Total Nerd The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time  

Jordy Altman
Originally by
16.8k 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
548 359
Cloud Strife is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

2
413 238
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
605 293
Sephiroth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

4
429 226
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
278 217
Sora is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Kingdom Hearts

6
211 161
Revan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Star Wars

7
337 251
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
327 192
Crono is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Chrono Trigger

9
214 173
Kefka Palazzo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

10
210 157
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Terra Branford

11
168 143
Kain Highwind is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

12
184 165
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 48
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
242 158
Aerith Gainsborough is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

15
240 163
Yuna is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy X

16
148 142
Garrus Vakarian is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
James Englebert added

17
225 160
Tidus is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy X

18
160 139
Laguna Loire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

19
156 140
Cecil Harvey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

20
139 122
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
127 73
Rikku is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Cheryl White added

22
120 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
127 131
Locke Cole is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

24
141 157
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
114 122
Rydia is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

26
107 117
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
77 90
Arthas Menethil is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

28
87 131
Miranda Lawson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added

29
135 130
Balthier is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Final Fantasy XII

30
68 104
Minato Arisato is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
137 134
Ellie is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ellie The Last of Us

32
143 147
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
150 159
Mario is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Fanboys, Super Mario Bros., Nintendo Universe

34
51 26
Morrigan is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Dunbarr added

35
56 84
KOS-MOS is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

36
48 37
HK-47 is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Walker Page added Star Wars

37
66 104
Golbez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

38
58 98
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

39
71 126
Vaan is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added

40
34 85
Canderous Ordo is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added

41
42 42
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
78 106
Diablo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Marvel Universe

43
18 18
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

44
60 128
Ness is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Nintendo Universe

45
45 96
Rosa Farrell is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added

46
22 23
Scorpion is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Nenga Machai added Marvel Universe

47
41 95
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

48
43 94
Claude Kenni is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Claude Kenni

49
45 104
Carth Onasi is listed (or ranked) 49 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

50
35 81
Rosa Harvey is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Harvey