Total Nerd The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time  

Jordy Altman
Originally by
15.1k votes 1.6k voters 17.1k views 78 items

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
511 303
Cloud Strife is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Cloud Strife Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

2
344 204
Link is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Link Nintendo Universe, Universe of The Legend of Zelda

3
528 270
Sephiroth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Sephiroth Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

4
398 203
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
254 203
Sora is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Sora Kingdom Hearts

6
317 229
Commander Shepard is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Commander Shepard Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

7
185 142
Revan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Revan Star Wars

8
197 160
Kefka Palazzo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Kefka Palazzo

9
303 180
Crono is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Crono Chrono Trigger

10
193 140
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Terra Branford

11
152 129
Kain Highwind is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Kain Highwind

12
159 152
Red is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added Red Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, Pokémon Green

13
137 128
Garrus Vakarian is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
James Englebert added Garrus Vakarian

14
221 148
Aerith Gainsborough is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Aerith Gainsborough Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

The Most Popular RPG Video Games Right Now

15
224 153
Yuna is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Yuna Final Fantasy X

16
107 40
Vincent Valentine is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kenneth Peter Lavine IV added Vincent Valentine Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

17
207 145
Tidus is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Tidus Final Fantasy X

18
148 130
Laguna Loire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Laguna Loire

19
129 109
Zack Fair is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Derek Danhauser added Zack Fair Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

20
144 130
Cecil Harvey is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Cecil Harvey

21
108 56
Rikku is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Cheryl White added Rikku

The Best Disney Movies Available On Netflix Instant

22
105 63
Frog (Chrono Trigger) is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Tuấn Hoàng added Frog (Chrono Trigger)

23
132 142
Tali'Zorah nar Rayya is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Tali'Zorah nar Rayya Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

24
108 111
Rydia is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rydia

25
116 124
Locke Cole is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Locke Cole

26
90 104
Pikachu is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Pikachu Pokémon The Series: XY, Pokémon 4Ever, Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns

27
70 79
Arthas Menethil is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

28
77 117
Miranda Lawson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Miranda Lawson

The Greatest RPG Video Games Ever Made

29
124 121
Balthier is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Balthier Final Fantasy XII

30
59 94
Minato Arisato is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
120 122
Ellie is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ellie The Last of Us

32
130 147
Mario is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Mario Fanboys, Super Mario Bros., Nintendo Universe

33
122 135
Kratos is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kratos God of War, God of War II, God of War III

34
35 15
Morrigan is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Dunbarr added Morrigan

35
39 28
HK-47 is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Walker Page added HK-47 Star Wars

Mythical Creatures That Were Found in Real Life

36
47 76
KOS-MOS is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

37
59 96
Golbez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Golbez

38
50 89
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

39
29 78
Canderous Ordo is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Canderous Ordo

40
60 114
Vaan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added Vaan

41
70 101
Diablo is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Diablo Marvel Universe

42
56 120
Ness is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ness Nintendo Universe

The Best Playstation 4 RPGs Released So Far

43
10 8
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

44
42 91
Rosa Farrell is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Farrell

45
29 34
Sub-Zero is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
40 87
Claude Kenni is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Claude Kenni

47
42 95
Carth Onasi is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
36 87
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

49
32 74
Rosa Harvey is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Harvey

50
35 87
Ryo Hazuki is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ryo Hazuki Shenmue: The Movie, SEGA Universe