Growing up, I never really played any of the Final Fantasy games, which is weird, because I was a huge RPG fan. Quite frankly, I don't think I missed much.
Final Fantasy IV (originally released as FF2 here in the US) was okay I guess. The super-linear gameplay, completely forgettable characters and a blah storyline really failed to impress me. The worst part: almost every single character "dies" at one point then ends up coming back to life. This is completely stupid in terms of storytelling, but what it also does is make you completely unattached to your party. Why give a damn about your characters' level and equipment if they could "die" any moment?
I've now played about half of the Final Fantasy games, and I feel confident in saying that it is one of the most overrated series of games of all time. There are just so many better RPGs out there... and from the days of the NES to the present, there have been better RPGs available all along.
Whenever the mood strikes, the next FF game that I'm going to try is FF3. I hear a lot of hype about its "revolutionary" job system, but something tells me that Dragon Warrior 3's class-changing system easily trounces it. We'll see.