Final Fantasy 16's PC release may be sealed behind a Silence spell at the moment, but that doesn't mean we can't still celebrate it coming to PS5 by reminding everyone of all the other great Final Fantasy games you can currently play on PC. Below, we've ranked the 10 best Final Fantasy games you can currently play on Steam, putting an end to the debate over which Roman numeral deserves the number one spot.
Best Final Fantasy games on PC
This enormous JRPG series has changed a lot over the years, and its history on PC has been rather patchy to say the least. But at long last, we have more or less the complete set of Final Fantasy games on PC - with, of course, the exception of Final Fantasy 16. The list itself hasn't changed since our last re-ranking at the end of 2022 (sorry, Crisis Core: Reunion, you didn't make the cut), but we are putting together a separate list of what Final Fantasy games are great right from the start (as opposed to 'getting good 30 hours in'), so keep an eye out for that very soon.
In the (likely) event that the Eternal Argument about the best Final Fantasy game keeps on raging, you can summon your own opinions in the comments. But please remember to be a good adversary. Talk about the part in Final Fantasy Z where you go Crystal sledding, or the village of the Carrot People, or that bit where Corupcion falls into a TV studio and you have to play the minigame where you pretend to be one of the Empire's weather presenters. Man, why isn't Final Fantasy Z on this list? In the mean time, though, here are the best Final Fantasy games on PC, ranked in perfect, undisputed order.
10. Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy XIII is often decried as the 'corridor FF game that only gets good after 30 hours', but re-evaluating it in the cold light of today reveals this simply isn't true. Final Fantasy XIII is an absolute stunner on PC, impressing from the off with its lush visuals, gorgeous soundtrack, and its constant, dogged dedication to keeping players on the tip of their toes, throwing together different character pairings and battle techniques every couple of hours so that no two sections ever feel the same. And besides, it's no more of an endless corridor than Final Fantasy X was several years earlier, so why all the hubbub? It deserves better, is what I'm saying, and is absolutely worth revisiting as we begin our list of the best Final Fantasy games.
Sure, its cast of characters is a somewhat mixed bag (for the record, stoic badasses Lightning and Fang and tired chocobo dad Sazh sitting at the top of pile, while perpetual wet blanket Hope can rot in its interminable Coccoon for all I care), but its greatest triumph is its active time battle system. Not only did it ditch dedicated character classes for a more malleable set of roles known as 'paradigms', but it also introduced the concept of staggering enemies before really laying into them - a concept that's since been pinched and pilfered in a variety of JRPGs ever since. I cannot tell you what the plot's about, or how its key concepts of l'Cie differ from its fal'Cie (we need not concern ourselves with such arcane nonsense), but as we'll soon discover, most Final Fantasy plots are utter bobbins when you really sit down and think about it, so with that in mind, let's move on to our next entry.
9. Final Fantasy IV (3D Remake)
I came to Final Fantasy IV - or II, if you're using US numbers - quite late in the day, so I've never actually played it in its original form (now available, minus some original fonts, as the Pixel Remastered version). Instead, my first taste came from the 3D remake on the Nintendo DS, which you can still buy on Steam today. To be honest, I'm all for this particular version of the game, because anything that makes the classic 'YOU SPOONY BARD' moment of mistranslation even funnier is a good thing in my books.
Final Fantasy IV was the first one in the series to do a proper story with proper characters you actually liked and loathed, with relationships and personalities often reflected in their job class and character skills. There's moody old dragoon Kain and his unrequited love for white mage Rosa, Cecil's transformation from conflicted dark knight to righteous world-saving paladin, super cool ninja Edge who disappears when he gets embarrassed, the slightly useless bard Edward who just can't get his act together to confess his love for his dear Anna, and the mischievous mage twins Palom and Porom who you decide would make brilliant additions to your travelling party despite the fact they're just five years old (social services clearly need to get their act together on this version of Earth). And who could forget Rydia, the child summoner who's sort of rubbish for the first half of the game but then becomes the greatest beast tamer of all time once some STUFF HAPPENS. Did I mention you also go to the moon on a whale?
8. Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV is an absolute mess of a game that has no right to be as good, polished or genuinely affecting as it is after a decade of development. Its flaws are too many to count, from its bobbins story to sticking all its important bits in DLC, films and an anime TV series. Despite this, though, it's still one of my favourite games in the series and a large part of that is down to the boys themselves: sullen prince boy Noctis, beefcake muscle man Gladio, squad dad chef Ignis and dear old Prompto.
When you get down to it, there is simply no greater depiction of companionship in the whole of video games. This feeling of camaraderie is constantly being forged and reinforced throughout the game, too, whether it's Ignis' campfire cooking and Prompto's end of day photo collection cataloguing your progress, or the way they riff off each other's attacks in battle and chat incidentally as they're ambling through the countryside. Forget about getting married and saving the world; I just want to hang out with my mates a bit longer - and oogle at Ignis' cooking, because hot damn that Fat Chocobo Triple Decker sandwich looks so damn tasty.
7. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
A long time ago, in a fantasy far, far away, a dusty street urchin teamed up with a roguish airship captain and his rabbit-eared first mate, to take a backseat in the story of a freedom fighter and warrior princess. Twelve years later, they all arrived on PC and once again the halls of games journalism were filled with the cries of: "Hang on, this is Star Wars!" and, "Actually, it's not bad!"
Storywise, Final Fantasy XII tramps around in the middleground of the series. There's a war, an empire and a princess. Crystals, knights and monsters. Perhaps the only distinct thing about this tale is that you aren't playing as a very important person. Vaan and his pal Penelo are just two street kids who get swept up in a larger story, and only end up fighting big Judges in scary armour because the rest of the characters were doing it first. It's oddly refreshing, as is the fighting system. For the first time, Square threw away the standoff-ish system of menus and little white gloves. They filled the overworld with enemies to walk up to and batter in real-time, giving Vaan and his compatriots the Gambit system to help program all your characters' moves in advance. Healers would heal, tanks would tank, rogues would stab, all according to the rules you created yourself. It didn't stick around, but this was a turning point for the series and ought to be appreciated for throwing off some of the most concrete traditions, even if it is unmistakably familiar in many ways.
6. Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster
At long last, a version of Final Fantasy VI that's worth playing on PC. Yes, the Pixel Remaster fonts aren't... brilliant, but honestly, I'll take them over the awful old mobile port any day of the week (which is thankfully no longer on sale now this superior remaster has arrived). And what a game it is. Widely regarded as the best of the retro Final Fantasies (that is, FFs I to VI), this remake of the 1994 SNES classic is pretty much what you'd get if you put Final Fantasy and Gundam mechs into a big blender. Sort of.
Set in a steampunk post apocalypse where magic has been replaced by hulking great machines, the evil empire in charge of this new world order starts to feel a bit hot under their large metallic collars when a mysterious woman called Terra shows up bearing strange, magical powers. What follows is a tale of war and rebellion of operatic proportions (I'm not kidding, there's a big iconic opera scene right in the middle of the game), and it remains one of few Final Fantasy games to really put its iconic summon monsters centre stage. They (and your 14 playable party members) play an enormous role in Final Fantasy VI, and you'll need all the help you can get to take down its actually terrifying, demented clown villain Kefka Palazzo. I would have warned you off playing this on PC before now, but thanks to the spit and polish of the new Pixel Remaster, this once grubby gem has scrubbed up really rather nicely.
5. Final Fantasy IX
It's easy to see why so many continue to rally behind this colourful, characterful tale of heisting actors and clown-faced queens. Gone are the frowning strongmen and hormonal teen mercenaries of the previous games, replaced with a jokey thief, a bumbling bodyguard, an anxious puppet and a sad princess. Ah, Final Fantasy. From fairytales ye have arisen and to fairytale ye shall return.
The battling system, the world map, the potion shops... It's all fairly traditional, only here you accrue new moves by equipping weapons or armour and 'learning' their powers by heart, which does let you spread the most useful abilities around just by taking turns with the same equipment. Final Fantasy IX was also the last in the main series to have those crafty static environments. Let's not grieve overlong for those blurry bits of scenery, but we can still remember them with fondness. There was a peculiar feeling to mapping the different scenes in your head, and an obsessive joy in roaming around the edges of the scenery, mashing the action button to find chests or trinkets hidden behind immovable props. In hindsight, a game about a troupe of dodgy actors is a fitting end for those theatre-like sets.
4. Final Fantasy VII Remake
Final Fantasy VII Remake only tells part of the story of the much-loved 1997 original (for now, at least), but as an exercise in nostalgia (and the thwarting thereof), it is a wonderous and magnificent thing. As in 1997, you start as a half-hearted eco-terrorist, fighting against a vile, planet-sapping corporation. Then you fight for revenge. Then you fight because there's a bad man in a long cloak. Then some terrifying otherworldly force comes to... destroy the world? Oh god, it's nonsense, isn't it? It's all nonsense. But psst, here's a secret. They're all nonsense.
So let's remember the atmosphere of VII, if not the daftness. Let's remember wandering around the steamy, dirty, semi-robotic city of Midgar. Its factories and slums, its skyscrapers, tunnels and highways. This was a big city, and VII Remake made it even larger and more sumptuous than the one you've got lodged in your head. Remake also has arguably the best modern Final Fantasy battle system of the lot, combining the real-time slashy-slashes of XV with the tactical pause of its active-turn-based origins. It's the kind of Remake I wish Square Enix would give all the PS1-era Final Fantasies. I don't care if I'm 102 when they finally finish making them. I just need them like I need to keep breathing.
3. Final Fantasy XIV
Final Fantasy XIV is one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of video games. After a disastrous initial launch in 2010, its revamped A Realm Reborn incarnation has since risen to become one of the best MMORPGs in recent memory, and it's all down to Square Enix wunderman Naoki Yoshida (who's also one of the key driving forces behind the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI, too).
Starting out today is, admittedly, a bit of an enormous undertaking, with what four major expansions now under its belt, all of which will last you several tens and hundreds of hours. But if you play Final Fantasy for the depth and scope of its stories, this online behemoth should not be missed. Indeed, we called it "one of the greatest FF tales of all time" in our Endwalker review last year, and with further updates putting an even greater focus on single-player content, there's never been a better time to drip your toes in.
2. Final Fantasy X / Final Fantasy X-2 HD Remaster
Final Fantasy loves to do exposition, but Final Fantasy X is arguably the only one to do it convincingly. You play as a sportsball player who has been eaten by a whale monster the size of a city and pooped out in the future. As such, you need to have everything explained to you by your new pals - a ginger man with a Jamaican accent, a walking lion, and a goth lady obsessed with belts among many others. In fiction, this a common enough way of introducing you to a new world, but Tidus has just enough personality, history and curiosity to make you go along with it. When he's learning about the weird anti-technology religion that governs the world of Spira, so are you. When he's asking about monsters, so are you. When he's crying like a big crybaby in a crybaby's nappy, or laughing like an actual loon, so are you. Okay, maybe not that last part, but you get my point.
It's probably the last best fully 3D Final Fantasy game as well, bar the unstoppable MMO that is Final Fantasy XIV, of course. Nothing has quite lived up to X's scale and ambition since, and the fact we now get the also very good X-2 bundled in with the HD Remaster is just the icing on the cake. Call me crazy, but seeing Yuna swap her staff for a pair of guns and kick some ass with her equally bad-ass new haircut was exactly what 15-year-old Katharine wanted from games way back when, and a light-hearted venture into the realms of FF5-style class-based dress-up, power ballads and lost loves was arguably just what the series needed after the heavy themes and general seriousness of its predecessor. It finally gave Final Fantasy X the conclusion and closure it deserved, too, provided you whistled three times facing east in the netherrealm and clapped your hands twice while rubbing your tummy correctly, of course. That's how all good game endings work, right? RIGHT?
1. Final Fantasy VIII Remastered
Final Fantasy VIII is the best Final Fantasy game. If you want to dispute our decision, grab your gunblade and we can settle this Squall and Seifer-style with a good old-fashioned duel, no doubt giving ourselves matching nose scars in the process. While the recent remaster could be prettier in many ways (FF8 Remake, when?), it is, without a doubt, a much better way to play Final Fantasy VIII today than the original, whose crappy synth music should be classed as a crime against humanity.
VIII is often labelled as the lovey-dovey one, but I'd wager that watching Rinoa transform Squall from a series of angry ellipses into a functioning human being is far more affecting than every other bit of character development in the series. It's full of stand-out moments away from all the romance stuff, too. You get chased through a town by a giant mechanical spider, you go to space and annihilate a ship's worth of alien dinosaurs, an army of soldiers on motorcycles fly through the air and bust up your flying boarding school, and then you get to go and punch a hole in the villain's enormous, monolithic skyscraper with your rad new airship later on... It's pure brilliance on every level.
The combat system is genius, too. Mad, but genius. The ability to 'junction' or assign both your summons and magic spells to individual characters in order to fine tune up their stats makes this one of the most personal Final Fantasy games in existence. Instead of buying your way to success with throwaway trinkets, here you're actively seeking out new monsters and growing together with them as a team, learning shiny new attacks from them and then passing those skills onto your friends. The best thing about it, though, is that despite its obvious attempts at life-like graphics, Final Fantasy VIII is still fundamentally a game about a floating military academy which has been set up to stop a time-travelling witch from possessing a teenage girl (and her dog) in the future so she can carry out her wish of compressing time and starting the world afresh. It's bonkers, mad, ridiculous and sometimes downright silly, but it's also the best and I love it. Now it's time to compress time and start again. Goodbye!