Mod Aria’s back! I decided that this week’s Top 5 would be some more Final Fantasy indulgence. I myself am a big fan of the series and have played so many of the titles. I’m serious. Every game from FF7 through FF15. Except for FF11 of course. I’ve also played the Dissidia games, FF4, FF1 and FF6, FF10-2, every FF13 installment, even some of the mobile games! While I’ve not played every game, I think it’s fair for me to say which Final Fantasy protagonists I think are the best of the best. So I hope you come along on this ride with me!
For clarification: These are characters that would be considered the “main characters”; the ones who you play as and control. Non-playable party members will not be included here. That’s a Top 5 for another day!
#5 — Squall Leonheart from Final Fantasy VIII
While the gameplay leaves much to be desired (you can beat the game from starting level really. All you need is Squall’s ultimate weapon. I’ve seen it done), the plot of Final Fantasy VIII is one of the most heart-trending of the franchise. And you will be hard-pressed to find a Final Fantasy with such great party cohesion and affection. I always enjoy it when the party members of a RPG actually love and support each other, so Final Fantasy VIII’s party will always be one of my favorites. But let’s focus now on how amazing Squall is.
Squall is a great protagonist because of how drastically he changes in the narrative of Final Fantasy VIII. While it does take Rinoa, Squall’s love interest and Manic Pixie, to ignite the change in Squall, he does a lot of it through his connection to Laguna as well as helping his friends. He goes from a stoic, emotionless fleshbag to a young man who cares for his most precious people. And I think that part of character development has pretty much disappeared from mainstream games. But, thankfully, a dynamic character has not completely vanished.
All in all, Squall is great because his character was incredibly well written and he played off the rest of his party incredibly well. I really wish I could have seen Square Enix expand on the story of Final Fantasy VIII. Maybe one day!
#4 — Zidane Tribal from Final Fantasy IX
Zidane is one of my favorite main characters from a Final Fantasy, and FF9 is my favorite Final Fantasy of all time. One of the reasons is that Zidane was the first Final Fantasy game I played with a protagonist that smiled and liked having fun. I feel like XI is an underrated game; it came out so close to FF10 that it kind of got overshadowed. But I think those who haven’t played the game are missing out on something amazing. As well as a really entertaining protagonist.
Zidane is peppy, but he’s brave and clever. He knows how to get someone to like him, and he’s a confidant person. He’s got all the tropes of a guy you’d want to hate. But you don’t hate Zidane. You love him. You love him because of the hardships you watch him endure, as well as for his kindness towards his party members and friends. Zidane is kind even towards Kuja, one of the game’s main antagonists. Despite struggling with his own identity, he still manages to help suffering people remember that they are worthy of life.
The only downside to him is that he is a bit of a pervert. But he is a pervert with a heart of gold. I really would like to see Final Fantasy IX receive the love and care it deserves (to see Zidane get some better treatment), but who knows if that will happen. I’ll go on loving the game regardless!
#3 — Notics Lucis Caelum from Final Fantasy XV
If you’ve watched NWG’s first Feminism in Gaming, you’ll know that I think Noctis is a terrific character and that Final Fantasy XV is the best FF game to come out in years. But I’ll elaborate more on Noctis here than I will Final Fantasy XV itself. All I’ll say about the game is that, like FF8, the fact that Noctis is so close with the rest of the party and how amazing his relationship is with them. There are some really emotionally intense scenes between Noctis and his best bros, and I loved that so much because of how it defies toxic masculinity and develops Noctis as a character.
Noctis is a great character because he does experience some change in the course of the game, but he’s so refreshing in the fact that, despite is stereotypical edgy exterior, Noctis is a happy person, and intelligent person and free with is affections. It’s not often you see all three traits in a Final Fantasy protagonist. If they’re happy, they’re usually a bit slow or perverted. If they’re intelligent, they’re usually depressed or quiet. And if they’re free with their affections, they’re usually a flirt or considered “stupid”. Noctis destroys these stereotypes by loving his future wife (even if I think it’s too forced), supporting his friends and enjoying life.
Hopefully Square Enix will continue with the process of creating good main characters and work to improve their games even more. I think it’ll be a long time before we see Final Fantasy 16, but I can only hope the protagonist is as feminist as Noctis is.
#2 — Serah Farron from Final Fantasy XIII-2
Most people enjoy what Lightning brings to the FF13 table, but I have always preferred Serah as a protagonist. In the first FF13 game, I was much more attached to Snow and Serah’s story than I was any of the other characters, so I was incredibly glad to see Serah take the reigns in 13-2. It’s my opinion that the first Final Fantasy XIII should have been ditched (allowing 13-2 to be the core game and Lightning Returns to be 13-2), but I’ll save that opinion for another article.
It’s rare to see video games with a female protagonist, and it’s even rarer to see video games with a female protagonist that is allowed to own her femininity. I think to often we equate “tough” female protagonists with being “emotionless” and “angry”. This is done to rob a female protagonist of stereotypical feminine traits. It’s nice to see a break from stereotypes, don’t get me wrong. But forcing every female protagonist into that role isn’t true acceptance. It’s saying that females can only be protagonists if they subscribe to these “tough” qualities. Which is not true.
The only real downside is that Serah is not treated well in any Final Fantasy 13 installment; she is always used as a plotpoint and cannot control her own place in the series. But it is nice to see her be able to have her own story. Serah is a great protagonist because of her kindness towards Noel, her love for Snow and her sister as well as her bright and positive attitude. She is also not overly sexualized, which is even rarer for a good-natured female protagonist. It’s even more refreshing than Noctis. This is another trend that I hope is normalized in mainstream gaming.
#1 — Terra Branford from Final Fantasy VI
One of the most heated debates in the Final Fantasy fandom amongst veterans and newcomers is which game holds the title for “best Final Fantasy”: is it Final Fantasy VI or Final Fantasy VII? Personally, I enjoy Final Fantasy VI, but it’s not because I’m a fan of “old school Final Fantasy” or think the first five games are superior to every other. I like Final Fantasy VI because Terra is the best FF main character, hands down.
Terra not only happens to be a terrifically dynamic character, she is also incredibly powerful. She spends the majority of her game fighting for people who are suffering as well as protecting the people she came from. She struggles through the entirety of Final Fantasy 6 to learn what it is to feel. She herself is trapped by the people who sought to use her, and she is fiercely independent when she finally embraces herself. She is kind, but also willing to fight and protect the people she considers close. She is thoughtful and grows so much. Terra is just really…really great.
It is amazing to see a girl suffer so much and still achieve happiness, and it’s the kind of story that young girls and women need to see. Terra is the kind of main character that female gamers need. Her story ends happily, unlike Serah’s, and it’s that reason that Terra will always trump any other female protagonist in the Final Fantasy series to me. She is the most refreshing character despite her game being so old. I want another character like her; maybe Final Fantasy will deliver one day.
That’s all for this list. What are your thoughts? Do you think there are other great FF protags that I forgot or did not mention? Let me know; I’d love to talk about it with you!
Thanks for supporting NWG. Until we meet again!
Hey there, Nasties! This is Mod Loser, Jackie, whatever you want to call me. And I still have more characters I’m ready to rant about! Although, I feel very positively about Morrigan as opposed to Kairi. If you’ve played Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Inquisition you’re very well aware of Morrigan as a character, however the details of what makes Morrigan so fantastic are hidden in her romance and goals during Dragon Age: Origins.
While only men can romance Morrigan, what I find the most interesting is that she changes nothing about herself through the duration of the relationship. It’s made very clear she wants to have a child with the soul of the Archdemon for selfish, powerful reasons, and your character goes along with it. Much of Morrigan’s romance arc also involves coping with the fact that her mother, Flemeth, supposedly has been stealing the bodies of her daughters to gain immortality.
Rather than simply running and “protecting,” Morrigan, she demands that you both go attack and kill her mother. Flemeth may not truly die in this encounter, but it speaks volumes about Morrigan. As an individual, she is accepting of her own violent tendencies and doesn’t feel guilt or shame about protecting herself, she has her own desires and goals that do not disappear when romanced. In the DLC Witch Hunt, at the very end, you can choose to leave the world with Morrigan; to live with her, sacrificing your job as a Grey Warden for her ambition. This is very forward–to display a man in a role that is supportive to the woman in serious relationships. And that is something that I respect greatly about Morrigan and her romance.
Morrigan is still, however, a dynamic character. She does learn, over time, the value of a life as well as the value of her loved ones during Dragon Age: Origins, and this is on full display in Dragon Age: Inquisition when she is ready to murder Flemeth “again,” to protect her son. That doesn’t stop Morrigan from seeking, albeit selfishly, immense power during the story of Inquisition.
To put it bluntly, neither motherhood nor romance changes who Morrigan is at her core, yet she does learn to have a more healthy relationship with her loved ones and husband (who chooses actively to support her dreams and ambitions) rather than the stereotypical idea that the woman must support the man’s ambitions. Nasties, expect many articles about Dragon Age characters. Because they’re some of the best.
Thanks for reading! This is Mod Loser, Jackie, whatever you want to call me and I’m signing off!
Hey there, Nasties! It’s Mod Loser, Jackie, whatever you want to call me! I thought that, given this past week was the Super Saiyan 4 event for Dokkan Battle, it would be the perfect opportunity to discuss one of my favorite gatcha games. A gatcha mobile game involves using items earned through a game in an attempt to obtain rare characters for which to play through the story! That being said, most games of this type are from large franchises: Final Fantasy, Tales Of, Dragon Ball, Fate Stay/Night, Fire Emblem, you get the picture.
However, I find one of my favorites (for the most part) is Dokkan Battle. The gameplay involves matching colored orbs with a character whose type matches the color to form better combos, with certain colors doing more damage to the others. This is very standard for a gatcha game, and is the core mechanic. The story of Dokkan involves Trunks making wishes to Shenron to summon heroes of various times to help him set the timeline straight, (Just like every other DBZ game lately.)
That being said, its very satisfying to utterly destroy Frieza using a team that consists of Ultimate Gohan, Kid Buu, Goku Black, and Broly. The story gets frequent expansions and given the depth of the Dragon Ball Universe; there are multiple versions of every character so that you have plenty of opportunities for customization. However, the amount of Dragon Stones (the items you need to summon characters) required can be ridiculous. You need 50 to summon ten characters with a guaranteed Super Rare (The Max being Super Super Rare or SSR) and you get one stone per completed quest.
A quest involves moving around a board after spending your energy points, then fighting a boss and or other smaller enemies. The story is MASSIVE and after almost forty hours of play; I still haven’t completed it. Each mission has three difficulties, and completing it on one difficulty gets you a dragon stone. You can spend real money on dragon stones, which are not terribly priced, to summon more characters.
Like every other Gatcha, there are events and event characters which are nearly impossible to get during their event, but get high rate ups during the next event. For example, while spending all 240 of the free dragon stones I was given by Dokkan, I got Vegito, Vegito Super Saiyan Blue, Goku Black, and Goku Black Rose, but not a single Super Saiyan 4. That can be frustrating, knowing that you’ll have to wait for the next event for a good chance for the characters you want, but at least the game can be somewhat predictable in that regard.
All in all, Dokkan is a fun game and definitely a good time sink for Dragon Ball fans, but non fans won’t find anything here they can’t get somewhere else. Thanks for reading, nasties!
This has been Mod Loser, Jackie, whatever you want to call me, signing off!
Hey everybody, Mod Knight here with another Top 5 list! Now, one thing I was never a fan of in the past were MMOs; however, recently I’ve begun to change my tune as I’ve begun dabbling in them more and more. So, lets take a look at the 5 I’ve enjoyed the most!
#5- World of Warcraft
One of the most popular MMOs of all time, WOW (as it’s called) still has a massive following despite it’s age! It set the standards for most modern MMOs; however, this unfortunately means that to the modern eyes, it plays a lot like many, many other RPGs. However, there has always been a consistent stream of updates and changes to try and keep the game feeling fresh!
A french run MMO by the studio Ankama, released in 2012. The game differs from regular MMO gameplay in that it takes a return to turn based tactical RPG combat in which players must move their characters along a grid before choosing the power they wish to activate for their turn. The game is strongly community driven and actually has very little in the way of plot. This can be a major turn on or turn off to the game, so players who truly wish to get invested must be willing to join the community and play off of it.
This is one I’ve only played a bit, but already love! Warframe feels almost more like a shooter than an MMO, considered a “lobby MMO” in which players are matched up with either random or pre-built teams to take on a mission together, then return to the map. The game is broken up into levels; between which players have a chance to update their gear and equipment. One very cool feature about the game is the fact that different “Characters” can be played on the same account. This is because the different unlockable Warframes (basically battle armors) can be alternated between levels.
#2- Wizard 101
Yeah, I know it’s a kids game; however, you have to give KingsIsle credit. They know how to make a strategic battle game that stays fun even after years and years. Wizard 101 is a fairly standard MMO in which you travel between a hub world and various different monster filled areas, taking quests from NPCs and buying gear to upgrade your character. One deviation from the norm that I enjoy is the turn-based battle system; which is simple enough for children to understand, and deep enough for adults to enjoy! Between the various schools of magic, tons of gear and mounts, there is lots of room for customization and playing in a way that suits you!
#1- Final Fantasy 14
Final Fantasy 14 is a great game, with tons of customization options and a massive open world to explore! With there being so much to do the game might seem a bit overwhelming. Will you have to make new characters to experience the full story? Well…maybe? I couldn’t say. However, what I can say is that you most definitely don’t have to to get the full experience as EVERY single class can be leveled up to maximum by one character; meaning that you’re able to choose a style that truly suits you best in each situation! Not only that, but with a massive player base, you’ll never need to look too hard to find someone to help you out. Especially when high level players volunteer to help low levels get started!