They can’t all be numbered.
With the impending release of Final Fantasy XV, our top 10 Final Fantasy games in the works, and the cessation of Pokemon week, it’s about time to pay tribute to the gaming series that ignited my passion for the industry. Since Final Fantasy XV began as a spinoff of Final Fantasy XIII (it was originally Final Fantasy Versus XIII), I figured it’d be appropriate to take a look at three of the best spin-offs of Final Fantasy titles. This list is in no particular order.
Final Fantasy XIII-2
After Final Fantasy XIII suffered in the public eye for various reasons (‘betraying’ the Sony brand and hopping onto the Xbox 360, sporting a ‘too linear’ narrative, etc.), most fans held low expectations for its sequel – myself included. To my pleasant surprise, Final Fantasy XIII-2 turned out to be one of my favorite games in the series since X. Featuring an intricate time traveling story that doesn’t trip too much over itself, a dark underlying narrative, and one of the most sympathetic villains in franchise history, Final Fantasy XIII-2 also offered a spin on the series’ traditional gameplay. To me, Final Fantasy XIII-2 offered more characterization than its inception title, focusing more on development than relying on archetypes. In fact, to fully complete the narrative of XIII-2, you need to 100% the game. In other words, your play time will most likely clock in at around 80 hours. Final Fantasy XIII-2 offered a full-length adventure that, in my opinion, excelled further than its elder sibling.
Final Fantasy Tactics
One of the few Final Fantasy titles to garner multiple playthroughs and purchases, Final Fantasy Tactics for the PlayStation earned well more than 100 hours from me. The game included numerous job classes that could build off each other, and the need for proper strategy was necessary. Final Fantasy Tactics still holds up today, too, as its classic turn based strategy gameplay is emulated today by games like Disgaea or La Pucelle Tactics. When gameplay is nearly as perfect as Final Fantasy Tactics and is hardly tweaked at all in the decades since its release, there’s no wonder this game made it on to my list.
Add to this that Final Fantasy Tactics provides gamers with a deep and dark narrative to complement its gameplay furthers its overall value. I spent hours recruiting and naming my own party, leveling them up, changings jobs, and creating my own personal band of mercenaries. Unfortunately, the spin-offs of Final Fantasy Tactics suffered in their own rights. Final Fantasy Tactics, however, has left its legacy on the Final Fantasy saga, as many of its job classes have popped up throughout various games – most notably in Final Fantasy XIV. Besides, how awesome was it to recruit Cloud to fight in your group of soldiers (or Beowulf, for that matter)?
World of Final Fantasy
This one nearly escaped my memory, as it’s so fresh that I almost didn’t consider listing it. World of Final Fantasy is one of my favorite Final Fantasy titles to ever release. It took the franchise and created something entirely new while catering to longtime fans of the series. Drawing inspiration and references from nearly every numbered Final Fantasy, World of Final Fantasy presents a dark narrative steeped in addictive monster catching mechanics with a return to classic (with a stacking twist) turn based combat. Seeking to 100% complete World of Final Fantasy involves dedicating well over 50 hours, which makes its less-than-full asking price well worth the money.
World of Final Fantasy also includes a tremendous soundtrack that consists of classic Final Fantasy tunes (along with some new ones) that have been modified to fit into this new game. The results were awe-inspiring nostalgia, as I had to stop and listen to the wonderful and familiar (yet fresh) songs of each area, town, or dungeon. Balamb Garden, as I stated in my review, and its song “Ami” captivated me and built on one of my all-time favorite Nobuo Uematsu songs. There isn’t enough to say about World of Final Fantasy and its basket full of nostalgia, but I highly recommend that any fan of Final Fantasy play this one.
Again, these are just a few of my favorite Final Fantasy spinoffs. The likes of Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Mystic Quest should be tagged as honorable mentions, filled with unique gameplay, interesting narratives (Type-0), and a vibe stolen straight from classic Zelda (Mystic Quest), these titles are some of my favorites.
How do you feel about this list? What are some of your favorite Final Fantasy spinoff titles?