Ranking the Saga: Which is the Best Final Fantasy Game of All Time?

The Final Fantasy series has been a cornerstone of the RPG genre for decades, with its epic narratives, innovative gameplay, and memorable characters captivating gamers across generations. The PSP, Sony’s foray into the handheld gaming market, became a pivotal platform for the franchise, hosting some of its most celebrated titles. This article ranks the best Final Fantasy games available on the PSP, reflecting on their impact, gameplay innovations, and cultural significance within the series and the broader gaming community.

Key Takeaways

  • Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is renowned for its intricate storytelling and deep tactical gameplay, setting a high standard for RPGs on the PSP.
  • Final Fantasy II introduced a unique character development system that eschewed traditional leveling, offering a more personalized approach to RPG growth mechanics.
  • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy revolutionized combat with its action-packed battles and extensive character customization, earning acclaim from fans and critics alike.
  • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII linked the past and future of the franchise, providing a compelling narrative that deepened the lore of the iconic Final Fantasy VII.
  • The PSP’s library of Final Fantasy games has had a lasting impact on the RPG genre, combining portability with powerful storytelling and gameplay innovations.

The Evolution of Final Fantasy on Handheld Consoles

The Evolution of Final Fantasy on Handheld Consoles

The PSP’s Role in Shaping Portable RPG Experiences

The PlayStation Portable (PSP) emerged as a formidable contender in the handheld gaming market, offering a level of sophistication and power that was unparalleled at the time. The PSP carved a niche for itself among RPG enthusiasts, hosting some of the most memorable Final Fantasy titles that have since become classics.

The PSP’s impact on the RPG genre was significant, providing a platform for games that combined rich storytelling with deep gameplay mechanics. This was a period where the boundaries of what could be achieved on a portable console were pushed, and Final Fantasy games were at the forefront of this innovation.

  • Final Fantasy titles on PSP offered a blend of traditional and experimental gameplay.
  • The console’s hardware allowed for a more immersive RPG experience on the go.
  • The PSP’s library included both mainline entries and unique spin-offs of the Final Fantasy series.

The PSP’s contribution to portable gaming and the Final Fantasy saga is often undervalued, yet it laid the groundwork for future advancements in handheld RPGs.

Final Fantasy II: Breaking Traditional RPG Boundaries

Final Fantasy II is renowned for its bold departure from the conventional RPG formula. The game’s unique system of character progression set it apart, as abilities improved through use rather than through the traditional experience points. This innovative mechanic meant that the more a player used a specific skill or spell, the more proficient the character became in that area, allowing for a highly personalized gameplay experience.

The game’s narrative and character development were also significant departures from the norm. Players were treated to a more complex story with deeper character arcs, which was a rarity at the time of its release. The emphasis on storytelling and player choice resonated with fans, making it a standout title in the PSP’s RPG library.

Despite its challenges, Final Fantasy II’s impact on the RPG genre cannot be overstated. Its influence is still felt in modern RPGs, with many games adopting similar mechanics that allow for more dynamic character growth and player agency.

While the game had its share of critics, citing issues such as unbalanced difficulty and repetitive gameplay, it remains a cherished installment within the Final Fantasy series. Its legacy continues to be celebrated by fans and critics alike, as evidenced by its remodeled 2D version on Steam, which brings the classic into the modern era with charming retro graphics.

The Legacy of Final Fantasy Tactics on the PSP

The release of Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions on the PSP marked a significant moment for strategy RPG fans. The game’s intricate character system set a new standard for the genre, allowing players to delve into a world of deep customization with various jobs and abilities for their party members. The PSP version enhanced the original with new cutscenes, additional character classes, and fresh playable characters, enriching the already compelling gameplay experience.

The story of Final Fantasy Tactics is one that resonates with many, weaving a tale of politics, betrayal, and class struggle. It’s a narrative that appeals to both young and mature audiences, offering a profound commentary on society that remains relevant.

The game’s legacy on the PSP is not just about the technical improvements or the expanded content. It’s about how it managed to capture the essence of the Final Fantasy series while providing a unique tactical gameplay that stands the test of time. Below is a list of reasons why Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is a standout title on the PSP:

  • Enhanced port with new features
  • Deep, customizable character system
  • Engaging story with mature themes
  • Tactical gameplay that challenges and rewards

Final Fantasy Tactics on the PSP is not just a game; it’s a benchmark for storytelling and strategic play in handheld gaming.

The Best of Final Fantasy: Standout Titles on the PSP

The Best of Final Fantasy: Standout Titles on the PSP

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions – A Tactical Masterpiece

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions stands as a pinnacle of strategic RPGs on the PSP, offering a profound narrative and intricate gameplay mechanics. The game’s depth is exemplified by its detailed story, which delves into themes of politics, betrayal, and class struggle, resonating with both young and mature audiences.

The character system is unparalleled, with a variety of jobs and abilities available for party members. This customization allows players to craft a unique battle experience tailored to their preferences. The PSP version further enhances this experience with new cutscenes, classes, and characters, making it an even more immersive journey.

The War of the Lions is not just a remarkable Final Fantasy title; it’s a commentary on contemporary society, challenging players with its thought-provoking themes.

While the game does have its challenges, such as unbalanced difficulty and occasional repetitive gameplay, these are overshadowed by its strengths in storytelling, character development, and player agency. These elements have secured its place in the hearts of RPG enthusiasts and solidified its status as a standout title on the PSP.

Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy – Reinventing Combat

Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy stands out as a prequel that not only expands the lore of the series but also revolutionizes the combat system. The game’s 3D arenas, based on iconic Final Fantasy worlds, brought battles to life with their dynamic design and vibrant aesthetics. The title was lauded for its crisp graphics, extensive character customization, and the depth of its combat system, which offered a fresh take on the series’ traditional turn-based encounters.

The game’s unique approach to combat involved a blend of intense action and strategic play, earning it high scores and awards from gaming publications. The roster of characters from across the Final Fantasy universe allowed players to engage in battles that felt both familiar and novel.

Dissidia 012’s innovative gameplay mechanics and the way it enriched the Final Fantasy mythos have cemented its place as a standout title on the PSP.

While the game was a significant departure from the norm, it managed to strike a chord with fans and critics alike, providing a compelling reason to revisit the world of Final Fantasy through a new lens.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – Linking Past and Future

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII serves as a vital link in the Final Fantasy VII narrative, focusing on the journey of Zack Fair, a member of the elite SOLDIER group. His story intertwines with iconic characters such as Cloud, Aerith, and Sephiroth, providing a deeper understanding of the world that captivated so many fans. The game’s success led to the release of a remake, Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion, in 2022, further cementing its legacy.

The real-time combat system is a standout feature, blending action RPG mechanics with strategic elements. Players engage in dynamic battles, with the innovative Digital Mind Wave (DMW) system introducing an element of chance that reflects Zack’s emotional state and character development.

Despite some criticisms regarding difficulty balance and repetitive gameplay, Crisis Core is celebrated for its compelling storytelling and character progression. It remains a distinguished title on the PSP, appealing to both series newcomers and long-time fans.

Innovative Gameplay Mechanics in Final Fantasy Games

Innovative Gameplay Mechanics in Final Fantasy Games

Character Development in Final Fantasy II: A Unique Approach

Final Fantasy II introduced a revolutionary system for character development that diverged from the traditional level-up mechanics seen in most RPGs of its time. Instead of gaining experience points and leveling up, characters improved their skills and attributes by using them in battle. This meant that a character frequently casting spells would become more proficient in magic, while one often taking damage would see an increase in stamina and health.

The game’s approach to character growth allowed for a highly personalized experience, as players could tailor their party members’ abilities to fit their playstyle. Below is a summary of how character actions directly influenced their development:

  • Casting Spells: Increased magic proficiency
  • Taking Damage: Boosted stamina and health
  • Attacking with Weapons: Enhanced weapon skills
  • Using Special Abilities: Improved corresponding abilities

Despite the innovative system, Final Fantasy II faced criticism for its punishing difficulty and unconventional mechanics. Yet, its bold design choices have left a lasting impact on the RPG genre, inspiring future titles to explore more dynamic character progression systems.

The character development in Final Fantasy II represents a significant departure from RPG norms, emphasizing player agency and strategic growth over random level gains.

The Depth of Tactical Combat in Final Fantasy Tactics

The tactical combat system in Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is a testament to the game’s enduring appeal. Players are given the freedom to tailor their party members through a robust job and abilities system, leading to highly personalized strategies. The PSP version further enriches this experience with additional cutscenes, classes, and characters, ensuring that each playthrough can be a unique adventure.

The depth of the combat system is not just about the fights themselves, but also about the intricate web of choices that players weave as they progress through the game. It’s a dance of decision-making that spans from the macro level of party composition to the micro tactics of individual battles.

The game’s narrative, rich with political intrigue and class warfare, resonates with players of all ages. It’s a rare blend of deep gameplay mechanics and a compelling story that challenges players intellectually and emotionally. The title’s success on the PSP underscores its status as not just a standout Final Fantasy game, but also as a poignant social commentary.

Dissidia 012’s Unique Battle System and Its Impact

Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy revolutionized the RPG genre with its hybrid battle system that combined the complexity of RPG character customization with the dynamism of a brawl fighter. The game’s combat system allowed for fast-paced fights in beautifully rendered 3D arenas, which were directly inspired by the iconic locations of the Final Fantasy series. This innovative approach to gameplay not only provided a fresh experience for fans but also set a new standard for action RPGs.

The depth of the combat system in Dissidia 012 was complemented by a vast roster of characters, each with unique abilities and customization options. This level of detail ensured that no two battles were ever the same, offering players endless strategies and playstyles to explore.

The game’s impact on the Final Fantasy franchise cannot be understated. It expanded the lore with a compelling prequel story and introduced a new way to experience the universe’s epic battles. The title’s success at various awards, including Famitsu and the Japan Game Awards, is a testament to its lasting appeal and influence on subsequent games within the genre.

Final Fantasy’s Cultural Impact Through the PSP

Final Fantasy's Cultural Impact Through the PSP

How Final Fantasy Games Influenced the RPG Genre

The Final Fantasy series has been a cornerstone in the evolution of RPGs, setting benchmarks for storytelling, character development, and gameplay. The franchise’s impact on the genre is undeniable, with its innovative mechanics and compelling narratives shaping the expectations of gamers and developers alike.

  • Storytelling: Final Fantasy games are renowned for their epic storylines, often involving complex characters and intricate plots.
  • Character Development: The series introduced a new way of character progression, with abilities improving through use rather than traditional leveling.
  • Gameplay: Each title often brought new mechanics to the table, influencing the design of subsequent RPGs.

The PSP era of Final Fantasy games not only enriched the franchise’s legacy but also left a lasting impression on the handheld gaming market.

While some titles were criticized for their difficulty and occasionally repetitive gameplay, the series’ commitment to player choice and narrative depth has won over countless fans. The PSP’s library of Final Fantasy titles remains a testament to the series’ role in shaping the RPG landscape.

The Social Commentary of Final Fantasy Tactics

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is not just a game; it’s a narrative that delves into the complexities of politics, betrayal, and class conflicts. Its mature themes resonate with a broad audience, offering more than just entertainment but a mirror to contemporary society. The game’s character system is a testament to its depth, allowing players to customize their party members through various jobs and abilities.

The enhanced port for the PSP not only brought new life to the game with additional cutscenes and characters but also reinforced its status as a thought-provoking piece that challenges players to reflect on social issues.

The game’s impact is evident in discussions among fans, even decades after its release. For instance, a message board topic for players revisiting the game after 25 years still sparks interest, highlighting its enduring relevance and the curiosity it generates among new and returning players.

Crisis Core’s Contribution to the Final Fantasy VII Universe

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII not only expanded the lore of its universe but also introduced a unique blend of real-time combat and strategic gameplay. The game’s real-time combat system was a departure from the traditional turn-based mechanics, offering players a more immersive and dynamic experience. The Digital Mind Wave (DMW) system was particularly innovative, adding an element of chance to battles while also tying into the protagonist Zack’s emotional journey.

Despite some criticisms, such as unbalanced difficulty and repetitive gameplay, Crisis Core was praised for its compelling storytelling and character development. It resonated with fans and became a beloved part of the PSP’s RPG library. The game’s success was so profound that it led to the release of a remake, further cementing its significance in the Final Fantasy VII narrative.

Crisis Core’s legacy is not just in its storytelling or gameplay mechanics, but in how it seamlessly connected the past and future of the Final Fantasy VII universe, enriching the overall narrative tapestry.


As we’ve journeyed through the pantheon of Final Fantasy titles on the PSP, it’s clear that each game has left an indelible mark on the hearts of RPG enthusiasts. From the innovative character development in Final Fantasy II to the deep tactical gameplay of Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, these games have not only defined the RPG genre but also the potential of handheld gaming. While rankings are inherently subjective, it’s undeniable that the PSP hosted some of the most memorable and influential entries in the Final Fantasy saga. Whether you’re revisiting these classics or experiencing their magic for the first time, each title offers a unique adventure that stands the test of time. The legacy of Final Fantasy on the PSP continues to resonate, proving that great storytelling and engaging gameplay are timeless.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Final Fantasy II stand out among other RPGs?

Final Fantasy II is renowned for its innovative approach to character progression, where abilities improve through use rather than through conventional experience points, allowing for a more personalized gameplay experience.

Why is Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions considered a masterpiece?

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is celebrated for its intricate storytelling involving politics and class conflicts, deep tactical gameplay, and its ability to engage both young and mature audiences with thought-provoking themes.

How did Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy revolutionize combat in RPGs?

Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy introduced a unique battle system that combined intense action with deep combat mechanics, offering crisp graphics, a vast roster of characters, and multiple customization options, which was highly praised by critics.

What impact did Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII have on the franchise?

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII enriched the Final Fantasy VII universe by exploring the backstory of Zack Fair and his connections with iconic characters. Its success led to a remake that further solidified its significance in the series.

What role did the PSP play in the evolution of handheld gaming?

The PSP was a groundbreaking console offering power, battery life, and portability that challenged Nintendo’s dominance in handheld gaming. It became a platform for some of the best Final Fantasy games, contributing to the series’ legacy.

Are there any plans for a new Sony handheld console?

While the PSP’s success was significant, rumors have circulated about Sony potentially developing a new handheld capable of playing PS5 and PS4 games, though no official announcements have been made.