyryan
FrostyRyan

2936

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

VII, IX, X

Avatar image for violet_
violet_

294

Forum Posts

202

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

VI

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16086

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

#13  Edited By Justin258

There isn't a single one that's easily "best" for a newbie. It's kinda difficult to understand just how vastly different each entry is without playing them. Yes, there are overarching themes, similar mechanics, recurring items and minor creatures, but for the most part each and every game is different. Whatever you do, don't write off the entire series because of one bad experience with one of the games.

That said, Final Fantasy IV is pretty much where the series found its footing. Final Fantasy IV is sorta the cliff notes of most of the games that came after it. It also only takes about 20-25 hours to complete it (meaning "do everything or almost everything there is to do in the game"). There are many different versions of Final Fantasy IV - for my money, the best version is the one available on PSP, which takes the look and feel of the original SNES game and modernizes it into an extremely smooth experience from beginning to end.

Some people prefer the DS version for its 3D presentation, voiced cutscenes, and overall revamping of pretty much everything. I've never played that version, honestly, but I've seen it played and it reminds me of PS1 games - muddy and blocky with a bad framerate and badly compressed audio. Also, the DS version is supposed to be more difficult.

All of that's just my suggestion for where to start. Why don't you try watching some gameplay videos or reading the TVTropes intro paragraphs for each game and pick which one seems like the most interesting to you?

Avatar image for lawgamer
LawGamer

1481

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

#14  Edited By LawGamer

Hoo boy. Your first Final Fantasy games is kinda like the first girl you ever kiss - it might not end up being anything lasting and it might be clumsy and not particularly great in retrospect, but you'll remember it and it'll set the standard for everything that comes after.

FFVI: Pretty much the "classic" Final Fantasy and oftentimes the go to answer for "best of the series." I have really fond memories of it and I think it still holds up pretty well. That said, if you're going to play it, I would play it on the original SNES version as opposed to the hideously remastered "port" they chose to put out on the PC.

FFVII: I picked it up on the PS4 when it was re-released and I still think parts of it hold up really well. Obviously not the graphics, but I think the combat system is still really fun despite how everyone knocks on ATB these days. I also think it is still has the best cast of characters in the series. That said, the Materia system can be kinda impenetrable if you've never played before.

Playing it, the game does bring back an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, which you likely wouldn't have not having played it before. It also does some really effective story telling bits with flashbacks and such that I don't know would work in a modern game. Overall, FFVII is more of a historical artifact than a great game at this point. I wouldn't start with it, but if you get into the series, I'd recommend looping back to it at some point just to see why it had the effect it did.

FFVIII: Don't play this game. If you're curious, go read @zombiepie's series on it. He suffered so you don't have to.

FFIX: I think this is potentially a good choice. IX has a lot of the hallmarks of the series like a magic-punk setting, and a "save-the-world" plot and an ATB battle system. The story isn't anything special, but the characters are pretty likable and the character progression system is easy to wrap your head around. It sort of sits in the middle of the "old school" Final Fantasy games and the "modern era" that started with X. It's also considerably more cartoony than the rest of the series, if that factors into your decision in any way.

FFX: A lot of people like this game. I'm not one of them. To me, X laid the groundwork for a lot of what I felt started to go wrong with the series - a threadbare plot, overly simple characterizations, a badly constructed world, and crushing linearity. That said, it represents the start of "modern" Final Fantasy in a lot of ways in that Squeenix really started to focus on graphical presentation and faster paced combat at this point. The characters are pretty likable and the Sphere Grid system is still interesting, I just think the writing is ham-fisted and the world is completely boring.

FFXII: I'll be honest - I adore this game. It brought back a lot of the atmospheric elements I loved about the older Final Fantasy games - airships, Moogles, Magicite, etc. The characters are generally likable and well-fleshed out and they took the time to build a world that actually feels like it could exist. Plus, the story treats players like adults for once and kinda moves away from world-ending consequences and melodrama to tell a (slightly) more grounded story of politics and rebellion. Even the clumsy attempt at "fancy" english is more charming than off putting.

A lot of people knock the combat system in this one, but I really liked it. Plus, seeing as how you say you are coming from MMO XIV, you might be more tolerant of it than a lot of people were when it came out.

FFXIII: FFXIII has all the flaws of X - terrible linearity, an incomprehensible plot, and a "world" that amounts to a bunch of sci-fi corridors. To that, add a shitty combat system and the most intensely unlikeable cast of characters in the series by a country mile. I hate this game. Hate, hate, hate, hate it.

Avatar image for onemanarmyy
Onemanarmyy

5471

Forum Posts

431

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

My vote goes to FFX. It's also one of the better final Fantasys in my opinion.

Avatar image for sinusoidal
Sinusoidal

3608

Forum Posts

20

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

My gut reaction to this question is always IV or VI, but I also grew up in the 4-16 bit video game generations, so I may have a slightly irrational attachment to them. They're still excellent games, but definitely don't have quite the impact of a modern day, big budget production. Story-wise, they probably are still the best (I'll concede IX is also a contender.) Which isn't saying much. For a series of games ostensibly based on story, FF game stories are of wildly inconsistent quality. (Read @zombiepie's blog on VIII for example. Also, the XIII trilogy is some of the most egregiously awful story telling ever put to any medium.)

Avatar image for kmfrob
kmfrob

313

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

I pretty much would agree with @lawgamer here. Except for VIII... I have a fondness for VIII and I still occasionally get an inkling to go back through it.

You can read my latest blog post on FFVII if you want to get an idea about how much this game inspired me as a youngster. It does contain a few spoilers, but they are pretty vague and so probably won't spoil you fun too much as you wouldn't have the context to place them.

Avatar image for imhungry
imhungry

1361

Forum Posts

1241

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 3

@belegorm: Really? Geez it's been a while. 6, now that you say it, I remember having it but I could've sworn that 4 was still the old obfuscated turn based style when I first played it. Man, all this Final Fantasy talk is making me want to go play one. This is bad.

I'll just drop it an extra point that you probably shouldn't start with 13. I actually find a weird, almost perverse, enjoyment from that game in how it structures it's plot and character progression so differently from all other FF games but that's an enjoyment that definitely came about from my investment in the series. If I had played 13 first I think I would definitely not have been impressed with FF.

Avatar image for rebel_scum
Rebel_Scum

1549

Forum Posts

1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

@reykenobi How can you not be sure a Final Fantasy game is on Vita!? Have you never been to the playstation store? Its got FF1 through to FFX on there.

Avatar image for alexw00d
AlexW00d

7593

Forum Posts

3686

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

#20  Edited By AlexW00d

12 because it's the best one, and the least Japanese of them. I'm sure that's a controversial thing but all the best jrpg of recent times are the least Japanese ones. 12s got the most explorable world, the best combat system, the most freedom to your characters, and tonnes of hidden shit, and the story isn't hot melodramatic garbage and the characters arent hateful like in most of the 'recent' ff games.

5 was also pretty good cause it had the job system which is interesting to dig into.

10 is the worst cause it's all the things that 12 isn't, shitty melodrama story, hateful characters, naff world.

Avatar image for zombiepie
ZombiePie

7835

Forum Posts

94558

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 16

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Avatar image for zombiepie
ZombiePie

7835

Forum Posts

94558

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 16

STAY AWAY! STAY AWAY FROM THIS FRANCHISE!

Avatar image for kamui
Kamui

44

Forum Posts

86

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@zombiepie: *Puts chloroform rag over Zombie's mouth* Shhhhh... Just play FFX as others have mentioned and you'll be fine. It's straight-forward and you don't have to grind levels at all because you can beat any boss your under-leveled for by spamming summons cause they're OP as hell. FF XII is good if you want something a little more removed from the classic turn based style combat and more action-y.

Avatar image for cav829
Cav829

829

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 26

User Lists: 2

Answers on this one are going to be all over the place.

Personally, I think X is one of the worst options The cast and plot are pretty terrible all around. The combat system was pretty good at the time, which is about the only decent thing about it. The sphere system is kind of a mess.

I'd suggest FF 4, 6, 7, 9, or Tactics. All are pretty great. Obviously with 4 and 6 they might not be your bag given they feature SNES-era sprite-based graphics. But 4 and 6 are also shorter than more recent Final Fantasy games, so they're smaller commitments to find out if you like the games or not. Final Fantasy 7 is kind of worth playing just for its place in video game history. The combat and graphics have not aged the best, but even though it's not my personal favorite in the series, it's easy to appreciate how epic the game is. FF 9 was an updated take on older games in the series.

Tactics is a totally different game. It's an SRPG.

Whatever you do, don't play 8.

Avatar image for teddie
Teddie

2216

Forum Posts

20

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

So something about going back to the 2D stuff I've found is that video game writing/localization has gotten way better since those games came out, but the characters and stories are usually pretty solid (albeit pretty simplistic/tropey after all the years of other games doing those stories). People are mentioning 4 and 6 as the best ones there, which I agree with, so start with either of those.

If you can't stick with them for whatever reason, move onto 9, which is similar in tone/style to the NES/SNES era games but will probably hold up a little better (it did come out around the time the PS2 was a thing, so it hasn't aged as badly as some of the older PS1 games).

If none of those capture you, it's time to try the "dark side" of FF in which everyone is a gritty grim blob that wants to angst at you about melodramatic topics for 60 hours. That encompasses 7, 8, 10, 13 (and 13-2, Lightning Returns), and they might be more to your taste if you're going into this series wanting the more stereotypical (by today's standards) JRPG.

If none of those get your pussy poppin', then try 12 because it's basically an MMO with a very Star Warsy story/characters. The writing is pretty flat, but it has some neat moments (and Balthier). It can get pretty grindy too, what with the MMO inspirations, but I never got sick of the basic gameplay because you can essentially customize it to play by itself while you catch up on the Bombcast or something.

Also:

@cav829 said:

Whatever you do, don't play 8.

Avatar image for chilibean_3
chilibean_3

2392

Forum Posts

324

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Ten? For some reason that's my immediate reaction if you're looking for a "modern" final fantasy. 4 if you're looking for that "classic" style.

8 and 9 are also good don't listen to them just keep going throw some 12 in there afterwards keep going never stop no wait stop when you look at X-2 or the 13s and maybe wait until the remake for 7 but just keep going

Avatar image for jay_ray
jay_ray

1569

Forum Posts

5

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

#27  Edited By jay_ray

Chrono Trigger

Edit: If you liked XIV then XII maybe the best option.

Avatar image for reykenobi
ReyKenobi

3

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'm thinking more and more about it and I'm realizing that I'd probably much prefer one of the 2D games to start with. I'm really into that kind of RPG and they're usually a whole lot more visually appealing to me. Are a ton of the older, 2D ones easily accessible?

Avatar image for zombiepie
ZombiePie

7835

Forum Posts

94558

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 16

@teddie said:

@cav829 said:

Whatever you do, don't play 8.

WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU PEOPLE WHEN I NEEDED YOU?!?!?!

Avatar image for redwing42
redwing42

797

Forum Posts

2

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

#30  Edited By redwing42

I still really enjoy the original game. Certainly nothing wrong with starting there, though it won't have the character interactions that many people look for. FFV is my favorite of the 16 bit games, and Tactics may be the best game in the series period, though it is very unlike the others. Final Fantasy 2 is a terrible, terrible game and no one should ever play it.

Avatar image for redking56
redking56

225

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#31  Edited By redking56

1 and IV for the OG role-playing experience. 1 still wears it's Ulitma/Wizardry influences but isn't that obtuse.

Speaking of obtuse, II is the most ridiculous "figure this shit out for yourself", of the lot. Designer Akitoshi Kawazu would go on to make the "SaGa" series which shows where most of the ideas of II came from.

III is basically 1 but better, the 3D remake for the DS is extremely good at being modern but still having the NES RPG challenge.

V is the most goofiest and "fun" of the series. Completely frivolous and off the wall fantasy adventure but paradoxically has one of the most fun systems of any RPG. The job system that allows for class customization with mix-n-match abilities, has some of the most strategic boss battles of the series that are not "use most powerful summon to win"

VI is the beginning of the Kitase Trilogy era where Square got more serious and were playing for keeps from the moment you hear that organ. The series starts to get completely away from it's DnD Ulitma/Wizardry roots and become the "cinematic experience" series most people are familiar with. Kitase's influence on Final Fantasy probably outweighs even Sakaguchi's, and Final Fantasy VI is his debut.

VII would be my suggestion for first RPG. Straightforward and pretty easy to understand and play and not obtuse or outdated in it's systems. I remember when I first played through it as a 7 year old and didn't even know you could equip materia to anyone but Cloud up until Cosmo Canyon. Plot is typical shounen anime fare but inoffensive and easy to digest despite it's very wonky translation.

VIII is tough to talk about as there's a bit of a "ZOMG SO BAD LOOOOOOL XD" low hanging fruit comedy routine around it that almost every online personality has a go at at some point. The most ambitious of the series and the first to drop the cartoon characters and lays on some heavy plot devices, but because it wasn't VII-2 it wasn't well received by the new VII fans. Junction system is up there with V's job system in being hilariously broken and therefore fun to fuck around with. Take it or leave it is really the best advice and don't be distracted by the hyperbole.

IX is the nostalgia/"VII fans who wish they had nostalgia" choice, wasn't even a numbered FF until someone at Square realized releasing an original IP that was just a love letter to old FFs for an obsolete system when the PS2 was already out wasn't the best idea and slapped the IX on it. Much of the production was rushed and understaffed due to most of Square actually working on their PS2 release (FFX) and on PlayOnline (their online service for FFXI). Combines all the worst aspects of the early pre-Kitase FF linearity and non-customization which makes the game more of a visual novel clicker than anything and the worst of Kitase eras sordid pasts and personal demons, anime storyline meets the overinflated self-importance and outright clutteredness.

X meets the soap opera head on, fantastic turn based battle system. Very easy to get into and very linear so the plot goes at a very steady pace. Probably my second recommendation.

XI is an MMORPG! Don't do it!

XII is as close to a western RPG that FF got. Has more in common with Yasumi Matsuno's other directed games Final Fantasy Tactics/Ogre Battle and cult hit Vagrant Story in style and political intrigue that is associated with it. Unfortunately it got stuck in development for 6 years (beginning Square's signature long development cycles of designing flowerpots) and in that time Matsuno left due to "illness" and the game came out half baked especially in the third act department. Who was called in to help helm the ship? None other than Akitoshi Kawazu, yes the guy who designed II.

XIII... fuck this series

Avatar image for mormonwarrior
MormonWarrior

2945

Forum Posts

577

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 15

User Lists: 21

I think VIII and IX ironed out a lot of the issues with VII and were accessible and fun. X on is so different than traditional FF and the 8-bit/16-bit ones are pretty tough, apart from VI.

Can't go wrong with VIII and IX and they're available on PSP, PS3 and I'm assuming Vita? As well as other places like iOS, Steam, etc.

Avatar image for giantstalker
Giantstalker

2401

Forum Posts

5787

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 15

User Lists: 2

Give IV a shot if you want a real "classic" experience, or try VI if you'd rather be playing the better - but more complicated, and arguably less iconic - game.

If you just want full-on drama and ridiculous story, try X. And if you just want the biggest, deepest, most expansive one yet then play XII.

Basically, pick your launching point based on the values you respect the most.

Finally, I gotta shill for the one I still actually play. Should you want to hang with other duders at GiantBomb, we have a really friendly group going in Final Fantasy XIV

Avatar image for cav829
Cav829

829

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 26

User Lists: 2

#34  Edited By Cav829

@reykenobi: The older games are still pretty accessible, though I'd say 4-6 are a little easier to get into than 1-3 at this point. FF 2 is the one I have the least experience with, but it's kind of an outlier and uses some weird upgrade mechanics someone else could explain better. The description some have mentioned of FF 3 being an upgraded FF 1 is pretty good, though I'd also add that FF 3 is where you first see the expanded job system several entries in the series as well as Bravely Default use. T

That said, I usually recommend people start at 4 as it doesn't have as many of the rough edges 1-3 have, has a good plot and a great cast, and, most importantly, is the first game in the series to have in-dungeon save points. Yeah, that last bit makes 1-3 really hard to go back to. There is less grinding than in previous FF games (though there are still a few points where grinding is recommended). FF 5 is a lot more like a better version of FF 3 in that it uses a job system. The plot and cast are kind of goofy in comparison to the more serious 4, but it's still fun.

FF 6 is a crazy ass game that incorporates a lot of the mechanics of the previous five games in the series. It has a massive cast, each of whom have unique abilities. Individual characters have systems set up around them that some RPGs would use as full battle systems.

@teddie said:
@cav829 said:

Whatever you do, don't play 8.

WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU PEOPLE WHEN I NEEDED YOU?!?!?!

I'm so sorry. :(

Avatar image for dudeglove
dudeglove

13989

Forum Posts

1166

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 2

I recommend either 4 or 10.

@teddie said:
@cav829 said:

Whatever you do, don't play 8.

WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU PEOPLE WHEN I NEEDED YOU?!?!?!

Playing triple triad.

Avatar image for error52
Error52

340

Forum Posts

39

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Well, let's break it down. I haven't played all of these, so a lot of this is based off of hearsay, but I think it's the general opinion.

I: Of the 8-bit ones, this isn't a terrible one to start with, but it's so limited and overwhelming at the same time I wouldn't recommend it.

II: A hot mess that has completely different levelling mechanics from the rest of the series that, while cool on paper, are a counter intuitive trash fire in reality. Not recommended.

III: This game isn't recommended either, due to the fact that it's hard as fuck. Still, if you can beat this one, you're ready for anything this series could possibly throw at you.

IV: This is a solid option. It has save points (thank god), a good but simple story and some cool set pieces. Although it's pretty obviously made up as it went along and the translation's pretty shoddy in non-3D versions.

V: This is the one I started with, and it got me into the whole thing, but it's too complicated and difficult for me to really recommend it guilt free. Fun as hell, though. Just don't play it on PS1, christ. (Y-burn? Really?)

VI: A very good option. Great story, great characters, a translation that's actually really well done, insane twists and god-tier music. Be wary, though: It's also obscenely buggy, so research some of that.

VII: Well, it's the one that a very considerable amount of the fanbase started with, so you can't really go wrong. It's showing it's age in many, many regards but it still has a lot of merits that shine through.

VIII: See the entry for II, although it's not without merit.

IX: It's slower than Jose Canseco, but if you can get past that it's easy for beginners, has a lot of replay value, great music, great characters, plot, and a lot of replay value and secrets.

X: A lot of people swear by this one, but man I got bored quickly.

Beyond that: Lol

Avatar image for oldenglishc
oldenglishc

1562

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Just play the Suikoden games instead. You'll have a better time.

Avatar image for cheappoison
CheapPoison

1131

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

If FF9 was easier to get a hold of it would certainly be that one. Not sure how that has aged, but I don't feel FF10 has held up (a lot of things were hockey when it came out, and I don't care for a huge part of the characters.)
And if you want to jump in at FF7, I feel you are better to wait till the rerelease, see if that turned out oke.

Avatar image for clagnaught
clagnaught

2377

Forum Posts

399

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 17

#39  Edited By clagnaught

I'd say FFX. It has a straightforward combat system that isn't in real time (whether that is an issue would be up to the individual person). It has voice acting (not for everything but for the bulk of the game, main cut scenes, cinematics, etc.), pretty good PS2 era graphics and cinematics, and I would say probably the last great complete Final Fantasy soundtrack from Nobuo Uematsu. (From what I've heard at least. I haven't seen all of FFXII, and I haven't messed with the XIII sequels)

I had a lot of fun with FFX back in the day, and ended up playing through it twice. So on one hand, it is a good game, but beyond that, I think the graphics, the soundtrack, and the fact the game isn't super old when it comes to production, mechanics, and things we take for granted, like voice acting, make it a pretty easy game to get into. Anything older, then I would imagine the graphics and some of the archaic things about those games would wear people down.

The other big plus side with FFX is with how many versions there are. You could play the PS2 original, and the HD Remasters that were released on the PS3, Vita, and PS4. If you have almost anything PlayStation related over the past 16 years, you can play FFX.

And not to beat a dead horse, but don't start with FFXIII. I don't think it is the root of all evil, but it is not as good as the other games I've played and is pretty different. It doesn't capture the Final Fantasy experience one would expect from a series like this.

Avatar image for darknorth
Darknorth

242

Forum Posts

10

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Here's the reasons you might try these:

FFIV: Clear, well-written story. You'll always know what you have to do. An enjoyable roller coaster ride.

FFVI: The best 2-D Final Fantasy. Great characters, amazing world, some seriously heavy themes... and you get to suplex a train.

FFIX: High fantasy and classic FF themes rolled up in a nice 3-D package. Vivi alone is 80 hours worth of awesome.

Avatar image for jebathan
jebathan

1

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I started this series for the first time myself a couple years ago. I decided to start with IV and play them in order. I'm working through X right now. I skipped I-III because going back to the NES looked a bit too tedious for my first one and the only English versions of II and III were remakes and that didn't seem right to start with either.

I think they are all great in their own way (even VIII), but I highly recommend starting with IV, especially since you said you prefer the 2D aesthetic. This was my first experience with JRPGs and I thought it was a great intro. Some might say the battle system is simple compared to future games, but by not getting bogged down in crazy mechanics it allows you to familiarize your self with the basics of turn based combat and get use to staples of the series. IV is the only one to give you a 5 person party, you don't have to choose your party members (characters come and go according to the story), and character classes and progression are predetermined. I don't really have a lot to say about the story. I found it enjoyable, but that stuff is pretty subjective. It's your typically RPG fantasy setting, but does get a bit crazy at the end.

Everyone loves VI and you can't really go wrong starting there either. 4 person party, huge cast to you can choose from and each have their own unique special mechanic, and the espers can be fun. Personally it was my least favorite of the 16bit era (blasphemy I know). Juggling that huge cast was a little tedious to me. The story is a lot more complex and definitely shoots higher than previous entries, even if it didn't land with me (Kefka is a great villian though). Really sets the stage for future stories in the series.

PS1 era, IX was my favorite and is probably my favorite of the series so far. I enjoyed the materia system in VII. VIII is an oddity, but I still found parts of it redeemable.

Avatar image for kasaioni
kasaioni

2397

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Not XI.

Actually the first Final Fantasy game I played was XI. But don't play it first.

Try playing the DS version of IV. Maybe even get VII on Steam, as the battle mechanics in it are pretty simple.

Avatar image for hadoken
Hadoken

95

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#43  Edited By Hadoken

Final Fantasy 4, any version besides the mobile phone version, is the best introduction to the series.

Avatar image for shindig
Shindig

5791

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I've managed to kinda breeze through the first 16 hours of Final Fantasy X but now I've discovered I'm vastly underleveled for the Crawler fight.

Avatar image for probablytuna
probablytuna

5010

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

Why not start from the very first one? It may seem like a simple RPG now, but I feel like it still holds up, with enough of a plot to keep you moving forward. Also the music is some of the best in the series in my opinion. I played it for the very first time on iOS and it hooked me straight away. I went on an intense Final Fantasy phase a few years back playing through the series chronologically (eventually stopping around the end of FFV and my enthusiasm fizzled out unfortunately).

Avatar image for gstats
GStats

197

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

FF9 is definitenly the best to start with.

It still looks good today. It's one of the simplest in terms of gameplay mechanics and leveling systems. And it's just one of the best games in general.

Avatar image for error52
Error52

340

Forum Posts

39

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

#47  Edited By Error52

@hadoken: I would steer away from the DS version of IV, supposedly it's an incredibly difficult game

Avatar image for soap
Soap

3774

Forum Posts

1811

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 9

User Lists: 29

For someone new to the series, I'd have to say Final Fantasy X. It's a solid entry and has a pretty good mix between the more classic gameplay of the previous games (everything post X is just a complete mess) and some of the more modern conveniences like voice acting (spotty in places, but mostly 'OK') and being playable on modern consoles with the HD remaster.

Avatar image for kharnivore2099
Kharnivore2099

73

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'd probably suggest IV and VI just so you can see what Final Fantasy is really about, then maybe hit VII or IX after that. Then again, you could hit any of them in any order and it won't really matter.

I personally can't stand any of the games after IX, that's not to say they are bad but they just don't sit right with me. I actually have a lot of time for VIII, which seems to be everyones least favourite but i quite like the mechanics of the game and adore the card game. The characters and story are terrible, but i think most JRPG stories are fairly terrible anyway.

Avatar image for sinusoidal
Sinusoidal

3608

Forum Posts

20

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@error52 said:

@hadoken: I would steer away from the DS version of IV, supposedly it's an incredibly difficult game

As someone who's played through the original SNES version many times over the years: yep. I gave up on the DS version right around the Ant Lion. That version is grindy. Part of what made IV (or '2' at the time) so great was that JRPGs were super grindy up until IV which you could get through almost entirely without actually grinding. The DS version feels like a throwback to earlier, 8-bit JRPGs where the majority of your time is spent grinding to not die horribly on the first enemy in the next dungeon.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.