To start with, nobody is here to tell you which of the Final Fantasy games are epic and which are forgettable. It is fair to say that your enjoyment of each game is dependent upon several things, from how much free time you have, to what sort of mood you are in. At the very least, we can agree that they are almost all very different, they are not like the copy-pasted stuff we see from FIFA and Call of Duty.
The reason for this article is because of the recent release of “Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.” It was disappointing, but only because we had just enjoyed the likes of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and we were expecting something similar. Yet, what we got was a game that felt like it should have come out in the Playstation 3 era. Objectively, if you take the Final Fantasy name off it, the game is okay/good. But, since it wasn’t what some fans were hoping for, what is it about some Final Fantasy games that make them more amazing/epic than others.
Final Fantasy VII Set The Standard For RPG Gaming Experiences
Back in 1997, Final Fantasy VII proved that western audiences could enjoy role-playing games, and boy what a role-playing game it was. The story was disjointed at first, and the ending was left open to interpretation. But, for those who saw it through to the end, the memories will last a lifetime. One could say that FFVII is epic because it was the first of its kind for most fans of the Final Fantasy franchise, but if you can look past the horrible graphics, there is still something epic about this game that is hard to define.
Building a Game Rather Than An Experience
It feels like they were building a game when they built “Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin” rather than trying to build an experience. The Dark Souls inspiration is worn a little too loudly, as are the Devil May Cry influences. It feels like a game out of its time (ironically), and you strongly feel the forces of Team Ninja, whose only other foray into Final Fantasy was, “Dissidia Final Fantasy.” It feels like a game, it doesn’t feel like you are immersed in the world of Final Fantasy.
The Work They Put Into The Game
This one is a little unfair because who is to say which games they put lots of work into and which they didn’t. However, Final Fantasy VII remake has its classic music with orchestral scores that match and surpass the quality of the original game. Lots of effort was put into these games in everything from the backgrounds to the musical score. Some of the most epic and amazing Final Fantasy games seem to demonstrate that a lot of work went into them.
This is not always the case. For example, if you are a fan of Final Fantasy 9, the one with the knight and the little hat mage guy, then there is a striking disconnect between the graphics of 9 from 8 and 10. It feels like they put in less effort, and yet some consider 9 to be their favorite, so who can tell.
Personal Preference and The Mood You Are In
Honestly, if you are not in the mood to drive around from one objective marker to another in a fancy car, then Final Fantasy XV is not going to scratch your itch. If you want to smash and destroy and don’t feel like micromanaging and tinkering with your character, then Final Fantasy XII (the one with the lady with bunny ears) is not for you.
It is about personal preference in some cases, but it is also about the mood you are in and the time you have spare. Some of the Final Fantasy games demand a lot of your time in big chunks, and some of us don’t have big chunks of time to play. What’s worse is that if you do have to stop and start the games, you may feel they are weaker and less impactful because of it.
What About The Nostalgia Factor?
Fan of Final Fantasy VII, listen to its soundtrack or its new updated soundtrack for a twinge of nostalgia. Were you a fan of VIII (eight), then listen to the techno-electric-inspired soundtrack and feel that kick of nostalgia. It is okay to say that some of the games don’t hold up as well today because of their graphics, but does that make them less epic or amazing? Perhaps not.
Existing in the Final Fantasy World
There is a reason why the FFXIV online game is still popular and is becoming more popular. There is a reason why people are still running out to buy FFXIV Gil, it is because the game drops you into the world of Final Fantasy, and it is pretty fun allowing yourself to be swallowed up by that world for a while. That is one of the reasons why some of the Final Fantasy games are more epic and amazing than others.
Some have an amazing world that makes you feel privileged to be a part of it. Even Final Fantasy 10 (the one with underwater basketball) is so jarring and frustrating when you are forced to change scenes because the world itself is so engrossing. When you are pushed out of some areas into others through no fault of your own, you are a little sour (not because of the inconvenience), but because you were enjoying yourself in that slice of the Final Fantasy world.
How Long The Games Are
This is possibly the most unfair point of this article, but there is a chance that some of the Final Fantasy games are hindered by their length. For example, in Final Fantasy XV (the one with the prince and the car driving), the game can be drawn out to a very long degree, but much of what you do feels like busywork if you are not checking in with story missions every now and again. On the other hand, if you run your way through the story missions, it feels too short.
However, the biggest victim of game length has to be Final Fantasy XII (the one with the lady with bunny ears). At 60 hours, it can actually run a lot longer because it is easy to fall victim to its open-ended gameplay elements. It doesn’t pad the runtime with your typically Ubisoft copy-paste objectives, and the automated fighting system is something they should consider bringing back. However, it is possible to lose track of any meaning or impact simply because getting from one story beat to another can take a fairly long time.
A long game doesn’t necessarily mean a bad game. For example, Final Fantasy VIII (the one with the flying SEED school) was beloved by some (not everybody), and fully completing all its content could take as long as 400 hours. Yet, it didn’t feel drawn out or padded out.
What Do You Think Makes an Epic Final Fantasy Game?
This is the only real question that matters. Some of the elements listed above may matter, and some may not, it is really up to you. Nobody can tell you which you think is best because there is no right or wrong answer. They are all distinct versions of the Final Fantasy universe with something in the franchise for everybody. That is the magic of Final Fantasy.