Top Ten Final Fantasy Cutscenes
Beginning with Final Fantasy VII, the Final Fantasy series has had some of the best cutscenes in video game history. They've showcased beautiful introductions to huge battles. The following are my top ten list of Final Fantasy cutscenes. They are judged on the technical excellence, excitement of the scene, and memorableness. WARNING: Some of the descriptions below could contain spoilers to the game if you haven't played them.
#10 - Final Fantasy XII - Opening Movie
Graphically, the cutscenes in Final Fantasy XII were brilliant. However, in my opinion, many weren't too memorable. Far too many of them involved airships and not the actual characters themselves. The opening scene in Final Fantasy XII is the best cutscene overall. It shows a mini-prequel to the story in the game, includes a cool battle (what battle isn't cool with chocobos as your steed), and introduces a number of the main characters. It's fun to go back and watch the video once you've played the game. A number of small subtleties stand out.
#9 - Final Fantasy XI - Opening Movie
Artistically I love this cutscene, as it follows two young children and their struggle to survive, along the way being introduced to all the races in the game and the struggle you'll face in the game. The ending, which circles around back to the very beginning of the video is a nice touch. All of this makes it better than the opening cutscene to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which while more epic, wasn't as deep. This cutscene would be higher on this list, except that it features only nameless characters, so there isn't that much emotional attachment to the characters.
#8 - Final Fantasy IX - Ending
Final Fantasy IX probably had my favorite group of characters of any Final Fantasy game. However, the cutscenes as a whole weren't the most thrilling or memorable. The most memorable one of the bunch is the ending scene, where you see Zidane come back and all the characters from the game cheer his return. Yeah, it's a little sappy, but who wasn't excited to see Zidane make it back to Garnet.
#7 - Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core - Sephiroth vs Genesis
In my opinion, this is the best fight sequence cutscene in the Final Fantasy cutscene library. Not really much more to say beyond that. Just watch and enjoy.
#6 - Final Fantasy X - Yuna's Wedding / Assault on Bevelle
Featuring the entire group of heroes from Final Fantasy X, the assault on Bevelle is the most exciting cutscene in this game as the team attempts to save Yuna from her wedding to Seymour Guado. I don't know what it is about this cutscene, but it's just exciting to see the group swoop in from their airship via cables.
#5 - Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus - Midgar Assault
Even by Final Fantasy standards this battle scene is over the top. However, it features everyone's favorite Final Fantasy VII characters engaged in a gigantic battle. What's more to say than that?
#4 - Final Fantasy XIII - Assault on Eden
Much like the Dirge of Cerberus cutscene above, this scene is completely over the top, but features everyone's favorite Final Fantasy XIII characters and summons. It's fun and exciting to see all of them in the same cutscene in action.
#3 - Final Fantasy XIII - Welcome to Gran Pulse
This is the highlight cutscene of Final Fantasy XIII. The vast majority of the game constantly mentions Gran Pulse, so the first images of the team entering Gran Pulse is gorgeous, majestic, and memorable. In addition, the perilous descent into Gran Pulse is movie quality.
#2 - Final Fantasy VII - Aeris/Aerith Death
Graphically, this is the worst cutscene of all those listed here. However, it's so memorable it has to be mentioned. Not only is it one of the most memorable cutscenes in the Final Fantasy universe, it's one of the most memorable in video game history. I compare it very much to the Gwen Stacy death in Spiderman, one of those moments where you knew video games could tell a story a little deeper than what they were in the past.
#1 - Dissidia: Final Fantasy - Opening Movie
It's not the most emotionally intense cutscene and has virtually no part on the story. What makes this the #1 Final Fantasy cutscene of all time? It's simply a Final Fantasy fanboy treat. It features all the greatest heroes and villains from the Final Fantasy universe engaged in one huge gloriuos battle. Squall vs Sephiroth? Zidane vs. Kefka? Tidus vs. Kuja? Terra vs Cloud of Darkness? You get the idea.