Like Mario or Zelda, the world of Final Fantasy is one of those guarantees in the gaming world, a franchise that reappears on each subsequent console generation. With that in mind, here's a look back at the five most important games in the series.
Final Fantasy (1987)
The one that started it all, forever changing the role-playing world. The first Final Fantasy might not look like much nowadays, with its turn-based system and 8-bit graphics, but just imagine the immersion 1987 gamers felt: multiple character classes, all kinds of magic to battle with and an entire world to explore. Twenty-five years and dozens of entries later, that basic idea is still going strong.
Final Fantasy IV (1991)
While the first three games in the Final Fantasy series mainly appealed to Japanese gamers, the fourth entry was a literal game-changer, drawing interest from around the world. It's not hard to see why: gorgeous 16-bit graphics highlighted by stunning environments and detailed characters, an innovative "active time battle system" that became the series standard and, most importantly, incredibly strong storytelling that makes it a joy to play to this day.
Final Fantasy VI (1994)
Often regarded as the greatest game in the series, the sixth entry took all the elements from previous entries - an involving storyline, motivated characters, strong supporting players, beautiful graphics, a stunning soundtrack - and blended them into the perfect RPG cocktail. And then there's that ending: for those who've never played it, we'll simply say it ranks up there with the greatest in the gaming world, the kind of conclusion that stays with you forever.
Final Fantasy VII (1997)
The first entry to break the mould by going full 3D, Final Fantasy VII is arguably the most influential of all entries, its cyberpunk-like world inspiring nearly every shoddy RPG since. But forget all that and relive its glory: bridging the gap between old-world RPG and new-world action, the seventh game is one of the most entertaining, bringing in a new league of players with its Hollywood-style story and combat-heavy gameplay.
Final Fantasy X (2001)
Many gamers consider Final Fantasy X the last truly traditional entry in the series ( XI saw things go online, XII saw things go crazy). Bringing voice acting into the fold, the 10th entry also improved the graphics, increased the RPG elements and added a heavy psychological slant to the storyline. Granted, some of the side quests frustrated some gamers, but there's no denying its popularity, selling almost seven million copies to date and becoming the first entry in the series to spawn its own sequel.