Every gamer out there knows how influential and revolutionary the Final Fantasy series have been through out the years. Once in a while, a gamer who has experienced one of the most recent games, becomes curious about the past of the series and its previous installments. However, upon going back into its history, one might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of ports, remakes and compilations that have been put out there. Even the names of the games can become confusing, as different numbers have been given to some of the localized games.

Final Fantasy UniverseCredit: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/

The purpose of this article, is to go through the main titles of the franchising, illustrating some of the ways and platforms you can use, if you are one of those wanting to venture into this legendary saga. I chose a method of listing that will go like with this for most games: Original Platform - the original way to play the game and in which system; Easiest way to play - the most easily accessible (and affordable) way to put your hands on the title; Best Version - the best possible way to experience the game, and in some cases: Alternative Version - when the best way to play the game is a remake of the original and Other Versions - to list other good options available.

Final Fantasy I


The game that started it all, is one of the very first RPGs to have been launched on a console. In a time where such games were obscure, Square started competing with Enix for supremacy over the genre, since both companies created two series of legendary status, that would compete with each other through out the years. Although Dragon Warrior by Enix was the superior game at the time, Final Fantasy managed to stand out in the 8-bit era as well, with its fantastic open-world story, filled with magic and adventure.

Final Fantasy (1987)
Credit: www.exfanding.com

The menu-based battle-screen of the original Final Fantasy game, firstly released on the NES to give rise to one of the most popular game franchises of all time. 

This very humble beginning already featured some elements that would become recurring in the saga, including a party of various characters, a class system, black and white magic, the use of an airship in later stages of the game, as well as come recurring elements of the RPG genre such as a leveling system, travelling from town to town, exploration of dungeons, or the fights with Boss characters at key points of the game.

Original Platform: NES
Easiest Way to Play: Playstation Network
Best Version: Final Fantasy for the PSP
Other Versions:
-Playstation: Final Fantasy Origins
-Game Boy Advance: Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls
-Android[1] and iOS[2]: Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy Remastered
Credit: www.exfanding.com

The more appealing modern presention of the legendary NES game, in the Dawn of Souls Game Boy Advance version of the game. 

The PSP version of the game is considered the best way to experience it, as it is a fully remastered HD version, offering more vivid graphics and colours, while offering some additional content, in addition to the additional content originally offered in the Game Boy Advance port! This includes extra dungeons at the end of the game. The other versions mentioned are the respective remastered compilations of the first two games. The Playstation FF version received extra content and full-motion videos. 

Final Fantasy II


The sequel to Square's great 8-bit success. This second time, Square took some liberties with the gameplay, introducing different concepts, while maintaining the fantasy settings and presentation of its prequel. Contrary to the leveling system of the first game, this time around your characters would grow through an atribute leveling system, where their stats would improve depending on which one was more used. This would apply to weapon abilities as well, the most used ones would grant greater proficiency with said weapon.

Final Fantasy II (1988)
Credit: www.emuparadise.me

The classic look of the sequel to one of the most influential games of all time. Sadly, North American and European gamer never saw the release of this game until much later, when ports of the game went over-seas.  

Despite its seemingly original and interesting approach, this system was what would make FFII the most shadowy game of the series, since it could be exploited, and caused monotonous gameplay. FFII did have some good things going for it, though. The story was more elaborated, and this was the entry that introduced cherished elements of the series such as the Chocobos and the name Cid. Despite some of its flaws, its one title not not miss for fans of the series, if not only for its unique gameplay. 

Original Platform: NES
Easiest Way to Play: Playstation Network
Best Version: Final Fantasy II for the PSP
Other Versions: 
-Playstation: Final Fantasy Origins
-Game Boy: Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls
-Android[3] and iOS[4]: Final Fantasy II

Final Fantasy II HD Remastered Version
Credit: www.slidetoplay.com

The much more appealing HD remastered version of the sequel to the legendary title, definitely a deciding factor for more new-gen gamers. The best possible versions of the first two games of the series can be found in the PSP superbly re-worked releases. 

The PSP version of the game is again the best way to play it taking into account all the improvements and additional content. Since the beginning of ports and remakes, this game has been bundled with its prequel, offering double features for Playstation and Game Boy owners wanting to delve into the roots of the legendary franchise. You can also take both games with you anywhere on your smartphone, if you so desire.

Final Fantasy III

The third and last title on the NES. This third installment returned to what made the original game a success. This time around, instead of having archetype characters to choose from, you are introduced to the job-system! This unprecedented system gave the player the ability to assign any role from a number of available and unlockable classes, and provide with a highly customizable party for a much more personal gameplay.

Final Fantasy III (1990)
Credit: pt.wikipedia.org

The classic look of the elusive installment of the Final Fantasy Franchise, that western gamers never had the chance to play during the NES era. 

This game has been the most elusive one to players wanting to get their hand on all the installments of the franchise. Seeing as it never saw a North American release, for a long time only Japanese players had access to this little wonder. However, the game was eventually remade, and this time around it reached all corners of the world, blessing those who always wanted to experience it, and giving new-gen gamers a modest RPG of generous gameplay features. 

Original Platform: NES
Easiest Way to Play: PSP Download
Best Version: Final Fantasy III for the PSP
Alternative Version: Final Fantasy III for the NES
Other Versions: 
-Nintendo DS: Final Fantasy III
-Android[5] and iOS[6]: Final Fantasy III

Final Fantasy III Ramake
Credit: www.ign.com

Out of the retro Final Fantasy games released on the NES, the third title was the one to receive the most impressive re-work. Released as a fully remade game, Square brought a much sought-after gem of the past to old timers and new-gen gamers alike, now available on the Nintendo DS, PSP, iOS and Android systems.

The first english translation accessible to westerners was through the Nintendo DS remake, where the game was totally remade with 3D graphics, the gameplay experience improved, with beautiful attack animations and new content added. In 2012 came the PSP version of the remake, with additional full-motion videos. For english speakers the game is easily purchasable through PSP download, but if you want to get your hands an actual copy of the game, you need to import it from Japan.

This ends the NES era of Final Fantasy, a time when video game role-playing was still dormant, but quickly rising to fame. Both this legendary series and the revolutionary Dragon Warrior saga from Square's rival, Enix (now a single entity known as Square Enix), took and gave much to each other, to establish the basis for the RPG genre and pave the way for future role-playing games to come.