The Final Fantasy series is one of gaming’s most revered franchises with many of its games finding themselves near the top of ‘best games of all time’ lists and simply uttering the words ‘Final Fantasy’ usually evokes images of epic quests and world class polish. But not all of the games to bear the name have been worthy of praise. Some, in fact are terrible, unplayable, ugly and obnoxious games that make you wonder how Square Enix ever approved them. So for this week’s Top 10 we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel and counting down the Top 10 Worst Final Fantasy Games.
10 – Final Fantasy II
Final Fantasy II had a lot to live up to. The original game was a runaway success that paved the way for Square to not only become a major player in the game’s industry but to stay afloat. Now maybe it’s a product of the times, where every video game sequel was ‘weird’ when compared to the original, but Final Fantasy took things a step further by introducing a strange leveling-up system that left a bad taste in players mouths. Thankfully it seems that time has been kind to this game as the more modern remakes have garnered more favorable reviews than the original did in 1988.
9 – Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates
Now just because a game ends up on this list doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Case in point, the Nintendo DS title – Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates. The game had impressive visuals for the handheld and a very interesting story, two things that are usually attributed to the Final Fantasy series. So where did it go wrong? It was booooooring. An absolute grind-fest to get through this is the type of game that gives JRPG’s a bad reputation.
8 – Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Oh I might tick a few people off with this one but, like the above entry my complaints with Lightning Returns, the third game in the Final Fantasy XIII saga don’t have anything to do with the game’s presentation or story (though it’s far from perfect) but with the boring nature of the gameplay. Sure the linear corridors of the first two games are gone but they are replaced with large, empty spaces with little to do. Maybe it’s a good thing that Versus XIII ditched that (clearly) unlucky number.
7 – Final Fantasy: Airborne Brigade
I always feel like a bit of a jerk picking on ‘little’ games but hey, if you want to wear the Final Fantasy name, then you’re fair game. Final Fantasy: Airborne Brigade finds itself on this list because, while not a terrible game, nothing it does stands out. Nothing. The art style is recycled, the gameplay is dull and their’s really just nothing here that stands out. This is as bland as bland can get.
6 – Chocobo Racing
Ever since Mario hit it big by launching a spin-off into nearly every genre imaginable, other game series have done the same, and the most common of these is the kart racer. We’ve seen Sonic, Crash Bandicoot, Diddy Kong and a whole bunch of others take a spin at trying to become the next Mario Kart. More often than not the results are mixed but when Final Fantasy tried it with Chocobo Racing we got an ugly little game that did not play very well at all. The one redeeming quality here is that the game is fairly charming and helped solidify the Chocobos as a mascot for the series.
5 – Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
Final Fantasy and Nintendo have a… rough history together. During the Nintendo 64 era, Square Enix pulled support for Nintendo’s consoles. However the GameCube did get an exclusive Final Fantasy game – Crystal Chronicles. The game was warmly received but definitely had its flaws. For this Wii sequel, Crystal Bearers, the most controversial element of the first game, the multiplayer, was removed in favor of a focus on single player elements. Sadly it seems like the elements that make up an RPG also went out the window and what we’re left with is a boring, Zelda-wannabe.
4 – Final Fantasy IV: The After Years
Final Fantasy IV is one of my favorite games of all time, mostly because of the emotional and deep storyline. So why is it that it’s sequel features one of the worst tales the series has ever told? Honestly, playing through The After Years felt more like playing a game made up of poorly written fan fiction than a sequel to one of gaming’s greatest narratives.
3 – Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest
What was it about the early 90’s and Japanese game executives thinking that North American players couldn’t handle difficult games? Case in point – Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, a game developed with western gamers in mind that removes nearly all the challenge out of playing a video game. Some of the enemies don’t even fight back!
2 – Final Fantasy XIV: Online
When a game series reaches #14, odds are it’s doing pretty good for itself. Well things almost came unraveled for Final Fantasy when XIV launched. A buggy, broken mess that demanded a subscription fee is usually not a recipe for success, especially when you’re trying to steal customers away from the juggernaut that is World of Warcraft. Miraculously though, Square Enix was able to turn things around when they re-launched Final Fantasy XIV as A Realm Reborn, something that doesn’t happen very often in the cutthroat world of gaming.
1 – Final Fantasy: All The Bravest
Pure garbage. Final Fantasy: All The Bravest is the poster child for how not to make a mobile game. Repetitive gameplay, lazy presentation and a steep pay wall made this game instantly loathed by gamers and fans of the series. While this list is made up of 10 different titles, All The Bravest is easily worst than the other nine combined. The worst game in the series and one of the worst games of all time.
Has the Final Fantasy series ever burned you? What are your picks for the worst Final Fantasy games? Let us know in the comments below.