Total Nerd The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time  

Jordy Altman
Originally by
17.6k votes 1.9k voters 19.6k 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!

list ordered by

1
439 255
Link is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Nintendo Universe, Universe of The Legend of Zelda

2
627 307
Sephiroth is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

3
567 373
Cloud Strife is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

4
443 239
Geralt of Rivia is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
The Hexer, The Hexer, The Witcher universe

5
292 225
Sora is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kingdom Hearts

6
223 171
Revan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Star Wars

7
348 262
Commander Shepard is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

8
337 201
Crono is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Chrono Trigger

9
220 182
Kefka Palazzo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

10
196 176
Red is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, Pokémon Green

11
172 150
Kain Highwind is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

12
213 168
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Terra Branford

13
139 56
Vincent Valentine is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kenneth Peter Lavine IV added Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

14
247 163
Aerith Gainsborough is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

15
247 171
Yuna is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy X

16
155 146
Garrus Vakarian is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
James Englebert added

17
234 165
Tidus is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy X

18
163 144
Laguna Loire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

19
146 128
Zack Fair is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Derek Danhauser added Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

20
133 76
Rikku is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Cheryl White added

21
157 148
Cecil Harvey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

22
157 151
Kratos is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
God of War, God of War II, God of War III

23
126 77
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
117 119
Pikachu is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Pokémon The Series: XY, Pokémon 4Ever, Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns

25
146 160
Tali'Zorah nar Rayya is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

26
128 136
Locke Cole is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

27
116 125
Rydia is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

28
75 107
Minato Arisato is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable , Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES

29
93 135
Miranda Lawson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added

30
80 93
Arthas Menethil is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

31
159 162
Mario is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Fanboys, Super Mario Bros., Nintendo Universe

32
137 134
Balthier is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy XII

33
140 139
Ellie is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ellie The Last of Us

34
55 30
Morrigan is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Dunbarr added

35
62 86
KOS-MOS is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

36
55 40
HK-47 is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Walker Page added Star Wars

37
67 107
Golbez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

38
61 101
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

39
46 45
Sub-Zero is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kenneth Peter Lavine IV added Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Mortal Kombat

40
36 88
Canderous Ordo is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added

41
72 131
Vaan is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added

42
81 109
Diablo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Marvel Universe

43
67 129
Ness is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Nintendo Universe

44
44 94
Ryo Hazuki is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Shenmue: The Movie, SEGA Universe

45
19 22
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

46
44 97
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

47
25 26
Scorpion is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Nenga Machai added Marvel Universe

48
46 99
Rosa Farrell is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

49
37 83
Rosa Harvey is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Harvey

50
47 107
Carth Onasi is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords