The Final Fantasy series celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and as part of the celebration, Square Enix released Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. You can read our review of this rhythm game featuring awesome music from across the franchise here. Suffice it to say, playing through the songs in Theatrhythm was a giddy trip down memory lane.

To share our excitement for this new game and all of Final Fantasy, we decided to ask our writers to describe their favorite songs from the series. If you don’t see your own favorite song in our list, tell us about it in the comments!

Without further ado, we present our staff’s picks for some of the best music from Final Fantasy, in order by the game in which each song appeared.

Final Fantasy: “Matoya’s Cave” (Composer: Nobuo Uematsu)

“One of my personal favourite Final Fantasy songs is “Matoya’s Cave” from the first game. I’m not exactly sure why this song is one my favourites; maybe the reason is because it’s so catchy. All I do know is that I often went to Matoya’s Cave just to hear this song when I played the game. I love this song for its whimsy and beat. It gets stuck in my head for hours at a time, and I never mind. Heck, I even whistle it!”
–Caleb Burpee, Staff Writer

Final Fantasy VI: “Phantom Forest” and “Celes’ Theme” (Composer: Nobuo Uematsu)

“Another long loved favourite I have is “Phantom Forest” from Final Fantasy VI. I love this song because of the haunting flute that sticks in my mind. Combining it with the violins just seems to make the perfect melody in my head. I have loved this song ever since I popped in my Final Fantasy Anthology music CD for the first time. I would put this song on repeat until I went to sleep for the longest time. I love this song and I can’t help but keep coming back to it every once in a while.”
–Caleb Burpee, Staff Writer

“Anyone who has talked to me about my favorite games knows how much I love Final Fantasy VI, so it’s unsurprising that my favorite song in the series comes from there. The song’s slow melody is beautiful, melancholy and maybe even a little haunting in its own way; it’s arguably one of the best songs Nobuo Uematsu composed for the series. Even without context, Celes’ Theme does a great job of conveying emotion, but my love for the the song is almost as much about the events surrounding it as the music itself. Until the Opera House scene, Celes Chere was perhaps one of my least favorite characters in the game; however, after the performance and hearing her theme finally play, it went a long way towards changing my opinion of her. Furthermore, without spoiling the events for anyone who hasn’t played it, the other major scene where it plays (just at the start of the second half of the game) is forever ingrained in my memory. It left quite an indelible image on my 12-year-old self, and I still find myself randomly humming it here and there 17 years later.”
–Dan Furnas, Editor-in-Chief

Final Fantasy X: “To Zanarkand” and “A Fleeting Dream” (Co-Composers: Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu & Junya Nanako)

“The very first seconds of Final Fantasy X‘s theme, “To Zanarkand,” set the tone for what can be considered one of the greatest games in the Final Fantasy series. The cautiously optimistic piano tune completely reflects a story that contains both victory AND defeat, the latter of which is not often seen in video games. The game was released over ten years ago, and to this day it stirs a mixture of feelings in me that all seem so contradictory, but they all seem so right. I continuously sit on the edge of my seat and eagerly await the re-release of FFX.”
–Brian Panella, Staff Writer

Final Fantasy X was actually the first entry in the series that I played, so it makes sense that its incredible score left a long-lasting impression on me. One of my favorite songs of all time has to be “A Fleeting Dream,” which is the haunting tune that plays as you lead your party through the Zanarkand Ruins. I remember pausing often during battles there to watch the starry sky and listen as the music built to a crescendo. I knew that this profound melody had to be leading me somewhere important since the usual battle theme didn’t replace it in fights. There’s a fervor in this song that really makes the player feel a sense of what the characters were going through emotionally, and to this day, it sends chills down my spine every time I hear it.”
–Jennifer Griffith, Associate Editor

Final Fantasy XIII: “The Sunleth Waterscape” (Composer: Masashi Hamauzu)

“There were only a few songs in Final Fantasy XIII that stuck with me after I finished it, but I could easily listen to those few on repeat. The one I find myself humming the most is “The Sunleth Waterscape,” which, as the name might imply, is the theme for that area in the game. It just has such an upbeat, whimsical melody that never fails to put a smile on my face. Listening to this song also always evokes the lush beauty of the Sunleth Waterscape, one of the prettiest areas in the game.”
–Jennifer Griffith, Associate Editor

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  • Mario Flores

    I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that I didn’t even have to press play on any of those themes to hear them in my head or to remember the exact scene where each one played. And now I suddenly feel like replaying through the series… although my personal favorite is the Final Fantasy Main Theme.

  • Jimmy Stephenson

    Nice list, can’t really dispute any of those choices. I’ve gotta give a shout out for Final Fantasy IX, though. The soundtrack is one of the best in the series, with a lot of really good themes. My favorite has got to be “You’re Not Alone” A really emotional theme that comes at a very emotional point.

  • I have a huge liking for the Final Fantasy series’ battle themes, so it’s not surprising that my favorite Final Fantasy piece happens to be a battle theme. However, it’s a battle theme that isn’t composed by Nobuo Uematsu, rather, it’s one that was composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto on the often-overlooked Final Fantasy Tactics soundtrack.

    “Trisection” is the very first battle theme of the game and to this day, it continues to stick as my favorite piece just because of how well it fit the situation – you suddenly find yourself under attack by enemy forces who are after the princess you’re protecting, and the battle itself takes place outside in the rain. It’s also a great introduction to Sakimoto’s style of orchestral compositions, which tend to get heavy on the percussion for battle themes and on the woodwinds to carry the melody of the more lighter scenes in the game.

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