1. Final Fantasy VI
To be fair, every Final Fantasy is so different and appealing/shitty in various ways that determining the “best” is impossible. But we’re going to anyway, and if we measure all the things that make this series what it is –standout characters, show-stopping soundtracks, over the top villains and an intricate, far-reaching story – we honestly can’t come to any other conclusion than Final Fantasy VI. Here’s a game where the villain essentially wins and the heroes barely scrape by with a bittersweet victory, all bundled inside gameplay that made every battle a glorious mix of customizable attacks and character-specific actions.
One of Mass Effect 2’s strongest selling points is the amount of time spent getting to know your supporting teammates. FFVI does the exact same thing, weaving the ensemble cast’s personal stories into the overarching tale in such a way that you intimately know their plight by the time the final battle unfolds. We love Cloud, Cecil, Tidus and all their friends, but something about Terra, Locke, Sabin, Edgar, Celes and the many others stuck with us long after the credits ran. Speaking of credits, we called out VI’s 21-minute ending as one of the best in the franchise. Add that to what we consider the best soundtrack in Final Fantasy history (and perhaps even all of gaming) and we simply can’t choose any other game for the top spot.
So there. Settled. Next time we’ll decide who would win in a fight between Goku and Superman (Goku) and what’s in the Pulp Fiction briefcase (the severed head of Tom Nook’s mother).