Total Nerd The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time  

Jordy Altman
Originally by
16.9k votes 1.8k voters 18.8k 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
548 360
Cloud Strife is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

2
416 238
Link is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Nintendo Universe, Universe of The Legend of Zelda

3
607 293
Sephiroth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

4
430 226
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
278 218
Sora is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kingdom Hearts

6
212 161
Revan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Star Wars

7
338 251
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
215 173
Kefka Palazzo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

9
328 192
Crono is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Chrono Trigger

10
168 144
Kain Highwind is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

11
210 158
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Terra Branford

12
185 165
Red is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, Pokémon Green

13
132 49
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
242 159
Aerith Gainsborough is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

15
240 164
Yuna is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy X

16
149 142
Garrus Vakarian is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
James Englebert added

17
225 161
Tidus is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy X

18
160 140
Laguna Loire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

19
156 141
Cecil Harvey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

20
139 123
Zack Fair is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Derek Danhauser added Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

21
128 73
Rikku is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Cheryl White added

22
121 73
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
127 132
Locke Cole is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

24
142 157
Tali'Zorah nar Rayya is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

25
114 123
Rydia is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

26
108 117
Pikachu is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Pokémon The Series: XY, Pokémon 4Ever, Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns

27
78 90
Arthas Menethil is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

28
88 131
Miranda Lawson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added

29
69 104
Minato Arisato is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
138 134
Ellie is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ellie The Last of Us

31
135 131
Balthier is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy XII

32
144 147
Kratos is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
God of War, God of War II, God of War III

33
52 26
Morrigan is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Dunbarr added

34
150 160
Mario is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Fanboys, Super Mario Bros., Nintendo Universe

35
57 84
KOS-MOS is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

36
49 37
HK-47 is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Walker Page added Star Wars

37
67 104
Golbez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

38
58 99
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

39
35 85
Canderous Ordo is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added

40
71 127
Vaan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added

41
42 43
Sub-Zero is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
78 107
Diablo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Marvel Universe

43
61 128
Ness is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Nintendo Universe

44
18 19
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

45
23 23
Scorpion is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Nenga Machai added Marvel Universe

46
45 97
Rosa Farrell is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

47
41 96
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

48
36 81
Rosa Harvey is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Harvey

49
43 95
Claude Kenni is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Claude Kenni

50
45 105
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