“Final Fantasy: A Crystal Compendium Hub”

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For you are the warrior who crossed time. You are the bringer of light…
-Ending Credits, Final Fantasy

 

 

Final Fantasy is one of gaming’s longest running franchises. It is so enduring that we’ve now seen multiple generations of gamers find their own home in the series, identifying the titles which are “their own”. What’s beautiful about this series of games is that pieces of it have resonated with different people from different cultures, languages, ages, worldviews, and lifestyles all across our species. As an ironically named series of games which continually redefine themselves while innovating gaming by their influence, Final Fantasy’s history is broad, layered, and inspiring. It is so massive, in fact, that we brought a whole host of writers together to share their diverse thoughts on many of the games in the series, numerical entries and spin-offs included.

Welcome to Final Fantasy: A Crystal Compendium!

Over two dozen wordsmiths lent their voices to this collaborative project, which must certainly be among the largest and most diverse undertakings ever to honor Final Fantasy in writing. I owe the sincerest gratitude to everyone who participated and endured the process with such patience. Special thanks to NekoJonez for leading the Zelda project that formed the basis for this one, and I also want to thank Chris of OverThinker Y for putting together this project with me. Here’s a word from him:

Hello, internet. I’m Chris, and I do a little blog called OverThinker Y where I… think too hard about stuff. At the beginning of this epic project, I volunteered to provide the noble Well-Red Mage with a bit of assistance getting the whole thing put together smoothly, and had the best intentions of doing a really great job of that! In the end, life got in the way in a major fashion, so I’ve really not been particularly useful throughout this. Fortunately, WRM is definitely the best person to head up this project, and he’s done a phenomenal job of assembling it all as I head off to complete objectives in quests such as ‘buy a house’ and ‘be an adult’. Although I can’t claim to have contributed much, I still want to thank everyone who’s been part of this (some of whom I brought in, so at least I did achieve something), especially our learned friend the Mage. It’s been real, as they say.

Below you will find the core of this hub article with links taking you to each featured article. This is our love letter to the Final Fantasy series we adore so much, a survey through 30 years of RPJoy. We may not all agree on every detail of every game, but the value is in bringing our real, human, heartfelt thoughts to light to remember this great series, where it’s come from and where it’s going.

We’re delighted to present to you our Crystal Compendium…

 

 

 

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Final Fantasy (1987)
by the Badly Backlogged Mage aka Mr. Backlog

Final Fantasy 1 – every legend has its beginning, but is it a beginning worth re-telling? The Badly Backlogged Mage looks at the game that started it all, both through the eyes of the 80’s and now.”

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Final Fantasy II (1988)
by Punicolas

Final Fantasy II isn’t exactly the most acclaimed game, but it has its fans. Go save the rebellion here with Firion and friends… or not? It is a matter of point of view. In this game, if you do not do, you do not get better, so do take a read to get better at Final Fantasy knowledge!”

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Final Fantasy: Legend (1990)
by MarathonRecaps

“Atop an 8-bit mountain, seen only in flashes of monochrome lightning, The Final Fantasy Legend battles Tetris and Mario Land for supremacy of the Game Boy’s launch year lineup. Who will prevail? Tetris. Tetris will prevail. Don’t be ridiculous. But just because The Final Fantasy Legend pulled up third doesn’t mean it doesn’t warrant mention as the successor to Final Fantasy II and one of the first video games to comment on the medium itself. Marathon Recaps takes a look at the first “Final Fantasy” that wasn’t actually a Final Fantasy.”

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Final Fantasy III (1990)
by The Shameful Narcissist

“In continuing with my Final Fantasy (Re)Play and Review Project, here is one for Final Fantasy III. I wish it were less lack luster than my prior (and later) reviews, but the reasons for my lackadaisical mien are explored within.”

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Final Fantasy: Legend II (1991)
by MarathonRecaps

“Square breaks into the world of character-driven narrative with a touching story of the relationship between an estranged, adult child and their absent father / inventor / person who scraped slime off their shoe one day and fed it bones until it matured into an imp. Okay, so the character creation messes with the dynamics, but what do you expect in a world where bananas are illegal contraband? Marathon Recaps looks at the second of Final Fantasy II’s spiritual sequels, and what might be Square Enix’s best game for the platform.”

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FinalFantasyAdventureTitleScreen-620x.pngFinal Fantasy Adventure (1991)
by Punicolas

“What defines a Final Fantasy? What isn’t? Final Fantasy Adventure toes the line between multiple franchises, depending on who you ask, but with chocobos, moogles, nuke spells and crystals, the very first Mana game sure knew where its origins came from. Accompanying this are comparisons with its remake, Sword of Mana, and how some details entirely change a game.”

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Final Fantasy IV (1991)
by the Evergreen Sage Mage aka Wakalapi

“Put your media analysis caps on and join Wakalapi (aka the Evergreen Sage Mage) for a brief tour down memory lane that centers Final Fantasy IV in a short discussion that casually challenges approaches to appreciating what we call “games”. Find me at wakalapi.wordpress.com.”

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Final Fantasy: Legend III (1993)
by MarathonRecaps

“Make sure to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and to throw the bathwater into another dimension so to incrementally drown them! The third Not-“Final Fantasy” may have shifted gears into a weird plot about flooding and inter-dimensional invasion, but does that mean it careened off a cliff? Marathon Recaps looks at a story of poorly-understood time travel, party-wide cannibalism, and the Elder Gods, all from the future developers of Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest.”

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Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (1993)
by ABXY Game Reviews

“ABXY Reviews (Brent Mead) is an aspiring writer and gaming enthusiast. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest – A Junior RPG, takes an honest look at the game’s strengths and weaknesses in an attempt to explain why it should be experienced and enjoyed, while also guiding readers who might normally have certain expectations for a Final Fantasy game.”

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Final Fantasy V (1992)
by Adventure Rules

“Sandwiched between two celebrated titles, Final Fantasy V’s simple story and goofy characters may make it seem like a bit of an odd duck. Adventure Rules shares how that lighthearted spirit – along with impressive RPG mechanisms – is precisely what makes the game special!”

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FF6_Logo.pngFinal Fantasy VI (1994)
by the Well-Red Mage

“VI reasons why Final Fantasy VI is often cited as the best in the series. With so many wonderful games, what makes VI unique? Why do so many say it’s great at all? Number V will blow your mind. The internet is freaking out.”

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Final Fantasy VII (1997)
by The Shameful Narcissist

“The question of who is the better villain has put Final Fantasy fans at sixes and sevens with each other for over twenty years. So much so that I need not even name the contenders for the title. Here I hope to present points salient enough to make a judgment without causing a flame war to burn websites to the ground.”

Final Fantasy VII (1997)
by the Spoony Bard Mage aka Jay Borenstein

“In this post on Final Fantasy VII, Jay Borenstein of Nerd Speaker relates how Cloud Strife’s ability to overcome his memory and identity issues were powerful lessons for him as a young man.”

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Final Fantasy Tactics (1997)
by the Well-Red Mage

“The first FF foray into the realm of Tactical RPG is a beaut! Building the world of Ivalice which would form the backdrop for many future entries in the series, Final Fantasy Tactics also did the classic Final Fantasy job system justice and told an incredibly complex, pseudo-historical tale at the same time. A lot to accomplish for a non-numerical title. For the patient player, this is one spin-off that mustn’t be missed.”

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secTop_logo.pngFinal Fantasy VIII (1999)
by Jonathan

“An analysis of Final Fantasy VIII’s gameplay systems that make it one of the most unique entries in the series.”

Final Fantasy VIII (1999)
by Lunatic Pandora

Final Fantasy VIII had it tough, being released after a game as culturally significant as Final Fantasy VII and having an (arguably) complicated Junction System and time-bending plot. However, for every person considering the game a disappointment, there are those that value the game for how important it was to their personal life and relationships. Sometimes, games are more than just a temporary way to escape; have fun. They have the power to shape lives.”

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Final Fantasy IX (2000)
by Pix1001

“In this article Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie examines Final Fantasy IX in the context of it being the game which introduced her to the JRPG genre and set her on a path of discovery into what became her favourite gaming genre.”

Final Fantasy IX (2000)
by Aron J Brent

“Insight into Final Fantasy IX from someone who was there: former Square employee, localization translator, and author Aron J Brent shares his memories of working on this last of the PS1 FF’s.”

Final Fantasy IX (2000)
by Dragon Tea Party

“How Final Fantasy IX won me over with it’s graphics and with a particularly adorable character.”

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FF10_Logo.pngFinal Fantasy X (2001)
by Chris at OverThinker Y

“For Chris, playing Final Fantasy X wasn’t just a gaming experience, but a doorway into the world of music. Years later, he’s still not great at it, and most of the things he can play are bad versions of gaming tracks, but if it weren’t for FFX he might never have realised how rewarding music could be.”

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final-fantasy-xi-17-470x310@2x.pngFinal Fantasy XI: Online (2002)
by Triform Trinity

FFXI – A Game Worth Remembering! From a time where all was much simpler and more single oriented, Square Enix comes forth with an MMORPG of their favorite franchise for people to enjoy and that we now reminisce.”

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Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (2003)

by Aron J Brent

“Get a behind-the-scenes look at the development and atmosphere of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance from someone who was there, author Aron J Brent!”

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FFX-2logo.pngFinal Fantasy X-2 (2003)
by Chris at OverThinker Y

“Perhaps best known for its all-female trio of protagonists, whose clothes can be changed mid-battle, Final Fantasy X-2 is actually a strong, self-contained entry that also functions as one of the more thoughtful sequels in gaming. Or so Chris argues, while dancing around the fact that he bought it mostly for the fanservice.”

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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (2003)

by Kevin Record

“A look at Final Fantasy’s myrrh-aculous return to Nintendo consoles!”

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Dirge_of_Cerberus_Title.pngDirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (2006)
by Krystallina

“Ludicrous Lucrecia. Shinra scientist. Vincent’s love. Hojo’s lover. Sephiroth’s mother. No matter what title you give her, Lucrecia is no doubt plays a key role in the Compliation of FFVII, and Dirge of Cerberus in particular. But what is the best way to describe Lucrecia and her actions?”

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1210.pngFinal Fantasy XII (2006)
by Chris at OverThinker Y

“The twelfth numbered FF game was certainly a little bit different from those that came before it. In this article, Chris takes a look at whether the differences were fixing what wasn’t broken, or innovations that were unfairly bashed.”

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final_fantasy_tactics_lion_war_logo.pngFinal Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions (2007)
by Sric360

“Join Sric360 as he takes a look at why Final Fantasy Tactics left such a long-lasting impression on him, even to this day. Will definitely include major story spoilers!!!”

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fa5bac59-e0a0-4891-89cf-0292b41557d9.pngCrisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (2007)
by Richenbaum Fotchenstein

“Could any game possibly live up to the legend of Final Fantasy VII? Dirge of Cerberus certainly wasn’t received very kindly by critics or fans, but maybe, just maybe…this time would be different? Find out within if the oddly PSP-exclusive Crisis Core does the world of FF7 justice!”

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Ffta2logo.pngFinal Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (2007)
by the Iron Mage aka Rus Gordon

“While the Final Fantasy series is most prominently an innovator within the RPG genre, Final Fantasy Tactics titles show that Square Enix’s developers had more stories to tell outside of the usual format. While I believe that most Final Fantasy spin-offs are weak, Tactics games are successful spin-offs because of how similar the turn-based tactical genre is to the RPG.”

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Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (2008)

by MarathonRecaps

“The sign on the Blue Planet reads “17 Years Since Last Accident,” and everyone’s family portraits are a lot more crowded, but these things aren’t forever. Now the baddies have turned your best weapons against you and nearly everyone has been split up (in fine Final Fantasy IV tradition!). With a relatively high challenge level, and containing one of the largest dungeons and largest playable rosters in Final Fantasy history, MarathonRecaps investigates whether there’s any quality behind that episodic quantity. Also includes a quick look at the Final Fantasy IV Interlude.”

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FF13_Logo.pngFinal Fantasy XIII (2009)
by the Livid Lightning Mage aka LightningEllen

“Haters gonna hate, but Lightning Farron and her friends will always have a special place in this cranky gamer’s heart.”

Final Fantasy XIII (2009)
by Pix1001

“Here Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie is having a look at the cast of the Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy, focusing on the roles that women play in the games.”

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FFXIV Title Logo_1-02.pngFinal Fantasy XIV: Online (2010)
by Triform Trinity

“Final Fantasy XIV – A Legacy Forged in Fire! – While Final Fantasy XIV has had a rough history to its development, it is through that it now has become a legacy that continues to develop and spreads its light through all its warriors against darkness.

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FinalFantasyDimensions-logo (1).pngFinal Fantasy Dimensions (2010)
by Richenbaum Fotchenstein

“Nowadays the Final Fantasy name in the mobile gaming world seems to be synonymous with Free-To-Play grindfests, but once, long ago there was a different kind of Final Fantasy to be played on your phone. Find out within what made Final Fantasy Dimensions stand apart from its financially questionable successors!”

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FF_Type-0_HD.pngFinal Fantasy Type-0 (2011)
by Cheap Boss Attack

“The Final Fantasy series is no stranger to spin-offs, and while Tactics is arguably the best, I wanted to take a deeper dive into what I feel is the most interesting of the bunch — the once Japan-exclusive Final Fantasy Type-0. It’s dark and ambitious, but also a mess of a game that’s well worth talking about.”

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dissidia-012-duodecim-final-fantasy.pngDissidia 012 Duodecim Final Fantasy (2011)
by SnapperTrx

“Though not their first foray into mixing Final Fantasy and fighting games (Ergheiz being the first), Square Enix finally took the plunge and delivered a true Final Fantasy fighter in the form of Dissidia and the prequel/expansion, Dissidia 012 Duodecim. In true SE fashion, the game did not disappoint as it was heavy in both fighting AND RPG elements! Take a look at one of the most underrated FF and fighting games around, and the one game that ties all the FF games into one giant multiverse! Explore, Dissidia Final Fantasy!”

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Final Fantasy XIII-2 (2011)
by the Livid Lightning Mage aka LightningEllen

“Haters gonna hate, but Lightning Farron and her friends will always have a special place in this cranky gamer’s heart.”

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (2011)
by Pix1001

“Here Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie is having a look at the cast of the Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy, focusing on the roles that women play in the games.”

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Theatrhythm_Final_Fantasy_Logo.pngTheatrhythm Final Fantasy (2012)
by Cillah

“Final Fantasy is well renowned for its incredible soundtracks that span multiple entries in the series. What started as me listening to the tracks on my iPod became much more when Theatrhythm Final Fantasy was released. Instead of battling my way to victory, I was now tapping my way to victory in a spectacular fashion.

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FFATB_LogoFinal Fantasy: All the Bravest (2013)
by iplayedthegame

Final Fantasy: All The Bravest is one of many mobile games in the FF series. Well, I say “game”…”

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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (2013)
by the Livid Lightning Mage aka LightningEllen

“Haters gonna hate, but Lightning Farron and her friends will always have a special place in this cranky gamer’s heart.”

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (2013)
by Pix1001

“Here Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie is having a look at the cast of the Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy, focusing on the roles that women play in the games.”

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Final-Fantasy-Record-Keeper-game.pngFinal Fantasy Record Keeper (2014)
by the Dapper Zaffre Mage

Final Fantasy Record Keeper: or, How I learned to stop worrying and love the Gatcha. Square Enix partners up with DeNA to bring hundreds of Final Fantasy heroes, dozens of familiar stories, and one very questionably dapper Mog to your mobile divive in classic RPG battling. Does this game shake off the shady reputation of All The Bravest? Can you really fit twenty games’ worth of characters in one .apk? And most importantly, is the journey actually fun? FFRK strives to answer all of the above with a solid ‘Yes, kupo!’.”

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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (2014)
by the Otaku Judge

“When one thinks of the Final Fantasy games two things come to mind – epic RPGs and spectacular soundtracks. The Final Fantasy scores are so renowned that concerts performing their songs manage to attract sell out crowds across the globe. Composer Nobuo Uematsu even managed to claim a top three spot on the BBC classical music charts for his work on the series (in your face Beethoven.) Due to the franchise’s acoustic pedigree I was excited to try out Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, which on paper sounds like an inspired idea. A rhythm game packed with tunes from Square-Enix’s flagship series? Awesome.”

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Final Fantasy Explorers (2014)
by the Otaku Judge

“There was once a time when purchasing a Final Fantasy product guaranteed you a story rich RPG… Final Fantasy Explorers happens to be one of those plot anaemic FF spin-offs, but thankfully the gameplay on offer isn’t half bad.”

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Mobius Final Fantasy (2015)
by Triform Trinity

Mobius Final Fantasy – Final Fantasy Epic Adventure, Now with Cards! – Mobius Final Fantasy is an otherwise good free RPG with card game elements, it cannot escape the grasp of a repetitiveness and money currencies.”

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FF_Brave_Exvius.pngFinal Fantasy: Brave Exvius (2015)
by Triform Trinity

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius – A Classic Spin on a Simple Genre! – Not every game needs high definition to show you a good time in an otherwise beat up genre on the mobile platform.”

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World_of_Final_Fantasy_LogoWorld of Final Fantasy (2016)
by Triform Trinity

“World of Final Fantasy – Chibi Mons! Gotta Catch ‘Em All! – In a world of nostalgic Final Fantasy creatures, you can now catch them chibi style like you would in Pokémon and go on an epic adventure together.

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wpddcb2391_06.pngFinal Fantasy XV (2016)
by Triform Trinity

Final Fantasy XV – A New Beginning for Final Fantasy! – While it has been in development for a long time, Final Fantasy XV gives you a unique open-world with a classic Shakespearean adventure.”

Final Fantasy XV (2016)
by the Well-Red Mage

Final Fantasy XV may just be the end of the beginning of the end for me, someone who felt the open-world structure, the smooshed storyline at the end, the simplified gameplay, and the errand running were detrimental to the game itself — a companion review to any gush piece from a critical perspective.”

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A King’s Tale: Final Fantasy XV
by the Otaku Judge

A King’s Tale is a retro styled 2D brawler chronicling how a young King Regis protected the land from a monster invasion.”

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FFXVANE_Logo.pngFinal Fantasy XV: A New Empire (2017)
by Triform Trinity

Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire – A Bad Apple in a Basket! – Every good game franchise has its bad seeds and this is one of them.”

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unnamed-9.pngFinal Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (2017)
by Da Misfit

“The amazing thing about playing games you’ve played before is that you notice things you didn’t the first time around. With this particular game, I didn’t do that. Though I’ve played the original game way too many times, I went into this one with fresh eyes. Here is what came of it.”

 

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***See a Final Fantasy game we missed? Got an article for it? Leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to include your work in this project! We’ll need a short description of the article, your name to be credited, and a link to the article.***

 

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