TheChargingRhino

Upcoming Final Fantasy player - what game should I play first?

8 posts in this topic

Hello there, everyone.

I have very recently become interested in the Final Fantasy series.

I have watched speedruns on 7 and 9, and I an currently watching a full walk-through on 9.

I have played 3 (6) for the SNES Classic and it's actually fun to play (just mash Fire Beam!) (Moogles are OP).

So, for the PS1/PS2 games, which one should I start with first?

I have the game guides to VIII, X, X-2, XII 

I shall also start playing Chrono Cross soon. 

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chrono cross is great! =) i hear the music is pretty good.

each FF game has positives and negatives, in my mind. it's worth noting that FF4 - especially the updated versions available on modern handhelds - is an excellent game as well, and shouldn't be overlooked. but this is about the 3d games.

7's graphics are pretty poor nowadays compared to any of the other games, but the story is still solid enough and the gameplay isn't as dated as you'd think. the places in the world are well realized as well which is fun, and the music is iconic. i haven't played 8 since high school, but i remember the story being more disjointed. the gameplay was interesting enough and it was fun exploring for magic to draw, and there are some really timeless themes in that game as well. i also haven't played 9 in 10+ years but i remember the characters being fun and the art style being fairly unique among the more modern FF games. i didn't enjoy it as much because i preferred the more serious settings of 7 and 8 over the more extreme fantasy bent of 9.

among the PS2 games, X is one of my favorites, and if you can play the PS3 or PS4 remakes it's worth it. the story's pretty solid (only a few leaps of faith needed) and i liked the characters. the addition of voice acting is nice too although it's pretty stilted...if you don't mind listening in japanese and reading subtitles it's better. i really enjoy the battle system and progression system in X as well, and the crossover island/steampunk setting is pretty well done. i enjoyed X-2 more than most - it's definitely more cutesy/fanservice than it is a 'real' FF game, but the dresssphere/battle system is pretty decent (13-2 lite, kinda) and there's some replayability if you like it. XII is a great break from tradition in that the art and style of the game is similar to the older games, but it feels like an MMO in how you roam the world. it's too short, vaan clearly wasn't supposed to be the main character, and the story kinda goes to pieces in the second half, but i enjoyed the gambit system and the characters that aren't 12 years old.

if you get a chance to play the newer games, XIII and 13-2 are definitely not as bad as reviews say. XIII holds your hand for way too long (they don't really take the shackles off the battle system until almost 25hrs into the game), but 13-2's battle system, monster catching, and progression are all fun, and seeing the world in different forms depending on timelines is fun as well. i really enjoyed 13-2's battle system, enough that i would consider it to be one of my favorites in the series. 

if i had to rank 7 through XII, i'd say that i found 7 and X to be in the top tier, 8 and XII in the upper middle tier, and 9 and X-2 in the lower middle tier. i definitely don't think any of them are bad, they all have very specific things that are really awesome about them. i just preferred the gameplay and characters of 7 and X the most.

edit: derp, you wanted to know where to start. if you've already seen 7 and 9, IMO X was my next favorite game, so i'd start there, or else maybe go for 8 and complete the PS1 trifecta before moving onto PS2. don't start on X-2 as there's a lot of assumed knowledge of X in the game and some spoilers.

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If your experience is with 6, 7, and 9, 8 is the most similar to those in terms of battle mechanics and story.  It's much maligned for some of the tedious aspects of the advancement system and the discouragement to actually use magic, and the last third of the story is bizarre, but it's still a solid game.  If all you've seen of 7 is speedruns, though, it's well worth playing fully--although I recommend having someone give you hints about picking up the optional characters before you miss them.

10 is my favorite, but its strict turn-based combat makes it a somewhat different beast.  The story is my favorite of the whole series, though, I enjoyed the voice acting, and the graphics are excellent even if you're not playing the HD remake.  It's a weird but enjoyable advancement mechanic, too, especially if you can use the alternate sphere grid in the HD remake.  X-2 obviously assumes you've played 10 first, so don't start there.

I personally wasn't a huge fan of 12, and it's a very different kind of game, much more like the Mana series (or like soloing an MMO).  But it has its fans.

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I know you said you've already watched FFIX, but I honestly recommend playing through it on your own, too. Ditto for FFVII. IX is my favorite of the series so it's really dear to my heart. I'd actually rank my top three as IX, VI, and VII. VIII is great, too, but definitely on the weirder side and the combat/magic system didn't appeal to me as much. I love X, as well, it has a great story, music, and characters. From personal experience, a lot of people I've met have had VII or X as their first FF. VII was my first, personally. I was very young and impressionable when it came out and it was my first RPG, so it has that special spot in my gaming memory. :)

So I would start with IX, VII, and X, if you don't mind playing through a game you're already watching. 

Speaking of Square RPGs and Chrono, have you played Chrono Trigger? 

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17 hours ago, Earth Kid said:

Speaking of Square RPGs and Chrono, have you played Chrono Trigger? 

CT is a top 3 game on most lists all time. if you've not played it, definitely give it a shot.

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For the early PS games like FF7, it really helps the graphics if you use a filter of some kind to blur. FF7 on a retina screen is going to look bad. Those old TVs softened and blurred all the edges. 

*** FF8 gets a very mixed reception. It is loved by many and hated by many at the same time. So don't feel bad if you start playing it and dislike it.

Also, do not sleep on FFIV, FFVI, and FFTactics (PSP remake War of the Lions).

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2 hours ago, avaris said:

 

Also, do not sleep on... FFTactics (PSP remake War of the Lions).

Doesn't need to be the first game in the franchise you play but definitely hit FFT at some point.  I remember when it was first revealed being really put off by the characters, whose heads all looked like melon's with eyes, but it's easily my second favorite final fantasy game. 

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tactics is probably my favorite, personally, especially the war of the lions remake. it's arguably one of the best mobile tactics games you can play.

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