The Five Worst Final Fantasy Games

Leave it to Final Fantasy XIII to bring forth memories of the worst Final Fantasy games I have ever played. I’ve struggled with where to place XIII as it certainly deserves a place high on this list. If nothing else, I think this list proves that game play is king. Something that is fun to play can overcome inadequacies in story, graphics or character development. Expert artwork and a beautifully composed score can’t save a boring game.nerdy side

Final Fantasy is such a great series, you have to try really hard to make a bad game in the series. SquareSoft did a great job with the series, but Square Enix has proven that, with enough effort and fancy graphics, shitty Final Fantasy games are indeed possible.

Before I break this list out, I feel that I should note that I haven’t played Final Fantasy III, XI, XIV, or any of the spin-off series. I also haven’t played any sequels not mentioned on this list. Maybe some day I’ll have the time, money and patience to play through every Final Fantasy game ever put into existence and this will become a comprehensive list. Until then, I present the five worst Final Fantasy games (I’ve ever played).


5.

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When I bought this game, I thought it was a port or remake of the original Tactics game. How wrong I was. Tactics Advanced is about a group of kids who love the Final Fantasy series. They fall asleep one night and wake up in the world of Final Fantasy….. and I didn’t really play farther than that to learn much. You move the story forward by carrying out different ‘quests’ which are just different battles you have to fight.

The story didn’t grip me and it had that same annoying battle system from Tactics. I probably should have known better. This game is still sitting in my ‘to-play’ pile. Just like I feel the need to finish every book I start to read, I feel the need to finish every game I start to play. I’ll get to this one… someday (maybe it will grow on me).

4.

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I’m sorry. I know this game is on a bunch of ‘Best Games of All Time’ lists, but I just could not get into it. In fact, I couldn’t even stay with it enough to finish the game, a fact which haunts me to this day. Given how much love people have for this game, I am determined to play through the whole game someday in the hopes of figuring out what everyone is so enthralled with.

The big thing about Tactics that every loves is the job system, which I also love. I love the different species. The music is good, the art is good and what I saw of the story was pretty solid. I just couldn’t get into the job system. I hated the squares and having to move characters closer just to attack. The battle system was so tedious to me that I could stick with the game.

3.

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Words cannot describe how angry I was at the story and character development (or lack there of) in this game. Final Fantasy X was a masterpiece with one of the most unique and moving endings in the Final Fantasy series. If I make a list of the best Final Fantasy games, you can bet X will be near the top.

Usually, I pretend X-2 is just bad fanfiction. It’s the only way I can enjoy the game at all. The story still sucks, but everything else about the game is pretty solid. I’m a bit confused at the target audience, though. The only playable characters are women who bounce around the world like pop princesses. In one scene, the main character halts a giant battle by singing. Who knew we could prevent bloody battles with a pop singer belting on a cliff?

All that seems to imply the game was specifically targeted at female audiences. However, the girls also wear next to nothing in half their outfits and there are plenty of booty and panty shots. I can only assume that’s there for the male gamers?

Nothing could save this game, though. Square Enix would have been better off leaving Final Fantasy X alone.

2.

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This game frustrates me to no end. It’s a beautiful world with characters who are okay enough. The music is pretty good despite the fact Nobuo Uematsu didn’t have a hand in any of it. The two big weaknesses of this game is in the game play and story. I’m not sure which bothers me more because, for some unknown reason, I can’t stop playing this game. The game play is the same as the battle system. Literally all you do is walk forward and fight, walk forward and fight. The battle system is a joke half the time, requiring little else than constantly mashing the X button.

The story reminds me of the movie The Secret Window. That movie was boring as hell, but it had just enough mystery that you were okay being bored in order to find the answer to the mystery. That’s what the story here is like. I’ve almost finished the game and I’m not really sure anything has substantial has happened in the story line.

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I don’t understand how a game this terrible generated not one but two squeals. Sometimes I think Final Fantasy is dead and Square Enix is just sitting there poking the body instead of giving it a respectful funeral. Please, Square Enix, either let Final Fantasy die rest in peace or start making games worth of the title.

1.

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This is the game that shattered my immaculate opinion of the Final Fantasy series. Back in the day, I didn’t bat an eye dropping 60 dollars on a game. The games were so great to me, I would have given 150 dollars and my left arm to buy a game without ever checking a game review. After this horrendous game, never again.

Dirge of Cerberus focuses on Vincent Valentine, my favorite character from Final Fantasy VII. I couldn’t wait to run to the story the day of the games release and explore the world. There wasn’t much of a world to explore, though. Everything was bland and I did a lot of running through drab hallways. Being Sqaure’s first personal shooter, the battle system was a little finicky. The story seemed pointless to me. The villain’s motivation was stupid, Vincent’s motivation for doing something about it was stupid. The whole thing was stupid. The only good thing about the game was the song Redemption which played over the ending credits.


The reason why I hold Final Fantasy as my favorite series is because they have usually been games that have everything. The artwork, scenery, score, character development, story line, side quests and game play have always been beyond superb. There wasn’t another series out there that had all that.

If I could go back in time, I’d beg SquareSoft not to merge with Enix. Maybe then the games above would have been just as fantastic as the older Final Fantasy games. But, I suppose if I really had a ticket to a time machine, my jaunt would be better used killing Hitler or something. This whole merger thing was probably meant to be. It’s time for another series to reign.

Have you ever played a Final Fantasy game? What’s your favorite video game? These days, what do you think the best game or game series is? When it comes to the Final Fantasy series, what do you think is the worst game?

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43 thoughts on “The Five Worst Final Fantasy Games”

  1. Great post! I love your blog and I’ve nominated you on WeeBitWordy.wordpress.com for a Liebster Award! For the Rules and what to do, go to my page for the post! 😀

  2. Seven was the alpha and omega of games for me, well until I recently discovered Dark Souls and perhaps Borderlands 1 and 2 for FPS giggles. But FF7 was perfect, even the days spent raising chocobos are recalled fondly for me.

    1. I did really like FFVII, but FFIX takes the cake for me. I didn’t get my hands on VII until the early 2000s, though. If I had my hands on it in 1997, my opinion might have been different.

  3. tk do you fear that you gonna play em games ,until it become part of your reality ,to a point you can’t differenciate realities. just a thought ,the far i go with games is race cars ,puzzle solver(luv)james,

    1. Not really. To me, games are the same as reading a book. In fact, these are the games that got me into books. I was young when I started playing them and we didn’t have the technology to have the characters actually speak. I had to read what they said. I often played with a dictionary at my side so I could understand everything. Like books, games where more of an escape for me, a way for me to relax and take a break from the stresses of the world.

    1. People really do love them. Maybe I should have had their positions as pending. I’ll have to make my way through that battle system somehow. I mean, I played the top three games on this list to the end. I probably owe the Tactics games at least that much.

      1. I don’t know if you have ever played Fire Emblem or Advance Wars, but they have similar mechanics. If you liked one, you’ll like them all, and vice versa.

  4. I absolutely loved them until they developed the “job system” and subsequently went 3D. FF3 was my absolute favorite, and FF1 and 2 were also quite nice. I liked the other SNES versions, until it became apparent that to win, one would have to level up all the characters in the game to max, about 5 times each. Such tedium! I still enjoyed the stories, art and music, though…until they exchanged pretty, 2D graphics for blocky 3D ones with awkward cameras and similarly awkward controls. Then they all turned into easter-egg hunts (A.K.A. “you have to be bored before you can have fun”). I got most of the way through FF7, and most of the way through FF9, then threw in the towel.

    I agree that Tactics was pretty dull, since it turned the whole thing into a “hack ‘n’ slash” event.

    1. When you mention 1, 2 and 3, are you talking about SNES games or the actual numbers. That always gets confusing since they released 4 as 2 and 6 as 3 in the US originally.

      Those early games are really great. FFVI (OR III on the SNES) is my second favorite of the whole series. I’d take those games over these new ones any day. That said, I really enjoyed VII, VIII and IX. That’s probably to be expected, though, since IX is what got me into the whole series. Most of the time, I didn’t feel like I had to level up my characters when I played the games, even the latest ones. There is a lot of walking though. I wonder what the game makers think their players value. I’ll take game play over everything else. The music, story and anything else hardly matters without game play (and game play needs to be more than a battle system)

      1. I’m referring to the first 3 games released in the USA. 1 and 2 were NES, and 3-6 (or so) were SNES. I loved how, for the most part, I could just play the game, and not worry too much about my characters being configured the wrong way when the final boss came around. The stories and dialogues, along with the music and artwork were great, too!

        I think I played IX for a while, but eventually hit a point when I was supposed to have leveled everyone up in a certain class, but hadn’t, and would have to “grind” for a long time to make that happen. I think it was before the second-to-final boss (or thereabouts). The game was fun up until then, though. I, too, wonder what the game developers think their players value. Sometimes, there’s a lot of “fan pandering” with easter eggs and the like, which is fine (or good), so long as one isn’t required to find them.

        In case you missed the sound track for the very first game, you might get a kick out of this: a progressive rock/metal band featuring a shamisen (Japanese instrument) playing it all! *Bliss* (About 3/4 of the way down the page.)
        http://myfreemp3.eu/music/God+of+Shamisen

  5. Most of these seem to be “Games TK is judging before she finished them.” 😛
    I can’t agree with Tactics and Tactics Advanced, the battles we’re turn based strategy games and very solid, the story was full of mature themes and political intrigue. Tactics Advanced’s story was less mature, but the races were excellent and the battle system even more refined.

    AND OF COURSE BATTLES CAN BE SWAYED WITH SINGING! Bravely Default proved that an army is invincible when hearing singing, and the only way to be that army is to start a choir with your own army and drown out the singing offscreen! It’s one of the sillier moments of the game, but damn if the bosses’s song isn’t catchy in the most annoying way possible.

    1. You may be right. Maybe the tactics game’s positions should be listed as pending. I did really like the different races and I’m sure the story is great, though I don’t remember most of what I played. That battle system just drove me nuts. It’s not that it was easy, it just seemed tedious… I’ll try again though, promise.

      Fighting battles with singing is nothing but ridiculous. I could have forgiven X-2 that moment except that there were just so many other issues I had. I actually enjoyed the songs in X-2. I thought the game had great music over all.

      1. This is a super late reply and I apologize but the opening title screen piano song is hauntingly good. If I had a list of top 10 video game songs, that song would be a strong contender. In fact, I think I enjoy that one song more than any other FFX song out of that game’s very excellent soundtrack.

        1. If anyone should be apologizing for late replies it’s me! (I’m super sorry, and promise to be better). Are you talking about the opening to X or X-2. Either way, I enjoyed both songs. Both games had very strong soundtracks in my opinion. One of the things that sold FFX/X-2 to me was the redone music. Otherworld would be in a list of my top 10 songs as well.

          1. I think you’re doing fine in response times, so no worries. 🙂 The song I was talking about was from FFX-2. After some sleuthing I was able to figure out that it’s called Eternity ~Memory of Lightwaves~. I would YouTube link it, but I don’t think it worked when I tried to link the Bravely Default singer boss fight.

            All the FFs have great music, even the crappier ones like 13. (That battle music takes FOREVER to get to the point, but when it does it’s awesome.)
            FFX notable songs for me are Otherworld, Besaid Island, Zanarkland, Seymore’s Mountain Boss Theme, and Auron’s theme.

            Top FF song for me, if I had to pick just one, would be Aerith’s Theme. I’m not even a Aerith fan, but Gods if that song isn’t something powerful. It’s a perfect balance of very sweet and very powerful.
            Plus violins and pianos are my shit.

            1. Oh! That one. I thought you were talking about Real Emotion. I definitely agree with memory of lightwaves. It was fantastic.

              There are so many fantastic songs, but my favorite is you’re not alone feo. IX

  6. There’s only one FF game i genuinely dislike, and that is Tactics Advance. I dislike it because Tactics is one of my absolute favorites, and in comparison Advance is just so uninteresting and the gameplay is SO slow, i’m not quite sure how i managed to finish it.

    I’ve played all the games in the main series (save the online ones, which shouldn’t be in the main series if you ask me) and there are only two i haven’t finished, VI and XII. XII i just didn’t get into, the world felt really bland and monochromatic, and i couldn’t get used to the gameplay. VI just for lack of time, i keep waiting for a remake to give me an excuse to finally play the whole thing.

    It’s funny you mention that gameplay is the key element in a game, because that’s exactly the reason i like X-2 and the XIII series. The battle system of X-2 felt very fast-paced and refreshing, and the battle system of XIII gets really hectic and strategic, especially with the optional bosses on Pulse.

    So i don’t think i can make a bottom 5 list of Final Fantasies, even “meh” ones like Dirge of Cerberus still tickle my fanboy fancy (of course it helps that VII is my favorite game of all time). The series has been steadily getting worse since X, but i still hold hope that XV will finally be our messiah. /ramble

    1. I’ve played all the ones in the main series except the online ones, where I agree with you. I don’t mind that they exist, but I don’t think they should be a part of the main series. The only game I haven’t finished is III (the DS remake) and XIII (and obviously all following FFXIII games). You must finish VI! I finally found the time to beat it early this year via the Playstation port. I wouldn’t like a reboot. I think part of the reason I’m being lazy with III is that I can’t take the Chibis seriously. I admit, that’s a stupid reason, but I can’t help it.

      The game play of X-2 saved it from being in the bottom spot. Story goes a long way too, though. I put it on this list probably for a lot of emotional reasons. I loved X and x-2 was just so bad in comparison. XIII is fun enough to keep me playing, but I wish there was game play outside of the battle system. I don’t feel like I can really explore the world at all. I miss the card game from the days of FFVIII and FFIX.

      It’s important to note that I don’t hate any of these games. A really bad Final Fantasy game is still an okay game, but some are clearly better than others. Playing XIII has been making me think of this list, so I wrote it.

      1. I actually rather enjoyed the 3D remakes of III and IV, and it seems a given that VI would come eventually, which is why i keep waiting for one. It is taking forever, though…

        X-2 really does have one of the worst storylines in the series, i can barely remember any of it despite playing it through to 100%.
        The XIII sequels are much less linear, you might enjoy those better. Their plots are still not great, though.

  7. To be honest, I hated 7, only because I’m not a fan of first person shooters.

    I’m loving FFXIV because the end game content is just amazing and they keep adding to it. You can’t ask more from a mmorporg 🙂

    I’m hanging for XV!

    1. I’m not a huge fan of 7, but it was a decent game, better than some. 14 keeps tempting me…. I’m just not sure I would play often enough to pay a monthly fee. I LOVE the music from 14, though.

  8. Have you ever played Final Fantasy 2, for the NES? I think that’s definitely the worst one. It has an arcane leveling system, a poor attempt at a complex plot, and pretty terrible music.

    I really like Final Fantasy 13’s battle system, and the refinements and improvements made in 13-2 made it even better. The battle system requires waaaaaay more finesse than you give it credit for. But that’s partly the fault of the game; it doesn’t explain itself very well, so once the game requires you to understand paradigm shifting to defeat Barthandulus, it’s a brick wall to many players.

    I mean, yeah, the story’s terrible, but that’s a Final Fantasy tradition at this point. Final Fantasy 8, for example.

    1. Two as in actually 2 or 2 as in actually 4 but originally released as two? I always have to ask because those early ones get so confusing. I played both on the GBA and enjoyed them both. I like 2 a bit more than 4. I have nothing against either one, but 4’s story line didn’t leave an impression on me.

      The battle system of 13 has grown on me, but that’s not enough. I’m not playing just or a battle system, I want more – mini games, world maps to explore, card games. I don’t like this walk forward, fight, walk forward, fight, etc.

      And I happened to really enjoy 8. The idea of time compression was a bit odd, but it worked for me.

  9. I love how the worse that Final Fantasy gets as a franchise, the closer to the middle that Mystic Quest slowly drifts. In the next 5-10 years, it’ll be listed in “Top 10 Best Final Fantasy Games of All Time!”

    1. A part of me wants to believe Final Fantasy can return to it’s former glory, but I just don’t know. You might be right.

  10. As for best and worst, that’s a toughie. From the pre-3D games, the old Famicon FF2 was a masterpiece of storytelling and gameplay. Of the 3d games, 9 was a wonderful homage to the franchise and fairytale fantasy in general, with some of the most lovable characters in any RPG. As for the worst, FFIV was awful and tedious and featured locked classes and fixed progression for all of the characters (an unforgivable sin in old RPG games where the only control you typically had were the characters’ classes and how they progressed).

    1. Aww, I liked FFIV, but I certainly wouldn’t list it among my favorites. It’s just okay. IX is my favorite. I fell like it combines the best of everything.

      1. It had potential. I just found it frustrating that you had no control over who was in your party and how they developed. It was kind of jarring after playing II and III, the first of which had completely open ended leveling similar to the Elder Scrolls games and the second of which had a fairly flexible job system that allowed you a decent range of customization.

        One of the biggest things I noticed was the mood whiplash after II: 3 & 4 did not take themselves particularly seriously and had a lot of “I’m not really dead!” moments for almost every character (I think Tell was the only guy who ‘died for real’ in 4). I feel like maybe they took a step back after 2, and said “Guys we went too far. We made the darkest most depressing 8-bit game ever! D:”

        1. I never got to look at Final Fantasy that way. The first game I picked up was IX in 2000 and I played backwards for a decade. To me, I was simply fascinated the games could be that good and stir emotions in me without being the latest and greatest thing. If I had started with I and played through, I probably would have picked up on what you were saying. I was already used to having characters and jobs selected for me by the time I got to the early games.

  11. I think one of the redeeming points on FFX-2 was the 100% ending. Admittedly, that’s a lot of work, but it was worth it to me to see the happy ending we didn’t get in the first one.

  12. Totally disagree with Tactics. The game is fantastic and there is a deeper strategy than “hack-n-slash”. There is a lot of buffs/debuffs you need to use, correct placing of your characteres and I always had killer bad ass mages. Time mages and Summoners and alchemists…Ah, I almost want to break it out now.

    I’m one of those people that can see the good in every Final Fantasy game (though this has not happened in Lightning Returns. So far that would be my #1 worst FF game.) so just as I don’t truly have a favorite (I’d have to list all of my favorites) I don’t truly have a “worst”. I’d describe them as “games I’d pick last to play because I have 6,7,8 or 14 to play.” I would probably throw both FF2 and FF3 in there because I haven’t finished them, though I know they aren’t bad.

    And yeah, I’d still consider 14 in there as one of my favorite FF games. Just because it’s online doesn’t make it less of an FF game. It’s very much Final Fantasy, and lately some of the new content is just fabulous as it pays tribute to the older Final Fantasy. The new content to Crystal Tower, for example, pays tribute to the Crystal Tower in FF3.

    1. Final Fantasy is one of those series where it’s really hard to make a game really bad. Most of the games are at least a little fun to play. Tactics may be pending on this list. I really should finish it. I mean, I’ve seen it on so many ‘best games of all time’ list. There must be something to it.

  13. I do have to agree with you on the list, I haven’t tried the tactic games but it would feel more of strategy game. I did complete final fantasy x-2 and it did feel bizarre with not popular characters, dressing and the final bosses being bizarre.

    1. I like the strategy, but it shouldn’t be tedious. I felt like Tactics was tedious. X-2 was just… you know, I probably wouldn’t have as much hate for x-2 if X hadn’t been so good. What went wrong? They had such a good thing going!

  14. Lightning Returns is the only game I have EVER quit. I get tired of playing a game, yeah that’s natural. Eventualy though I would get back to the game and continue. LR:FF:XII however is just so poopy that when I took the disk out of my PS3 I never put it back in again. I mean come on, the most annoying character in the game, Hope, gets turned back into a kid again! I mean come on, he was already such a beta in the 1st game. Snow becomes emo and tries to immetate Dracula. God I hate that game. Lightning becomes more monotone, I hate her as the main character, worst ever. I’m sorry for rambling on too much, I just wanted to vent out since we’re talking about the worst Final Fantasy games.

    1. That’s okay. I don’t really know what you’re talking about because I’ve only played the first XIII game and I came into it with low expectations. Did you know they did a fan survey in Japan that found Lightning to be the favorite Final Fantasy Character ever? She’s a big hit over there. Me, I’d take Terra from VI any day. I bet she could take Lightning, lol.

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