Welcome to the enchanting world of Final Fantasy, where magic and technology collide to create unforgettable gaming experiences. With a series spanning over three decades and multiple entries, it can be daunting to decide which Final Fantasy game to play first. Fear not, intrepid adventurer! This guide is here to help you navigate the vast Final Fantasy universe and find the perfect entry point for your journey. So, buckle up and let’s embark on an unforgettable quest to discover the ultimate Final Fantasy experience.
If you’re new to the Final Fantasy series and unsure where to start, there are a few options to consider. The first Final Fantasy game was released in 1987, and since then, there have been over 20 mainline games, as well as numerous spin-offs and sequels.
A good starting point for newcomers is Final Fantasy VII, which is widely considered one of the best games in the series. It was released in 1997 and has a deep storyline, memorable characters, and engaging gameplay mechanics.
Another option is Final Fantasy X, which was released in 2001 and has a more linear storyline than some of the other games in the series. It also features stunning visuals and a unique battle system.
If you’re interested in exploring the early games in the series, Final Fantasy IV (released in 1991) and Final Fantasy VI (released in 1994) are both highly regarded and have been re-released on various platforms.
Ultimately, the best game to start with will depend on your preferences and what you’re looking for in a game. Whether you prefer a more linear or open-world experience, a deep storyline or a focus on gameplay mechanics, there’s a Final Fantasy game out there for everyone.
The Final Fantasy Franchise: An Overview
A Brief History of Final Fantasy
The Inception of a Gaming Icon
Final Fantasy is a series of role-playing video games developed and published by Square Enix. The first game in the series was released in 1987, and since then, the franchise has grown to include over 20 mainline games, numerous spin-offs, and an extensive multimedia franchise that includes novels, films, and animated series.
The series was created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, who was inspired by the success of the Wizardry series of games. He wanted to create a game that would allow players to explore a vast, open world and engage in turn-based battles with monsters and other creatures. The original Final Fantasy game was a huge success, and it laid the groundwork for the entire series.
The Evolution of Final Fantasy
Over the years, the Final Fantasy series has evolved significantly. Each new game in the series brings new features, mechanics, and gameplay elements to the table. The franchise has experimented with different genres, including real-time combat, action RPGs, and even rhythm games.
One of the most notable evolutions in the series was the shift from 2D to 3D graphics. The series made the jump to 3D with Final Fantasy VII, which was released in 1997. This game featured a massive, detailed world, fully 3D graphics, and a deep, engaging story. It was a critical and commercial success, and it helped to establish the series as a gaming icon.
In recent years, the series has continued to push the boundaries of what is possible in gaming. Final Fantasy XV, which was released in 2016, was a groundbreaking game that combined real-time combat with an open-world environment. The game was praised for its stunning visuals, engaging story, and innovative gameplay mechanics.
Overall, the Final Fantasy series has come a long way since its inception in 1987. It has evolved and changed with the times, and it continues to be one of the most beloved and respected franchises in the gaming industry.
The Key Elements of Final Fantasy
The Role-Playing Game Genre
The Final Fantasy franchise is a prominent example of the role-playing game (RPG) genre. This genre is characterized by the player taking on the role of a character in a fictional world, with the goal of completing quests and defeating enemies. RPGs often have a strong emphasis on character development and progression, with the player making decisions that impact the story and world around them.
Storytelling and World-Building
Final Fantasy is renowned for its immersive storytelling and world-building. Each game in the series features a unique and intricate storyline, complete with complex characters, intricate plot twists, and memorable moments. The world-building in Final Fantasy is equally impressive, with each game featuring a unique and fully realized setting, complete with its own history, geography, and culture.
Character Development and Progression
Character development and progression is a key element of the Final Fantasy series. Each game features a cast of well-developed and memorable characters, with the player able to control and customize their abilities and equipment as they progress through the game. Character development is often tied to the story and quests of the game, with the player’s choices impacting the outcome of the story and the fate of the characters.
Turn-Based Combat System
Final Fantasy games feature a turn-based combat system, where the player and their enemies take turns attacking and using abilities. This system allows for strategic gameplay, as the player must consider the strengths and weaknesses of their party members and choose their actions carefully. The turn-based combat system also allows for a more focused and engaging experience, as the player must pay close attention to the battle at hand.
Memorable Soundtracks and Cutscenes
Final Fantasy is known for its iconic and memorable soundtracks, with each game featuring a unique and powerful score. The soundtracks of Final Fantasy are often considered some of the best in the industry, with many fans citing them as one of the highlights of the series. Final Fantasy also features memorable cutscenes, with many of the series’ most memorable moments occurring during these cinematic sequences.
Choosing the Right Final Fantasy Game
Factors to Consider
When it comes to choosing the right Final Fantasy game to play first, there are several factors to consider. These factors include the storyline and characters, gameplay mechanics, platform and controls, and time commitment and difficulty.
Storyline and Characters
The storyline and characters of a Final Fantasy game are important factors to consider when choosing which game to play first. The Final Fantasy series is known for its intricate and complex storylines, which often involve epic battles between good and evil, and the struggle for power and control. Each game in the series has its own unique storyline and set of characters, so it’s important to choose a game that appeals to your interests and preferences.
For example, if you’re interested in a storyline that involves magic and fantasy, you may want to consider playing Final Fantasy VIII, which features a powerful sorceress as one of its main characters. On the other hand, if you’re interested in a more science-fiction-based storyline, you may want to consider playing Final Fantasy VII, which takes place in a world where technology and magic coexist.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a Final Fantasy game to play first is the gameplay mechanics. The Final Fantasy series is known for its complex and varied gameplay mechanics, which can include turn-based battles, real-time combat, and a variety of mini-games and side quests.
For example, if you enjoy strategic gameplay, you may want to consider playing Final Fantasy Tactics, which is a tactical role-playing game that focuses on battles between armies of units. On the other hand, if you prefer a more action-oriented gameplay experience, you may want to consider playing Final Fantasy XV, which features real-time combat and a variety of weapons and abilities.
Platform and Controls
The platform and controls of a Final Fantasy game are also important factors to consider when choosing which game to play first. The Final Fantasy series is available on a variety of platforms, including consoles, PCs, and mobile devices, and each platform has its own unique controls.
For example, if you prefer to play on a console, you may want to consider playing Final Fantasy XIV, which is available on PlayStation and Xbox consoles. On the other hand, if you prefer to play on PC, you may want to consider playing Final Fantasy VII, which is available on Steam.
Time Commitment and Difficulty
Finally, the time commitment and difficulty of a Final Fantasy game are important factors to consider when choosing which game to play first. The Final Fantasy series is known for its lengthy and complex storylines, which can take dozens of hours to complete.
For example, if you’re looking for a game that you can complete in a shorter amount of time, you may want to consider playing Final Fantasy X, which has a shorter storyline than many of the other games in the series. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a game that is more challenging and requires a longer time commitment, you may want to consider playing Final Fantasy IV, which is known for its difficult boss battles and intricate puzzles.
Suggested Starting Points
Final Fantasy I-III
Final Fantasy I-III, also known as the original Final Fantasy trilogy, is a great place to start for newcomers to the series. These games were released in the 1980s and early 1990s and are considered classics of the role-playing game genre. They feature turn-based combat, memorable characters, and engaging storylines that set the stage for the rest of the series.
Final Fantasy IV-VI
Final Fantasy IV-VI, also known as the 2D era, is a group of games that were released in the 1990s and are considered some of the best in the series. These games feature a more complex storyline, more characters, and improved graphics compared to the earlier games. They also feature a unique job system that allows players to customize their characters’ abilities and skills.
Final Fantasy VII-IX
Final Fantasy VII-IX, also known as the 3D era, is a group of games that were released in the late 1990s and early 2000s. These games feature advanced graphics, more complex storylines, and more characters than previous games. They also feature a more advanced battle system and more varied gameplay mechanics.
Final Fantasy X-X-2
Final Fantasy X-X-2, also known as the HD era, is a group of games that were released in the mid-2000s and are considered some of the best in the series. These games feature advanced graphics, more complex storylines, and more characters than previous games. They also feature a more advanced battle system and more varied gameplay mechanics.
Final Fantasy XIII-XIV
Final Fantasy XIII-XIV, also known as the modern era, is a group of games that were released in the late 2000s and 2010s. These games feature advanced graphics, more complex storylines, and more characters than previous games. They also feature a more advanced battle system and more varied gameplay mechanics. These games are considered some of the best in the series and are a great place to start for newcomers to the series.
Avoiding Common Pitfalls
Getting Lost in the Story
Final Fantasy games are known for their intricate and complex stories, which can be both captivating and overwhelming for new players. It’s easy to get lost in the lore and history of the Final Fantasy universe, which spans across multiple games, movies, and other media. To avoid getting lost in the story, it’s important to start with a game that has a self-contained narrative or one that provides a good introduction to the series’ overarching storyline.
For example, Final Fantasy VII is a great starting point for new players because it has a complete story that doesn’t require prior knowledge of the series. Additionally, it’s one of the most popular and well-known Final Fantasy games, so it’s a good entry point for those who are new to the series.
Getting Frustrated with the Gameplay
Final Fantasy games are also known for their challenging gameplay, which can be frustrating for new players who are not used to the series’ mechanics. To avoid getting frustrated with the gameplay, it’s important to start with a game that has a more accessible and user-friendly battle system.
For example, Final Fantasy X is a great starting point for new players because it has a simpler battle system compared to other Final Fantasy games. It also features a unique character development system that allows players to customize their characters’ abilities and strengths.
Being Overwhelmed by the Content
Final Fantasy games are known for their vast and varied content, which can be overwhelming for new players who are not sure where to start. To avoid being overwhelmed by the content, it’s important to start with a game that has a more focused and streamlined experience.
For example, Final Fantasy XIV is a great starting point for new players because it offers a structured and guided experience that helps players get acclimated to the game’s mechanics and content. It also features a robust player community and support system that can help new players navigate the game’s many features and options.
Ignoring Other Aspects of the Game
Finally, it’s important to remember that Final Fantasy games offer much more than just combat and story. To avoid ignoring other aspects of the game, it’s important to start with a game that offers a well-rounded experience that caters to a variety of player interests.
For example, Final Fantasy XV is a great starting point for new players because it offers a diverse range of activities and content, including hunting, fishing, and exploration. It also features a strong emphasis on character development and relationship building, which can be just as rewarding as the game’s combat and story.
The Final Fantasy Experience
A Rich and Immersive Universe
Final Fantasy is renowned for its immersive world-building, and each game in the series offers a unique and detailed universe to explore. From the medieval-inspired settings of early games to the futuristic cities of later titles, the series showcases a diverse range of environments that are rich in history, culture, and lore. Players can delve into the stories of different races, religions, and societies, uncovering the complex interrelationships between characters and factions. The attention to detail and care put into each world-building effort is a testament to the passion and dedication of the development team.
Personal Preferences and Priorities
As the series has grown and evolved, so too have the individual games within it. Different games prioritize different elements, such as storytelling, combat, or exploration, and players may find that certain titles resonate more with their personal preferences. For example, fans of the classic RPG elements found in early Final Fantasy titles may prefer the story-driven nature of Final Fantasy VII or the epic scope of Final Fantasy XIV. On the other hand, those who enjoy more action-oriented gameplay may find that Final Fantasy XV or the critically acclaimed Final Fantasy XIII offer a more satisfying experience.
A Lifelong Journey
Final Fantasy is a series that has captivated players for decades, and the games within it offer a lifelong journey of exploration, discovery, and growth. With each new title, players are presented with new challenges, new stories, and new worlds to explore. Whether it’s the first time experiencing the series or a return to old favorites, Final Fantasy offers a sense of adventure and excitement that continues to draw players back in.
A Welcome Challenge for Gamers
Final Fantasy games are known for their challenging gameplay, both in terms of combat and exploration. Each title presents its own unique set of challenges, from complex battle systems to intricate puzzles and mini-games. Players who enjoy a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from overcoming obstacles will find that Final Fantasy offers a welcome challenge at every turn.
The Joy of Revisiting Favorites
For many fans, revisiting old favorites is a beloved aspect of the Final Fantasy experience. As the series has evolved, remastered editions and updated versions of classic titles have allowed players to relive their favorite moments with updated graphics, improved gameplay, and additional content. Whether it’s reliving nostalgic memories or discovering new stories and characters, the joy of revisiting old favorites is a testament to the enduring appeal of the Final Fantasy universe.
Finding Your Perfect Final Fantasy Match
Reflect on Your Gaming Preferences
- Consider the genres that you typically enjoy.
- Think about the characters, storylines, and themes that you find most appealing.
- Reflect on your past experiences with Final Fantasy games and note which elements you enjoyed the most.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
- Be open to trying new genres and gameplay styles.
- Experiment with different characters, storylines, and themes.
- Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
Enjoy the Journey
- Remember that the journey is just as important as the destination.
- Take your time and savor each moment of the game.
- Don’t rush through the story or miss any details.
Keep an Open Mind
- Keep an open mind and be willing to adapt to new situations.
- Don’t let your preconceptions cloud your judgment.
- Be willing to change your mind if you discover that you enjoy a different type of game than you initially thought.
Share Your Experiences with Others
- Share your experiences with friends, family, and other gamers.
- Discuss your favorite moments, characters, and storylines.
- Get recommendations from others and discover new games to play.
1. What is the Final Fantasy series about?
The Final Fantasy series is a collection of role-playing games developed and published by Square Enix. The series is known for its innovative storytelling, memorable characters, and epic music. The games typically feature a fantasy setting, turn-based combat, and a unique job system that allows characters to change classes as they progress through the game.
2. Which Final Fantasy game should I play first?
If you’re new to the series, we recommend starting with Final Fantasy VII. It’s considered one of the best games in the series and has a well-developed story and memorable characters. It also has a remake available on PS4, which makes it a great entry point for newcomers.
3. What is the difference between the mainline Final Fantasy games and the spin-offs?
The mainline Final Fantasy games follow a specific storyline and continuity, while the spin-offs are more self-contained and often feature different characters and settings. The mainline games typically have a stronger emphasis on story and character development, while the spin-offs focus more on gameplay mechanics and innovation.
4. Are the Final Fantasy games interconnected?
Yes, the Final Fantasy games are interconnected, with each game sharing a common mythos and many recurring characters and themes. However, the games are also self-contained, and you don’t need to play every game in the series to understand the story.
5. Can I play the Final Fantasy games in any order?
The games can be played in any order, as each game is self-contained and has its own story and characters. However, we recommend playing the games in chronological order to better understand the overall story and progression of the series.
6. Are the Final Fantasy games suitable for all ages?
The Final Fantasy games are generally rated T for Teen or M for Mature, depending on the game. They may contain violence, mild sexual themes, and mature language. Parents should use their discretion when deciding whether a game is appropriate for their child.
7. Are the Final Fantasy games multiplayer?
Some Final Fantasy games support multiplayer, either through cooperative play or competitive play. However, the majority of the games are single-player only.
8. How long do Final Fantasy games typically take to complete?
The length of a Final Fantasy game can vary widely, depending on the game and the player’s skill level. Some games can be completed in 20-30 hours, while others can take 50-100 hours or more.
9. Which Final Fantasy game has the best story?
This is subjective and depends on personal preferences. However, some of the most highly regarded games in terms of storytelling include Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy X, and Final Fantasy XII.
10. Are there any upcoming Final Fantasy games?
Yes, Square Enix is constantly working on new Final Fantasy games. While details are scarce, the company has announced several upcoming titles, including Final Fantasy XVI and Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 2.