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The X Best Final Fantasy Games, Ranked

Final Fantasy X Yuna and Titus
(Square Enix)

Do you like handsome men with perfect hair and nonsensically large swords? Do we have a series for you.

Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series is one of the most iconic in the world. It once disrupted the Italian government. No joke. This series has been going strong for over three decades and is responsible for creating multiple generations of otaku nerds. Without the influence of Final Fantasy, the JRPG genre would not exist as we know it today. So to celebrate our love of big swords and sexy cosplay opportunities, we’re ranking the best games that the series has to offer.

10. Final Fantasy III (1990)

The orphans of FFIII around a crystal
(Square Enix)

Final Fantasy III is about a bunch of orphans (they usually are) tasked with defeating an evil force known as the Cloud of Darkness. In this case, this emo cloud is not Cloud Strife. After obtaining special powers from a magical crystal, the four orphans are commanded by King Sasune to defeat the Cloud of Darkness before it can destroy the crystals that hold the world together. Boy, this series sure does love its crystals.

9. Final Fantasy V (1992)

Bartz Klauser and his gang in battle
(Square Enix)

Final Fantasy V follows the exploits of the unfortunately named Bartz Klauser, who encounters a young woman named Lenna on an adventure. Lenna tells Bartz that she is on a quest to save the four elemental crystals that hold the world together. From what? An evil sorcerer, of course! The sorcerer Exdeath (great name) wishes to use the crystals to gain ultimate power. Not if these kids can stop him! But first, they have to traverse dangerous mountains, spooky forests, and dank dungeons crawling with Exdeath’s minions.

8. Final Fantasy XII (2006)

The cast of FF XII in combat
(Square Enix)

In a world plagued by war, a young group of rebels are tasked with saving their homeland from an evil empire that wants to take over the planet. Final Fantasy XII took Final Fantasy‘s classic turn-based combat system and turned it on its ear. The action takes place in real time, and characters fight automatically using a pre-programmed system of “gambits” that the player designs. Basically, you wind up your party before a fight and watch them go, making adjustments along the way. It was a risky new system, but for a series focused on innovation, the risk was worth it.

7. Final Fantasy XV (2016)

Noctis and friends from FFXV
(Square Enix)

Final Fantasy XV is essentially a bachelor party that goes very wrong. The hot young prince Noctis and his three equally hot companions must venture out into the world to save their kingdom from a rival empire. And they do so in style. Most of the game involves Noctis and his friends hitting the road in their sweet-ass ride. Is it a chocobo? An airship? No, just a really sexy car. The combat system is in real time, but features tactical elements that fans of the series know and love. You can throw fireballs, wield teleporting swords, and summon a giant golem to punch an equally giant turtle in the face.

6. Final Fantasy IV (1991)

Cecil and the cast of FF IV
(Square Enix)

Final Fantasy IV is a classic from the Final Fantasy days of yore. It follows a morally ambiguous knight named Cecil, who serves at the hand of an evil king. Eventually, he realizes that the king is a no good scrub of the highest order and embarks on a redemption quest. How does he find out? The king orders him to massacre a peaceful village during the game’s first quest. That’s a “no” for me. After Cecil defects and finds some cool new friends, the group learns that (surprise, surprise) the king intends to use CRYSTALS to take over the world.

Related: Here’s How Crisis Core FFVII Reunion Buster Sword Proficiency Works on Siliconera

5. Final Fantasy VIII (1999)

Squall and his gunblade
(Square Enix)

We’re getting into the big guns now. Or should I say gunblades? Final Fantasy VIII follows one of the series most iconic protagonists: Squall Leonhart. Who is Squall? A handsome young military academy student with a cool scar and an even cooler sword. Squall wields a gunblade, which is actually a REAL WEAPON. What is it? It’s a sword with a pistol barrel that runs along the bottom of the blade, so it can stab AND shoot people! And Squall is gonna need it, considering he falls headfirst into a global conflict and has to fight for the side of justice.

4. Final Fantasy IX (2000)

Final Fantasy IX cast
(Square Enix)

Final Fantasy IX functions as a love letter to earlier games of the series, and boy, is it a romantic one. It follows a young thief named Zidane Tribal (gotta love these names) who is tasked by a queen to kidnap the princess of Alexandria, Garnet Til Alexandros XVII. To no one’s surprise, we learn that the queen is evil and that the princess is trying to escape her oppressive rule. The pair have to team up with some other savvy adventurers in order to stop the queen from using an ancient weapon to take over neighboring kingdoms.

3. Final Fantasy VI (1994)

Final Fantasy VI cover art
(Square Enix)

Another classic! Final Fantasy VI is about a magical young woman, Terra, who is abducted by the evil empire of Gestahl to be used as a war weapon. She is soon rescued by a team of rebels and joins forces with them in order to stop the empire from taking over the world. Eventually, they run afoul of an evil magical clown named Kefka, who turns out to be one of the series’ most iconic (and unsettling) antagonists. A story is only as good as its villain, after all.

2. Final Fantasy X (2001)

Final Fantasy X Yuna and Titus
(Square Enix)

Final Fantasy X singlehandedly broke the industry back in 2001 with its gorgeous and (at the time) groundbreaking graphics. It’s about Titus, an athlete who basically plays extreme water polo for a living. One day, his city is attacked by an inter-dimensional monster. Titus is transported to a strange world where has to help a summoner, Yuna, defeat the beast before it can return. This game is a classic among classics and features my favorite Final Fantasy character: the wise crackin’, sword slingin’, sake drinkin’ Auron.

1. Final Fantasy 7 (1997)

Cloud Strife of FF 7
(Square Enix)

Final Fantasy VII is IT. You want hot, emotionally unavailable boys with big swords and emotions? Got ’em. What about hot ladies who pummel things to death with their fists and magic? Got those, too. An evil empire? Substitute the corporate conglomerate Shinra and you’re there. Wandering spikey haired mercenary Cloud Strike teams up with an insurgency group to stop the Shinra Corp from sucking the planet’s natural resources dry. Don’t wanna track down an old Playstation 1 to play it? Download the PS4 remake, it’s equally incredible.

(Featured Image: Square Enix)

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Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.