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Wolf Kanno
08-19-2016, 08:46 PM
Who are your top five favorite heroes and villains from any RPG? Custom characters are allowed as well.

Forsaken Lover
08-19-2016, 09:01 PM
Well...that's an extremely broad topic. Even for someone who hasn't played that many RPGs (relatively speaking to many posters on here, anyway) it's hard to narrow it down.


I'll just try and do villains, I guess.

1. Grahf from Xenogears
2. Dmitri Yuriev from Xenosaga
3. The Illusive Man from Mass Effect
4. The Arishok from Dragon Age II (for a given definition of "villain")
5. Caius from Final Fantasy XIII-2

Fynn
08-19-2016, 09:03 PM
You always have to come up with the most loaded questions, don't you, Wolfie? :roll2:

I'll be back.

Karifean
08-19-2016, 10:25 PM
(Why are interesting topics like these always in the General RPG section?)

Wolf Kanno
08-23-2016, 06:44 AM
To make this a bit more interesting for me, I'm limiting all my choices from one game only. While I can have a hero or villain choice from the same game, I cannot have a two or more hero/villain choices from the same game, otherwise my entire villain list would be Xenogears/Saga.

Heroes

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Fei Fong Wong - Loved this guy, never have I encountered a main character who really took me through a whole stream of emotions. From screaming at the screen at him to suck it up and start pulling his weight; to feeling bad when all the trout hits the fan for him again, and again; to cheering him on when tells Krelian the facts of life in the game's final monologue. Fei easily has one of my favorite stories of a main protagonist and while the others on this list may vary in the top five department, Fei will probably always be my number one choice.

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Ashley Riot - So let's say merged Cloud Strife with Solid Snake to balance out their flaws and then set them in the politically twisted world of Matsuno's imagination, you would get this guy. Ashley is unique for me in terms of RPGs, he's one of the few RPG heroes who ever made me feel like a damn badass. Probably because the game was actually a bit challenging, so when the villains and heroes start heaping praise onto him, it actually felt well earned. Anyway, Ashley has a pretty twisted and interesting story which works beautifully with the game's twisted and winding plot where every few hours your enemies are allies and vice versa. Ashley is pretty much Cloud Strife done right, starts off as a loner badass but eventually opens up to be a more vulnerable and human figure as the story progresses and there is no silly alien DNA shenanigans to hand wave any inconsistencies that pop up. Even better is that VS leaves the truth about Ashley's past to the player's imagination, always giving enough leeway to the various explanations for his past to make them plausible regardless. This is how you do an unreliable narrator character.

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Ramza Beoluve - Another from Team Matsuno/Tactics, Ramza is a wonderful character who holds up the ideals of knighthood and chivalry from fairy tales, but Ivalice is more like a grim-dark version of real history. So basically imagine Idealistic Hollywood version of King Arthur popping up in Game of Thrones and you have an idea of the kind of role Ramza plays. It's somewhat difficult to describe how interesting Ramza's story is without mentioning Delita and contrasting journey which is the linchpin of the game's themes and story. Ramza is a figure we would all like to be, and the game makes him go through hell for his ideals but Ramza earns his happy ending though he had to sacrifice almost everything to get it. He showed that sometimes, sticking to ones belief and principles is more important than the silly earthly rewards and and broken status quo that life tries to make us settle for.

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Tatsuya Suou - Tatsuya is an odd choice for those in the know, but let me explain. Tatsuya is mainly the main character in terms of playable main character in Persona 2 Innocent Sin, he's also a silent protagonist. In Eternal Punishment (think P2: Part 2) he's a very important side character who doesn't join your team until almost 2/3rds of the way in, but do not be mistaken, the story is still all about him and his actions from Innocent Sin, he also talks in EP and suffers some serious PTSD. With that said, even his Silent Protagonist setup is not completely true, the game makes it very obvious what kind of guy Tatsuya is and his dialogue choices simply give you the option to make his jerky attitude either a facade or the real deal. Still he's a pretty compelling hero whose story is told through the other party members and their close connections to him. When he's finally given a voice in EP, Tatsuya is a broken figure, hellbent on setting right what he made wrong with his thoughtless actions in IS. He helps the party from time to time but consistently tries to convince Maya not follow him so she won't get hurt, or worse, suffer her fate from IS. Yeah, the main protagonists from P3/4 give you more autonomy and story-wise, they are bigger badasses but Tatsuya has an actual story as opposed to them and watching it come to full fruition was incredibly rewarding.

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Chris Lightfellow - Man, I'm a bit sad here, I chose four dudes and I'm only now listing a female heroine. Granted, I could have done Terra Branford or Lady Ashe but I kind of wanted to move away from how Square dominated this list was and maybe point people towards a character who deserves more recognition anyway. Course I'd be lying if I didn't say one of the male main characters from the Suikoden series didn't cross my mind first but I do feel Chris stands out among the series and the genre.

For one thing, Chris is not the typical female character in gameplay. Of the three main characters you can choose from, Chris has the highest HP, Defense and Physical attack power among the three characters (one of whom is a grizzled veteran mercenary, and the other an idealistic sixteen year old boy whose hometown doesn't survive the first few hours of the game, so you know this is odd) and she's easily one of the worst characters in the game for magic. Which makes it a real shame when she does obtain any of the game's serious magic artifacts of doom cause she can't do trout with it. Her story is pretty good if a bit unoriginal. She rallied her forces after her commanders were killed in battle and now finds herself in the awkward situation of leadership (one of the game's major themes) and its not helped that everyone looks up to her and her own private platoon of knights all have a not so hidden crush on her. Yet Chris thankfully never falls into the gender stereotype trappings this situation would bring. She has no romance plot and the only guy in her life that does affect her emotionally is her missing and presumed dead father. Beyond that her story mostly consists of dealing with her new leadership role and the corrupt government she serves. Chris loves her country, but perhaps not the politicians who run it. Likewise she finds herself dealings with the horror of war but thankfully her veteran status means she doesn't dwell on it any longer than need be, instead she takes a more long term view of war being an ugly but regretfully inevitability but she herself wishes for peace between her home and the Grasslanders but is also stuck in the ugly cycle of vengeance. Her interaction with her men is pretty heartwarming but it's really her interaction with the flirtatious and secretive scoundrel Nash that really highlight her character. Her story even dabbles a bit in religion. Her theme, more than anything to me is one about sacrifice.

Villains

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Grahf - Yes, his name sounds like what you do in statistics and he looks like Darth Vader, in fact certain details of his past are pretty much taken whole cloth from the famous Star Wars character. Yet he's so much more. Hammy as hell with over-the-top speeches and a catch phrase you'll learn to hate as it's often attached to the more annoying boss battles, Grahf's true nature and past story is easily one of the coolest, if not twisted aspects of the story and while you hate his guts for 90% of the game, when the curtain finally drops on him, you'll feel bad for the guy once you understand where he's coming from. Like many of Tetsya Takahashi's stories, most of his villains are just well intention extremist or woobie, destroyer of worlds types whom become more difficult to hate as you get a better understanding for them. While Xenogears is filled to the brim with incredible antagonists, Grahf easily left the biggest emotional impact on me with his crazy plan to kill god.

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Albedo Piazolla - Oh hey, another Tetsuya Takahashi/Soraya Saga character, this time from Xenogears is spiritual successor. While I did pause for a moment and thought about putting Yuriev here, he doesn't really show up until Episode 2 and like Grahf, Albedo just leaves a more lasting impression. In fact, Albedo is easily my favorite character from the series. So what would happen if you took Kefka Pallazo (even their last names are similar) and wrote him a real backstory instead of the excuse one we got, and what if those writers actually knew what they were doing and also didn't have to deal with Nintendo of America's censorship policy. You get this guy: Crazy, crafty as a fox, nearly immortal, loves to torture little boys and girls, better dressed, voiced by Crispin "the voice of sex personified" Freeman, and has one of the most touching and well done story arcs across a franchise well known for its troubled development. Hell the little censorship he got in the game mostly made him even creepier. His first truly big moment in the game is psychologically torturing a bioroid with the physical and mental state of a twelve year old by dismembering himself and ripping his head off. Just when you think he's the creepiest psychopath you ever met who is tainted by U-DO juice you finally see his backstory in Episode 2 (one of the few really great things about that game) and suddenly the psycho actually feels like a misguided and dangerous lost soul who only wishes to die so he doesn't have to live with the fear of living beyond his brothers lifespans due to his immortality. His redemption in Episode 3 seemed somewhat unnecessary, but you can't deny it wasn't one of the highlights of the game. Like Grahf, you're introduced to this classically evil monster before the game twists and turns your expectations and find simply a hurt and broken soul trying to lash out at their unfair lot in life. You can't help but feel bad for the guy and happy for him in his conclusion.

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Lavos - Yeah, I'm going here. It is so difficult to get Lovecraftian monsters right. People try but all too often they mistakenly humanize the monster or demystify it. The true principles of a Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror is that they are both unknowable and their very existence brings to light how absolutely insignificant humanity can be. Granted, playing a game that lets you punch out said eldritch horror will demystify it somewhat but Lavos gets the other parts right. I love the fact that Lavos is pretty much directly and indirectly responsible for most of the bulltrout going on in the CT world. He changed humanity's destiny and not only does it not really care, it's goal is to eventually wipe them out and feed on their nutrients in order to evolve. Even worse, it's done this before and plans to continue doing so. He's pretty much the cosmic horror version of the ultimate evolutionary being who is simply motivated by evolving, it has world changing impact on planets yet all of that is beneath it. It doesn't care, it's not evil, it's just doing what it was made to do, and sometimes that is scary in itself.

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Nyalarthotep (Persona 2) - We move on from a villain based on Lovecraft to one who really is a Lovecraftian Eldritch. For those unfamiliar with Lovecraft lore, Nyalarthotep is basically the Satan/Lucifer expy of the Cthulu Mythos, being a shapeshifter who loves to offer mortals deals that always turn out badly for them. The difference here is that there is no Jesus/YWWH counterpart, so he's less motivated by getting back at God and more of just a jerk who delights in screwing over humanity, he's also the brother of the actual creator of the universe and he is destined to actually end the universe eventually. His game incarnation is not so different from his literary counterpart, the only exception is that Nyalarthotep is the physical embodiment of all the negative and evil thoughts mankind has within the Collective Unconscious and he pulls a very Biblical wager with his good counterpart, Philemon, to test the merit of humanity's potential. Unlike Job, humanity proves to be closer to Nyalarthotep's opinion of them. Guy is a perfectly slimy ass who is almost always one step ahead of the characters, comes up with ingenious ways to screw over humanity and loves to use people's darkest fears to get to them. He even has a boss form where he's literally made out of the five main characters dads serving as appendages. Crawling Chaos indeed. I never realized how much I really enjoyed him as a villain until P4 Arena series hinted at a supernatural evil manipulating everything behind the scenes and most fans jumped to Nyalarthotep as that being because that's what he did in P1 and the P2 Duology. The rumor turned out to be false but it did bring up how much I really did love this guy.

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Kefka Palazzo - While he's not the ideal villain from the series (that would be Golbez) Kefka is certainly my favorite villain in the series and easily the most memorable. He made me laugh, he made me dread him. Overall, a very personable villain with an unpredictable nature that makes any scene he appears in a memorable one. I don't feel like I need to justify this one. He's just a cool psychopathic manchild and I adored every minute of it.