IGN's Top 25 Final Fantasy Characters

Discussion in 'Gaming & Tech' started by Lee, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. Lee

    Lee Ne me quitte pas

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    Honorable Mention

    Tonberry (Final Fantasy VIII)

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    They also did a version in a red-and-white Santa suit.

    Like many other long-running RPGs – Dragon Quest with its Slimes, for instance – Final Fantasy has its share of popular mascot monsters. Of all the iconic foes that have made recurring appearances over the years, though, from Cactuars to Moogles to Chocobos and more, Tonberry's perhaps both the weirdest and the most endearing.

    Clad in his simple sackcloth robe, lighting his way with a lantern and wielding his sharp little butcher's knife, he's so cute it's often easy to forget that he's also an incredibly deadly opponent. Many a long-time Final Fantasy player has grown to fear the "doink!" of a Tonberry striking home, which is why it was so much fun to be able to turn the tables and summon him in Final Fantasy VIII.

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    25. Garland (Final Fantasy)

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    What can we say that could top that, after all?

    In this slot, we have what you could arguably call the first real "character" in the series. Garland was more or less the first actor in a Final Fantasy plot with a name and a speaking role. Admittedly, he didn't speak all that much, and his most famous line is a famous malapropism – "I, Garland, will knock you all down!"

    If nothing else, he's the father to a glorious tradition of ridiculously-translated dialogue, carried on through the generations by successors ranging from Barrett Wallace to Tellah the Sage.

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    24. Ultros (Final Fantasy VI)

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    Hey, Mr. Amano. Why a big purple octopus, exactly?Here's a ridiculous character who was meant to be that way.

    Ultros is the recurring comic relief in Final Fantasy VI – a game that definitely needed some relief from time to time, what with something close to the end of the world taking place only halfway through the plot. Exactly why a giant evil octopus dogged the party's heels from the game's beginning to its end is one of those questions that history may never answer. One way or the other, thanks in large part to the hilariously bombastic dialogue Ted Woolsey wrote for the American version, Ultros did his job just right.

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    23. Selphie Tilmitt (Final Fantasy VIII)

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    She goes against the FFVIII grain and smiles from time to time.

    The eighth Final Fantasy is generally considered a game with a couple of problems. It's the tortured adolescent of the series, starring a cast so drowned in angst that they probably should have taken some time off from saving the world to go in for a round of group therapy.

    There's a bright light here and there, though, and Selphie is one of them, a cheerful young lady with a giant pair of nunchucks who desperately attempts to turn the game's collective frown upside-down. She also wins points for sporting a classic flip hairdo, of the kind that hasn't been seen in America since late in the Eisenhower years.

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    22. Wakka (Final Fantasy X)

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    You knew we’d never leave him out, brudda.

    He's an odd personality for an RPG, to say the least. Very few games feature a laid-back, lackadaisical, would-be sports hero as a supporting star and sidekick. Somehow, though, Wakka works just right in his role, thanks in large part to an excellent job of acting and voice direction.

    John DiMaggio (who'd later move on to big-time roles in everything from Futurama to Gears of War) was almost perfect in delivering Wakka's accent, a mix of at least three different dialects, which gave the character a unique and original sound. One would expect the first Final Fantasy to feature voice acting would show more signs of teething troubles, but it still features one of the best dubs in gaming.

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    21. Cid Highwind (Final Fantasy VII)

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    Sometime before Advent Children, he somehow kicked the habit.

    Since there has to be at least one Cid here, it has to be the Final Fantasy VII edition, the hard-bitten, chain-smoking rocket engineer that gave his name to the game's famous airship.

    While nearly every Final Fantasy adventure has had a Cid, and every Cid has been memorable in at least some small way, FFVII's Cid put himself on the map in a way that no other Cid has done since. Not content with sitting in the background the way some Cids have, FFVII's Highwind even managed to claim the title of party leader for a while, which is an honor that no other Cid has earned.
     
  2. Lee

    Lee Ne me quitte pas

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    20. Reno (Final Fantasy VII)

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    There’s Reno, and then there’s a bunch of guys in suits.

    One might nominate the Turks as a unit for this slot, since they usually tend to appear and act all together. Taking into account their many latter-day appearances, though, in Advent Children and Crisis Core, Reno is clearly the class of Shinra's black-suited hatchetmen.
    The red hair, the tattoos, the un-tucked shirt, and the disappearing tie mean he stands out from the crowd even before he opens his mouth, and his don't-give-a-damn attitude seals the deal. It's a shame that Before Crisis, the Turks' one go as headliners, was consigned to Japanese mobile phones, because we could all use a little more Reno in our diet.

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    19. Jecht (Final Fantasy X)

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    Don’t let the armor fool you, he’s just a big softy inside.

    Braska and his pair of guardians make up a nifty subplot in Final Fantasy X, especially once all the details of their story are finally revealed. Jecht is in some ways the standout character of the three, though, because he spends so much of the game as such an unmitigated jerk.

    In the flashbacks to Tidus' childhood, his father is unconscionably rotten to the poor kid. From that as our starting point, we gradually discover (alongside Tidus himself) how his father changed and grew into at least a slightly more decent human being. One also should admire Jecht's ability as a showman – the Sublimely Magnificent Jecht Shot Mark III was a pretty clever gimmick.

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    18. Adelbert Steiner (Final Fantasy IX)

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    Honest to God, he was a decent guy for a while there.

    The ninth Final Fantasy arguably didn't need all that much comic relief. The whole game was supposed to be a sort of relief in itself, a light-hearted revival of the series' early days, after the comparatively dark and serious tone of the seventh and eighth installments.

    Nonetheless, it got a yeoman's performance from Steiner, who served himself up as a straight man for gags from nearly every other character in the game. Clanking along in his pot-bellied armor and constantly harrumphing at the antics around him, he's the perfect blend of serious and silly, and features in a lovely little romantic subplot as well

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    17. Delita Hyral (Final Fantasy Tactics)

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    Ramza better hope his hour never comes.

    There's a neat little moral lesson behind the two main characters of Yasumi Matsuno's strategy-RPG spin-off. Ramza, the hero, wins no glory or fame, but he probably winds up finding a happy life in the end. His friend-turned-rival, Delita, seeks power by any means necessary, and earns it…he just has to trade away most of his soul in the process. Unfortunately, the script's finer shadings were buried in a legendarily terrible translation. By the end of the American version, most of its players had probably long since lost track of the plot. It's too bad, since there's a heck of a story there, if you can put forth the effort to extract it.

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    16. Laguna Loire (Final Fantasy VIII)

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    Another FFVIII character who mercifully smiled from time to time.

    It's easy to forget that at the outset, Final Fantasy VIII was actually built around two main characters. Although Squall Leonhart got most of the screen time in the end, his occasional alter ego had a brief but fun man-who-would-be-king story, somehow making his way from a bumbling career as a commando to taking over the government of a major republic.

    Maybe it's meant to be a subtle commentary on just how little skill it takes to actually succeed in politics, but either way Laguna was a lovable goofball, the kind of character his game could have perhaps used a little more of.
     
  3. Lee

    Lee Ne me quitte pas

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    15. Rydia (Final Fantasy IV)

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    She looked way better all grown up.

    In a time when Final Fantasy characters were primarily displayed as nothing more than tiny sprites, Rydia was a pretty striking sprite, with her bright green hair and piercing eyes. Her part in the game's story was surprisingly tragic for the 16-bit era, too, as she overcame the destruction of her home and the death of her family and friends to mature into a hero. Rydia also gave American gamers their first taste of the flashy Summoner job class – though it first appeared in Japan in the 8-bit Final Fantasy III, it was Rydia's giant monsters that gave summoning its international debut.

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    14. Celes Chere (Final Fantasy VI)

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    They’re only pixels, but back in the day they had an impact.

    The sixth Final Fantasy definitely has a leading villain, but it doesn't exactly focus on any one single hero. Instead, the spotlight shifts between several different main characters, following each one for a time until they all come together for the eventual finale. All of them have their memorable moments, but the renegade general Celes just might take the prize, thanks to the famous scene where she accidentally gets a chance to moonlight as an opera diva. Though the series has given us hours of classic background music, many fans still consider Celes' aria their favorite tune.

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    13. Tifa Lockhart (Final Fantasy VII)

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    Advent Children fixed that “primitive” look.

    Between the leap to 3D and the much heavier emphasis on detailed background graphics and cinematics, Final Fantasy VII was a turning point for the series in many ways. One change that's noted less often than some, though, is that this was the first attempt to give Final Fantasy characters real, erm, sex appeal. True, Tifa's 3D model looks awfully primitive ten years later, but it probably had an effect on a teenage audience at the time. To her credit, she also managed to look good while keeping her street credibility intact – Tifa's two-fisted attack clearly established her as a character who could take care of herself in a pinch.

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    12. Setzer Gabbiani (Final Fantasy VI)

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    Long, gray hair before long, gray hair was cool.

    Final Fantasy VI has one of the biggest casts of the series, and at least three major characters could claim to be the leading man. We'll give the nod to Setzer, though, the freewheeling gambler and freelance pilot who carries Celes and her fellow Returners across the ruined world in his airship. He has that most crucial of qualities in a hero, an unshakable sense of humor – witness his cheerful willingness to help out even after Celes puts one over on him with a rigged coin toss. Setzer also gave the series the goofy Gambler job class, later adopted by favorites like Cait Sith and the "Lady Luck" Dresspheres in Final Fantasy X-2.

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    11. Faris Scherwiz (Final Fantasy V)

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    Yoshitaka Amano does a fine job selling the secret identity.

    Character is not usually regarded as one of Final Fantasy V's strong points. Marked primarily by the famous Job system, this one is the gameplay-driven Final Fantasy, the title that appealed most to hardcore types who were more interested in statistics than stories. Nevertheless, it has its moments, though, many of them involving Faris, the tough-as-nails sky-pirate who eventually reveals herself as the Princess of Tycoon in disguise. To her credit, Faris conforms to no princess-ey stereotypes – she's as lean and mean as any of her fellow pirate captains, despite her young age and unusual origins.
     
  4. Lee

    Lee Ne me quitte pas

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    10. Yuna (Final Fantasy X-2)

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    Gratuitous exploitation has rarely worked better.

    Note the designation of the sequel there. In Final Fantasy X, Yuna makes for fine eye-candy – her famous "sending" scene near the beginning of the story is one of the best in Square Visual Works history. But she didn't really come into her own as a personality until she got to take on a leading role. Final Fantasy X-2 gave her a little more confidence, a little more attitude, and yes, it must be said, a gratuitously exploitative costume that ranks among the series' finest bits of fanboy-baiting.

    Some may have found X-2 a bit too silly, but there's no sense in wasting time with half measures. The first Final Fantasy sequel went all the way, and we are all the richer for it.

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    9. Balthier (Final Fantasy XII)

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    He’s even got a hot gal Friday to fill out the package.

    He may or may not be the "real" hero of the story, but he says he's the hero, and he makes a pretty convincing case for it. The sky-pirate gunslinger of Final Fantasy XII routinely upstages most of his fellow cast members, thanks to a combination of sharp looks and even sharper wit.

    The game has a well-written script all around, and plenty of the exciting plot twists that tend to mark Yasumi Matsuno's games, but as far as memorable lines go, Balthier gets almost all of them. It almost seems unfair sometimes, watching him deliver the best bits of dialogue. Such are the advantages of being the leading man.

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    8. Lulu (Final Fantasy X)

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    “I hope you hurt them.”

    Tetsuya Nomura is notorious for what you might call "over-accessorizing" his characters. Straps and buckles and chains and other dangly bits are his trademarks, occasionally to the point (as in Kingdom Hearts 2) of something approaching self-parody. Lulu, though, is just over-accessorized enough. This is a contradiction in terms, but never mind – with her floor-length skirt, elaborately-pinned hair, and collection of super-cute mascot dolls, Final Fantasy X's Black Mage just might be the coolest character Nomura's ever drawn for the series.

    Looks aren't everything, though, and the game's script gave her a personality to perfectly match her style. Her calm, soft-spoken delivery made Lulu a beautifully menacing presence – she never had to raise her voice to prove that she meant business.

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    7. Aerith Gainsborough (Final Fantasy VII)

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    Her curtain call in Crisis Core.

    It would be hard not to find a space here for Aerith. True, she only sticks with the party for a little less than half of the game, but it's a pretty memorable half of the game, and the scene of her final departure is an all-time classic.

    Though her most famous scene is a sad one, it helps to remember that she also had her fun moments during the early stages of the game, especially the famous Gold Saucer "date" – unless you managed to jigger the conversations just right and somehow wind up touring the amusement park with Yuffie or Barrett.

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    6. Kefka Palazzo (Final Fantasy VI)

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    Everyone fears the evil clown.

    Great monster villains tap into primal, instinctive fears. Even before they open their mouths to cackle maniacally and order the doing of evil deeds, they can inspire fear and loathing merely by their very presence. Therein lies the appeal of Final Fantasy VI's Kefka, who sparks the in-grown terror of clowns that lurks in all of us.

    Of course, he's got more than his freaky painted face to get him over as the ultimate bad guy – an apocalyptic plot gave him awesome evil deeds to do, while a fine English script gave him plenty of snappy lines – but his looks definitely got him off on the right villainous foot.
     
  5. Lee

    Lee Ne me quitte pas

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    5. Mog/Moogle/Mogri

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    For a couple of years there, Square had some trouble coming up with a consistent name for these guys. ("Mogri" comes from the legendarily bollixed Final Fantasy Tactics script.) You know 'em when you see 'em, though, everywhere from the caverns of Final Fantasy VI to Cait Sith's mount in VII. Big red nose, cute purple wings, bouncy white body, funny squinting smile, chirping "Kupo!" everywhere – that's a Moogle. It's arguably the most iconic mascot in the series (either that or the always-reliable Chocobo) and you'd be hard pressed to argue that it isn't the cutest. Fluffy stuffed Moogles have found their way into many a Final Fantasy fan's collection.

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    4. Kain Highwind (Final Fantasy IV)

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    Sadly, the Advance version cut his foot off.

    The fourth Final Fantasy – or the second, over here in America – was the first one to get relatively serious about character development. Final Fantasy III had individual characters with proper names and all that, but it wasn't until the first 16-bit games in the series that Square gave its heroes a few shades of gray. Cecil, the story's lead character, went from confused Dark Knight to crusading paladin, but his opposite number Kain had an even more interesting arc, from sidekick to rival to regretful would-be hero, which concludes with a haunting moment in the game's ending. He's also one of the most striking visual designs of the series, the prototype of the Lancer or Dragon Knight, whose spear and winged helmet would influence many future character concepts.

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    3. Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)

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    Whether or not you handicap for the massive marketing push that introduced him to the world back in 1997, he is probably the most famous hero in the history of the Final Fantasy series. The spiky blond hair and the gigantic Buster Sword have become instantly identifiable icons, recognized by gamers around the world. If his star has faded somewhat over the last decade and change, maybe it's just a consequence of overexposure – four different sequels and prequels will do that to a guy. Nevertheless, even after the hype blows over, he'll probably still be an icon ten years from now.

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    2. Vivi Orunitia (Black Mage) (Final Fantasy IX)

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    Orko looks pissed.

    Number one is perhaps the most arbitrary of choices. Everyone's taste is different, after all, everyone has their own favorite, and no-one's choice could be considered "wrong." (With the possible exception of Squall from FFVIII. Boy, was he a goober.)

    Vivi has the best of the old and the new, though. He has the depth and internal conflict that makes the latter-day Final Fantasy games intriguing, but at the same time, he has plenty of the simple charm and adventurous spirit that made the series popular in the first place. He's amazingly endearing just at a first glance – thanks to Yoshitaka Amano's timeless Black Mage design -- while his search for an identity and a purpose in life only makes him that much more sympathetic. If you can't love the little guy, you must have checked your soul at the door.

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    1. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)


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    Really, though, did you expect to see anyone else?

    One of the remarkable things about Sephiroth is how little time he actually spends on-screen. Throughout most of Final Fantasy VII, he's not so much an active element of the plot as a looming presence behind it. Perhaps that's why his scenes have remained so memorable – his rampage in Nibelheim, Aerith's final moments, and the climactic battle in the Northern Crater are moments that have stuck with thousands of fans over the years. He doesn't show up all that often, but when he does step out from the shadows, he definitely makes the most of his time at center stage.
     
  6. Lee

    Lee Ne me quitte pas

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    Quite an odd list there really! I mean JECHT? Laguna?
     
  7. Floppet

    Floppet Spider murderer

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    Chocolate Mog all the way! (that's Chocobo with Mog on his head really).

    I'm not sure whether the saddest part of this is that I, having never played a Final Fantasy game, have "pet" names for some of the characters or that I recognised a lot of those in the top 25 (I must have absorbed it unconciously).
     
  8. Strawberry Jam

    Strawberry Jam User

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    Vivi should have been #1

    And Steiner? WTF is that about.

    Yuna was annoying in X-2 as well.

    I do like the appearance of Selphie though. :D
     
  9. Diddy

    Diddy Rice Queen

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    Well, that was better than I thought!

    Yuna might be my number one though :shy:

    as if ineed another excuse to post this:

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/jJPhSapqRtw&hl=en"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/jJPhSapqRtw&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
     
  10. JET BOY

    JET BOY PERVERSE

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    Did you have to edit all those pictures in yourself Lee? Well done if you did, it made this thread approx 80% more enjoyable.

    Where is Vincent? He rules. Oddly enough my fave FF character is Quistis, but I appreciate shes quite crap hence her not appearing. Beatrix was hot shit also.
     
  11. Lee

    Lee Ne me quitte pas

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    I had to copy and paste the links from IGN, if that's what you meant? As you can see it took me 15 minutes to do. I felt it was necessary as the list was split into 5 articles each with 5 pages on IGN which made it hard to read.
     
  12. WiDGe->

    WiDGe-> 44f

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    Steiner was an EXCELLENT character ... a buffoon, but added a great dynamic to the party. Constantly fighting to get the princess to "safety", he has his values in Alexandria challenged when he discovers the wrong doings of Brahme. He moves from buffoonish character to true Captain of Alexandria when fighting not for the Queen, but for the people alongside Beatrix. Its journeys like that which really make a character.
     

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