Bring out the Summons, the staves and the cool hair! This week we’re bringing you Nerdbot's top picks for Final Fantasy’s characters. It was tough sorting this one out as there are plenty of memorable characters in any single FF game, so to avoid filling this list with the entire cast of any single game we’ve put a hard limit on two per title including any sequels or spin-offs. This way you’ll be able to better appreciate some of the lesser known games in the franchise.
10. Cid| Various Games
Cid is one of two characters that we’ve deemed an exemption to our rule. Cid has been a mainstay in the series ever since Final Fantasy , often portrayed as an airship captain or engineer. We had a tough choice picking between the most recent incarnation as the energetic and outgoing female mechanic Cidney in XV (Cindy in the US version, her grandfather is also a Cid) and the villainous gatling gun wielding scientist Dr. Cid in XII, as both are firsts to break away from the typical mold. Since we don’t know much about Cidney, what role she will play or how she will be portrayed, we had to go with the devil we do know, the Archadian Dr. Cid from XII. [I wanted to go with Cidney]
9. Fran|Final Fantasy XII
Speaking in an Icelandic accent, Fran seem to be the closest to the elf archetype that is typically associated with fantasy RPGs. This strong and stoic Master of Weapons served upon the Strahl alongside Balthier before running into Vaan during a failed heist to steal the Goddess Magicite from the Royal Palace. Highly intelligent, mysterious, and equally graceful-- despite her revealing choice of armor, which makes sense considering her agility-- she is up there with Lara Croft and Samus Aran in terms of action heroines who aren't in distress. Well, they are in distress but they can handle it just fine.
8.Cloud Strife| Final Fantasy VII
Arguably the most iconic hero of the franchise, Cloud is definitely one of the coolest sword wielding heroes with his blonde spiky hair and gigantic buster sword that he received from his SOLDIER best friend Zack Fair. While Cloud may be the only other recognizable hero by name aside from Lightning, his story of a mercenary-for-hire-fighting-for-the-cause isn’t very original. If anything the supporting cast of VII deserve more of the limelight than he, but what is interesting about Cloud is how he inadvertently absorbed the memories of his best friend Zack believing that he was something more than he was.
7. Cecil Harvey| Final Fantasy IV
(Pronounced, Seh-Sill) Raised from an orphanage to be a Dark Knight and fiercely loyal to his king to the point of blind obedience, he begins to question his fealty after being ordered to slaughter an entire defenseless village in order to kill a small girl. Only after witnesses the consequences of his actions does he seek to redeem himself eventually leading to the boss battle with his mirrored self to become Paladin.
6. Layle| Crystal Chronicles
Starting off as the well established “hero” during what he describes as a “boring escort mission,” we’re introduced to Layle who is both outgoing and addicted to trouble. Layle is the kind of hero who has three loves: The beach, money, and the female form. Never hiding the fact that he is a crystal bearer, he sees his talents as neither a gift or curse despite being looked down upon. Even though Crystal Chronicles wasn't a commercial success, it spawned perhaps the most relatable character in the series.
5. Shantotto|Final Fantasy XI
An NPC, Shantotto is a Tarutaru Black Mage from the Windurst Federation and hero of the Crystal War. Her well written character was well received by both Western and Japanese fans. Most notable for her laugh and rhyming whenever she speaks (in English versions), Shantotto also views herself superior to all others and will not bow down to anyone. She lives by the motto "The Ends Justify The Means," meaning she will do whatever it takes to win even if an ally were to get hurt. Shantotto has a short fuse, easily losing her temper with anyone who would stand up to her or question her.
4. Sephiroth| Final Fantasy VII
Wielding another iconic blade, the Muramasa, he is responsible for one the most memorable moments in not just Final Fantasy but of all of gaming. Arguably one of the weakest final bosses in all of Final Fantasy, his strongest attack Supernova is really just for show, not even managing to bring your party anywhere near death. His character took two games and a movie to flesh out. That’s not to say that he isn’t well written, it’s just that it took two games and a movie for you to know what kind of villain he really is. While his badassery seems to be blown out of proportion there’s no denying his popularity and his ingeniously written theme that was inspired by Jimi Hendrix.
3. Balthier| Final Fantasy XII
If Han Solo ever managed to make his into the Final Fantasy Universe Balthier would be his avatar. Both even have a non human companion in which they both have their complete trust in. Charming, dapper, cunning and cynical he comes across as cocky and self centered, he has a tendency to think that he’s “the leading man” of the story. Having being made into an Archadian Judge at 16 before leaving his old lifestyle behind to be a sky pirate, he’s got the skill and power to back up his attitude. Even though he seems like the type you always need to keep on eye on, he proves himself to be far-from selfish aboard the Sky Fortress Bahamut when he refused to let Fran die.
2. Mog| Various Games
The second character to break our rule Mog has appeared in every game, OVA and movies since FFIII in some capacity with the exception of IV including a few games outside of Final Fantasy. Mog is the quintessential mascot for the Final Fantasy series. The Moogle race has varied in appearances in every game but they will always sport the same motif: Small mammal with white fur, bat wings, a pink pom pom for an antenna and a verbal tic of ending their sentences with “Kupo”. Again as with Cid it was hard picking which Mog everyone liked but after careful consideration we had to go with the Moogles from the Ivalice Alliance series of games which encompass FF Tactics: War of the Lions, Advance, A2, XII and XII: Wings of the Revenant. These moogles play an active role in helping you complete your quest as opposed to either being a village of npcs or a paperclip assistant like they did in Lightning Returns. They also happen to be the cutest with their cat like appearance garbed in Hume clothing and their job matching multi-colored poms.
1. Kefka Palazzo| Final Fantasy VI
He's the only FF villain to actually accomplish his goals, and is one of the handful of villains to do so in the entire history of gaming. He also has the creepiest laugh in gaming history. Everybody could recognize his voice even though it was at a time in which voice acting didn't exist in games. He’s apathetic to the point of sadism, he's narcissistic, nihilistic, and egoistic. Having been driven mad through becoming the first prototype Magitek Knight, Kefka managed to scheme all the way from ruler to godhood and then destroyed the world because he thought is was funny to hear people scream. Calling Kefka psychotic would be an understatement. Most players would have written him off with all of his witty one-liners and jester appearance, mistaking him for some sort of mid-boss. But his ascension to power is one that took many by surprise. And to top it off the four stage final battle with Kefka is a lengthy one taking anywhere up to 2 hours and the entire playable cast. Gods help you if you didn’t dedicate some time to level up everyone.
Do you agree with our list? Be honest with us, how many of you named your pets after you favorite characters?