The Final Fantasy franchise is nearly as old as the video game industry itself.
First released way back in 1987, what initially started as a hail mary title has since turned into a media franchise that has spawned more than a dozen mainline titles and been featured in other forms of media, making hundreds of millions of dollars along the way.
But while the mainline titles get all of the attention -- all eyes are currently on Final Fantasy 16 -- the franchise also has a handful of spin-off titles that are just as good as the mainline titles.
Make sure to scroll down below to find out more about the best Final Fantasy spin-off titles ever released.
Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lion
Platform/s: PlayStation, PlayStation Portable, iOS and Android
Final Fantasy Tactics was a ground-breaking title for more reasons than just being one of the first big spin-off titles of the Final Fantasy franchise.
Whereas previous mainline titles had mainly featured straightforward stories where you are in control of the saviors of the world and are up against a villain hell-bent to destroy it, Final Fantasy Tactics was different. Instead, the game explored a mature and layered story that showed us that the world isn't always black and white.
Final Fantasy Tactics was first released in 1998 for the original PlayStation and is also remembered for its battle system.
The 3D and isometric battlefield were designed by Yasumi Matsuno. The gameplay borrowed heavily from Matsuno's previous work, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, for the SNES, which is also considered one of the most influential tactical RPGs ever released.
An oldie but goodie, you can enjoy Final Fantasy Tactics in its modern form these days.
The game was re-released for the PlayStation Portable in 2007 as Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions. The updated version featured better visuals, sound, and voice acting, as well as newer characters. The said port was then later made available on iOS devices later on.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (Remastered)
Platform/s: Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4
Many consider Final Fantasy IX as the best Final Fantasy game ever released.
The way that the 2000 title mixed the then-modern direction of Final Fantasy titles, while drawing heavy inspiration from the first six releases resulted in a masterpiece of a title that earned a Metacritic score of 94%.
Unfortunately, the subsequent sequels did not go in the same direction. Although they were still very good titles in their own ways, many were left clamoring for the same art style and gameplay that Final Fantasy IX had.
Luckily, there exists one Final Fantasy game that might help scratch that particular itch.
Enter, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles.
This action RPG spin-off had the same director (Kazuhiko Aoki) and character designer (Toshiyuki Itahana) as Final Fantasy XI, so the gameplay and look will feel familiar for fans of Final Fantasy IX. Even better, the soundtrack takes a lot of inspiration from the first six mainline titles released for the Nintendo and Super Nintendo Consoles.
If you're worried that it's not available for modern consoles, don't be.
Final Fantasy Chronicles was remastered for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 in August 2020.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Platform/s: PlayStation Portable
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII was released for the PlayStation Portable way back in 2008, as a spin-off to Final Fantasy VII.
The story serves as a prequel to Final Fantasy VII with the former owner of the Buster Sword, Zack Fair, serving as the protagonist. However, while it's set in the same universe, unlike Final Fantasy VII, the game uses combat mechanics similar to that of the Kingdom Hearts series.
While the graphics are starting to show their age, they're not exactly as bad as you would expect from a game released decades ago.
Hopefully, with the Final Fantasy VII Remake having already released (and part 2 on its way), Square Enix decides to remaster the game to encourage more players to explore the universe and lore of Final Fantasy VII.
Final Fantasy: Type-0
Platform/s: PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4
Action-RPGs and Final Fantasy feel like a match made in heaven. However, while there have been only a few action-RPGs in the franchise released, most of them stand out as among the best.
Another good example is Final Fantasy: Type 0.
The game is part of the same series as Final Fantasy XIII and XV (Fabula Nova Crystallis). It gives players control of 14 soldiers known as the Class Zero. Their goal? Fight off foreign invaders and protect their home country.
Fast, fun, and nuanced, with tons of variety and numerous opponents on display, Final Fantasy: Type-0 is a great place to let some steam off.
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
Platform/s: PlayStation Portable
As a franchise filled with fighters, a fighting game featuring Final Fantasy characters seems like a no-brainer.
Such was what Square Enix thought when they released Final Fantasy: Dissidia back in 2009.
Although it was only exclusive to the PlayStation Portable, the game made full use of the portable console's capabilities. It was still able to showcase fully what it'd be like to see mainline series protagonists go up against other protagonists and antagonists in what was essentially a dream come true for fans of the franchise.
To enjoy the game to its fullest, we recommend playing Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.
Also a PSP-exclusive, the game serves as a prequel and a remake of the 2009 title.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call
Platform/s: Nintendo 3DS
Do you know what's one thing that all Final Fantasy games share? Aside from handsome protagonists with spiky hairs and oversized swords of course? Well, great music!
This rhythm game is a stark departure from the traditional Final Fantasy gameplay but is also oh-so-fun.
The 3DS-exclusive features accessible gameplay, a fantastic score that includes all the music from the mainline titles, as well as adorable sprites for additional eye-candy.
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire Of The Rift
Platform/s: Nintendo DS
The sequel to the spin-off of a spin-off (yes, that is quite the mouthful), Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire Of The Rift, could've very well been a separate standalone spin-off title for the Nintendo DS.
Billed as a sequel to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for the GBA, the game revolves around another young boy who finds himself trapped in the world of Ivalice. However, unlike its predecessor, the game actually ties into other games in the Ivalice Alliance series. It even features appearances from Vaan and Penelo, characters from Final Fantasy XII.
In addition to having a better story, the sequel also does away with the annoying things (judges aren't as obnoxious anymore) and has far more side quests and missions for you to complete.
All in all, it's just a much better game and one of the best Final Fantasy spin-off titles ever.