(Sales based off wikipedia, anthologies/collections not included)
Aggregate review scores Game GameRankings Metacritic
Final Fantasy (PSP) 67.93% (PSP) 67 [2,040,000 sold as of 2007]
Final Fantasy II (PSP) 64.84% (PSP) 63 [1,430,000 sold as of 2007]
Final Fantasy III (NDS) 77.74% (NDS) 77 [1,930,000 sold as of 2007]
Final Fantasy IV (SNES)89.39%(NDS)85.09%(GBA)83.24%(NDS)85(GBA)85 [4,100,000 sold as of 2009]
Final Fantasy V (GBA) 82.45% (GBA) 83 [2,710,000 sold as of 2007]
Final Fantasy VI (SNES)93.68%(GBA)90.65%(GBA)92 [3.48 mil sold as of 2003]
Final Fantasy VII (PS)92.10%(PC)87.00%(PS)92 [10 mil sold as of 2010]
Final Fantasy VIII (PS) 89.17%(PC)79.50%(PS)90 [8.15 mil sold as of2003]
Final Fantasy IX (PS) 93.32% (PS) 94 [5.30 mil sold as of 2003]
Final Fantasy X (PS2) 91.84% (PS2) 92 [6.6 mil sold as of 2004]
Final Fantasy XI (PS2) 85.13%(PC) 81.89% (X360) 69.33% (PS2) 85(PC) 85(X360) 66
Final Fantasy XII (PS2) 90.64% (PS2)92 [5.2 mil sold as of 2007]
Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) 85.17%(X360) 82.18%(PS3)83(X360)82 [6.2 mil sold as of 2010]
Final Fantasy XIV (PC) 49.33%(PC)49
Is SE in decline? Yes, but they have been since the ps one era ended. This is not something just starting with the fabula series. After a peak what happens? You begin to decline some eventually as there is no other direction to go. People are just paying more attention now that SE is a big corporation and other developers are finally creating big budget high quality titles as well. XIII was a few tlc dev time tweaks away from being one of the best FF ever made. The last two games have received harsher criticism due to rushed development times. They aren't fooling any of the players into thinking they are not rushed.
The bigger question is does SE care about their reputation review and perception wise to stop doing the corporate move and ship the best game possible. Even if dev times increase substanially?
Or is this trend of trying to get more titles out the door for steady cash going to continue regardless if the days of 88+ metacritic never return?
I enjoyed all FF including XIII & XIII-2, imo they don't deserve quite the level of harsh critisicm they receive. Actually replaying XIII now. If these environments were zone based and explorable, man Kamikokuryo created something beautiful. Love Hamauzu's soundtrack and ambience in this title.