Aug 232012
 

I have a lot of games, and while my overall goal is to one day play them all, that can be a tall order, especially since I haven’t stopped buying new games. Therefore, I’ve started coming up with smaller gaming goals, like earning all the achievements for one particular game, or playing through a particular series of games. For my first long-term goal, I’m choosing to play through all the main titles in the Final Fantasy series.

This is where it all began.

If you know anything about Final Fantasy, you know that this is not a small thing to commit to. To date, there are 14 Final Fantasy games, not to mention multiple spin-off games, a few direct sequels, and a lot of remakes and collections. Therefore, I need to get specific. Which games am I going to play? Here is a list, along with a little history for each game.

Final Fantasy: Originally released in 1987 for the NES, this is the game that started it all. It’s been remastered at least four times, once for the original PlayStation, once for the Game Boy Advance, once for the PSP, and once for mobile phones. I’ve logged about 12 hours on this title so far, and I’m playing the remastered PS edition. I’ll do a full review later, but so far I have to say I’m having a blast. It’s a lot more fun than I expected it to be, and it’s quite different from the other Final Fantasies I’m used to.

Final Fantasy II: This sequel was released in 1988 for the NES. It should be noted that while Final Fantasy games are numbered in order, they don’t have to be played in order to be enjoyable. Each game has a different world and different characters, and although similar names and themes will show up, the plots aren’t connected in any way. This title has also been remastered at least four times, and is usually packaged together with the first game in the series, like the collection I’m playing on, called Final Fantasy: Origins.

Final Fantasy III: Although originally released in 1990 for the NES, Final Fantasy III was never released in America until it was remade for the DS in 2006. This is one of the few main titles of the series that I don’t own, but since it’s easy to find and pretty cheap, it won’t be too hard to add to my collection.

Final Fantasy IV: This title was released in 1991 for the SNES. In America, it was initially known as Final Fantasy II because it was only the second title released here, although all subsequent releases of the game were known by its proper number. It’s been remade for the PS, the Game Boy Advance, the DS, and the PSP. The PSP remake incorporates the story of the sequel made in 2008, as well as new content made exclusively for the PSP release. Although it would be fun to play the updated PSP version, I have the remastered PS version, so that’s what I’ll be playing.

Final Fantasy V: Released for the SNES in 1992, this came out for the PS in 2002 and the GBA in 2006. I’ll be playing the PS version.

Final Fantasy VI: This title is thought by some to be the best Final Fantasy ever made. Released in 1994 for the SNES, this game was initially known as Final Fantasy III in America, although all subsequent releases were known by its proper number. It’s been remade for the PS and the GBA, and I’ll be playing the PS version. I’m particularly looking forward to this one because of the high praise it has received.

Final Fantasy VII: This should be a familiar title to anyone who knows the history of gaming. Originally intended for the SNES and then the N64, Final Fantasy VII eventually came out for the PlayStation, and some describe it as the best RPG of all time. It also boasted one of the most recognizable villains in gaming, Sephiroth, as well as a few other surprises. Surprisingly, this title has never been remade, despite persistent rumors. I have an original PS copy, but the game is also available on PC, and digitally on the PS3.

Sephiroth walks through flames.

Final Fantasy VIII: Released for the PS in 1998, this was the first Final Fantasy game I ever played, and one of my personal favorites, at least so far. VIII was also released for the PC, and is available digitally on the PS3.

Final Fantasy IX: The last entry in the series to be released on PS, IX is also famous for bringing the series back to its roots. While VII and VIII relied on a distinctly technological theme, IX went back to magic and fantasy. It was released in 2000.

Final Fantasy X: Released in 2001, X was the first Final Fantasy for the PS2, and the first to have voiced characters and video sequences. It was received so well that it also spawned the first direct sequel in Final Fantasy history, which I’ll talk about in a minute. Rumor has it that an HD remake of this title is coming soon for the PS3.

This is where things get a little tricky. The next title in the series, Final Fantasy XI, is an MMO, and frankly, I’m not that interested in playing it. I’m not into most MMOs (only World of Warcraft, which has since ceased to hold my attention, and recently The Old Republic), and I’d rather focus on the single-player experience for the Final Fantasy series. Therefore, in place of XI (and XIV, which is also an MMO), I’ll be playing the two direct sequels in the series, Final Fantasy X-2 and Final Fantasy XIII-2.

Final Fantasy X-2: This direct sequel to X was released for the PS2 in 2003, and it’s quite a different animal from other Final Fantasy games. Despite criticism, this is one of my favorite Final Fantasy titles, and the one I’ve played the most.

The Gullwings of X-2 strike a pose.

Final Fantasy XII: This title wasn’t released until 2009, a full eight years after Final Fantasy X, although there were intervening spin-off titles, a direct sequel to X, and the MMO Final Fantasy XI. It was, therefore, the last FF title for the PS2. It has not been remade.

Final Fantasy XIII: This fairly recent title was released in 2009, and marked the first time the Final Fantasy series moved from being a PlayStation exclusive to being available on both PlayStation and XBox platforms. XIII was met with a lot of criticism from hardcore FF fans, but I played some of it and I really liked what I saw. I’m looking forward to ending my Final Fantasy journey with this game and its sequel.

XIII’s Lightning was the first female protagonist in a main series FF game.

Final Fantasy XIII-2: This direct sequel was released in 2011 for the PS3 and the 360, and although I’ve been hearing a lot of criticism about it, I’m looking forward to playing it.

So there it is. That’s a lot of games! I have no idea how long this is going to take me, especially with school, teaching, and other games to contend with, but I’m really looking forward to tackling this list. Maybe then I’ll think about some other Final Fantasy titles as well.

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