Hi Five – Top Five Final Fantasy Games8 minute read

Jim attempts to select five outstanding games from an outstanding franchise

With so many mainstream games and spinoffs, Final Fantasy is one of the largest gaming franchises. Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the series, explained that he named it Final Fantasy because it was to be his last effort into the gaming industry. If it failed he was to return to university to study. Let me firstly thank him for his Final efforts as, without him, we would not have had his series of games grace our consoles at all.

Disclaimer – these are my top five and are in no way to be considered an official list.

5 Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X2 were extraordinary games when they were launched individually. But when they were packaged together on various consoles, such as the PS4 and even the Nintendo Switch something truly magical happened.

Set in the world Spira, a setting primarily influenced by the South Pacific, Thailand and Japan, the game’s story follows a group of adventurers and their journey to overcome a rampaging beast known as Sin. The player character is Tidus, a star competitor in the anecdotal game of blitzball, who ends up in Spira after Sin annihilated his home city of Zanarkand. Not long after showing up to Spira, Tidus joins the summoner Yuna on her journey to pulverize Sin.

X-2 follows the original game, following Yuna as she looks for Tidus whilst attempting to keep political clashes in Spira from heightening to war. The remastered version not only encompassed both of these fantastic storylines but it also had an arrangement of new features, making the experience all the more exciting!

4 Final Fantasy XIII

The game takes place in the fictional floating world of Cocoon, whose administration, the Sanctum, is requesting a cleansing of regular people who have, as far as anyone knows, come into contact with Pulse, the much-dreaded world beneath.

The previous warrior Lightning starts her battle against the public authority to save her sister who has been marked as a reluctant worker to a divine resembling being from Pulse, making her an adversary of Cocoon. Lightning is before long joined by a band of heroes, and together become set apart by the same Pulse creature. They rally against the Sanctum while attempting to find their allocated tasks and whether they can try not to be transformed into beasts or gems.

The storyline for Final Fantasy XIII was one that I didn’t truly follow the first time I played it, but soon something just clicked. Similar to the feel I had from some of the older titles, I became more emotionally invested within the characters themselves. The game began to feel like more of a classic title, regardless of the somewhat confusing aspects therein. It was still incredibly enjoyable and was followed up with a reasonable sequel.

3 Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

I have to admit that most things that pertain to Final Fantasy VII get my full attention. From the film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children to spin-off games, music and more. Crisis Core obviously comes into that category, but my love for it is not based on blind biased fan-boy emotions. The game is actually a fantastic addition to the franchise, and Final Fantasy VII‘s story-arch too.

The game primarily focuses on Zack Flair, who is a young member of the infamous SOLDIER. He is sent on a mission to find the missing SOLDIER Genesis Rhapsodos. On his search he finds Genesis’ origin – Project G. He also works out how this is related to Sephiroth and Angeal Hewley. The story follows the war between Shinra and Wutai all the way to the events of Nibelheim, which ends the story just before the events of Final Fantasy VII.

One of the most epic transitions is Angeals Buster Sword which is given to Zack in the game. During the game Zack becomes friends with infantryman Cloud, and near the end of the game the Buster Sword is handed to Cloud. This builds the story of Cloud‘s lie in Final Fantasy VII where he claims to be an ex member of SOLIDER, when he was not. Mind-blowing!

2 Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX was a game that I have not played until recent years, even though I own physical copies of it. The inability to play the game was purely based on lack of time, but I am glad that I finally picked it up. My first experience on this game was on the Nintendo Switch and it was shocking at how good the game actually was. My recollections of Final Fantasy VIII seem to be muddled as I remember the game to be better than is was, but Final Fantasy IX seemed to be the quality I had mistaken Final Fantasy VIII for.

The game is set in more of a medieval setting, which separates it from the more futuristic settings of Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. This gives the game a nice change of pace and the settings unfold into something beautifully quaint.

The game is in fact influenced by the original Final Fantasy title, and features allusions to the rest of the games within the franchise. The game is set in a world called Gaia, which I have no idea how to pronounce. It revolved around the consequences of war within this world and follows a bandit called Zidane Tribal. Zidane kidnaps Alexandrian princess Garnet Til Alexandros XVII as part of a gambit. He joins with Garnet and a full cast of characters to take down the person who started the war – Princess Garnet‘s mother Queen Brahne.

The game has an amazing feel to it, almost mimicking the art style of some 1990’s point-and-click adventures. The music feels like Final Fantasy and the characters are as bright, bold and vibrant as ever. This is definitely as game to play if you have not yet had the opportunity.

1 Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII had to be number one on this list. In fact it could quite easily be number one on my overall list. not only do I have an intense sense of nostalgia when I play this game, remembering great times that are long past, but it is just pure perfection – nothing comes remotely close.

I cannot recall how many times I have played through this game, and it still surprises me to this day. I still get lost, find new items and paths, rediscover emotions for characters and laugh, reminisce and enjoy the amazing world that Square created. This was the first game I cried in (I am not ashamed to say this), and the first game that truly felt like I was lost in another persons life, in another world. The story for the game is incredible – making its way to be the first video game music ever entered into Classic FM’s Hall of Fame. The storyline is deep and enriching, with vibrant characters, love and pain and above all action and sadness.

The combat system for me was perfect – I loved the turn-based combat, but I loved the intricacies of the Materia and weapon system. Building a team of Cloud Strife , Barret Wallace and Nanaki (Red XIII to the heathens) was utter perfection. Having the ability to roam a world in 1997 that was vast, expansive and brutal was the most amazing gaming experience I have ever had. Trying to track down Ruby Weapon and Emerald Weapon to see if you had the strength to take them on, then attempting to race Chocobo’s in the Gold Saucer to get that Golden Chocobo and finally make your way to finding the Knights of the Round Materia was amazing. Each time I played through the game I somehow managed to spend days, if not weeks, inside the Gold Saucer, playing games, upgrading, finding new trinkets and most of all trying to beat the Battle Square.

Everything about this game was perfect, and there was no way it could not be my all-time number one.

What will next weeks Hi Five be about? Well you can decide. Send us your ideas via Facebook or Twitter and we will pick one at random, no matter how obscure they might be! And the creator will get a mention too.

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