I love FF 1-9, after that, I'm not a fan.
FF7 is the best in the series, followed by FF9 and FF6. FF8, although good, is the worst out of 1-9.
FF10, 11(MMO), 12, 13, 14(MMO) were all not that good in my opinion.
If you are playing FF7, then be prepared for one of the, if not the greatest JRPG of all time. The story/characters/weapons/leveling system don't fully open up until about 10 hours into the game, that's when you realize how amazing the game is, and it never stops from there.
First of all, I'm so happy this is a thread because I've always been obsessed with the final fantasy games. In fact anything made by squaresoft (square enix) has been gold for the most part. Chrono trigger Chrono Cross, and Kingdom Hearts (never played KH2) being the most notable non-final fantasy ones.
Second of all, I agree with most of what you said, MC. FF7 is the greatest RPG and IMO the greatest piece of gold in existence in the video game industry. I literally just beat it again for the fourth time a couple days ago.
I also agree that ff9 is the second best in the series and ironically i just started playing it again yesterday. The music, just like in every final fantasy, is beautiful and the battle sequences, storyline, cutscenes, and environments are breathtaking.
I ALSO agree with you saying ff6 is the third best in the series. Lb for lb sort of speak it could potentially top ff7. The depth of the storyline and incredible plot development in this game is a piece of art. I feel it was the graphics that really limited the full potential of the game but for what its worth, its brilliant. Everyone talks about remaking ff7 with better graphics which I would die for but what really would interest me would be the remake of ff6....damn.
Unfortunately, I have to disagree with you saying ff8 was the worst of the series. FF8's music, cutscenes, and character likability were the best of the best in the series IMO. The one factor that did however come into play that made this game fall short of 6,7, and 9 was the plot development. I feel as if the second half of the game became too generic and didn't stand out from other rpg's. With all that being said though, the overall package of ff8 makes it one hell of a game.
As for my 5th favorite in the series, its probably a 4 way tie between 4,5,10, and tactics. All 4 games bring something special to the table. A lot of people haven't played tactics and considering it's lack of a world map and any real depth in terms of overall control in the game, most would think it would fail in comparison but the storyline and battle system are off the charts in terms of uniqueness, excitement, and overall draw.
Also some side notes:
I never played 3, 12 and 13 but they'd have to be pretty damn impressive if they would want to break into the top 5.
X-2 and tactics advanced were mistakes IMHO but enjoyable mistakes so even though I never played 13, I can't imagine 13-2 being much different in value than x-2 and tactics advanced.
I'd say 11 was easily the worst... awful game in general.