Posted in Game Lists

My Top 10 Final Fantasy Characters

The recent release of Final Fantasy VII Remake has brought the franchise back into the limelight for many of us long-time fans, and seeing the characters revitalised with so much expression and detail has got me thinking about the different characters through all the games I have played, and which of those are my favourites! This will be a list focusing on the protagonists and party members of the games, and not other important characters, so without further ado, here’s my ranking of the best Final Fantasy characters!

10. Garnet

Someday I will be queen, but I will always be myself.

Garnet Til Alexandros XVII of Final Fantasy IX is the princess of Alexandria, adopted daughter of the maddened Queen Brahne, and love interest of protagonist Zidane. One of the most remarkable things about her character is the personal growth that she goes through as the game progresses.

She and Eiko are both white mages and summoners, so many players will probably lean towards one or the other instead of using both equally. Personally I always found Eiko annoying, so Garnet was always the white mage for me! Considering her role in the party and the story on the whole, she is certainly one of the best party members in IX in my opinion.


9. Terra

What am I feeling? What’s going on? Please… tell me. Who am I? Who!?

I always found Terra to be an intriguing character, with so much personal growth and development. She suffers from amnesia, so you actually get to know her as a character as she gets to know herself and discovers her past.

I think you really get invested in Terra as the game progresses, and honestly I think that’s a pretty impressive feat considering the low tech nature of Final Fantasy VI. Without 3D models and cutscenes with voice acting, you are largely left to your own imagination to flesh out the characters, creating a character in your head where you decide how they sound and how they look, so the fact that Terra and her story continue to be one of the main characters that stand out for me simply has to be mentioned.


8. Freya

To be forgotten is worse than death.

Freya is another character from Final Fantasy IX, and she is my second favourite character in the entire game. I have always loved the Dragoon class in the series, so I was instantly taken with her as a party member – but I also think she has a great design. Considering that her race means that she is in fact an anthropomorphic rat, she actually looks really mysterious and stylish.

She is a character who has faced her own fair share of tragedy having lost both her true love, and her hometown. A large segment of the game is focused on trying to save Burmecia, and then Cleyra after the former fell to the attackers. I would even go so far as to say that this part of the game that was so heavily focused on Freya and her people is one of my favourite parts of IX, if nothing else it is definitely one of the parts that sticks in my mind the most.


7. Lulu

No matter how dark the night, morning always comes, and our journey begins anew.

Calm, collected, and cool, This is the best way to describe Lulu the black mage of Final Fantasy X. She is a guardian to the summoner Yuna, but also has a deep personal relationship with her, acting in many ways like a big sister to the young pilgrim.

She is a poster girl for goth mages everywhere with her all-over black style, and she is undeniably cool when battling! In battle Lulu will often make amusing little quips to her opponents as she casts powerful spells at the. “Anyone thirsty? Need a light? Don’t look so shocked. Let me break the ice.” These are just some of the quotes that Lulu can use as she casts her water, fire, thunder and ice spells.


6. Yuna

I’ve… learned how to smile… Even when I’m feeling sad.

Oh Yuna … Final Fantasy X was the first FF game that I really got into. I had played others before but this was the one that reached into my heart and put Final Fantasy among my most treasured franchises. Yuna was a big part of that.

Quiet and meek, but strong-willed, Yuna really was an amazing character. As a summoner, she could call mighty Aeons to her side to assist in battle. This was something I always loved to do, particularly for the amazing summoning sequences, and the amazing special attacks they could pull off! She also acts as the white mage for the party, but thanks to the Sphere Grid levelling up system, you really could mould her into whatever character you wanted her to be. I personally liked to make her a white/black mage hybrid so that she could heal the party and then deliver devastating offensive spells!

I loved her role in the story, particularly as I think X has one of the best plots that we have seen so far in Final Fantasy. The summoners were tasked with making a pilgrimage across the land to pray for the strength to defeat Sin, an ever-present threat who haunts the world. This is the basis for the story as you travel from temple to temple to collect the Aeons who sleep there before eventually making your way to defeat Sin, and making some shocking discoveries!


5. Aerith

I won’t let you do it! The future is not only yours!

So originally I had 9 characters in mind and was trying to think of the 10th. As much as I like Aerith, I wasn’t sure if I wanted her on the list or not. After playing through quite a lot of the VII Remake, not only is she absolutely on this list, but she is No. 5!

If you know anything about the Final Fantasy games, then you will probably know what happens to Aerith, but I won’t mention that here – just in case. I liked her in the original game, but I think that’s all I could realistically say about her. She was a nice enough character, but I certainly didn’t feel like she was all that useful in the party. Her combat skills were always somewhat lacking so I would always find myself choosing other party members over her.

But all of that changes now. VII Remake has given Aerith a whole new lease of life, with her combat potential completely reworked, and I actually really enjoy switching to her in combat to make the most of her magical abilities.

Combat isn’t the only thing that has been fleshed out for her! Seeing her with so much vibrant personality is a real treat, and I feel the remake has really done her justice! In particular, playing through the Wall Market chapter has been such a pleasure, and I don’t think anything could have prepared me for Aerith’s entrance after getting all dolled up for presentation to Don Corneo!


4. Vivi

How do you prove that you exist…? Maybe we don’t exist…

Vivi, the best character in Final Fantasy VIII without a shadow of a doubt. Rocking the classic Black Mage appearance of a shadowed face with glowing eyes, blue coat and pointy brown hat, his story is one of existential crisis. He doesn’t know what he is or how he fits into the world.

Vivi starts off as very shy and withdrawn, completely lacking confidence and even being quite clumsy. He grows to be brave and more than capable by the end of the story. The relationships he builds with the other party members are strong and meaningful, Zidane becoming like a brother to him, and even the arguably unlikeable Steiner formed an endearing bond with the little mage.


3. Auron

Guard your emotions first, then guard your summoner.

My favourite character in Final Fantasy X, Auron is quite frankly … one tough cookie. An experienced warrior, a previous guardian of Yuna’s father who was also a summoner, and a quiet but assured bastion of strength and experience for the rest of the party.

Sometimes characters in Final Fantasy can feel quite similar to previous characters that have been seen, or at least follow very similar trends. But I feel like Auron really stands out as one of the unique warriors of the series. Auron appears similar in many ways to samurai, as he wields katanas, uses bushido, and seems to have many other traits and quirks that link up well with samurai.

I have always considered Auron to be one of the strongest characters, both in terms of literal strength and as concept of character.


2. Quistis

You know, the boys often choke on this test when I come with them. I guess my charm makes them nervous.

Quistis was an instant hit with me. She means business in battle with her whip, she looks cool and stylish, and as a blue mage she is able to learn many different abilities from the many enemies found in the game, which makes her one of the best characters to keep in your party if you ask me, particularly once you get Quistis to learn … Bad Breath!

At the beginning of Final Fantasy VIII she is an instructor in Balamb Garden, where Squall is her difficult and hard to approach student. She frequently finds herself failing to get him to open up to her, demonstrating an awkward relationship to start with. Although she loses her position as an instructor, she maintains her somewhat authoritative figure in the party by acting like a big sister towards the others.


1. Squall

Everyone has to take care of themselves. I don’t want to carry anyone’s burden.

Squall is without a doubt my favourite character from the Final Fantasy franchise, and I’ve often felt like he is so under-appreciated. His weapon of choice – the Gunblade – is a gun and a sword in one, he has a stylish appearance, a great rivalry with his fellow classmate Seifer, even an epic opening cinematic that shows them battling and giving each other matching scars!

But the best thing about Squall is his character development in the game. He is quiet and standoffish, never letting himself get close to anyone. But over time he warms to the people around him, opening up more, and slowly learns to express his true feelings to those around him.


Posted in Game Lists

My Top 10 Antagonists

One of the key aspects of story-based games is of course the antagonists! They can take many forms, whether they’re just annoying people who turn up occasionally to get in your way, or an evil overlord who wants nothing short of world domination.

Here are my 10 favourite antagonists, the ones who you just love to hate!


10. Micah Bell

Red Dead Redemption 2 was my first foray in the Rockstar’s classic cowboy franchise, which means that I did not have any insight of events that existing fans of the series had already. For me, the gang’s downfall was a gradual observation, rather than an inevitable conclusion.

As the game progressed I became more and more suspicious of Micah, disliking him more every time he opened his mouth. He seemed to be too much of a loose cannon, and it felt as though his presence would end up being detrimental to the gang’s well-being.

Micah also appears to have a huge chip on his shoulder when it comes to Arthur – as Arthur’s health gets worse, Micah frequently refers to him as “Black Lung” – but even more baffling is how no other gang members ever challenge him on his disrespect towards one of the key members of the gang.

There are few games that force you to spend so much time with the main antagonist – the usual format being occasional meetings and battles. It is always refreshing to see a game that challenges the usual formats.


9. Scott Shelby

Heavy Rain featured three playable characters that the game would switch up from time to time, so players get to know all three at roughly the same pace. Scott Shelby is a Private Investigator who appears to be looking into the deaths caused by the Origami Killer.

Early on Scott meets Lauren Winter, the mother of one of the killer’s victims, and she accompanies him on his investigations. The pair develop a very close relationship as the game progresses. But then a major plot twist reveals that Scott Shelby is in fact the Origami Killer! For first time players (or at least, for me) it was a huge shock to find out that you had in fact been controlling the killer all along.

This impressive twist is what makes Scott one of the most memorable antagonists for me.


8. Seifer Almasy

The rivalry between Final fantasy VIII’s Squall Leonhart and Seifer Almasy is one that I have always loved. They both grew up in Balamb Garden, and have frequently come to blows.

Seifer is eventually recuited by Sorceress Edea to be her knight, taking a completely different path to Squall who is given the mission to assassinate Edea. Seifer appears a number of times throughout the game to hinder the party’s progress .

My favourite battle with him triggers the appearance of Odin, a powerful GF (assuming you have recruited him). Odin has a small chance at the beginning of every battle to use his powerful Zantetsuken skill, which will cut all enemies in half, instantly winning the battle. But when Odin goes up against Seifer, the skilled swordsman in fact manages to strike the GF down, putting him out of commission for good!

Seifer as an antagonist isn’t inherently bad, but rather he is a skilled and ambitious young adult who doesn’t quite fit in thanks to his rash and rebellious nature, until he was manipulated by the Sorceress.


7. Sin

Another entry from the Final Fantasy franchise – Sin of Final Fantasy X.

Sin is a gigantic monster who is best described as a calamitous force in the world of Spira. When the settlements of the world get too large, or start to rely too heavily on Machina, Sin will appear and destroy whatever it can find.

Final Fantasy X has a huge religious theme, and as you might have guessed, Sin is portrayed as the “divine punishment” to the people, and the reason why they must try so hard to atone. Each encounter with Sin is full of tension and intense pressure, as the possibility of destruction is so real once it turns up.

For those unfamiliar with the story, summoners will travel to temples across Spira to complete a pilgrimage, and at the end of this pilgrimage the summoner will call the Final Aeon, which will fight Sin. The hope is that it defeats Sin for good, but that will never happen as there is much more to be told about the origin of Sin.

Sin also has a very bizarre design – one which you don’t get to fully appreciate until much later in the game, as in the early stages of the story it appears in the water most of the time. And as for the actual creation of Sin, there is a very elaborate backstory behind how it came to be, and how it keeps coming back after being defeated.

I think Sin makes for an incredible antagonist. As you travel through Spira, you will see a lot of destruction caused by Sin, and you will meet people who have been affected by it, and the journey to destroy Sin feels like a truly epic tale – one that won’t be forgotten by me any time soon.


6. Zachary Hale Comstock

You’ve all played Bioshock Infinite right? You all know what the deal is with Comstock right? If this information has some how passed you by and you want to play Bioshock Infinite to discover what happens for yourself, MOVE ON.

So, we’ve had the guy who was in our gang, who we spent time with, who then turned on us.

We’ve had the guy who we played as who then turns out to be the killer.

And what do we have now? The guy, who is you but from a different universe!

I don’t think my mind has ever been blown as much as it was when I played this game, and the penny dropped the Comstock was in fact Booker Dewitt, and that Elizabeth was in fact Booker’s daughter, Anna Dewitt.

Again, this is an antagonist with religious overtones, but instead of divine punishment, we have a prophet – you will hear a lot of his prophecies and beliefs as you play the game. The story-crafting here really is phenomenal, with countless tiny details all adding up to make an elaborate backstory.

The uniqueness of Comstock’s backstory and identity truly make him one of the most unforgettable antagonists out there.


5. Skull Kid

This is in fact two separate characters; Skull Kid and the spirit of Majora.

Skull Kid, much like Seifer, is a troubled character, who is corrupted and manipulated by a powerful force. He steals Majora’s Mask from the Happy Mask Salesman, but the spirit sealed within starts to control Skull Kid, causing him to wreak havoc across Termina, the world that Majora’s Mask is set in. This ranges from poisoning the swamp, freezing the home of the Goron’s, blocking paths with boulders, to forcing the moon to fall from the sky.

I first played Majora’s Mask when it was released in 2000, when I was 7 years old … at such an age, this game felt a lot scarier than it actually is. The themes throughout the game are much darker than what is usually expected of a Zelda game, and Skull Kid felt particularly menacing. I wasn’t actually able to complete the game as a child because there were some parts of the game that I just found too frightening to tackle! (Of course, now I can breeze through with ease)

As you get closer to the end of the game, you learn that Skull Kid is just a kid who misses his friends, and that he isn’t actually an evil character. By the time I reached the end of the game, I actually found him to be quite endearing.

The spirit within Majora’s Mask eventually abandons Skull Kid, leading to a very surreal final boss battle.

Skull Kid will always be memorable to me, partly for how disturbing and creepy he was when I was younger, and partly because of how I feel about his character now that I have seen his story.


4. Demise

Demise is the final boss of The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and what a boss he is.

You will not see Demise’s true form until the very end of the game, as the main antagonist that you face throughout the game is in fact Ghirahim, but he only acts as a servant to Demise.

I really like Demise’s design, he truly emanates an aura of pure evil and malice. The final battle with him is quite simply … epic. Phenomenal battle music, a breathtaking battlefield, and a genuinely tricky but enjoyable battle against him.

But most importantly, Demise gives us answers.

The main villain of the Legend Of Zelda series is Ganon, and it was never incredibly clear to fans of the series why Ganon keeps appearing across the various titles … until Demise is defeated in Skyward Sword! It is at this point where Demise leaves his curse behind, claiming that his hatred will be reborn over and over to haunt Link and Zelda’s descendants in a never ending cycle – and this is the explanation for Ganon.

As a long time Zelda fan, I will always remember experiencing that battle for the first time, to then have that bomb-shell dropped.


3. Frau Engel

Wolfenstein’s Frau Engel is simply put … evil. She is a devoted Nazi, so devoted in fact that she states the Nazi agenda is more important to her than her own daughter.

You will bear witness to her evil personality a number of times throughout Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.

The New Order features a disturbing cutscene where Engel’s face has been horribly disfigured, and she gets right into Blazcowicz’s face to taunt him, before being flung aside by B.J.’s companion controlling a robot mech.

In The New Colossus, she relentlessly hunts down the protagonist B.J. Blazcowicz, even going so far as to get his father to lure him into a trap, where she then captures him and beheads him on national TV.

There are probably few characters who you will find yourself hating more than this Nazi (which really is a testament to the character’s design), and so I would say that Frau Engel is one of the greatest video game antagonists out there.


2. GLaDOS

Now, if you haven’t played Portal, chances are you’ve at least heard of Portal.

GLaDOS is the main antagonist of the game, and wow, is she a good one. She hates you. She really hates you. She does not have a problem showing you how much she hates you. Never has there been a more sadistic, sarcastic, sassy character. She is always ready and prepared to chastise you for whatever action you’re about to make.

But everything she does is in the name of science, and if you cooperate you get cake. Right?

One more thing – Still Alive. Once you complete Portal and the credits roll, GLaDOS starts to sing. And as it turns out, GLaDOS can sing!


1. Ganondorf

Ganondorf of The Legend Of Zelda series, the third Zelda entry on this list … I wonder if that might be one of my favourite franchises?

Ganondorf is just one half of the character though, as he can transform into Ganon, which is his beast form. He appears across a number of Zelda games, and in each instance there is a powerfully unique design.

My first encounter with Ganondorf was in Ocarina Of Time, and I was instantly taken by him as an antagonist! He has such an obvious air of evil and power, which is fitting for the bearer of the Triforce of Power. Ganondorf feels like a truly epic force to overcome in this game, especially by the time you reach the second part of the game – seven years after he steals the Triforce and reshapes Hyrule as he sees fit.

In Wind Waker he is actually referred to as Ganon, even though he is still in his Gerudo form. His appearance in Wind Waker is a stark contrast to the bright, bubbly setting that is the Great Sea. Such a strong design, and an excellent final boss battle to boot – he absolutely left his mark on this game.

Twilight Princess didn’t reveal Ganondorf until later in the game, with the main antagonist appearing to be Zant – but Zant was in fact acting in service of Ganondorf, who he reveres as a God. Once again Ganondorf has an excellent design, but what truly stands out for me is the spectacular multi-stage final boss battle. First he possesses Zelda’s body and attacks through her, and then transforms into his massive beast form … the next stage is a heart-pounding horseback battle on a huge open field, until finally Link and Ganondorf face off in a one-on-one sword fight.

Ganondorf makes more appearances across the series, but for me these are the stand-out appearances that make him my all time favourite antagonist of all gaming franchises.