Final Fantasy

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Guide: What Final Fantasy Game Should You Play First?

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Have you discovered Final Fantasy and don't know where to start, or what game play first? We have a guide to help you decide which title is best to start your journey in the series!

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Final Fantasy is one of the best-known RPG titles in the world. With over 35 years, sixteen main games and several spin-offs, the series still manages to establish itself as one of the most iconic names in the video game industry.

A common question for those who have just discovered the series is: where should I start?. Unlike other games, Final Fantasy does not have a specific answer and depends on what interested you in the franchise, as each game has its own story and universe.

Today, we have prepared this guide with what you need to know about Final Fantasy, and which are the main games to start with, based on some simple proposals that each player can seek with the series.


What is Final Fantasy?

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Final Fantasy is an anthology games series created by Hironobu Sakaguchi and published by Square (now Square Enix) since 1987, focusing on the RPG and Action RPG genres, as well as several subgenres in this category. It became one of the best-selling game franchises in the world, with 180 million units, in addition to popularizing RPG video games in the West. The series is also known for its iconic characters, engaging stories in each adventure, as well as an exemplary poetic and visual beauty that makes it a reference in the industry to this day.

Its influence extends to several other mainstream and pop culture products, in addition to having expanded to other media, such as films, books, manga, anime and TV shows.

Does Final Fantasy games follow a continuous story?

Each title has its own world, characters and story with a beginning and end. What they have in common is the presence of certain elements, such as Chocobos, Crystals, Eidolons/Eikons, Magic, Moogles, among others. However, the iteration of these elements and their representation in the plot differs in each game.

Additionally, some games have direct sequels. For example, the plot of Final Fantasy XIII extends into Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Other examples are Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, or Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. It is common for a spin-off or sequel to use the name of the original work in which it was set.

Other connections in the franchise involve games and other media in a given universe. The greatest example among these is Final Fantasy VII, whose original story was expanded into prequels, such as Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and direct sequels, such as Dirge of Cerberus and the Advent Children movie. Its universe expands to this day with Final Fantasy VII: Remake, a three-episodes series, which second chapter, Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth, is scheduled for release on February 29, 2024.

Finally, there are games that take place in the same world or universe, but in distant periods. Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy Tactics take place on a continent called Ivalice, with around 1200 years of difference between one title and the other. There are theories that Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy VII also share the same universe, but on different planets and the passage of time between them is uncertain.

What are the most famous games in the franchise?

Every fan has their favorite Final Fantasy, some titles have marked generations, and others are very popular in a specific segment. Therefore, it is difficult to define which are the best games, or the most famous in the series.

According to VGChartz, these were the best-selling titles in the franchise:

Final Fantasy X & X-2 - 20.80 million copies

Final Fantasy VII - 14.10 million copies, plus 7 million with Final Fantasy VII: Remake.


Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 - 11 million copies.

Final Fantasy XV - 10 million copies

Final Fantasy IX - 9 million copies.

An important highlight outside this list is Final Fantasy XIV. The MMORPG whose number of active players reached 24 million ahead of the release of the Endwalker expansion. It was so popular that Square Enix had to suspend the sales of the game and the opening of new accounts until its team resolved the server congestion, as the number of active accounts far exceeded the company's expectations.

Another curious point is that, except for Final Fantasy IX, all the best-selling titles were the first and/or main games in the franchise in their generation: Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation, Final Fantasy X on PlayStation 2, Final Fantasy XIII on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and Final Fantasy XV on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The most recent game and also the first release of the current console generation, Final Fantasy XVI, is only available for PlayStation 5 and has sold around three million copies until the publication of this article.

Which Final Fantasy should I play first?

Now that you've been introduced to the franchise and know a little more about it, let's get to the main topic: what is the best Final Fantasy to start with?

As we mentioned at the start of this article, the answer is: it depends. What experience are you looking for with the franchise? What style do you usually enjoy the most? Does turn-based combat appeal to you, or do you prefer something more action-oriented? How much does the story matter, and how much free time and patience do you have to enjoy the game?

We seek an answer to some of the main tastes or goals that a player may have to begin their journey, based on the community's general perception of these questions and my individual experience as a fan of the series since 1998.

I want to have an overview of what the series is: Final Fantasy IX

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Final Fantasy IX was released for the PlayStation in July 2000. Its plot is full of references and homages to previous titles in the series, with the scope of a medieval theme added to occasional technological elements. As an agglomeration of everything that came before, FFIX stands out for the striking presence of its characters, world, soundtrack and a story that seeks to answer one of humanity's most difficult questions: What is the purpose of life?

The title is the best gateway for those who want to discover the essence of the franchise in a concise story, with all the elements of a classic RPG. On the other hand, it may not please everyone due to its 'dated' graphics, which some see as 'childish dolls' (big heads and hands, small bodies).

If you would like to know more about the title and its themes, we have a full review of it available at Um Gamer!link outside website

Final Fantasy IX is for you if:


- You like turn-based RPGs

- If colorful medieval worlds, where magical concepts, war and intrigue mix, fascinate you.

- You like stories that delve deeper into different characters and seek to work through their dilemmas and maturity.

- You like detailed customization systems, where there is no absolute freedom to transform your characters into whatever you want.

Final Fantasy IX is not for you if:

- You prefer real-time action games.

- Graphics and voice acting matter a lot to you.

I want to have an overview of what the series is today: Final Fantasy VII Remake

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Final Fantasy VII is the most famous title in the franchise and defined an entire generation of RPG games. Its popularity is so high that it generated several spin-offs, including a film and a Remake.

Final Fantasy VII: Remake is the best contemporary introduction to the series. The title is part of an episodic trilogy still in production, and the first episode addresses the events in the city of Midgar, which takes place in the first hours of the original game. The plot was expanded to around 30 hours, with several new features and surprises even for the oldest fans, making this Remake one of the most well-received titles in the series in recent years.

On the technical side, FFVII Remake manages to mix features of the classic game with the current real-time battle system, thus creating a very similar immersive experience to contemporary RPG styles. Furthermore, by expanding on the first three hours of the original title, the game features one of the richest and most detailed plots in the franchise.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is for you if:

- You want a modernized experience, with beautiful graphics and more interactive gameplay than the original game.

- You've heard of Final Fantasy VII, but never played it.

- If you like games with a more directed story, where a script is respected instead of giving you complete freedom to do whatever you want.

- You appreciate storytelling that gives you something to look forward to in the future, as there are two episodes of the trilogy left to be released.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is not for you if:

- You prefer turn-based RPGs.

- If you prefer open world games.

- If you like titles whose story begins and ends in a single game.

I want a more action-oriented game: Final Fantasy XVI

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The most recent release in the franchise, Final Fantasy XVI, is the most action-oriented game among the main titles. Its combat system was designed by Ryota Suzuki, known for his work on Devil May Cry, as well as other RPGs such as Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen and Monster Hunter: World.

The result is that FFXVI delivers the most fluid and agile combat in the series, with a high diversity of combos and different builds with the Eikons' abilities. Combined with the best graphics that the PlayStation 5 has to offer today and one of the best storylines in the series in a long time, the game becomes an excellent gateway to Final Fantasy in modern times.


Final Fantasy XVI is for you if:

- You enjoy real-time combat that rewards you for mastering it.

- You like medieval fantasy with more mature and violent themes.

- You want the latest generation Final Fantasy, with the best graphics the series has to offer.

- If the "Action" in "Action RPG" is what really attracts you to the genre.

Final Fantasy XVI is not for you if:

- You prefer turn-based combat.

- You prefer games where the customization of styles, equipment and skills is more comprehensive.

- You like games with a completely open world.

I want a challenging game: Final Fantasy II

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There are few Final Fantasies that we can classify as hard. Some are called this due to the bosses' sudden difficulty leap, or because the game's own system limits natural progress to make it more challenging - but none of them compare to Final Fantasy II.

For those accustomed to the series' engines, FFII is a nightmare, as it does everything differently. The leveling system through experience? There is no such thing, characters become stronger based on the actions that occur during combat. Did you move a little further to the side of the map? You might run into a much stronger enemy who will one-shot your characters. Entered the wrong room in a dungeon and had to face a hard battle? Congratulations, to get out of the room you will have to face it again.

Final Fantasy II gained infamy for being unintuitive and dreadfully difficult if you don't dedicate yourself to understanding its mechanics and looking for the best ways to improve your team and defeat your enemies. Therefore, it is our recommendation for anyone who wants a great challenge.

Final Fantasy II is for you if:

- You want a challenging experience.

- You like games that follow non-intuitive routes on how to improve your characters.

- You want to know the title that started some recurring elements of the series, such as the Chocobos.

Final Fantasy II is not for you if:

- You want a relaxing and effortless gaming experience.

- You prefer leveling systems that are linear and simple to understand.

I want to know the classics: Final Fantasy V

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Although Final Fantasy IV is a fan favorite when we discuss the classics, its successor works a little better in presenting the premises that gave rise to the series due to the Job system, a recurring mechanic in the first games and reused in different ways in some other titles.

Final Fantasy V is a great entry to get to know the classics without having to give up the individuality of your characters, nor the breadth of customization with the different jobs available in the title. Its story is less engaging compared to its predecessor, but it makes up for it with several hours of gameplay and experimentation with one of the core elements that made the series a success.


Final Fantasy V is for you if:

- You like pixel art games.

- You prefer various ways to build your characters rather than following a linear path.

- You like a medieval light fantasy focused on a group of heroes and heroines trying to save the world.

- You have nostalgia for games from the SNES era.

Final Fantasy V is not for you if:

- You don't like pixel art or 64 bits.

- Can't stand stories with silly moments, or situations that make it difficult to take its urgency seriously.

- You prefer games with real-time action.

I want a game with an excellent story: Final Fantasy VI

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Final Fantasy VI was released for the SNES in 1994 and brought a dozen innovations. It was the first game in the series to not have Crystals as its central focus, in addition to relying on a very diverse cast, where each character had their own dilemmas and conflicts to deal with throughout the plot. The title also stands out for its antagonist, Kefka Pallazo, still considered today one of the best villains in the franchiselink outside website.

Those looking for an engaging story will find it in Final Fantasy VI. The title is also known for its high variety of side quests after the first half of the plot, its approach to more mature themes such as grief, guilt and love, in addition to a dozen possible routes until reaching the game's conclusion.

Final Fantasy VI is for you if:

- You want to experience one of the best Final Fantasy stories ever released.

- You like having a wide diversity of characters and styles of strategy and combat.

- You like classic turn-based RPGs.

Final Fantasy VI is not for you if:

- You prioritize graphics and don't like pixel art.

- You don't have patience for a story whose development takes a slower pace.

I want to know the most famous game: Final Fantasy VII

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To say that Final Fantasy VII defined an entire generation is no exaggeration. Consider how many games featuring a central character with a giant sword have come out since 1997, and you can get an idea of the impact FFVII has had on mainstream culture.

The title also has a long history inside and outside its development, being considered to this day one of the best games of the Play Station 1 era. With a plot that addresses environmentalism and our relationship with grieflink outside website, Final Fantasy VII left its mark on history and is still consecrated today as the most famous in the series.

Final Fantasy VII is for you if:

- You want to start with the best-known game that popularized the franchise.

- You like an engaging story, with several plot twists.

- You want a game that gives you multiple possibilities for customizing your team.


- You like PlayStation classics.

Final Fantasy VII is not for you if:

- You are bothered by 3D graphics that look like Lego figures

- You prefer more action-oriented games (in this case, look for FFVII Remake)

I want a good romance story: Final Fantasy X

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Romance and interpersonal relationships are part of some of the main Final Fantasy games. Although none of them offer romance options, or have dating simulator elements, the love stories in FF are very well constructed.

Final Fantasy X is one of the best titles for those looking for a plot with engaging romance. Tidus and Yuna form an excellent couple, while their role in the plot places them in a central position in Spira's conflicts. FFX's story also deals with other notable topics, such as the influence of religious dogmas on people's lifestyle and self-sacrifice. It suffers from some typical 2000s romance clichés, but it makes up for it with a plot that goes far beyond being just a romance.

Final Fantasy X is for you if:

- You like a well-structured romance that goes beyond "this character likes that one".

- You prefer turn-based RPGs that require strategic planning on how to use your team.

- You like stories which discuss religion and spirituality.

Final Fantasy X is not for you if:

- You prefer modern graphics.

- More linear leveling systems are attractive to you.

I want to know a community favorite: Final Fantasy XIV

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Final Fantasy XIV is an MMORPG released in 2010 and relaunched in 2013, after going through a turbulent period. Since then, it has become one of the most successful online RPGs today and has a free version that includes the game's first three expansions: A Realm Reborn, Heavensward and Stormblood - Together, they guarantee over 100 hours of gameplay at no cost to the player, capable of expanding to 200 or more with the full version, with the Shadowbringers and Endwalker expansions

As an online and interactive game, FFXIV guarantees the best way to connect with other fans of the series. If you're not the type who likes to play with other people, the title also guarantees an excellent single player experience, where you only depend on others to pass specific stages of the game. It is also known as a large Final Fantasy amusement park, with homages and references to several other games in its missions, plot and activities!

Final Fantasy XIV is for you if:

- You like MMORPGs.

- You want to make the most of your playing time with just one title.

- You like interacting with other players

- You want the richest and longest story in the franchise.

- You like the idea of having your own avatar in a game.

Final Fantasy XIV is not for you if:

- You don't like playing online, or you don't have a stable internet connection.

- You don't have enough time to invest in many hours of grinding for plot development.


- You don't like interacting with other players.

I want an open world game: Final Fantasy XV

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Several classic games and some of the more recent ones have some sense of freedom and exploration, but in the open world concept as we know it today, Final Fantasy XV is the closest the series has to offer.

Despite following a linear story and not offering huge decisions on dialogues, FFXV does a decent job of simulating an open-world adventure in a modernized environment, where technology and ancient magic are present. Its story, despite some setbacks, brings countless lessons about friendship - the game's central theme, evidenced by the connection and synergy that Noctis, Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto have inside and outside of combat.

Final Fantasy XV is for you if:

- You like open world games

- You like real-time combat with some customization.

- You enjoy spending many hours on side quests and exploration.

Final Fantasy XV is not for you if:

- You expect open world games to follow the mold of Skyrim and The Witcher 3.

- You don't like experiences that require multiple media and expansions to deliver the complete story.


Regardless of where you want to start, Final Fantasy will probably have an adventure for you. Its diversity of games is almost endless, and meets the most varied demands of the gaming public.

If you have any questions or suggestions on where to start, feel free to leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!