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Best versions of various Final Fantasy games?


Adorabear
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I'm planning on doing a marathon of all of the main Final Fantasy games since I haven't played an RPG in a long time and figured this would be a fun way to go back to some old favourites as well as clear out some of my backlog for titles I never got to play before. I have a whole bunch of versions for some of these (I own 4-5 different versions of the first game lol) and am not sure which ones would be the best for me to use in my FF marathon since I know some of them (especially the earlier ones) have versions that can be quite different and have added content or better translations.

I know there is a few Final Fantasy fans here, so I thought it would be a good idea to see if anyone knows much about the differences between various versions of them and have any recommendations! 🙂

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Administrator · Posted

1 & 2 - GBA (alt: PS1 if you don't wanna play on handheld)

3 - Only (legal) option is the 3D model version originally released on NDS. It's available on other platforms so pick the one you like, it's the same on all.

4 - PSP; note that the followup game also on PSP is kinda trash, I'd just skip it

5 - GBA

6 - SNES

7-10(& X-2) - Personal preference will make the call; HD remasters exist for basically everything here forward and none are terrible.

11 - You COULD play FF11 still, but it's an MMO. The campaign is still in tact and there's a TON to do, and people still play it. BUT you'll never get the true original experience ever again. Is the story worth playing? Yes, actually. Up to you if you're into MMOs in general, as you'll be doing a lot of level grinding between campaign missions.

12 - PS2; the International Zodiac system was added to the HD remasters, AND they made it easier on top of that. If you want super easy and to rush through, go HD remake (there's a fast forward feature) but if you want the true experience go PS2 (and it's worth doing so IMO)

13 (and it's sequels) - PS3

14 - PC; originally released on PS3 as well, not available to play on there anymore. It's still available on PS4 if you really wanna play on console, but PC will be the best experience if you have a computer that can run it well enough (my wife used to play on a laptop!)

15 - PS4

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I'll start with, i like the originals if i can play them. The 3d remakes are fun in their own right, but i would play them after i played the originals personally as this is how the game was originally intended. However, some of the later ports have better script translations and other features. 

1-FF origins because it keeps the original battle system. Dawn of souls adopts an MP system it didn't have. Psp version is also great with redrawn sprites. 
2-FF origins because it comes with 1 anyway and is a solid version. Otherwise the PSP version has some interesting new features and redrawn sprites if that's your thing.
3-DS or whatever other port
4-GBA or SNES. Again the 3d remake is fun in its own right, but is a different experience. PSP is nice as well if you like the redrawn sprites. It comes with after years which is terrible. Not missing much there.
5-FFV advance
6-SNES
7-PS1-The newer ports are nice because they have a "No encounter" cheat that can easily be toggled, and battle speed settings, but this changes the entire flow of the game. Easier to access on many systems and if you feel random encounters has not aged well, you have the option of turning them off. 
8-PS1-Same as 7
9-PS1 Same as 7
10/10-2-HD Remaster. It has features from the international version we didn't get in the US and is easier to access like most HD remasters. 

This is where i stopped playing final fantasy. 
 

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It’s always been kind of off putting to me to play redone rpgs like this on newer systems that redo elements of the originals.  Dragon quest has the same sort of thing.  I think go with the original versions so you can experience the games the way they were originally crafted.  Flaws and all.

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I only have experience with a few.

FF X - PS2. I've only played a few hours of the remasters but wasn't wowed.  The faces are less expressive and it's very weird to me.  I couldn't understand seeing faces move and react in PS2 then losing that on PS4.

FF XIII - The Xbox One X version for back compat is really well done.  Digital Foundry hs a video outlining everything and it even exceeded the PC version. If I recall the cutscenes are the highest quality of all versions.  I cannot recall how the base console fairs in comparison.

All the nes-snes ones I would be tempted to look into translation patches as needed. Something about the PSP/mobile versions looks cheap and generic.  It might be different once you play but I never got over the art style.

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Member · Posted
6 hours ago, BortLicensePlate said:

Is ff1 on nes bad? I like the 8 bit graphics 

It's not, but it's just very rough being the first as it was a learning project for them and one they thought woudl be their last (why it's "Final" Fantasy after all.)  The game leans a bit on the harder side unless you grind a LOT and you have to depending on the team you setup more and far more based on that.  The game is pretty stingy and cheapo in dishing out the GP and XP you need to level up, more so the lack of funds to buy not just the weapons and armors and supplies, but the spells too.  You can sit for hours in an area around a town doing mindless button mashing on battles to get the coin needed.  Also second to that and a bigger one, a crap MP system based on what your level you get a limited amount of uses of spells based on their level they're dished out (1-8) and any in that pool use the same limited shots and when they're done, they're gone until you take a nap (inn, cabin/tent.)

The GBA duo though, it has a modern XP/GP system added to it and also the MP system is the standard set in FF3(FC aka DS etc) and FF4(2 USA) picked up so you get restoratives for the MP pool and it's that, a total pool all spells use so you're only limit is that, not a select few shots.  You're basically looking to be punished with a slow grind and dumb limits they learned were bad ideas after the fact if you play the NES version.

 

 

Oh and technically there's also the FF15 Pocket Edition that the Switch and mobile got because they couldn't handle that crystal engine they developed for (then and dying now) modern consoles.  Given how it streamlined all the asinine garbage of the big game, visuals aside, it's probably the better title. 😄

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Administrator · Posted
6 hours ago, BortLicensePlate said:

Is ff1 on nes bad? I like the 8 bit graphics 

 

3 hours ago, Hammerfestus said:

It’s always been kind of off putting to me to play redone rpgs like this on newer systems that redo elements of the originals.  Dragon quest has the same sort of thing.  I think go with the original versions so you can experience the games the way they were originally crafted.  Flaws and all.

 

OP asked for the BEST version of each game. Obviously personal opinion plays a big part, hence mine and Magus' lists being different, but generally more people today will enjoy the PS1 or GBA version of FF1 more than those of us who grew up playing it.

I personally LOVE the NES version of FF, but to call it the "best" version would be willful ignorance. The GBA version is the one I've played the most of, largely for it's mix of speed, difficulty, and extra content.

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Since "BEST" is so subjective, let me lay out what I think is the best for some of these that I'm familiar with.  I'll just start with FF1 for this first post, and come back if I have to time to add later games.

 

FF1 (NES) - It is very challenging for a few reasons.  First, it has to be acknowledged that there are several bugs in the game's code, which I consider a serious mark against the game.  BLM doesn't level properly, most of the special swords don't do jack, and MNK's hit rate has serious issues.  Second, the attack system doesn't auto-target a new enemy if a previous character kills your target, which I really enjoy as it makes battles dynamic and engaging.  This requires a lot more strategy to deal with than just spamming attack.  Lastly, the magic system relies on numbers of spells castable instead of an MP-value setup.  For the same reasons as the second, I really like this aspect of the game.  This makes planning your dives into caves and dungeons much more challenging until you get the BLM spell WARP or the WHM spell EXIT.

FF1 (PS1) - This version adds a nice CG cut-scene to the opening and is also customizable.  You can toggle off/on the auto-targeting to make it like the original NES version, and there are two difficulty modes.  The graphics and music are upgraded to 16-bit quality.

FF1 (GBA) - This version has an additional dungeon, which is a great plus.  That said, it's been made a lot easier and the magic system has been swapped out for the standard MP system used in later games

FF1 (PSP and onward) - This is version is the basis for the versions that come after it, so I will stop at this.  This uses the difficulty level of the GBA version, along with the MP system implemented there.  The graphics are all redone, though, to give it a much more polished look.  It also has the GBA dungeon in it, plus an additional bonus dungeon new to this release.

Personal preference:  PS1 with settings to make it play like the NES version.  You get better graphics, the harder difficulty, and most of the NES version bugs have been rectified.  You get what I would call the most "authentic" experience here because the systems play as the original designers intended, but with a little better looking image.  Also, the CG cutscene is a nice little treat to get you started.

After that, my preferences would be:  NES version, PSP version, and lastly GBA version.  NES beats the others because, even with its flaws, it is a great game and careful strategy can overcome any obstacle the game throws at you.  The PSP version gets 3rd place for its having the best graphics all around, and it has both the GBA dungeon and its own additional bonus dungeon, so it has the most content, albeit in the easiest form of the game.  I put GBA last, not because that version is bad, but simply because the others do what it does, except better.

Versions I would avoid:  iOS, Android, Steam.  While these are all the most readily available, they miss the mark for me.  They'd work if you have no access to any other version, but I just think the experience will be better on any of the systems above.

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Member · Posted

FF1(GBA) has four added dungeons that open when you beat the four fiends unless there is another you're talking about.  If you just want a fun FF1 experience then this is the one I recommend.  The revised magic system makes it a lot more forgiving than the others.  Go with the PS1 port for that sweet CD quality audio, though.  😙👌

 

edit: I guess you could probably get all that with the PSP release too though.

Edited by CMR
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Member · Posted

Why do people prefer SNES FF6 to the GBA version?

I've played the original a ton of times, and I love it to bits, so I might also be biased - but from what I've seen of the GBA version, it looks mostly improve? Like, they fixed aim/evade not having any effect at all, which is kinda nice. I did play FF5 GBA, and I thought it was a nice improvement over the SNES game.

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Member · Posted
37 minutes ago, Sumez said:

Why do people prefer SNES FF6 to the GBA version?

I've played the original a ton of times, and I love it to bits, so I might also be biased - but from what I've seen of the GBA version, it looks mostly improve? Like, they fixed aim/evade not having any effect at all, which is kinda nice. I did play FF5 GBA, and I thought it was a nice improvement over the SNES game.

The music in the GBA version is echo-y and low quality.  The soundtrack is a big part of the appeal and they really butchered it.  There is a patch to fix it, but your mileage may vary.

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I played the first 2 on PSP and GBA and remember liking the PSP better but I don't know what I'd think now since it's so far in the future. I might just have been blinding by those big fancy PSP screens. These days I'd just play the original since I like being able to relate the the original experience with all its little frustrations rather than one particular remake.

Edited by DefaultGen
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