Total Nerd The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time  

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A good role-playing game has memorable characters, but a great RPG has characters you will never forget. This list collects the best RPG characters in the history of video games, as ranked by gamers who appreciate a hero who is more than just an anonymous grunt with a gun.

There was a time when such gamers were few and far between. In 1997, Square Enix released Final Fantasy VII to an American audience unversed in the grand storytelling of role-playing games. With rich characters like Cloud, Aerith, and Sephiroth, FF7 changed everything. Soon gamers were swept up in the story, logging hours upon hours of adventuring. It wasn't long after FF7 that game developers jumped on the RPG bandwagon and began weaving tall-tales featuring memorable characters from Sora in Kingdom Hearts to Mass Effect's Commander Shepard.

These aren't cardboard cutouts or bland heroes. These are memorable, complex characters with rich backstories, internal conflicts, and propulsive journeys. Like the games they inhabit, these video game heroes and villains are full of depth and surprises.

See which characters made the list of the top characters in RPGs of all time and be sure to vote up all of your favorites. Do you think we missed somebody? Go ahead and add them to the list!

list ordered by

1
299 182
Cloud Strife is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Cloud Strife Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

The Greatest RPG Video Games Ever Made The Best Trucks of All Time

2
337 179
Sephiroth is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Sephiroth Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

3
174 106
Link is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Link Nintendo Universe, Universe of The Legend of Zelda

4
246 133
Geralt of Rivia is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Geralt of Rivia The Hexer, The Hexer, The Witcher universe

5
212 149
Commander Shepard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Commander Shepard Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

6
154 105
Sora is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Sora Kingdom Hearts

7
192 118
Crono is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Crono Chrono Trigger

8
105 75
Revan is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Revan Star Wars

9
120 108
Kefka Palazzo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Kefka Palazzo

10
103 89
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Terra Branford

11
84 63
Garrus Vakarian is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
James Englebert added Garrus Vakarian

12
136 109
Yuna is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Yuna Final Fantasy X

13
93 87
Red is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added Red Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, Pokémon Green

14
88 76
Kain Highwind is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Kain Highwind

15
128 104
Aerith Gainsborough is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Aerith Gainsborough Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

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16
96 91
Cecil Harvey is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Cecil Harvey

17
93 91
Tali'Zorah nar Rayya is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Tali'Zorah nar Rayya Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

18
106 94
Tidus is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Tidus Final Fantasy X

19
84 85
Laguna Loire is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Laguna Loire

20
63 62
Zack Fair is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Derek Danhauser added Zack Fair Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

21
77 82
Locke Cole is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Locke Cole

22
84 78
Balthier is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Balthier Final Fantasy XII

23
42 28
Frog (Chrono Trigger) is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Tuấn Hoàng added Frog (Chrono Trigger)

24
63 74
Rydia is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rydia

25
36 24
Rikku is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Cheryl White added Rikku

26
83 89
Kratos is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kratos God of War, God of War II, God of War III

27
50 68
Miranda Lawson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Miranda Lawson

28
86 99
Mario is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Mario Fanboys, Super Mario Bros., Nintendo Universe

29
32 40
Arthas Menethil is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

The Best Wii U RPGs You Should Be Playing The Biggest Turn Ons in a Person

30
29 37
KOS-MOS is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

31
70 83
Ellie is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ellie The Last of Us

32
41 57
Pikachu is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Pikachu Pokémon The Series: XY, Pokémon 4Ever, Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns

33
9 7
Vincent Valentine is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kenneth Peter Lavine IV added Vincent Valentine Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

34
32 59
Minato Arisato is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added Minato Arisato Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable , Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES

35
4 2
HK-47 is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Walker Page added HK-47 Star Wars

36
35 69
Vaan is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added Vaan

37
41 65
Diablo is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Diablo Marvel Universe

38
41 82
Ness is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ness Nintendo Universe

39
32 66
Golbez is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Golbez

40
31 65
Ranker Video
biggus-_maximus_-dickus added Cicero Skyrim

41
25 56
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

42
24 55
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

43
20 35
Laharl is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Laharl

The Best Super Nintendo RPGs Ever Made The Best Political Drama TV Shows

44
26 58
Rosa Farrell is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Farrell

45
15 44
Canderous Ordo is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Canderous Ordo

46
28 65
Carth Onasi is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Carth Onasi Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

47
25 60
Ryo Hazuki is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ryo Hazuki Shenmue: The Movie, SEGA Universe

48
26 61
Claude Kenni is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Claude Kenni

49
31 57
Vyse is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Vyse Skies of Arcadia, Valkyria Chronicles

50
3 7
Sub-Zero is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kenneth Peter Lavine IV added Sub-Zero Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Mortal Kombat