The Final Fantasy series has long-been regarded as one of the greatest RPG series to ever exist, let alone being one of the longest-standing. While its gameplay and storylines have changed drastically over the last few decades, one thing that remains steady is its music composition. Nobuo Uematsu, now joined by Masashi Hamauzu since Final Fantasy XV, have both created nothing short of brilliant, beautiful, and inspired work. So much so, that Distant Worlds, the official orchestra of Final Fantasy, tours worldwide every year so fans can hear their favorite game soundtracks live.
While we could spend all day ranking and rearranging the order of each soundtrack, every game has its own unique and wonderful sound. These songs bring us back to moments that defined our gaming lives, so while we can rank them as best we can, they all hold a special place in our hearts!
10 Final Fantasy FFXV, An Orchestrated Masterwork
There are undoubtedly many who will disagree with the fact that FFXV boasts some of the greatest video game music in existence, let alone in the series, but let's put our game gripes aside for a second. Regardless of whether or not the game was well-received, the fact that a live orchestra and choir were both used to created emotional and refined pieces is incredible. This soundtrack has the ability to pump us up, make us cry, and 'Somnus' will undoubtedly go down in video game history as one of the best.
9 Final Fantasy VII With Its Ultimate Boss Music
Normally, FFVII should rank somewhere above average for its game music. However, when we hear the live versions of this song (which will likely be similar to the remake versions), it reminds us once again why this game is so well-loved.
Every song, from 'Cosmo Canyon' to 'Aerith's Theme' and even the Bombing Mission music has been crafted to suit each scene in this game. Of course, we can't forget 'One-Winged Angel', mainly because you can't think of it without having it stuck in your head for an hour.
8 Final Fantasy IX Brought Forth All The Emotions
While not as lengthy as the other soundtracks, the music in FFIX stood alone in its own right. It was a game that went back to the 'fantasy' roots of the series and had a flawless soundtrack to match. 'Roses of May' and 'You're Not Alone' are enough to make a grown man cry... and many have. The battle music is nothing short of what's expected with any Final Fantasy but it was still fitting nevertheless.
7 Final Fantasy VIII, A True Love Story With Music To Match
FFVIII is a bit of an underrated game. Many will argue that it doesn't get enough credit while others will argue it wasn't great, but this is all about the sound. That means FFVIII ranks pretty high on the list and for good reason; for starters, the battle music is unique and not quite like any other game. Additionally, the final boss music is one hella journey from start to finish and takes us through a myriad of emotions while still managing to give off a slightly creep vibe. That's without even mentioning 'Eyes on Me', possibly the greatest love song to come out of any Final Fantasy.
6 Final Fantasy X, Because Zanarkand
If any game ending is going to make a gamer cry, it's definitely the one for FFX. While bittersweet, what's truly bittersweet is 'To Zanarkand'. It's a tear-jerker for sure, even without the cutscenes that accompany it.
While the rest of the music for this game was sub-par, or at least nothing entirely revolutionary, its this ballad that had us bawling for days and scouring YouTube for a live version.
5 Final Fantasy VI Got Us Pumped (And Nervous) With 'Dancing Mad'
Similar to the final boss music for FFVIII, 'Dancing Mad' was a song that had us on the edge of our seats. With dramatic ups and downs and plenty of 8-bit organ notes just to remind us of who we were fighting, Kefka became menacing both in sight and sound. We could only imagine what an eventual remake would be like, especially if the in-game soundtrack is anything like the Distant Worlds version... We can hope, can't we?
4 Final Fantasy XII Was Fitting And Cleverly Composed
While the game itself was yet another that received mixed reviews and could be scored as a bit underrated, this is another case where the music definitely stood out. Interestingly, it was a side-quest boss whose music comes to mind when we think of FFXII. Fighting Gilgamesh was an adventure, but his music made things entertaining and fun. With an overall regal soundtrack, FFXII definitely makes it into the top ten.
3 Final Fantasy XIV Has Some Choice Soundtracks
While there are definitely too many to list at this point, FFXIV does echo the same live-orchestra sound that made FFXV such a joy to experience. So much of the game has such great music, in fact, that we'd recommend giving it a listen regardless of whether you're an MMORPG player. With extensions being added every year, we're expecting nothing but greatness as far as future soundtracks.
2 Final Fantasy XIII, The Music Made Up For The Gameplay
Arguably one of the most hated games in the series, Final Fantasy XIII -- and each game to follow -- did Square Enix no favors. However, the soundtrack and the graphics came in clutch, as this was the first modern-gen game to premiere in the Final Fantasy series boasting such.
If the boss music wasn't your thing, then the battle music, 'Blinded by Light', definitely amped up key violin moments combined with just enough emotion to remind us why we were playing.
1 Final Fantasy V Was Modern Despite Its Retro Timeframe
With 67 songs in the original soundtrack for FFV, it's not surprising to see why it made such an impression on gamers who were fans of the retro games. If you've been with Square Enix or, for that time, Squaresoft, for that long, then it's likely you were a fan of this soundtrack from the moment you first heard it. Many hardcore fans will call this the greatest Final Fantasy soundtrack and, as far as games I-V go, they would probably be right.