In the genre of role playing video games, Final Fantasy is basically the dominant franchise. With 13 games in the main series and at least that many again in spin-offs, the franchise is the most famous role playing franchise ever. A major reason for the success of the Final Fantasy series is the remarkable stories and plots that are told by each of the individual games. Despite the impressiveness of most of the Final Fantasy stories, there have been a few particularly bad plot twists in the series. These plot twists range from the simply being cliché to severely ruining otherwise excellent stories. The following are the five worst plot twists in the main Final Fantasy series.
5. Cliché after Cliché (Final Fantasy V) – This story should sound amazingly familiar. The son of two legendary warriors is destined to be the next legendary warrior. Once he reaches an appropriate age, he starts a journey where he rescues a princess who joins him. In addition, he also is joined by a pirate captain who is secretly the long lost sister of the princess and a wise old man from another world who guides him on his quest. From the old man passing along all of his knowledge and skills to his granddaughter when he dies to a final villain that is literally the embodiment of all evil, the plot of this game simply moves from cliché to cliché. With all of the cliché plot twists, it is nearly impossible to choose one that is clearly worse than the rest.
4. Cecil is Actually Half-Alien (Final Fantasy IV) – The shame of this plot twist is that it sours an otherwise brilliant story. The characters in Final Fantasy IV are all interesting with well detailed personality. The story of a dark knight questing to repent for his sins and eventually getting caught up in world shattering events is truly epic. The one foul note is the revelation late in the game that Cecil, the reformed dark knight, is actually descended from an alien raced called Lunarians. The story of high fantasy could have used just about any other mythical explanation. Aliens and space ships really just pushed the envelope a little too far. As a result, the last 10% of the game just isn’t as interesting as everything leading up to it.
3. Tidus is Just a Dream (Final Fantasy X) – The plot twist of “everything is just a dream” is about as awful as “jumping a shark”. It doesn’t work in movies, it doesn’t work on television shows, and it doesn’t work in video games. It is especially frustrating in Final Fantasy X because Tidus is the main character of the game. Furthermore, for the first time in Final Fantasy history, the game includes the fulfillment of romance before the end of the game. That beautiful story is entirely belittled by the fact that one of the two characters in it isn’t real. As awful as this plot twist is, it is exacerbated by the fact that Final Fantasy X-2 basically makes a mockery of it by recovering Tidus and reuniting him with Yuna at the end of the game. The question begs to be asked: If Tidus is just a dream of the Fayth in order to save the world, why is he such a whiny emo kid?
2. Appearance of Necron (Final Fantasy IX) – The plot of Final Fantasy IX may not be able to be described as simple, but it is rather straightforward. Zidane and his companions are the good guys. Kuja, possibly with the help of Garland, is the bad guy. After an insane epic quest, Zidane and his companions confront Kuja and eventually defeat him. The good guys win. Game over. At least, that is how events should have played out. But, instead, immediately after defeating Kuja, a greater evil appears: Necron. At no point previous to this is Necron’s existence even hinted at, yet he is the final enemy of the game. It is a seemingly meaningless fight with an unnecessary enemy and completely invalidates much of the plot of the game. If not for a truly brilliant epilogue upon defeating Necron, this would be the worst ending of any video game ever.
1. The Entire Party Grew Up in the Same Orphanage (Final Fantasy VIII) – Possibly the worst of Final Fantasy VIII‘s many flaws is the unbelievably ridiculous plot twist that occurs approximately halfway through the game. Despite having worked together in the same facility for years and traveling together as a group, the entire party suddenly discovers that they actually all grew up in the same orphanage together. Even more unbelievably, the primary antagonist of the game ran the orphanage they grew up in. The fact that none of the protagonists remember this is explained by amnesia caused by the prolonged use of guardian forces. Of course, like any bad amnesia explanation, all of the characters can remember just about everything else in their life and do experience ongoing amnesia. Up to this point in the game the storyline was already a little thin and the characters mostly annoying. This terrible plot twist simply ended any hopes for a satisfying story.