It's a question that needs to be asked.
Final Fantasy will go down in history as one of the greatest video game franchises of all time. I suppose if Square Enix persists on this downward spiral that began with Final Fantasy XIII , it'll continue to lose a lot of that hard-earned respect and mystique.
But millions will never forget what FF once was: The series that essentially defined core gaming for decades. Whether or not the franchise earned every scrap of its accolades remains up for discussion but personally, despite the downfall, I still – and may forever – say that Final Fantasy is my favorite game IP ever. I think the last truly great one was FFXII, though, and it begs the aforementioned question…
Honestly, though, I think the answer is quite simple: We can't really say a game like Final Fantasy VII is just plain superior to any game today (by today's standards, the story, character development, and of course, the graphics, are just ridiculous). It's even more ridiculous when we start talking about the SNES iterations. However, it's not about comparing them to what we have now; it's just about trying to remember how far ahead of the game (pun intended) they were then, and why everyone remembers them so damn fondly .
There are a ton of games that we recall with smiles on our faces. That's what nostalgia does . But FF fans have a special place in their hearts for these games, and that's what tells me this goes well beyond nostalgia. The experiences made permanent, lasting impressions when they first came out, and those experiences remain firmly entrenched. That's the mark of something fantastic at the time , regardless of how it would seem today.
So no, nostalgia has nothing to do with the franchise's greatness. Everything Final Fantasy achieved then – which continues to stick with so many of us – is what makes it so great. The nostalgia part just makes us keep saying things like "FFVII is still the greatest RPG of all time." 😉