Tied for first place: FF4, FF7, and FF10
Tied for second place: FF3, FF8, FF9, FF10-2
Third Place: FF12
FF11 is an mmo and I hate mmos, so I cannot rate this game.
I havn't played FF1, FF2, FF5, FF6 (just a little bit on the GBA), or FF11. I will never play FF11, but I will get around to FF1, FF2, FF5, and FF6 soon. I expect FF6 to be included in my tie for first place, because I have heard such great things about that game. I can't wait. Also, FF13, Versus, and Agito will be added to my collection when they are released. Hopefully, one or more of these three will be another masterpiece.
First: FF7 holds a special place in my heart because it was my first one. I bought a Playstation just to play that game, alone. The game took so long, that I found renting the game and machine was more expensive than just buying them. Well worth the money with over 100 hours of game-play! I loved the music, the characters, the materia, the graphics, and the battle system. This game was so great for it's time, that I couldn't stop playing long enough to go to class which nearly caused me to drop out of college. LOL
I bought and played every FF game after that except FF11 which I did not consider a true FF game, because it was an MMO. I hate MMOs.
Second: FF8 was a great game ( I even bought Brave Fencer Musashi so I could check out the demo), but I hated the draw-system because to me, that mechanic became nothing more than repetitive nonsense that just took away from the fun. Forcing us to draw magic umpteen million times was a stupid idea. There was some beautiful artwork and cinema included in the game, but I felt the romance between Squall and Rinoa was lacking in development and pace.
Third: FF9 was a pretty good game, but I did not like the main character being a monkey-boy. It was not just the main character, though. There were other characters in this game that were just horrible, in my opinion. I felt the game was meant more for the younger crowd, like DQ8, and I just couldn't get into it as much as FF7 and FF8. I had to force myself to play to the end, which was never an issue with the other two.
Fourth: FF10 was one of my favorites because of the jump to 3D visuals and the included voice acting. I loved the characters, especially Auron, the battle system was perfect in my opinion and I loved the Sphere Grid growth system, the graphics were amazing for the time, and the music was very emotionally inspiring. Marvelous. Although, I must admit to cringing when hearing Tidus speak so awkwardly on many occasions, the rest of the voice cast performed above my expectations. Fantastic. Also, Blitzball was, in my opinion, the best mini-game ever conceived. I spent many hours just playing that mini-game because it was so much fun! One thing I did not like was the way the summonings were handled. I felt the previous methods were superior, where you would summon the creature to perform a single action usually for massive damage, and then it would depart. In FFX, the summoned creature would arrive and entirely replace the battle party, fighting in their place until either the enemy has been slain, the aeon itself has been defeated, or the aeon is dismissed by the player. As far as story goes, there were certainly some big plot holes and I felt completely let down when I experienced the ending (I won't spoil it here, but let it be known that I think dreams suck), but all things considered this was a fantastic game. No doubt about it.
Fifth: FF10-2 had some great battle mechanics. The dress spheres and job changes were pretty sweet. Great music. Still great graphics. Plus, this game brought two of my favorite characters back with Yuna and Rikku, and added another great character, Pain. I thoroughly enjoyed this game despite it's more light-hearted story and notorious fan-service reason for being. Hey, I'm a fan ... so, gimme! The story was "gag me with a spoon awful" which attempted to explain things and tie up loose ends from FF10, but failed miserably. I didn't care, because it was a fun game to play and that was good enough for me.
Sixth: FF12 had amazing production values with fantastic voice acting, beautiful graphics, great music, and awesome characters, especially Balthier, Basch, Ashe, and Fran, but the story was boring to me, since I hate politics (I bought DQ8 just so I could get my hands on the demo). The lead character, Vaan, was not even an integral part of the story. He was just tagging along, which I thought was a downer. How are we supposed to immerse ourselves when the character we are controlling most of the time is merely a lame side-story tacked on? Even though I felt the gambit system was great, the combat mechanics were too much like those in an mmo and I hate mmos. Magic was unnecessary for the most part. The combat in this game was geared mostly for one button press for attack, or click and forget melee combat which I found extremely boring and don't get me started on that crappy "License Board"! Despite the amazing graphics, characters, voice acting, and music, I felt this was one of the worst Final Fantasy games because I couldn't even force myself to play this till the end. The game still sits on my shelf, unplayed, and there it will stay forever. It's just not a fun game to play, in my opinion.
NOTE: Like many others, I have been craving a new Final Fantasy game to sink my teeth into, but Square-Enix is very slow in releasing the main titles of the series. I started thinking, what if I got my hands on a GBA and played through the older titles just to see what all the fuss is about. I heard great things about FF4 and FF6, so why not? FF6 for the GBA was entertaining at first, but I stoped playing early because I really missed the graphic prowess of the later titles, so I decided to buy a Nintendo DS and the FF3 and FF4 remakes for that handheld, so that's what I am playing now.
Seventh: FF3 and FF4 for the Nintendo DS are really great games, but I think they are a little bit too gay for my tastes, as all the guys look like sissies. No lie. They look like girls! Despite that big turn off, I have been switching back and forth from FF3 and FF4 playing both simultaneously as time allows. Sometimes, I don't have the time to deal with the deeper story of FF4 and just want a quick and fun romp through a dungeon so I play FF3. Other times, I am in the mood for something more serious, at which point I boot up FF4, which offers a truly fantastic story using love, betrayal, tragedy, and triumph to accentuate this epic tale. The game-play is awesome to me, because I prefer the more strategic old-school turn-based combat of the earlier titles. I hate button-mashers which necessitate fast reflexes, because I am disabled and cannot accomplish what the game requires me to do in that regard, so I will never get into those kind of games. I love most of the Final Fantasy games, because I prefer the more cerebral battle mechanics, especially in the older titles.
Eighth: I also bought the FF1 and FF2 remakes for the PSP, but I do not own a PSP, yet. I am waiting for Sony to announce whatever it is that they are announcing at E3 2009 regarding that handheld before I buy one. Also, as soon as FF5 and FF6 are remade, I will be buying those, as well. Then my collection will be complete, minus the FF11 mmo game which I will never buy.
This is a reposting from another thread. I felt it was so long that I might as well make it a blog.