Total Nerd The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time  

Jordy Altman
Originally by
15.6k votes 1.6k voters 17.5k 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
525 313
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
359 211
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
538 279
Sephiroth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Sephiroth Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Gaia

4
408 210
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
264 206
Sora is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Sora Kingdom Hearts

6
322 237
Commander Shepard is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Commander Shepard Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

7
195 149
Revan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Revan Star Wars

8
311 184
Crono is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Crono Chrono Trigger

9
203 165
Kefka Palazzo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Kefka Palazzo

10
201 146
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Terra Branford

11
159 133
Kain Highwind is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Kain Highwind

12
168 157
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
116 41
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
229 152
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
141 130
Garrus Vakarian is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
James Englebert added Garrus Vakarian

16
229 155
Yuna is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Yuna Final Fantasy X

17
213 149
Tidus is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Tidus Final Fantasy X

18
151 132
Laguna Loire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Laguna Loire

19
148 131
Cecil Harvey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Cecil Harvey

20
132 112
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
115 59
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
108 66
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
135 144
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
110 112
Rydia is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rydia

25
118 125
Locke Cole is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Locke Cole

26
96 109
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
71 81
Arthas Menethil is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

28
128 122
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
80 119
Miranda Lawson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Miranda Lawson

30
62 95
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
126 124
Ellie is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ellie The Last of Us

32
129 138
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
136 150
Mario is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Mario Fanboys, Super Mario Bros., Nintendo Universe

34
38 16
Morrigan is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Dunbarr added Morrigan

35
41 30
HK-47 is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Walker Page added HK-47 Star Wars

A Random Collection of 30 Hilarious YouTube Comments

36
49 77
KOS-MOS is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

37
60 97
Golbez is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Golbez

38
53 90
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

39
30 80
Canderous Ordo is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
StaB added Canderous Ordo

40
63 118
Vaan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Son Goku added Vaan

41
72 102
Diablo is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Diablo Marvel Universe

42
58 121
Ness is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Ness Nintendo Universe

The Best Xbox One RPGs Released So Far

43
12 10
Terra Branford is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time

44
32 37
Sub-Zero is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
42 88
Claude Kenni is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Claude Kenni

46
43 92
Rosa Farrell is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Farrell

47
38 89
Ranker Video
James Englebert added Shulk

48
33 76
Rosa Harvey is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Junior53 added Rosa Harvey

49
42 98
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
21 59
Demi-fiend is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest RPG Characters of All Time
Demi-fiend