Whenever the Role Playing Game genre is mentioned in videogames, the first thing that comes to the top of your head might be Final Fantasy. It might be hard for newcomers to understand the whole thing without research, but the franchise has definitely made up for that with its amazing stories, well-written characters, and challenging gameplay.

In this article, Gurugamer is going to showcase the top 5 best Final Fantasy games to play in 2023.

1. Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII is not just a game, it's a masterpiece. It's the Mona Lisa of video games, the Citizen Kane of pixelated adventures. And there are so many reasons why this game is the greatest of all time. Until the whole 3-part remake is out, the original is still the best way to enjoy the story.

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The HD mod is the best way to enjoy FF7 in 2023

First and foremost, the story is absolutely epic. It follows a group of rebels who are fighting against a powerful corporation that is draining the planet's life energy. Along the way, they face off against giant monsters, crazy bosses, and even a dude who can summon a giant sword from the sky. It's like Lord of the Rings meets Mad Max meets a really weird anime. And the characters are so well-written and relatable, you'll find yourself getting attached to them like they're your own weird, spiky-haired friends.

But the real star of the show is the gameplay. Final Fantasy VII has a unique combat system that combines turn-based battles with real-time action. This means you can plan out your moves and unleash devastating combos, but you also have to keep an eye on your enemies and react to their attacks in real time. It's like playing chess while also trying to dodge a hail of bullets. And the character customization is on point too. Each character has their own unique abilities and stats, and you can equip them with all sorts of weapons and items to create the ultimate fighting team. It's like playing with a bunch of action figures, but without all the annoying plastic parts that always break off.

FF7 has turn based combat

And let's not forget about the open world. Final Fantasy VII has a massive world to explore, filled with all sorts of bizarre creatures and treacherous landscapes. You can visit sprawling cities, spooky forests, and even a giant robot city (seriously, it's amazing). And the game has multiple branching paths and multiple endings, so you can play through the game multiple times and experience different storylines and outcomes. It's like having multiple games in one, except without all the annoying disc switching.

2. Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX is one of the best Final Fantasy games out there. It's not completely without flaws, and I know a lot of people don't particularly enjoy the art style, but in just about every way, it is an excellent Final Fantasy experience.

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Final Fantasy IX gameplay

Its story hinges on its strongest suit: Its worldbuilding and how its characters tie into that. There are a lot of signs and statues dotting the different locales in Final Fantasy IX's world, and most of them have text that outline the world's history. Every NPC in town has dialogue, and their own little story, completely unrelated to the main plot, that develops over the course of the game, and yet still contributes greatly to the game as a whole, and its theming.

The gameplay is, on its surface, your usual ATB fare. The ATB system is the most refined it's ever been, with a lot more polish and mechanical depth than the other games in the series that use it. It's also notorious for having one of the most difficult superbosses in the franchise as a result - Ozma. Ozma takes advantage of numerous design philosophies in the ATB system. And you really need to know how it functions to effectively fight it.

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Final Fantasy IX cast

Character development is deep, with abilities being attached to equipment, and as the characters fight battles with that piece of equipment equipped, they gain AP, and can eventually learn that ability, to use it permanently, without needing the equipment. The way that stat curves work is quite interesting as well. It's not explained in-game, but equipping a piece of gear that increases a stat, will also increase its stat curve as you level up - making you more likely to gain points in that stat when you do.

3. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

The player takes the role of a young man named Tidus. You find out within the opening scenes that he's a blitzball player (combination of soccer and American football, but underwater). Soon after he gets warped to another world (Spira) and he must find a way to go back to his. Ultimately, his "fate" becomes entangled with the denizens of Spira and he, along with several companions, must face a greater evil.

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Final Fantasy X Party

The story sounds like typical JRPG fare - a group people must stop some evil from destroying the world. However, it's really not that simple and the plot develops "organically". What I mean is that the main antagonist doesn't just appear out of nowhere and now only this specific group of people must stop him because why not. The game also goes more in-depth on real life subject areas such as racism and religion compared to its predecessors. Since a lot of the plot centers around a pilgrimage from temple to temple there is some resemblance to the Chinese tale, "Journey to the West" as well. It's difficult to go into details without spoiling certain things but overall the story is decent and well written.

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Final Fantasy X main characters

Departing from the iconic ATB battle system, FFX introduced the CTB system. It is a turn-based battle system in which the Agility stat plays a huge role. The turns of your characters and enemies are displayed on the right hand side during battle and so planning ahead and manipulating the turn-order is key. After battle your characters gain AP points and you use these points to increase their stats and learn abilities on the sphere grid. That's right, there are no traditional character levels in this game.

4. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade is a twist on the original cult classic that has been reimagined with cutting-edge graphics, all-new game mechanics, and fast-paced combat.

The story remains entirely faithful to the original game, with some content in between to help bolster it. The writing is superb, and the overall story is perfect, to say the least. Side quests are the contrast here, as they are totally devoid of personality and storyline and seem to act purely as filler for the entirety of the experience. Please keep in mind that you only get to play as 4 of the total party in the entirety of this game, and it consists of Cloud, Barret, Tifa and Aerith.

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FF7 Remake looks much different from the original.

The remake is a decent rendition of the original game in nearly every aspect. Memorable boss fights return with new mechanics to learn and master that pose significant challenges. The alternate game mode provided called "classic" makes the game more reminiscent of the original and closer to the traditional turn-based gameplay.

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FF7 Remake combat

Materia and equipment are impressive concepts that have remained the same and allow you to customize your heroes to your own liking and build them how you see fit. Materia is essentially the magic in Final Fantasy 7, taking the shape of colored orbs that give you special abilities when equipped that also bolster your individual stats.

5. Final Fantasy XV

The game takes place in an earth-like world called Eos and the story is about crown prince Noctis Lucis Caelum going on a trip with his long-time friends Ignis Scientia, Prompto Argentum and Gladiolus Amicitia. This game is not about the destination but about the journey and you can really feel the realistic bond between these four individuals and that's what makes this game so unique.

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Final Fantasy XV has a beautiful world.

The world in Final Fantasy XV is just simply amazing in my opinion and has a lot of things to explore. To be honest I never feel at any specific point where I felt bored because of the things you can do. It looks very beautiful and unique in its own cool way, especially when you and your four buddies drive around the open world in the beautiful Regalia.

The real-time combat with new weapons, summons, skills and magic in this game is really well made and I really find it a lot of fun and simplistic in a good way. The combat is not that difficult to understand so after you've played for a while you will get into it and learn it pretty fast.

>>> Read more: Top 5 PC Games Similar To God Of War