Final Fantasy - The first title that appeared as Square was ready to shut down. Strangely enough, it became a hit and gave Square the capital it needed to keep afloat.
Final Fantasy II - Improved over the first and is generally better overall. However, much like the tradition of many other companies at the time of the NES, Square followed with an "experimental" concept of gameplay which made the game unpopular with fans. This concept differ from the traditional JRPG (Japanese RPG) and seem to followed a more CRPG (Computer RPG) system. Perhaps Square was trying to capture more Americans' attention? Either way, many fans dislike this installment.
Final Fantasy III - The third and last NES Final Fantasy title. Also eerily similar to tradition at the time in that it was vastly superior to the last two installments (Super Mario 3 compared to Super Mario 2 and 1, anyone?), it introduced a system which Square will utilized in future titles to immense success. This system is called the "Job System", in which you get to decide the kind of person you and your teammates will be.
Final Fantasy IV - Though Square strangely changed the numbers for the American releases, the fourth installment broke ground for Square and represented the era to which they were at their finest. This game contained a spectacular story, which will be a defining point in all of their games for the SNES.
Final Fantasy V - Though it was overshadowed by IV and VI, FFV was notable in that it upgraded the Job System. It added the ability to use your learned attacks and magics, which you attained from other classes. This innovative technique made the smaller V a favorite in a small community hiding among legions of IV and VI fans.
Final Fantasy VI - What is considered to be the pinnacle of the Final Fantasy series. Similar to the type of story shown in IV and expanded in V, it was however further expanded in VI. The music, atmosphere, and unique presentation came together to give fans an incredible experience. Cited by many fans is that the game contained excellent music, great interactive scenes (such as the Opera scene), and great characters. Also notable is that VI introduced what is better known as "summons" (but called Espers in VI) and a villain that is considered to be one of the best, if not the best in the series.
Final Fantasy VII - The first Final Fantasy to start using FMVs and also the first Square made on a non-Nintendo system. While hailed as excellent by many, long-time fans have noted that FFVII is also Square's first successful attempt in luring casual gamers. The fact that FFVII sold over 7 million copies seem to confirm that. Notable about gameplay is that Square introduced the "Limit Break" system and upgraded the "Esper System".
Final Fantasy VIII - Though not as well liked as FFVII, many do agree that the story is better. However, the same would agree that Square sacrifice gameplay for that story. Ironically, FFVIII echoed FFII. They both experimented and failed in the experimentation. Unfortunately, FFVIII flopped in comparison to its predecessor.
Final Fantasy IX - Square apparently tried to return to their roots with this game, but unfortunately, they were not successful. Poor characters, a horrible villain, and a poor story overall helped to give disappointment. There are no notable improvements in this installment and it also, unfortunately, flopped in the market.
Final Fantasy X - While considered to be the easiest of the entire series and also the worst by some, it is generally well liked by the public. Though the sale were nowhere near the size of its younger brother, FFVII, it did do well. Unfortunately, the game also seemed to be following a similar path that FFIX started. It became more linear. The only thing notable about this installment is that it was the first to get rid of the World Map.
Final Fantasy XI - A radical change from the series and one which some fans resent as it used the "Final Fantasy" name even though it is not a traditional FF. The change is that it is now an MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game), a type of games that computer gamers like. Though nowhere near as popular as any of the previous titles due to its change of gameplay, it is suggested that Square made the title for the immense profit that MMORPGs garner.
So far, that is the whole Final Fantasy series. There will undoubtedly be more and, so far, FFXII is rumored to be heading back to its roots again. The only thing people can be sure of is, like Mortal Kombat, the company will never let the title go no matter how unpopular it gets.
Final Fantasies 1, 2, and 3 were all for Famicom. 1 was released in America on NES. 2-6 were released on Super Famicom, but when 4 and 6 were released in America on the SNES, they were renamed Final Fantasy 2 and 3 for some reason. 7-9 were for the Playstation, and were named appropriately. Final Fantasies 4-6 were re-released for Playstation in two compilations (Final Fantsasy Chronicles and Final Fantasy Anthology), and later, 1 and 2 were as well (Final Fantasy Origins). 1 and 2 were re-released again for GBA recently. Final Fantasy 3 has yet to be released in America. Around the same time as FF7, Square came out with FFTactics, a tactical RPG. Later they released FFTAdvanced for GBA. FF10 and FF10-2 (the first true sequel in the series) were realeased for PS2. FF11 was the series' first MMORPG, and was released for PS2 and Windows.
Not all Final Fantasies were successes. Once, Square USA tried making it's own Final Fantasy, called FF: Mystic Quest, and it failed horribly. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the movie, flopped in theaters.
There are some old game boy cames, the Final Fantasy Legend series, but they are really part of the Mana series with changed names to attract American customers.
Several staples hold the series together, though the storyline of each one is totally separate from the others. Chocobos, black mages, moogles, cactuars, -ra and -ga level magic, and many other small but recognizable things are present in almost all of the games. The storyline in each later game in the series (mostly 6 and up) is deep and moving, usually involving struggles of love, friendship, good vs. evil, and self-discovery.
Now, Square Enix (as they are called after their merge with Enix, creator of Dragon Warrior) is working on their Compilation of Final Fantasy 7, which so far includes 1 prequel and 2 sequels (one of which is a movie, being released only on DVD and UMD this time around). FF12 is also in production, as well as Kingdom Hearts 2. FF13 will be released for the PS3.
Jake: You mean 2 or 4?
Ryan: The one with Cecil and Kain.
Jake: 4. Gotcha.
Is often referred to as a "nerd" videogame, but the series had sold 40 million titles in the US before the Square-Enix merger. This either means that it's a great game or there are a lot of nerds in America.
There is too much great stuff about the series to put into one definition, so suffice it to say that it is a best-selling game for a reason. The movie sucked and should be ignored.
Person 2: YOU are a nerd video game.
Right now, there is a gigantic argument between fans on which game in the series is the best. The two biggest competitors are FFVI and FFVII. The VI fans say it sticks to the roots and that VII is the bastardization of the series by it bringing RPGs into the mainstream, whereas VII fans say it's a fun game and that it was their first RPG. It is the author's opinion that they are both fun games and that both of them are equally liked for different reasons.
FFI: The first game of the series on NES, saved Square Soft(Enix) from going out of buisness.
FFII: Squares first attempt to develop the series into what we know today, but being experimental didn't do so well.
FFIII: The most popular NES FF game. It is now being rereleased in 3D for the DS so go try if for yourself.
FFIV: This is the true parent(mother) of all Final Fantasy games today. Althought not as popular or defended as latter installments this game needs to be noted for its creation of the job system and progress in magic abilities.
FFV: The game that never made it to america, least popular of all the "typical" FF games. But still needs to be noted for its development on the job and magic systems which gave birth to later 'great' FF games.
-Loved by the Fanboys-
FFVI: The single greatest FF game ever created only rivaled by big brother FFVII. Fantastic storyline, tons of characters, and a great plot. A great battle system, magic system, and even summons & Desperation attacks (limits).
FFVII: The single most popular FF game ever created. The first 3D and first FF to leave Nintendo systems. Entertaining storyline, great characters, summons, and magic.
FFVI & FFVII: Are the best final fantasy's in the series, the debate on which is better is completely fan-opinions. While FFVI is superior in storyline, charaters, plot, deversity, and things you can do/explore. FFVII has much superior graphics, FMVs, and characters that are easy to relate to. The battle systems and magics of the games are very similar and the only way to truely settle this debate would be to remake both games with the new "White Engine" thats going to be used in Final Fantasy XIII (13).
FFVIII: A very underrated game because of its predecessor FFVII. The game featured a new magic system, and a few other unique things like auto leveling for characters not currently in your party. It also had a well developted storyline and characters, but the new battle systems were unpopular and the story just wasn't enough.
FFIX: Squares attempt to return to origial style FF games (FFIV, FFV, & FFVI), but unfortunatly the game came out too linear and the characters were unpopular leading to demise of this game.
FFX: The greatest visual story of all the FF games. Altho underrated and often noted as being too easy, this is one of the best FF games of all time as far as the visuals go and the ease to follow the story. However the lack of something other than pretty characters and amazing movies left this game slightly lacking among the fanboy crowd.
FFX-2: The sequal to FFX, with an all girl party. Praised to have the best battle system of all the FF games. Worth playing, but oddly unpopular among typical FF fans.
FFXI: An MMORPG, with a FF title. Similar to the series in the content of the game, but completely different gameplay and community of players.
FFXII: A game that started out looking like a FFX clone with a new storyline. FFXII is to be released soon, a completely new game with a huge plot of battling kingdoms. This is Squares supposable attempt to go back to roots with the latest graphics, but fanboys and girls alike are very sceptical and hesitant to buy this game.
FFXIII: Hopefully the best Final Fantasy game of the series in development (for probably the next 5 years) it will have a completey new Real Time combat system. It will also be released with the lastest-n-greatest graphics on the next generation systems primarly PS3 (however b/c of the PS3 price range FFXIII will probably be released on XBOX 360 and Nintendo Wii as well).
Fanboy: The greatest RPG series ever created.
Man: Oh?! You mean like D&D.