Highlights: Final Fantasy I is the first game in the series. The job classes make their debut with four members to a party. Of the four members, players can choose six jobs for 126 combinations. Many of the defining staples aren’t present. Still, fans may appreciate the series’ roots and its influence on the JRPG genre.
Highlights: Final Fantasy II is the second game in the series, but first with an epic story. The game features a cast of characters with their own backstory and motivations and main characters who have distinctive personalities. Many staples of the series, such as Cid, Chocobos, Ultima spell, etc find their start here. In exchange for the job classes, characters can equip any weapon. Any character can learn magic. Characters gain certain attributes instead of levels by specializing in weapons, armor, and magical spells.
Highlights: Switchable job class system makes its debut in Final Fantasy III. More job classes are available to the player, which players can change in the menu. Weapons and armor switch between battle. Weapons and armor depend on your equipped job, while only certain classes can use magic.
Highlights: Final Fantasy IV’s plot sets series’ the tone for grand, epic, and sweeping storyline. Static job class system return, encouraging players to explore different characters combinations. For the first and last time in a Final Fantasy, players can have five playable characters in a party. ATB (Active Time Battles) makes its first appearance; characters and enemies act according to an invisible time bar, increasing the challenge and adding a new dimension of interaction.
Highlights: With a light story, Final Fantasy V puts emphasis on gameplay. The job system returns with even more job classes available (updating those returning from FFIII and adding more). Now, your freelancer (default) class can use abilities learned from another Job class, to create customizable characters.
Highlights: Considered a watershed mark in Final Fantasy’s history, Final Fantasy VI redefines both the genre and the series. This time, each character has their own specific job and skills learned in different ways. Final Fantasy VI has a memorable ensemble cast of characters including multiple (14) complex narratives. No character is mandatory for any party. Sprites are higher in detail. Characters are still chibi, but better proportioned with more animation. Graphics are richer. FFIV has an atmospheric approach to storytelling. Introduces desperation attacks.
Highlights: As the highest selling Final Fantasy game, Final Fantasy VII created a groundbreaking reputation in the JRPG community. The first PlayStation 1 release, with completely polygonal characters with pre-rendered backgrounds. Characters on World Map and towns are fully polygonal. Battles are now completely in 3D. The camera moves around during battle, creating a more cinematic approach to random encounters. FMV (full motion video) make their appearance with improved graphics ahead of its time for the PS1 era. The Materia system provides new levels of customization. It was also first in series to have only three party members to a battle.
Highlights: Following the massive success of Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII uses realistically proportioned characters, giving a semi-realistic feel. Final Fantasy VIII features the Junction System; disposable magic can raise stats, improve weapons and armor allowing for elemental customization. The optional new Triple Triad mini-game features a new way to interact with NPCs. Cards can refine into items and magic, as an incentive to play for battle reasons. Enemies level up with your characters, and high-level random encounters can challenge players.
Highlights: Final Fantasy IX is a love letter to fans of series, containing the most Final Fantasy related references. “Trance” system (which can last for several rounds) has characters gain more commands. Like Triple Triad, the optional card game returns as Tetra Master, played with many NPC all around the world.
Highlights: Final Fantasy X is first in the series feature voice acting. It was also the first Final Fantasy to feature fully 3D environments. Turn-based battles return and set a departure from the long-standing ATB (Active Time Battle). Final Fantasy X combines the fast-paced battle system with an engaging sphere grid. It would later make way for Final Fantasy’s first direct sequel.
Highlights: Final Fantasy XI was the first in the series to include visible enemies on the screen. Players could choose whether to encounter enemies or bypass battles. Players could build their own character(s) with any accessible job. As the first online game and first MMO of the series. For over a decade, players have enjoyed rich lore expanded throughout the expansions.
Highlights: Final Fantasy XII featured a game with a much different tonal shift than its predecessors. The plot features political intrigue in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions and many of the characters voiced by trained stage actors. The Gambit System also features a new way to manage your characters in battle to increase strategy.
Highlights: Fast-paced battles including the best mix of ATB with the semi-real time action. Spawning two sequels, Final Fantasy XIII was the first and only non-MMO Final Fantasy on the PlayStation 3. The Paradigm System allows you to customize your characters from one of six configurations in battle.
Highlights: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn continues the MMO tradition. In the style of World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV contains highly addictive gameplay. After a horrible launch, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn became one of the highest played online MMORPGs.
Highlights: Final Fantasy XV includes gorgeous graphics and face paced battles (Active X Battle). The first Final Fantasy to feature an open world.