Total Nerd The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time  

Jordy Altman
Originally by
16.6k votes 1.8k voters 18.4k views 79 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!

1
543 352
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
406 235
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
596 292
Sephiroth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Sephiroth Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

4
425 223
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
273 215
Sora is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Sora Kingdom Hearts

6
209 159
Revan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Revan Star Wars

7
334 249
Commander Shepard is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Commander Shepard Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

8
323 192
Crono is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Crono Chrono Trigger

9
211 173
Kefka Palazzo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Kefka Palazzo

10
209 154
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Terra Branford

11
166 143
Kain Highwind is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Kain Highwind

12
181 165
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
130 47
Vincent Valentine is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kenneth Peter Lavine IV added Vincent Valentine Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

14
238 158
Aerith Gainsborough is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Aerith Gainsborough Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

15
237 163
Yuna is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Yuna Final Fantasy X

16
145 141
Garrus Vakarian is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
James Englebert added Garrus Vakarian

17
221 160
Tidus is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Tidus Final Fantasy X

18
159 138
Laguna Loire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Laguna Loire

19
155 138
Cecil Harvey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Cecil Harvey

20
136 122
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
124 71
Rikku is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Cheryl White added Rikku

22
119 72
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
125 131
Locke Cole is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Locke Cole

24
114 120
Rydia is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rydia

25
138 155
Tali'Zorah nar Rayya is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Tali'Zorah nar Rayya Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

26
107 115
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
86 129
Miranda Lawson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Miranda Lawson

28
76 89
Arthas Menethil is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

29
133 128
Balthier is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Balthier Final Fantasy XII

30
66 101
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
132 133
Ellie is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ellie The Last of Us

32
148 157
Mario is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Mario Fanboys, Super Mario Bros., Nintendo Universe

33
138 145
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
48 24
Morrigan is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Dunbarr added Morrigan

35
56 82
KOS-MOS is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

36
46 36
HK-47 is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Walker Page added HK-47 Star Wars

37
65 103
Golbez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Golbez

38
58 96
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

39
69 124
Vaan is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added Vaan

40
33 85
Canderous Ordo is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Canderous Ordo

41
40 41
Sub-Zero is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
77 105
Diablo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Diablo Marvel Universe

43
17 15
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

44
60 127
Ness is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ness Nintendo Universe

45
45 95
Rosa Farrell is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Farrell

46
41 94
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

47
43 93
Claude Kenni is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Claude Kenni

48
35 80
Rosa Harvey is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Harvey

49
44 104
Carth Onasi is listed (or ranked) 49 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

50
20 23
Scorpion is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Nenga Machai added Scorpion Marvel Universe