- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Game Overview - September 21, 2022
- Dirge of Cerberus Overview - May 21, 2022
- Yu Yevon Guide: A Closer Look at this Mysterious Character - May 21, 2022
Final Fantasy is one of the most recognizable names in videogame history. Whether you’re a fan of it or not, the name itself has enough gravitas and fame behind it to make anyone perk their ears up. It was so big at one point in time that it commissioned a big-budget movie that had some serious star power to it, and although it’s looked back on as a pretty huge disaster, it’s still quite the achievement that an RPG game was able to inspire that sort of project, seeing as no other game in the genre has made its way to the silver screen since.
Part of what makes Final Fantasy such an incredible experience, regardless of the games you play, are the Final Fantasy locations you will visit. The series has a unique way of creating places that don’t seem far removed from places in modern times or throughout history, but it dashes these with doses of uniqueness and charm that make something completely new. In the early years of Final Fantasy, it was very much medieval RPG.
Character classes like Nights and Mages and such were abundant, and the worlds were all about castles, princesses, evil kings, and the like. As the titles progressed, though, bits of sci-fi was dabbed into the proceedings, and these days, Final Fantasy are games that take place in a world very close to our own.
My love for Final Fantasy started back in the mid-’90s, and my first Final Fantasy game was Final Fantasy VII. Since then, I’ve played every title in the series, including some of the spinoffs, and can easily say it’s one of my favorite game series of all time. The magical lands they introduce just whisk me away to a simpler time, and the writing and characters are always on point for the duration of these lengthy adventures.
Although each title is different and takes place in a separate world, the locations are consistently unreal to take in, so let’s take a look at some of the most amazing locations in Final Fantasy history. Some minor spoilers will follow.
- Story relevant locations
- Amazing game design
- Challenging areas
- Enjoyable to explore areas
Midgar- Final Fantasy VII
When Final Fantasy first starts out, it marks the first time in the series history that the world became more modern, and things like cars, cell phones, and TVs were visible in the opening cinematic. From there, we got to explore Midgar with Cloud and company, and the result is still one of the most memorable experiences to this day. Midgar was the first fully realized 3D city I had ever seen, and it felt so alive to explore.
From the massive shopping center of Wall Market that had places like gyms and clothing stores to the underbelly of the city where abandoned train stations and slums existed, to the corporate headquarters of Shinra, this was an unreal experience. Square Enix clearly agreed and decided to make the entirety of Final Fantasy VII Remake take place here, but even the remake didn’t successfully recreate the magic that the original Midgar appearance had.
Dealing City- Final Fantasy VIII
Early in Final Fantasy VIII, you’ll be exploring a lot of open-world areas and walking around your school, Balamb Garden, and while you’re told about these massive cities that exist in the world, you don’t see them for quite a bit.
That’s what makes them part of the game that takes place in the capital of Galbadia, Dealing City, such an amazing experience. You clearly can get the vibe of a realistic world from places like Dollet Town, but once you step into Dealing City for the first time, it’s revelatory. This is a location that the developers have said was inspired by France, and it marks the first time that a realistic city was available in Final Fantasy to explore.
Right down to its architecture, the visuals of this place were just amazing, and surrounding the whole visit was one of the most intense missions in the story. The music that plays throughout is perfect as well, and the whole experience is a perfect counter to the deadly mission you’re about to undertake in the dark recesses of the city.
Black Mage Village- Final Fantasy IX
This location is incredible for a few reasons. First of all, we finally get to see where these cute Black Mages have been coming from for all these years. Unfortunately, the reality of that answer is one of the most horrific and tragic discoveries in all of Final Fantasy.
While the village is mostly peaceful, there is a creepy undertone to the existence there when you see that each of the Black Mages you can speak with has a number for a name. They are innocent, though, and are later revealed to be part of a horrifying plan by one of the game’s main villains.
Not only is the atmosphere here beautiful and powerful, but the citizens all have interesting things to say, and the leader will depart his life philosophy to you in one of the more poignant and thoughtful moments of any game that I can remember.
Compared to the bustling cities and chaotic dungeons you’ll be traversing throughout the game, Black Mage Village is a calm and quiet place that seems to be begging to be left out of the greater conflict in the game. What makes it all the sadder is that it ends up being directly in the middle of it.
Final Fantasy VIII has some of the most imaginative locations in the series, but one place to me that will always be remembered is Balamb Garden. This is the starting area of the game, and for the first time in the series, you are playing as a student in a school
. Of course, this isn’t an ordinary school, but rather a military training facility that is set up kind of like a college. It comes complete with a school bully in the form of your rival Seifer and immediately, Final Fantasy VIII grips you with a very unique feeling scenario.
Accompanied by some of the best music in the series, Balamb Garden is a massive area that has combat training zones, a cafeteria, a campus ground for students to hang out in, and of course, classrooms.
It’s also home to a massive boss fight near the midpoint of the series, and after a period of time, it literally takes off and becomes an Airship for you and your party to travel around with! Viewing Balamb Garden from the outside is almost as amazing as the inside as the floating halo ring above its head is one of the more interesting and mysterious structures that you can see in the game.
Zanarkand- Final Fantasy X
Zanarkand is a location you’ll visit a few times in Final Fantasy X, and each time you visit, you will be in for a wildly different experience. At the beginning of the game, you play as Tidus, the star Blitzball player of the Zanarkand Abes, and this city is one of the most jaw-dropping the franchise has ever seen. It’s full-on futuristic with massive buildings, crazy sports arenas, and some truly bizarre outfits worn by the locals.
The vibe of the city is powered by some up-tempo and joyful rock music, and it feels very much like a dream world in how cool and fun everything is. Without spoiling anything, that’s very much purposeful, and the feeling you get from exploring Zanarkand in the opening hours to the one that overtakes you when you visit the land again towards the end of the game is just unforgettable.
Returning to Zanarkand in the last part of the game combined with that incredible song playing in the background can drive up the emotions, and it’s a perfect return to the beginning of the game, except this time, the tone has shifted completely.
Nibelheim- Final Fantasy VII
Nibelheim is arguably the most important place in Final Fantasy VII. It’s got so much story in it, and the town itself is such a fascinating area that it is a progenitor for what’s to come. Early in the game, you learn that Sephiroth burned down Nibelheim in a destructive rage, but when you return here, instead of a pile of ashes, it’s a perfectly quaint town.
Cloud and Tifa are expecting their hometown to be covered in ashes, but instead, it’s like nothing ever happened. This is all, of course, because Shinra rebuilt the town immediately after the fire, not out of the goodness of their hearts, but because they wanted to cover up their involvement with it.
Then, there is Shinra Manor. All the normalcy the outside parts of Nibelheim have come crashing down the second you step inside Shinra Manor. The music is ominous and disturbing, and exploring deeper and deeper into the manor will unearth some horrifying discoveries, including the finding of one of the coolest party members in the game, Vincent Valentine. Traveling to the Nibelheim reactor from here will take you back to where Cloud and Sephiroth’s rivalry truly started, and the whole visit is just an incredible experience.
Altissia- Final Fantasy XV
In the opening hours of Final Fantasy XV, You will experience some rather mundane areas by the series standards. You’ll be in little towns, hotels, and even gas stations for a lot of the beginning of the game. Throughout it, you will hear whispers of a place called Altissia, and from that moment on, you know that Square Enix is just building that place up as the big wow moment of the game.
Sure enough, at the midpoint of the game, you finally get to travel to this incredible city. The approach to it on a singular waterway surrounded by massive waterfalls with the hulking city gates awaiting you is still one of the most incredible moments in the series and exploring the city is a huge joy to experience as well.
Malacania Woods- Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X has the fascinating ability to combine the old with the new in so many ways. Through a lot of the game, you’ll be exploring what feels like a Caribbean land mixed with sci-fi that feels a world away from the magical lands that were visited in games of old. Once you get to the Malacania Woods, though, so much of that magic from the previous games return, and it’s still one of the most beautiful locations in any game to visit.
With the Pyreflies lighting up the world and the crystalline pathways leading from location to location, it’s like exploring a dream world, and it’s no wonder that this area houses one of the more romantic scenes in Final Fantasy. The monsters here are also incredibly unique, and the amount of time you’ll be here will be well spent on all fronts.
Esthar- Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy VIII has one of the more unique aesthetics in the series. It’s very realistic, with cars and modern technology all over the place, but there are bits of sci-fi sprinkled throughout the opening hours as well.
Everything in the game feels very grounded in reality, which makes the over-the-top combat and crazy summon attacks feel amazing by comparison. You’ll be exploring cities that look not so far removed from ones in our world for most of the game.
Then, you get to Esthar. Esthar is a city that is literally invisible to you until you find the hidden path inside. Once you do, my goodness, is this place epic to behold. It’s a massive, futuristic city with some truly incredible-looking architecture, and it really feels like you’ve stepped into the future.
The hidden nature of the city means they’ve been hiding this technology from the rest of the world for certain reasons, and the story beats that play out here are just as mesmerizing as the city itself.
Alexandria- Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy XI is one of the throwback games of the series that returns you to the series beginnings in many ways. It feels like a true rags to riches story. Alexandria then becomes the symbol of everything that Zidane has never wanted to be and everything that Dagger (Princess Garnet) was running away from.
Alexandria is an incredible city that is technologically advanced in ways you previously had not seen throughout the game. It’s all ruled over by Queen Brahne, who is slowly letting her cohort Kuja turn the land into a conquering nation. The story that plays out here is powerful and tragic, and Alexandria becomes the backdrop for one of the most incredible cutscenes in the entire series.
Luca- Final Fantasy X
In the opening hours of Final Fantasy X, you might expect this to be a different kind of game than you’re used to. Gone are the massive cities from some of the previous titles, and instead, quaint island civilizations are the places you’ll be exploring the majority of the time. It’s not until you get to Luca that you start to see that old Final Fantasy spirit really kicking into high gear.
This place is absolutely massive, and your approach to it is one of the most beautiful scenes you can find in a videogame. Having Tidus see a massive Blitzball Stadium and the huge buildings that make up Luca is an awesome callback to his experience in Zanarkand at the beginning of the game, and this is also the part of the game where the story really starts picking up some momentum.
Rabanastre- Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy XII’s aesthetic is completely unique from other games, and many of the cities and towns you explore in the game has a middle eastern influence on them. Rabanastre becomes one of the more unique cities you’ll explore in the series because of that. Built in the middle of a massive desert, Rabanastre is a surprisingly populated and bustling city with some incredible architecture and plant life throughout.
The NPCs of the city will constantly be roaming the streets, adding real, life-like quality to the game than previous titles had never really achieved. There are so many areas to explore as well, like markets, weapon shops, and even some hidden areas as well. You’ll be spending a large amount of time in Rabanastre, so it’s a good thing it’s such an awesome place to explore.
Lindblum- Final Fantasy IX
This game is appearing a lot on this list, huh? Well, that’s because if you ask anyone which game in the series has the most memorable locations, it’s almost always going to be Final Fantasy IX.
The imagination on display in this game is unparalleled, and no city exemplifies t more than Lindblum. First off, it’s a massive, steampunk-style city built on the very top of a mountain.
Your approach to the city for the first time is intimidating and awe-inspiring as you can see airships circling the city’s skies. Entering Linblum is another marvel as you get to see what the most technologically advanced civilization in the game looks like.
The buildings and all amazingly designed, and despite being in a very tough-to-reach location, NPCs roam the streets to create a bustling atmosphere that is just a great time to explore.
Kugane- Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
Despite being a Japanese company by origin, Square Enix has never really incorporated any Japanese influence to define any of the major cities they’ve built in their games throughout the years. We’ve seen cities like Paris, middle eastern style ones and Caribbean areas as well. That all changed with the release of Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood and the discovery of Kugane.
This is a massive area with foreign ships coming in and out regularly that serves as a huge hub area for all the NPCs and players of the world. The architecture here is mesmerizing, and the design behind it all has a very eastern feel to it that makes it feel like an ancient Japanese city that has been amped up beyond its previous means.
There is also an awesome soundtrack accompanying your time there that changes depending on if it’s day or night, and it’s one of the biggest reasons you should try out the Stormblood expansion.
Eruyt Village- Final Fantasy XII
Most of the places you visit in Final Fantasy games welcome you. You’re always given happy greetings by shop owners and the like, and if that’s not the case, you’re usually encountering enemies every few steps of the way. Neither is the case with Eruyt Village in Final Fantasy XII.
From the moment you step foot in here, it is clear you are not welcome. This is a sacred village that has been blessed by the gods, and you and your party are full of Humes, who the Eruyt are not too fond of.
Despite that, you are free to explore this magical place, and even though anyone you talk to here will be none too shy in voicing their displeasure with you being there, it’s still an awesome place to explore.
It also finally explains just what Fran is and where she comes from, and believe it or not, not even she is welcomed back to her homeland. This place is full of interesting story moments as well, and your party almost comes off seeming like the bad guys at points throughout your time in the village.
Disc of Cauthess- Final Fantasy XV
Say what you want about the game itself, but Final Fantasy XV has some truly breathtaking visuals. One of the most incredible areas in the game visually and story-wise is the Disc of Caithness. It is here where the god Titan remains holding up a massive meteor that was hurling towards the planet of Eos.
He is frozen in time and nothing more than a spectacle for people to come and see as a tourist attraction. The land is massive, and you can see the energy flowing throughout Titan’s body, as it seems he still must put forth some kind of energy in order to keep the Meteor from hitting the ground.
This all changes when you arrive as Noctis and the Titan decide to wake up. What commences is an incredible-looking battle with a god, and till this point in the story, you have not faced anything close to the size and scale of this Final Fantasy boss.
Costa Del Sol- Final Fantasy VII
With all the fantasy and sci-fi elements filling up the world of Final Fantasy VII, the absurdly normal location of Costa Del Sol is just a very bizarre thing to see. Immediately after defeating an alien named Jenova, you end up in Costa Del Sol, a beautiful beach resort town filled with surfers and a calming soundtrack that is completely the opposite vibe of what you just came from.
It’s a fascinating look at a town of people who have decided to not take part in all the world’s turmoil and have instead chosen to just relax and enjoy their lives. This sentiment is given even more if you return here after Sephiroth has summoned Meteor.
When you return after that point, you can speak to the beachgoers here to find out that they’ve accepted the end of the world and just want to live out their days on the beach getting drunk. Not even Sephiroth’s world-ending Black Materia spell can shake the citizens of Costa Del Sol.
Narshe- Final Fantasy VI
Although it was still in 2D, Final Fantasy VI was a huge accomplishment technically. The little sprite characters were more detailed than ever before, and in Narshe, we meet the first female protagonist in Final Fantasy.
Her intro is as badass as can be, and we see her storm onto the screen with her piercing green hair and massive mech robot, and immediately, you knew this was going to be a much different kind of Final Fantasy game.
The initial town you explore is a quiet and snowy area, but the detailed architecture was groundbreaking, and the colors that defined it all were just beautiful to witness. I know it may not seem like much by today’s standards, but at the time, this was a groundbreaking achievement in graphics.
Besaid- Final Fantasy X
Besaid is the first land you come across after your bizarre experience in Zanarkand to open the game. When you get here, you’ll experience a laid-back island town that seems incredibly relaxed compared to the absolute chaos you just experienced in Zanarkand.
As you explore Besaid, you’ll eventually come across some ruins that seem far beyond the technology at play in Besaid. This speaks to a troubled past where they possibly had to leave behind this technology for a better world, and this story beat begins to shape the main narrative of Final Fantasy X, which is one of the best the series has to offer.
Galbadia Garden- Final Fantasy VIII
The battle of the gardens is one of the most epic scenes in Final Fantasy history. From the incredible music playing to the chaotic battlefield, you find yourself in the middle of, never had there been a scene on the scale of this. What makes it crazier is that these are basically two schools that have gone to war with each other.
Imagine a college sporting event, but instead of sports, the fan bases are trying to kill each other. That’s the vibe you get when you enter Galbadia Garden for the first time, and the enemies you encounter here are just like you, students that are trying to fight for their school.
It’s a disturbing and powerful sequence that has an incredible buildup, and you’ll find yourself battling in classrooms and even encountering the Galbadia Ice Hockey team in a hilarious battle on the hockey rink. This all comes to a head when you finally encounter your rival, Seifer, who has turned to the other side of the conflict, and it remains my favorite moment in the entire series.
Mako Reactor- Final Fantasy VII
Whether you’re talking about the remake of the original, there is no doubting that the Mako Reactor mission to start the game is one of the most memorable moments in all of gaming.
The beautiful sequence that opens the game with the calming music that slowly transitions into Cloud jumping onto a moving train with his iconic and massive sword strapped to his back is one of the most amazing sequences the series has to offer, and once you touch down and start playing, the game throws you right into its fast-paced combat system.
From there, the Mako Reactor is a place unlike any you’ve seen in a Final Fantasy game up to this point, and the anxiety levels are through the roof as you plant a bomb in the reactor’s core and then have to get out of there before the time limit runs out, all while dealing with the massive Scorpion Sentinel boss. For those of you that have played it, you will get chills just thinking about it, and for those of you that haven’t, what are you waiting for?
Question: Is Final Fantasy a multiplayer game?
Answer: In general, no, Final Fantasy is usually a single-player game. There are exceptions throughout the series, though, with the standout being Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Some spinoffs have multiplayer functions as well, like Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles.
Question: Which is the best Final Fantasy game?
Answer: In my opinion, it’s Final Fantasy VIII. It has the most realistic cast of characters, an incredible story, and the best attacks and summons animations of the entire series. The majority of people will likely say it’s Final Fantasy VII, IX, or X, so it’s all about your preference.
Question: What systems is Final Fantasy available on?
Answer: While is it was only available on Playstation consoles or Super Nintendo consoles for a while, now, most of the Final Fantasy series is available on PC, phones, tablets, and PS4.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour around some of the most incredible locations this wonderful series has to offer. Of course, these are just my favorite locations, and you can be sure there are tons more that will blow your mind as well.
Final Fantasy is a series that has 1000s of hours of exploration awaiting you, and you can be sure that those hours are packed with some incredible locations to go with it.
Continue reading related Final Fantasy location guides: