1. Final Fantasy VII
Even with all the deep thinking, the charts and graphs, the sleepless nights and the constant back and forth pondering, it was impossible to ignore our knee-jerk first answer. It has to go to Final Fantasy VII. Haters want to rag on the game due to its almost unanimous stance as "everyone's favorite RPG," but the truth is, it completely rocks. The cast has become a universe into itself, spawning untold amounts of peripheral material, from DVDs to fan fiction to spin-off games. The battles are a perfect mix of old-school Active Time Battles and the new, functional idea of Materia, enabling you to create all kinds of crazy magical combos. And with the varied quests lying about, you'll have plenty of opportunities to exhaust every nuance of this finely tuned fighting engine. From the first assault on the Mako reactor to Sephiroth's galaxy-busting final attack, FFVII exceeded every goal and even created new ones for developers around the world.
Then, aside from the fact that the game rules, it's important to note how FFVII changed, well, everything. Role-playing games went from niche to mainstream thanks to Cloud and his crew. The Hollywood-style cutscenes delivered action in fresh new ways while the power of the PlayStation offered a game that floored anyone who saw it. This game's impact was so impossibly heavy that you could blame it for causing Nintendo's late '90s downfall - once Square defected to Sony, Nintendo never caught back up. Not in Japan, not in the US, not anywhere. The name Final Fantasy carries so much weight that this one game practically sealed the success of Sony, and the continuous downward spiral of Nintendo (a situation it's only now recovering from).
Piss and moan all you want folks, but FFVII wins this. It has to.
Want to find out more? Our Final Fantasy week continues with more of the best the series has to offer. Click here.