games / Columns

411 Games Top 5: Top 5 Final Fantasy Characters

November 28, 2016 | Posted by Sean Garmer

Hello everyone, I hope it has been a good week for all the readers out there. This is the 411 Games Zone Top 5, where 411 writers get to make lists on a different topic each week. This week, since Final Fantasy XV comes out in a few days, we are doing the Top 5 Final Fantasy Characters.

John Cash (Regular Contributor to Games Top 5)

5. Lulu (FFX): I’m not the biggest fan of this series, but I have played several of the games, and for some of the longer ones I watched on YouTube. FFX was the first FF game I played, and while I didn’t really care for Tidus or Yuna, Lulu was right up my alley. I have a thing for stoic types, you see, and she just happened to also have the style of support that I like in my party.

4. Tifa Lockheart (FFVII): I’m going to be frank here; I think I enjoy Tifa in pretty much everything but the game she is from, specifically in Advent Children and On the Way to a Smile. Her design is really simple but SUPER iconic. I get that she had to be the #2 in FF7 (behind Aerith) for the sake of the story, but I feel like they could have done more with her.

3. Sephiroth (FFVII): He’s one of the most well-known video game antagonists of all time, right up there with Bowser and Ganon. He was one of the first villains I can remember pitying, at least in a video game. Sure, he goes WAY over board, but what caused him to go mad is pretty understandable. I look forward to seeing if they expand any of his story in the re-make.

2. Terra Branford (VI): It was very hard for me to choose between Terra and Lightning for my top 2. If Lightning Returns hadn’t have happened, Terra probably would be my favorite FF character ever. She has such a great arc, and her personal struggle with her humanity is one I will remember for a long time. After seeing her DIssidia appearances, I kind of want them to remake FF6, but it would be a massive undertaking, so it will probably depend on the success of the FFVII remake.

1. Lightning (FFXIII): I relate a lot to Lightning for reasons I won’t go too far into, but I could see myself in a lot of her actions and dialogue. I know the XIII trilogy is right up there with Spirits Within (something else I massively enjoy) for most FF diehards, but I think most people seem to enjoy Lightning as a singular character. Lightning Returns was fantastic, with the ending being so wonderful. I hope she is in Kingdom Hearts III!

Marc Morrison (Games Zone Reviewer, Co-Host of Video Games 2 the MAX Podcast, Writer of Games Zone 8-Ball)

5. Quistis: To be honest, I always wanted Squall to hook up with Quistis, rather than Rinoa. She has the whole “sexy librarian” thing going on, plus isn’t completely annoying during the course of the game. She wasn’t that useful in battle I thought, but she did have a decent personality in the game, which is something I can’t say for most everyone else in FF8.

4. Cissnei: It says a lot when the best written woman in a Final Fantasy game, bar Type-O, only appears in a prequel title on the PSP. Still, Cissnei represents a great character as she is playful towards Zack, but it never goes beyond casual flirting. Also, she cares for her fellow Turks and makes them seem human. A far cry from the exploits in FF 7 where they are dopey goons. She suffers from the “was invented for this game” hiccup (don’t care if she was in the anime before or not), so that’s why she probably has depth.

3. Tseng Speaking of adding depth, Crisis Core actually made Tseng a fleshed out character, rather than the buffoon he was portrayed as in FF7. I liked the friendship he had with Zack, it was slightly competitive but they respected and befriended each other by the end. Also, he did the honorable thing in the end of the game and tried to save Zack. He wasn’t exactly successful, but it showed the level of friendship the two had.

2. Cid (Final Fantasy 7): Who doesn’t love a crusty, bitter old guy? I like that for most of the game Cid is basically like “Yeah, this hippie lifestream stuff is garbage, let’s get to another planet!” He was a pretty mediocre fighter in the game, but made up for it in attitude and having the best theme song in the game.

1. Chocolina — DERP1

1. Zack Fair (Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core): Unlike Cloud, who is a schizophrenic cipher for most of the game, Zack actually has a personality and character growth. It’s always nice when you can actually see the journey of a hero in a Final Fantasy game. Plus, unlike most of the recent FF heroes, he isn’t a dour asshole, or annoying beyond belief. Zack is energetic, sure, but not at the expense of going overboard, unlike say Tidus. His eventual end is a real impactful moment, and the last battle is portrayed in a very special way. Lastly, he’s voiced by Endless Mike Hellstrom from Adventures of Pete & Pete (Rick Gomez), so that is rad.

Stephanie Diaz (Gamer, Reader Voice, Games Reviewer for

Editors Note: * Stephanie writes game reviews and other things over at my website, I asked to help out and add a list since I didn’t have time this week to do one myself. *

5. Noctis Lucis Caelum: Noctis is the newest addition to the FF series but he’s already made a huge impact on the franchise. With a full-length feature film, anime, and even manga, Noctis is given a lot of material for gamers to be excited. But what makes him already a fan favorite is just how much hype is being given to him. He’s the star of a game people have been waiting on for over 10 years. Not many Final Fantasy characters carry this much weight on their shoulders as he does right now. Did I mention he’s only one of a few to be in a feature film? Yeah.

4. Lightning “Claire Farron”: Lightning is one of the greatest female characters in the franchise, and is also a huge turning point for gamers. The main character of Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning’s design was meant to be a mixture of past Final Fantasy character designs, focusing on her personality and story, rather than how she looked. While beautiful, feminine, and graceful, she becomes memorable because of how different she is. She is a turning point for how gamers view women in games, and her story is different in how she has one goal that spans into three games. Not everyone cares for the three FF XIII games, but I enjoyed each one for its own reasons. Two of them were totally because of Lightning.

3. Squall Leonheart Squall is a probably the most difficult character to analyze because of how he develops in Final Fantasy VIII. But it’s the struggle of finding himself that makes him number three. He is a relatable character allowing gamers struggling to find themselves, someone to identify with, not only because he appears cold at first. But he grows throughout the game and shows the he actually does care for people. He’s one of the most iconic characters in Final Fantasy lore and has even taken a starring side role in the Kingdom Hearts series as well.

2. Sephiroth A super soldier and probably known as one of the sexiest male characters alive, this addition to my top five is different. A villain in Final Fantasy VIII, he’s a counterpart to Cloud Strife. He’s also does a good job in his role of helping Cloud’s character development. Most Final Fantasy villains tend to be a distant force that the gamer meets at the end of the gate. Sephiroth is the exception to the rule, becoming a huge force of just plain old bad on Cloud and his companions. He’s also remembered for killing the next character on my list.

1. Aerith Gainsborough: Aerith is number one on my list and rightfully so. She is a beautiful character and is designed as friendly, compassionate, and sweet. She can fight, heal, and is another factor in Cloud’s development. She is a part of Cloud’s past just as she’s a part of his present. She also offers him a certain hope as he struggles to fulfill his mission in saving the world, and in finding himself. But she is remembered more because of the ugly crying that gamers went through for her. Her death scene by the hands of Sephiroth is one of the most iconic moments in the entire Final Fantasy franchise that gamers to this day still have tears in their eyes talking about her.


List your Top Five for this week’s topic in the comment section using the following format:

5. CHOICE: Explanation
4. CHOICE: Explanation
3. CHOICE: Explanation
2. CHOICE: Explanation
1. CHOICE: Explanation