Total Nerd The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time  

Jordy Altman
Originally by
16k votes 1.7k voters 17.9k 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!

1
532 339
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
372 229
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
567 283
Sephiroth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Sephiroth Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

4
414 215
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
268 211
Sora is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Sora Kingdom Hearts

6
201 153
Revan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Revan Star Wars

7
328 242
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
315 187
Crono is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Crono Chrono Trigger

9
203 169
Kefka Palazzo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Kefka Palazzo

10
203 150
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Terra Branford

11
160 137
Kain Highwind is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Kain Highwind

12
176 158
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
120 43
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
233 154
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
233 157
Yuna is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Yuna Final Fantasy X

16
141 134
Garrus Vakarian is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
James Englebert added Garrus Vakarian

17
217 151
Tidus is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Tidus Final Fantasy X

18
153 134
Laguna Loire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Laguna Loire

19
148 134
Cecil Harvey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Cecil Harvey

20
134 115
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
119 62
Rikku is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Cheryl White added Rikku

The Best Club Soda Brands

22
110 69
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
136 148
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
110 115
Rydia is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rydia

25
118 128
Locke Cole is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Locke Cole

26
100 109
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
82 121
Miranda Lawson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Miranda Lawson

28
129 124
Balthier is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Balthier Final Fantasy XII

The Greatest RPG Video Games Ever Made

29
71 83
Arthas Menethil is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

30
62 97
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
127 126
Ellie is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ellie The Last of Us

32
136 138
Kratos is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kratos God of War, God of War II, God of War III

33
142 150
Mario is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Mario Fanboys, Super Mario Bros., Nintendo Universe

34
40 18
Morrigan is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Dunbarr added Morrigan

35
52 78
KOS-MOS is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

A Random Collection of 30 Hilarious YouTube Comments

36
42 32
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
61 99
Golbez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Golbez

38
55 92
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

39
39 36
Sub-Zero is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
65 119
Vaan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added Vaan

41
31 83
Canderous Ordo is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Canderous Ordo

42
73 104
Diablo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Diablo Marvel Universe

The Best Xbox One RPGs Released So Far

43
58 123
Ness is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ness Nintendo Universe

44
43 93
Rosa Farrell is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Farrell

45
12 12
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

46
19 18
Scorpion is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Nenga Machai added Scorpion Marvel Universe

47
42 90
Claude Kenni is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Claude Kenni

48
39 91
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

49
33 78
Rosa Harvey is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Harvey

50
42 100
Carth Onasi is listed (or ranked) 50 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