With all this Final Fantasy VII Remake chatter, this is a very relevant and timely question.
We all know the new mechanic in that Remake will be action-based and I doubt there will be any surprises. But in your estimation, which game in the Final Fantasy series had the very best combat system?
You can go all the way back to the dawn of the Job system in FFV or the Espers in FFVI. Or even earlier, if you like. Now, there's always lots of controversy surrounding the Materia in FFVII and it remains to be seen how Square Enix will approach that critical element in the Remake . But what about Junctions in VIII? The idea of actually using magic as your armor by "attaching" groups of spells to stats? And drawing specific spells from certain foes? I don't remember FFIX that well but I do remember learning abilities that came attached to certain weapons.
The Sphere Grid in FFX is always a favorite but don't write off FFX-2 so fast. I've actually always considered that game to have the most streamlined, in-depth system ever, as it was a perfectly honed version of what we saw in FFX. That's just me, though. FFXII was dramatically different as we got a hybrid system for the first time, along with a more open world, encountering enemies in real-time while exploring, etc. Not many liked the Licenses but I didn't mind them at all, nor did I mind the Gambits (a precursor of systems that we commonly see in today's RPGs).
As for the FFXIII trilogy, I always thought the systems there were a little watered down, but I did like FFXIII-2. It just made more sense; none of this "if the team leader dies the game is over" crap, and there were several other big changes that made it feel more like a real RPG. However, the less said about the mess that was Lightning Returns , the better.
So, what's your pick?