Data Tracker: How Does "Final Fantasy XIII" Compare?

A game was accidentally mis-numbered in an early paragraph; that has now been corrected. [3/10]

What part of "final" do they not understand?

Image How lucky is number 13?

Arriving in stores this week, Final Fantasy XIII (PS3: 82; 360: 83) is neither the final nor the 13th game in Square Enix's venerable franchise. In fact, dating back to the original Japanese release of Final Fantasy (for the Nintendo Entertainment System) in 1987, there have been over three dozen FF-related titles, and over 70 individual product releases, amounting to over 80 million units sold.

The new game is considered the 13th installment in the main series, and it actually follows a game widely considered one of the best (if not the best) in the series: Final Fantasy XII. FF13 also marks the arrival of the main series on the modern-generation consoles, which means that not only does it have impossibly big shoes to fill, it needs to impress visually like never before.

And how is the new game performing with critics? Well, while it is earning generally positive reviews, Final Fantasy XIII is the lowest-scoring title in the main series since at least Final Fantasy VII (the earliest installment for which we have a score). While the new game does shake up the tried-and-true RPG formula quite a bit -- and while reviewers are indeed loving the graphics -- some critics seem a bit bored with the release.

Here's a better look at how the new game matches up to the previous installment:

Comparing Reviews: Final Fantasy XIII vs. Final Fantasy XII (PS Versions)
Final Fantasy XII   Final Fantasy XIII
Playstation 2 (2006) Platform and Year Playstation 3 (2010)
92 Metascore 82
7.8 User Score 7.5
49 "Great" Critic Reviews 15
12 "Good" Critic Reviews 20
3 "Mixed" Critic Reviews 7
0 "Bad" Critic Reviews 0

All data is from March 9, 2010. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). User Scores represent an average of scores assigned by site visitors on a scale from 0 (bad) to 10 (good). "Great" reviews have an individual grade of 90 or higher; "good" reviews have grades between 75 and 89; "mixed" represents grades between 50 and 74, and "bad" reviews have grades of 49 or lower.

But wait, there's more ... a lot more

While Final Fantasy XIII is the first release in the main series since 2006, Square Enix certainly hasn't been sitting around not releasing Final Fantasy games in the interim. In fact, the past few years have seen an explosion of FF-related releases, as you can see in the chart below:

Total Final Fantasy Releases by Year (Since 1999)

In the chart above, Green represents the number of positively-reviewed releases (Metascore of 75 or higher). Yellow represents releases receiving mixed or average reviews (50-75). Red represents negatively-reviewed releases (0-49). The chart includes all Final Fantasy-related games, including those that do not have enough reviews to qualify for a Metascore or for inclusion in high scores charts. (Such games are color-coded according to the average scores of the reviews they do have.)

What is most noticeable from the chart above is that Square Enix might be emphasizing quantity over quality; many of these additional releases are mediocre at best. How exactly have all of these FF fared with game critics, and where does the new FF13 fit in? Let's look at the scores for all Final Fantasy games in our database (note that since Metacritic wasn't around back in the 1980s and '90s, several of the earliest FF games are not included):

All Final Fantasy-Related Titles in Metacritic's Database, From Best to Worst
  Game Year Platform Genre Metascore
1Final Fantasy IX 2000 PlaystationRPG94
2 Final Fantasy XII 2006 PS2 RPG 92
It may not have the highest score, but FF12 tops many fans' lists of favorites in the series
3Final Fantasy X 2001 PS2RPG92
4Final Fantasy VII 1997 PlaystationRPG92
FF7 remains the best-selling title in the entire Final Fantasy franchise
5Final Fantasy VI Advance 2007 GBARPG92
6Final Fantasy VIII 1999 PlaystationRPG90
7Final Fantasy Chronicles 2001 PlaystationRPG89
8Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of The Lions 2007 PSPStrategy-RPG 88
9Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2003 GBARPG87
10Kingdom Hearts II 2006 PS2Action-RPG 87
The Kingdom Hearts series mixes Final Fantasy characters with those from Disney films
11Final Fantasy X-2 2003 PS2RPG85
12Kingdom Hearts 2002 PS2RPG 85
13Final Fantasy IV Advance 2005 GBARPG85
14Final Fantasy XI 2004 PS2MMORPG85
Also released for PC and the 360, this online multiplayer installment is still actively used
15Final Fantasy IV 2008 DSRPG85
16Final Fantasy XI 2003 PCMMORPG85
17Final Fantasy XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan 2006 PCMMORPG83
18Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII 2008 PSPAction-RPG 83
19Final Fantasy XIII 2010 360RPG83
20Final Fantasy V Advance 2006 GBARPG83
21Final Fantasy Tactics 1997 PlaystationStrategy-RPG 83
22 Final Fantasy XIII 2010 PS3 RPG 82
23Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings 2007 DSAction-RPG 81
24Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift 2008 DSStrategy-RPG 80
25Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles 2004 GameCubeAction-RPG 80
26Final Fantasy Anthology 1999 PlaystationRPG80
27Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King 2008 WiiSim/Adventure 80
28Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls 2004 GBARPG79
29Final Fantasy Origins 2003 PlaystationRPG 79
30Dissidia Final Fantasy 2009 PSPAction-RPG/Fighting 79
31Final Fantasy III 2006 DSRPG77
32Final Fantasy XI: Chains of Promathia 2004 PS2MMORPG 77
33Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates 2008 DSAction-RPG 77
34Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon 2008 WiiAction-RPG 76
35Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories 2004 GBAAction-RPG 76
36Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days 2009 DSAction-RPG 75
37Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales 2007 DSAdventure-RPG 75
38Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time 2009 DSAction-RPG 75
39Final Fantasy XI: Chains of Promathia 2004 PCMMORPG73
40Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A Dark Lord 2009 WiiSim/Adventure 73
41Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories 2008 PS2RPG 69
42Final Fantasy IV: The After Years 2009 WiiRPG69
43Final Fantasy Anniversary Edition 2007 PSPRPG67
44Final Fantasy XI 2006 360MMORPG66
45Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers 2009 WiiAction-Adventure 66
46Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time 2009 WiiAction-RPG 64
47Final Fantasy II Anniversary Edition 2007 PSPRPG63
48Crystal Defenders R1 2009 WiiSimulation62
49Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII 2006 PS2Action-Adventure 57
50Crystal Defenders 2009 360 Strategy/Action52
This poorly-received tower defense game is based on the Final Fantasy Tactics series
The following games do not have the minimum 7 reviews needed to qualify for the above list:
 Crystal Defenders 2009 PS3 Puzzle  
 Crystal Defenders R2 2009 Wii Simulation  
 Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Portable 2006 PSP Board Games  
 Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children 2006 PSPUMD Movie 
 Final Fantasy XI: A Crystalline Prophecy 2009 PCMMORPG 
 Final Fantasy XI: A Crystalline Prophecy 2009 360MMORPG 
 Final Fantasy XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan 2006 PS2MMORPG 
 Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess 2007 360MMORPG 
 Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess 2007 PCMMORPG 

Games are ranked by Metascore prior to rounding. The above table lists all Final Fantasy games in Metacritic's database, including all direct sequels and spinoffs, as well as games utilizing the same worlds or characters (such as the Kingdom Hearts franchise and the Crystal Defenders series). Some releases dating back to 1980s and 1990s are not listed because they do not appear in Metacritic's database, since they predate our site. Games with fewer than 7 reviews are not included in lists that sort by score.

Over the past 23 years, Final Fantasy titles have appeared on virtually every available platform. Here are the best releases for each one (again, only including those games that are in Metacritic's database -- so no Nintendo or Super Nintendo releases here).

Best Final Fantasy Titles by Platform
Platform Game Year Genre Metascore
Game Boy Advance Final Fantasy VI Advance 2007 RPG 92
GameCube Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles 2004 Action-RPG 80
Nintendo DS Final Fantasy IV 2008 RPG 85
PC Final Fantasy XI 2003 MMORPG 85
Playstation Final Fantasy IX 2000 RPG 94
Playstation 2 Final Fantasy XII 2006 RPG 92
Playstation 3 Final Fantasy XIII 2010 RPG 82
Sony PSP Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of The Lions 2007 Strategy-RPG 88
Wii Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King 2008 Sim/Adventure 80
Xbox 360 Final Fantasy XIII 2010 RPG 83

Our next list looks at the top FF titles in a number of different categories and genres.

High-Scoring Final Fantasy Titles by Category
Category Game Year Platform Metascore
Main Series Title Final Fantasy IX 2000 Playstation 94
Sequel or Spinoff Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of The Lions 2007 PSP 88
Compilation Final Fantasy Chronicles 2001 Playstation 89
RPG Final Fantasy IX 2000 Playstation 94
MMORPG Final Fantasy XI 2004 PS2 85
Action Game Kingdom Hearts II 2006 PS2 87
Simulation Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King 2008 Wii 80
Strategy Game Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of The Lions 2007 PSP 88
Multiplayer Final Fantasy Chronicles 2001 Playstation 89
Handheld Final Fantasy VI Advance 2007 GBA 92

Finally, here is a look at the individual releases in the main series -- Final Fantasies 1 through 14.

Comparison of All Final Fantasy Main Series Titles
Game First Release Units Sold (mil) NES SNES GBA DS PC PSX PS2 PS3 PSP 360
Final Fantasy 1987 (US:1990) n/a xx         79     67  
Final Fantasy II 1988 n/a xx         79     63  
Final Fantasy III 1990 3.72 xx     77            
Final Fantasy IV * 1991 3.32   xx 85 85   xx        
Final Fantasy V 1992 2.87   xx 83     xx        
Final Fantasy VI * 1994 3.50   xx       xx        
Final Fantasy VII 1997 9.72         xx 92        
Final Fantasy VIII 1999 7.86         xx 90        
Final Fantasy IX 2000 5.30           94        
Final Fantasy X 2001 7.95             92      
Final Fantasy XI ** 2002 (US: 2003) n/a (online game)         85   85     66
Final Fantasy XII 2006 5.60             92      
Final Fantasy XIII 2010                 82   83
Final Fantasy XIV Coming later in 2010

* Confusingly, the original SNES version of "Final Fantasy IV" was first released as "Final Fantasy II" in the United States, while "Final Fantasy VI" was first released as "Final Fantasy III".
** Also known as "Final Fantasy XI Online"
Games with an "xx" score are not available in Metacritic's database. The PSP scores for "Final Fantasy" and "Final Fantasy II" are for the "Anniversary Edition" releases in 2007. The Playstation scores for the first two Final Fantasy titles is from the 2003 compilation "Final Fantasy Origins" which includes both games. The DS scores for "Final Fantasy III" and "Final Fantasy IV" are from completely remade versions released in 2006 and 2008, respectively. The scores for the GBA versions of the fourth, fifth and sixth games are for the "Advance" versions, released in 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively. Units sold figures show combined worldwide sales (in millions) for that title across all console and handheld platforms (PC sales excluded). Source for sales data:

That 14th installment, by the way, is an MMORPG scheduled for release later in 2010. Although FF11 was also an MMORPG (and one that is still active), FF14 is not considered a sequel to that game.

The final word: Yours

What do you think of the new Final Fantasy XIII? What is your favorite FF game? Let us know in the comments section below.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (147)

  • I Love SQAURE  

    Square forget FF for just like 3 years and make these titles equally as good.
    Xenogears - Xenosaga should be redone and properly finished. You released 3 Titles instead of the intended 7, i believe... This had potential to be a very memorable series.
    Remakes - Romancing Saga II & III want a remake, Saga Frontier I & II and, Unlimited Saga needs a Sequel... a Parasite Eve for PS3 that can compete against Resident Evil, Brave Fencer Musashi deserves a Sequel not a fail PS2 adaptation, Ehrgeiz for PS3 would be so cool just imagine Dissidia but with characters from all sorts of SquareEnix games... It would be legendary, Vagrant Story wants a Sequel, I actually enjoyed Bouncer they should make a sequel, I would like a ton of Enix remakes too but I will save that for a thread pertaining to Enix games...

  • I Love SQAURE  

    Ok my question is to Square, WHY WHY WHY!! are u so insistent on sexualizing pre-pubecent females? It's disgusting really, I think we can all agree -
    VII - Yuffie, bi@#$ u are possibly the worst character in all of gaming i still haven't put my materia back in order...
    VIII - Selphie, You and Zell should go fight some T-Rexuar by yourselves bc you are worthless and you should both die. F#@$ Zell u rat out SeeD.
    IX - Garnet... You and your whole cast are chibi's... Still a great game tho.
    X - Tidus u are possibly the worst female character in all of gaming, you are frail your specials are mediocre and uninspiring, you are whiny and if I was jecht I would have kicked your ass more than once. You are an insignificant wh@#$ and u deserve to only be a memory in the ending.
    X-2 Pain - Eww butch and gothic... U can sit on your sword and bleed to death...
    XI - Mithra... I remember PVPing once and I lost to u... F#@$ MITHRA lay in your litter box u stupid half-cat re#$%@
    XII- Penelo and Ashe are both mediocre at best...
    XIII - Vanille and Fang - **** with seperation anxeity... Fang being Ragnarok did not redeem the character for me, at the end I was happy to see the lesbian couple frozen in ice. Oh these 2 are pretty much responsible for turning Dajh into an L'Cie

  • I Love SQAURE  

    Ok FFXIII Borrows a TON of material from older. It might not be blatently apparent but u can't deny the similarities...

    Opening Sequence of FFXIII shares striking similarities to the Way FFVII opened for instance: Both start with a train. Cloud and Lightening are both EX-Soldiers, they quit for whatever reason. Cloud and Lightning are both Resistance members uncertain of what they truely want to accomplish. Sazh is a glorified Barret without a Gunner Arm and without 200 Extra lbs.
    I don't think FFXIII borrows just from VII tho, I find Fang and Rinoa's design very similar. They would almost be identical if Rinoa was also a lesbian (Fang has seperation anxiety with vanille and their whole story is just about some giant **** reunion.)

  • FF fans are dumb  

    FF13: Press "X" to watch the rest of this 40 hour movie. 12 was the best thing to happen to the series in years but fanboys are too worried about the lack of Sephiroth.

  • Essex  

    Final fantasy 7, 8 and 9 were the series peaks each fantastic in there own way, my personal favourite was 9 as I prefer traditional style RPGs ... 10s long, narrow, reppettative corridors were a step back in the series, 12 just plain sucked and 13 has now officially lost the plot completely...
    This is why I play 7, 8 and over and over and will continue to do so until a decent final fantasy comes out!

  • Anon  

    I don't know why FFXII is considered so good, I personally didn't like it that much. It kept my attention for a few days, then I just kinda forgot about it. In my opinion, FFX was the best by far, followed by FFIX. FFVIII was a good one too, and I never really got into FFVII, even though I did finish and enjoy it. If you ask me, FFXIII is the worst game in the series, I'm on the second disk and am rather unimpressed. Of the older games, I think FFIV and VI were the best, as they were the only ones I never finished. I didn't understand why FFI was popular 15 years ago, and I don't understand it now.

  • John  

    How can you say that FF7 was the least best game next to FF13?! FF12 is rated the best?! its quite the opposite. I couldn't finish 12. I thought I was the only one, but after reading some posts its obivous that I wasn't the only one that had issues with that game. Also, how did you gather the score for 12? did you use reviews from a combination of the last 4 years of when it was released? 10 has only been out for 1 year, and its across two different platforms, which means you're going to have an inaccurate score. The title of the article is "How Does “Final Fantasy XIII” Compare?" is it not? Not, How does Final Fantasy XIII Compare on each platform individually.

  • Severely Disappointe  

    The last game I played prior to FF13 was FF2 with Cecil and his chums. That is one of my favorite games of all time. I put more time on that game than any other since. I think I spent 5 hours alone trying to get the pink tail. I figured it was time to get back in to FF with 13, but I wish I hadn't. I can deal with the retarded combat, but what the hell is going on in the story? If I ever hear someone say "focus" or "l'sie" outside of the game, I'll choke them. Or if I see someone that **** as much as Hope, I'll choke them. These characters BLOW. Seriously, WTF is going on in the story? Don't get me wrong, I've put about 13hrs in to the game trying to figure out what is going on. However, I just can't stand listening to these **** anymore. I'm done with FF for good.

  • Mishal  

    I love FFXII, but it is far far far far from being anywhere near mine--or anyone I know's-- favorite FF game. FFXIII, in fact, is definitely up there. I just finished it, and despite what everyone says, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not afraid to say that it might very well be my favorite of them all. One of the more complex storylines, an incredible paradigm battle system, characters that are incredibly easy to empathize with, and a super fun weapon upgrading system? I thought it was great.

  • Joseph H.  

    FFVI has always been my favorite installment in the series. I enjoyed VII a lot, but it's obviously steered the franchise into a downward spiral that I doubt it'll ever fully recover from. FFXII was a great game, although I felt that the male lead, Vaan, was a completely unnecessary and last-minute addition designed to give the player an easy (read: vacuous and generic) main character to empathize with. I also played and loved the original FF Tactics and Crystal Chronicles titles, the latter for its multiplayer mode. All that said, I force-fed myself FFXIII in its disgusting entirety until I regurgitated it onto my living room floor, looking arguably better than it had on the way in. I'll admit, the combat system was great, but the map design was offensively linear and the story was a downright insult to my intelligence. I sincerely hope FFXIV Online isn't awful!

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