8 – Final Fantasy IV
Initial Release Date: November 23, 1991
Why it’s one of the best RPGs: Before the myriad other Final Fantasy greats, we have Final Fantasy IV, the oldest of the series on this list. Though there have been plenty of remakes since its release (along with a direct sequel that we don’t talk about), many younger Final Fantasy fans may not have gotten to experience the tale of Redwings Captain Cecil Harvey, his love, Rosa, and his transformation from Dark Knight into Paladin in one of the most unique boss battles of its time.
Final Fantasy IV was the first iteration of Square’s Active Time Battle system, a system that they would go on to use in many Final Fantasy games that followed and other greats such as Chrono Trigger. It allowed for a fast-paced, strategic element to traditional turn-based battles, giving them variety and better pacing than the button mashing of regular systems. The game also offered a whopping twelve playable characters, each with its own class, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Since your party only consists of three members at a time, this allowed for customization in battles the likes of which hadn’t been seen before. You’ll need every bit of power each of the twelve possesses in order to stop the evil Golbez from activating a horrible monstrosity–an instrument for an even darker plot going beyond the boundaries of Earth, itself.
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