Platform: SNES, GBA, Playstation, PS3, PSP, Wii
This ranking is likely blasphemy to many who are reading. I know at least two people who would rank this game #1. And I have to admit, it’s just about as flawless as you can make an RPG. Proving how subjective these rankings can be, it only gets knocked down for me because despite playing it twice, I found the story and characters virtually unmemorable.
Final Fantasy IV introduced so many great things to RPGs. The active time battle system provided some urgency and suspense to battles. The graphics were miles ahead of anything ever seen before in an RPG (and are still great to look at today). The soundtrack is great. And for the first time in the series, a cohesive story was written with set characters with set character classes.
The story was also refreshing because it wasn’t simply good versus evil. The characters in the game have their own motivations, both good and bad. I just wish I would have cared about them more. At first I thought it might be the translation from Japanese (you spoony bard!) but I’ve also played the GBA version which significantly improved the dialogue; I still didn’t care about anybody. I have no explanation other than personal preference.
I would highly recommend this RPG to anyone, even those fans who were born after it came out. The SNES version is pretty easy, while the GBA version is much closer to the Japanese version, and can be brutally difficult at times (though always fair). Both versions are fairly tight, without an exhausting number of side quests.