The Definitive Guide to Final Fantasy on the Nintendo Switch
Here's a handy guide to help you get the most enjoyment out of Final Fantasy on the Nintendo Switch if you've never experienced the series before.
Are you a newcomer to the Final Fantasy series? If you’ve been playing exclusively on Nintendo hardware for some time, you may have missed out on a lot of the greatest games in the series. Maybe this is your first time jumping in, or this might be your return after a long hiatus.
Now, the Nintendo Switch has plenty of games in the Final Fantasy series after they had been releasing previously on PlayStation and Xbox hardware for years. So I’d like to help you, the newcomer, find where to start on Nintendo Switch so that you can get the best experience the series has to offer.
Final Fantasy X (The One You Should Definitely Play First)
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Price: $49.99 (Includes Final Fantasy X-2)
This game is an easy recommendation for newcomers. Not only is it hailed as one of the best entries in the series by a multitude of fans, but it’s also great to jump into if it’s your first time playing the series.
FFX is the last to use the series’ iconic turn-based combat; in my opinion it utilizes it the best, and even though the game released in 2001, it still holds up today. On top of accessible gameplay, you’ll get to experience one of the most gripping narratives in gaming. If you’re not looking to get into the hardest of hardcore Final Fantasy games, FFX is a great place to start. Better yet, it has deeper systems throughout the game that you can begin to explore, if you feel more adventurous.
World of Final Fantasy (The Alternative to Final Fantasy X)
I love World of Final Fantasy, but it’s really easy. If you’re really intimidated by the idea of playing a mainline game, World offers a super casual experience that’s quite a lot of fun.
It has some new battle mechanics and systems that are very akin to Pokémon. At the same time, the game sees the return of the series’ turn-based combat (which I mentioned before about FFX). World also has a charming chibi art style and a world that’s really fun to explore. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with starting on an easier game and growing from there. If World of Final Fantasy sounds like your cup of tea, definitely give it a shot!
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (The Odd One Out)
Release Date: April 30, 2019
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a bit harder to recommend as it’s so different from every other Final Fantasy entry on the Switch. If it were up to me, I’d say that you should play every other game on the Nintendo Switch before going into this one.
The Zodiac Age uses a very passive battle system that’s more akin to Final Fantasy XI’s MMORPG gameplay. XII is still hailed as one of the best by some series fans, but it may not be the best place to start for newcomers. Jumping into this one before some of the other Final Fantasy games may be a bit jarring; however, it cannot be understated that Final Fantasy XII is a tremendously good game.
Final Fantasy IX (The One You Should Play After FFX)
When you’re talking about the best Final Fantasy games, old-school fans usually gravitate towards VI, VII, and IX. And rightfully so, as Final Fantasy IX really encapsulated what the series was all about, to begin with. It’s the last entry we’ve seen that takes place in a medieval-style fantasy world, and it also happens to be the last entry in the series that was touched by the father of the series, Hironobu Sakaguchi.
While Final Fantasy IX might feel a bit odd for those unfamiliar with PS1 games, (they haven’t necessarily aged the best), it’s still a fantastic story and some quality-of-life improvements have been made to make it a bit easier for newcomers to get through. This is a must-play for any JRPG fan, but not necessarily the Final Fantasy that I think you should jump into first.
Final Fantasy VII (The Last Turn-Based One You Should Play)
Everything you’ve heard about Final Fantasy stems from this game. Final Fantasy VII redefined storytelling in video games and made JRPGs a mainstay for years to come. I think it has arguably aged the worst out of all the games mentioned above, but it’s still an important game and an important piece of video game history. Due to its retro nature, I think it can be considered quite an undertaking to jump into FFVII for the first time, especially if you’re not familiar with anything outside of a few iconic scenes.
Final Fantasy VII is an awesome journey, and it has also received some quality-of-life improvements with its Switch port that should make it a bit easier to play. Do yourself a favor and build up to this one: it’s certainly worthy of all its hype. Whether you’re on the side of the ninth game or this one, it cannot be overlooked how important this JRPG is to gaming’s history, and that’s why I think you should wait to play FFVII.
Final Fantasy X-2 (The Totally Optional One)
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Included with Final Fantasy X HD
Final Fantasy X-2 is a solid sequel to FFX. However, if you’re interested in just playing the mainline games, you’re totally okay skipping out on this one. FFX-2 does change things up in terms of combat, so you can definitely check out how the series began experimenting with different combat styles. The game also stars three female protagonists who are absolutely awesome. If you’re super infatuated with X’s storyline once you see the credits roll, feel free to give this one a shot before jumping into the others.
As someone who has played the large majority of games in this iconic JRPG series, feel free to take my opinions into consideration, or don’t! It’s totally up to you. Be sure to give yourself a lot of time to enjoy each of these Final Fantasy games, as every single one that’s on the Switch is really quite good. It’s certainly an exciting time to be a Switch owner and a JRPG fan.