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What Was The Best Gameplay System In All Of Final Fantasy?

With all this Final Fantasy VII Remake chatter, this is a very relevant and timely question.

We all know the new mechanic in that Remake will be action-based and I doubt there will be any surprises. But in your estimation, which game in the Final Fantasy series had the very best combat system?

You can go all the way back to the dawn of the Job system in FFV or the Espers in FFVI. Or even earlier, if you like. Now, there's always lots of controversy surrounding the Materia in FFVII and it remains to be seen how Square Enix will approach that critical element in the Remake. But what about Junctions in VIII? The idea of actually using magic as your armor by "attaching" groups of spells to stats? And drawing specific spells from certain foes? I don't remember FFIX that well but I do remember learning abilities that came attached to certain weapons.

The Sphere Grid in FFX is always a favorite but don't write off FFX-2 so fast. I've actually always considered that game to have the most streamlined, in-depth system ever, as it was a perfectly honed version of what we saw in FFX. That's just me, though. FFXII was dramatically different as we got a hybrid system for the first time, along with a more open world, encountering enemies in real-time while exploring, etc. Not many liked the Licenses but I didn't mind them at all, nor did I mind the Gambits (a precursor of systems that we commonly see in today's RPGs).

As for the FFXIII trilogy, I always thought the systems there were a little watered down, but I did like FFXIII-2. It just made more sense; none of this "if the team leader dies the game is over" crap, and there were several other big changes that made it feel more like a real RPG. However, the less said about the mess that was Lightning Returns, the better.

So, what's your pick?

Tags: final fantasy combat, final fantasy gameplay, final fantasy sequel

12/15/2015 9:51:58 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (32 posts)


Zerrekk
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 @ 10:30:30 PM
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I actually liked all of them, up through XII and some aspects of XIII-2, each system felt great for the game it represented. However, if I had to choose one, I think I would go with Final Fantasy IX. Having abilities tied to weapons forced you to actually use and find all of them. I always felt Final Fantasy VIII's was the most confusing though. I'm sure if I looked at it now, I might understand it, but the younger me was confused by it. I also liked the job system too, and the dress spheres were just fun. I liked how they had similarities between the games, but all were unique too.

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vatoloco47
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 @ 10:39:09 PM

I would agree with FFIX being my preferred option too.It does give weapons and items more meaning and made side quests that much more appealing as only certain abilities could be used from the rare items. And having unique charterer classes also made the battles feel more strategic depending on who wee up against. Fingers crossed we get a HD PS4 release of it.

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shaytoon
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 12:31:21 AM

^ oh man id love me a FFIX hd remake. such a beautiful game

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 9:47:29 AM

The Trance in IX made me angry. Garnet tranced a total of 5 times in the whole playthrough, Quina maybe 4 times.

in VIII you could tie your status/ element attacks and buffs to your weapons so that's kind of a form of what you liked in IX.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 12/16/2015 9:51:38 AM

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vatoloco47
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 8:27:54 PM

The trance was a bit tricky to get used to but at times I would do random battles before a boss fight so I knew it would be ready when it was happening. But once you have a good team setup I didn't rally feel the need to use trance much.

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Underdog15
Thursday, December 17, 2015 @ 10:24:21 AM

I would get annoyed at Trance happening automatically... at the worst times when you absolutely don't need it even a little. It was a cool concept, though. Just wish it had been implemented a little better. I really like learning skills and abilities through equitable items, though. Both active and passive.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 @ 11:32:20 PM
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I liked all of the flagship FF systems. In fact, I like their system more than most JRPG's I've played. My personal favorite is FF8's. I will say I was fond of Xenosaga Episode 1's system too. I liked timing the finishing blow with the experience multiplier.



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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 9:48:05 AM

I hope we get the "emulated" Xenosaga trilogy. I have the first game but they are hard to find now without going broke.

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Rogueagent01
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 @ 11:55:34 PM
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VIII was my favorite then Tactics(i know doesn't count), the worst ones for me were IX & X.

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Voyager236
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 @ 11:58:17 PM
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Final Fantasy X/X-2

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Jawknee
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 @ 11:58:44 PM
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I liked VII best personally.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 9:45:55 AM

So like, why?

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Nas Is Like
Sunday, December 20, 2015 @ 12:11:05 AM

Me too.

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shaytoon
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 12:39:05 AM
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sadly i dont remember 8 and 9 battle system too much. but what i do remember was that 8 was a bit confusing for me coming out of 7. 9 seemed easier than 8. 10 introduced something new, never played 11 since i wasnt into MMO's at the time and couldnt afford it to begin with. 13 felt like an improved version of 12, but for some reason liked 12 a lot better sooooo my answer is 12.

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Snaaaake
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 12:57:21 AM
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FFX having the best and most simple system and FFX-2's battle being the most fun.
Ah, back when FF was amazing.

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Hexen
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 1:14:25 AM
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I'd say X-2 even if I have only played the ps2 and ps3 ones.

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neighber
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 5:16:10 AM
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I would have to say XII because of self built AI, of other characters if my health goes below 30% this character heals me. the other character applies shell and protect. It gave me a relief knowing the it was almost automated if you did it well enough and you also had the option to do everything manually if you wanted or needed to. Following ff12 i would have to go with ff8 the draw system was different but worked. sucked if you forget to draw a GF lol

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 9:45:31 AM

kinda bugged me cuz I was able to automate the whole game and just run around. Run around A LOT! For hours. That place was too huge.

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Godslim
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 7:27:52 AM
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Well surprisingly I loved 12s system the most back in the day. But 10 was my favorite ff game with a standard turn based system which ofc is great too.

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ethird1
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 8:36:52 AM
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materia.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 9:44:18 AM
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Still FFVII and Materia is the best. The Junction made me waste too much time on magic gathering and the Sphere grid put great things too far away. I never cared for Jobs (the system or in real life) and I'd like to just plug materia into my winter gloves and be able to do things.

FFX had that great ability to swap in characters off the field, that's technically part of the battle system too so that was fantastic.

When it comes to action on the field I think FFX-2 nearly perfected ATB.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 12/16/2015 9:44:42 AM

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Bio
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 10:42:26 AM
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FFXII, by far.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 11:20:06 AM
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Anybody elses PS3 PS Store permanently undergoing maintenance? It sorta defeats the holiday sale and I wanna download Ace Combat. Haven't flown a plane in years.

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Mdash0009
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 2:06:54 PM

Log onto the store on a PC, then tell it to download straight to your PS4.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 5:17:43 PM

I'm talkin PS3. I don't think it has that option.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 3:23:48 PM
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I can't say there was a system I 100% cared for. I liked things about all of them and disliked others.

I think I liked X-2 as a system best because it was fast paced and diverse. But honourable mention definitely goes to IX. I loved that each character was unique as opposed to something like VI (after you get Espers), VII, and VIII where you could be equally as successful with any set of characters. I mean, in VIII, you could just do a complete junction exchange and make one character exactly the same as the one you're replacing.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 4:36:15 PM

The biggest difference between the characters in VIII was the limit breaks (if they were even called that). These were critical, especially against the tougher enemies.

As for VII, way too many people forget that the characters had base statistics that were completely different. No matter what you did, Barrett would never be as useful with Materia as Aeris or Cloud, for instance.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 5:18:49 PM

FFX was the same. Lulu was never going to be a good brute even if you followed that path.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 @ 8:44:03 PM

I'm well aware of the slight differences. I can tell you who has the best everything. They existed in VI and VIII as well. One of my complaints about FFVII was that I'd like to see those stat differences be more stark so that they actually matter.

As it is, the differences are microscopic. Compare those differences to say, FFX or the classes in FFV or FFX-2, or the different characters in FFIX or FFIV... Then the differences in FFVII are basically zero.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 12/16/2015 8:44:38 PM

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Bio
Thursday, December 17, 2015 @ 9:46:26 AM

I liked how interchangeable the characters were in FFVIII, when it came to battle. When you can't change out party members on the fly, it's actually pretty lame to have drastically different characters to the point where you lose a fight solely because your white mage isn't in your battle group.

Differences in characters should primarily be narrative, imo. Basically I think the junction system was sweeeeet.

Last edited by Bio on 12/17/2015 9:46:40 AM

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Underdog15
Thursday, December 17, 2015 @ 10:28:04 AM

Once I had enough GF's, I would assign permanent junctions to each character. If there was a particular stat I needed, I would use the amnesia item to forget something useless or duplicated and teach them the new junction ability. This becomes especially helpful in the final section of the game.

At the very least, at least I was able to arrange the characters the way I wanted them... each with their own set of skills and abilities or strengths/weaknesses. So it's tough to complain too much.

With more than one way to heal, I don't really get how you can die just because you don't have a dedicated healer in the group. In FFIV, FFV, FFIX, and FFX-2 you didn't need to have a white mage to heal. Especially with the games that had secondary jobs. Blue Mages were the bomb back in the day! A little ol' white wind is all you need!

Last edited by Underdog15 on 12/17/2015 10:30:34 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, December 17, 2015 @ 6:30:52 PM

The only way I'd want characters to be more interchangeable is if the story forced certain party members into and out of my party on a frequent basis. I think this happened quite a bit in FFVIII so maybe Square made the characters more similar to compensate for the narrative shifting.

If I can keep the characters I want in my party for the majority of the game, though, I want very distinct team members.

Underdog: I'm not saying the differences between the characters in FFVII were bigger than in other entries, but I don't think it's "basically zero." That's just not true, especially in regards to Materia usage and Limit Breaks. Granted, if you mega-power your team, it doesn't really matter. But if you go straight through and the characters aren't overpowered with Materia like KotoR, Counter Magic, Master pieces, etc, the differences are much more noticeable.

It's just too bad that the most distinct character of the bunch, Aeris - the only true mage in the game - dies. No matter what you did with her, she would not be a successful melee attacker and it was best to keep her in the back row. Barrett basically sucked with Materia, too, but I think he was a tad more diverse than Aeris.

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