Nintendo Showdown: Vote for the best 32-bit Final Fantasy

Best 32-Bit Final Fantasy VII VIII IX Nintendo Showdown

Another Monday, another brutal and vicious Nintendo Showdown! This time around, we’re talking about legendary RPG series Final Fantasy. But for a twist, we’re not talking about the titles that arrived on a Nintendo console natively, namely, Final Fantasy IVI. Instead, we’re talking about the 32-bit late arrivals on Nintendo Switch: Final Fantasy VII, VIII (soon), and IX. These titles all began life and earned critical acclaim on the PlayStation 1, but they are finally home where they should be on a Nintendo console.

Nintendo Showdown: 32-Bit Final Fantasy Edition

Final Fantasy VII was a game-changing meteor impact for the popularity of RPGs among casual gamers. In fact, it was one of the first titles ever to be compared directly to films in terms of its cinematic storytelling. Up to that point, Square had never had a game sell one million copies in America, but this game achieved it in three months. Essentially, Final Fantasy VII rewrote the rules on big-budget gaming and set a precedent for the series being at the forefront of technology. It also just had a highly memorable cast of characters and a lot of themes to unpack. For that era, it was a home run on all fronts, being so fondly remembered that a high-definition remake is in the works.

Next, there is Final Fantasy VIII… Yeah. It’s one of the most divisive titles in the entire series, and I currently fall on the side that doesn’t remember the game fondly. It’s another big-budget adventure with colorful characters and exotic locations, but the battle system made maybe too many changes for its own good. There is little incentive to level up, money is awarded through a salary, the “Draw” system makes it easy to break combat, and cinematics for summon attacks can take up literal hours of your life if you allow it. I honestly just gave up out of pure boredom on the third disc. But maybe you have a more favorable opinion of it!

Finally, there is Final Fantasy IX, a game that I seldom hear criticism about, and for good reason. It’s yet another big-budget adventure, but unlike the previous two titles, it goes back to the series’s roots. It’s often a true fantasy game, and it brings back the elemental crystals that had not been seen since V. Combat is largely traditional and comprehensible again, but with enough wrinkles to keep things interesting. The game also has unsuspectingly deep meditations on the nature of life and death lurking behind its adorable characters. Aside from maybe a slight lack of innovation, it was really another home run, and a spectacular way to end the series on the first PlayStation.

So the power is now yours! Vote for the best 32-bit Final Fantasy, and then tell us in the comments section why you feel that way! Personally, I have to go with IX. It’s just the whole, delicious package for me.

John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming, Managing Editor at The Escapist. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea. And I'm developing the game Boss Saga!