Thanks to Mere-chan for the inspiration!
Every day, it seems like a new person will ask: which Final Fantasy game should I start next? The common answer is whatever you like. Each game is standalone. They have their own character, settings, themes and even battle systems. None of the Final Fantasy games exist in a chronological timeline (though it’s fun to think about sometimes). And only a few titles are direct sequels.
You can start anywhere you want. Do you like a certain fantasy setting? Maybe you want higher graphical fidelity? Or perhaps you heard a soundtrack, and you want to experience the game associated with it. The world is yours. Choose whichever you like.
However, people ask this question all the time. It’s understandable. Fans want recommendations. Some of them don’t know what to expect, and a few don’t know what they like. They’re looking for guidance. But the rate at which fans ask this question is a steady constant. In this, a pattern emerges. Fans believe that it’s possible for others to recommend titles to them based on what they’ve played. Can these recommendations be universal based on the description of the game alone?
Let’s use Mere-chan’s description for example:
Basically everyone here is going to tell you something different, generally based on their favorite FF or perhaps their first. It really depends on what you like, and what you are looking for in a FF game.
If you want classic RPG feel, any of the first 6 would fill that. They have turned based or ATB attack, are overall simple to learn and play, and have a classic fantasy feel. Of those three however, I’d recommend 3-6. FF1 is great but extremely basic with very little story. FF2 has more story, but the leveling system is ‘unique’, and can be a pain in the ass. As for FF3, it’s not bad, but it only has the one incarnation, and it can be super grindy–not generally something I’d recommend to a first timer.
The play station era games get alot of love, and rightly so; however, the graphics did not age well for many of them, especially 7 and 8. It that doesn’t bother you, jump right in. They also have ATB battles and some of the more beloved storylines. FF7 and 8 have more futuristic settings while 9 is a call-back to the older games.
FF10 is a fan favorite, almost as beloved as 7. It first introduced voice acting (though sometimes it’s cringe-worthy), brought back turn-based, is quite lovely with generally well-likeable characters and a deep story. It is fairy linear however, so if that bothers you, it might not be the game for you.
FF11 and FF14 are both MMOs, so unless that’s what you are looking for, which doesn’t seem likely, avoid those. They are both great MMOs in their own rights and I’ve spent quite alot of time playing both, but some people just don’t like the genre.
FF12 has a bit of a polarizing fan-base. Either you love it or hate it. It plays much like an offline MMO with a large world, lots of side quests, and the ability to use gambits, which are basically like commands you set for your characters– the intent is for them to plays as though they were other players. The characters are kinda hit or miss; some are great and some are meh, and the storyline is, imo, not the strongest, but it can be really fun once you get used to the game play. I don’t think that it would be well-suited for a first time however ; ;
FF13….ahhh….the most hated game in the series /s ….ish. I personally really enjoy this game, but it is a far departure from many of the other games in the series, and it is very linear, so alot of people dislike it. It is however, very fast-paced battle-wise, the music is, imo, gorgeous, and as the most recent game in the series apart from 14, the most visually spectacular.
and then of course, you could always wait a few months until 15 comes out and join the series in this new era with a fresh pair of eyes.
It’s really up to you what you do. Like I said, most people will recommend a game that they prefer most, but that may not be what you like. So do a bit of research first, and pick what looks best to you. Enjoy <3
Something might click when you read through Mere-chan’s explanation: these descriptions work. The games do tend to have this feel. So we can say this is pretty accurate. But is this recommendation enough for everyone who asks? Can a fan, despite their first Final Fantasy game, expect to experience what they’ve heard about it? And can a fan tell whether they’ll like a game or not simply on the description alone? What if it’s their first?
Fans come to the series at different times in Final Fantasy’s history. Perhaps they liked Final Fantasy VI, and what to see if they’ll like another classic: Final Fantasy VII. Or perhaps they like Final Fantasy VIII, and what to try the opposite. Final Fantasy games are diverse; they fit many different fantasy genres. But is it reasonable to recommend a Final Fantasy game on genre alone? What about the battle system, or graphics? And can these recommendations apply universally?
Well, what do you think? What do you think is the best game to recommend to someone?
P.S. I don’t mean which Final Fantasy game is the best, however. That’s a matter of taste.