Final Fantasy VIII is bipolar in terms of its characters. Some of its characters are by far the best in the series, and some of them are by far the worst. It is kind of hilarious how big of a gap there is between each character in this game! The characters that are good though are really good, and they really drive Final Fantasy VIII to be a game full of heart, soul, and great character moments. One last thing to note: this article will be ranking the characters based on their personalities, as well as their stories. Now without further ado, RPG Ranked presents... Final Fantasy VIII: All Characters RANKED! (by Personality)!
11. Selphie Tilmitt - F Tier
Even though she is a permanently playable party member, Selphie is completely devoid of character or plot relevance. It's hard to even justify the existence of Selphie in Final Fantasy VIII, she is that unimportant to the game. With a boring and kind of annoying personality and her biggest story moment being the act of her leading Squall to his classes at Balamb Garden? Selphie is just a nothing character. I will say, her design in cool and cute, and in terms of gameplay, I am glad she is in the game. But with a bad story and personality, Selphie is easily an F Tier character in my eyes.
10. Kiros Seagill - D Tier
This dude's sole plot arc is that he is separated from Laguna and Ward and quits fighting, then he works as an actor, and then he comes back to fighting because he was bored of acting. And then he just eventually becomes a less interesting version of Ward with no unique story or speech impediment to speak of. Overall, Kiros is pretty trashy and terrible, I'm gonna be honest.
9. Ward Zabac - D Tier
As much as Ward has an interesting design and weapon, that's about where Ward's coolness ends. Sure, I like that he becomes Laguna's advisor, but as he can't speak, he isn't exactly full of personality. I would adore seeing a mute character in an RPG if 1) they actually mattered to the story and 2) if it were executed really well. Unfortunately, neither of these are the case, and for that, Ward is a pretty bad character.
8. Zell Dincht - C Tier
Zell is basically Selphie, but better. He also has absolutely no influence on the plot, but he is so much more charming than Selphie. While he can still be annoying at times, his annoyingness grows on you and he becomes pretty lovable in the end. He actually has his moments: being a loyal friend, learning to be less cocky in his skills, striving to be like his famous grandfather, and best of all, always missing out on getting his hot dogs. If you've ever done something important and your best friend just invites themselves even when you don't want them to come? Yeah, that is basically Zell personified. He has some stuff here, but he is still a rather unimportant and mediocre character overall.
7. Quistis Trepe - C Tier
Okay, here's the problem with Quistis. For about two hours, Quistis is by far the best character in the game. I enjoyed seeing the depth of Quistis trying to decide between whether or not she loves Squall sisterly or romantically. She has some good and thought-provoking lines of dialogue that comes from this plotline, which is always a good sign. I like how she is a prodigy and a teacher for a bit until she becomes discharged. But I am not going to lie, she is boring as all hell breaking loose for every other minute of the game. I really want to love Quistis because she truly does have her moments, but I just can't.
6. Irvine Kinneas - B Tier
I just got to get something off my chest: Irvine is by far the hottest character in Final Fantasy VIII. Alright, now let's move on to the actually important stuff. I like that Irvine is from Galbadia Garden, a rival Garden that most Balamb Garden students kind of despise. His personality is my favorite of any character in the game, being fun, flirty, and kind. His lack of self-confidence and trying to hide behind a confident ladies' man persona is pretty relatable, if I am being honest. He feels more human than the other characters in the game, which makes him more interesting in my eyes. Also, he is the catalyst for one of my favorite moments in the game: the Deling City sniper mission. He also is the root of the whole "we are all from the some orphanage" storyline, which was... odd... to say the least. It wasn't nearly as offensive as most make it out to be, and the explanation behind it was actually quite cool (albeit unconvincing). Irvine is a pretty solid and memorable character, but nothing all too special.
5. Squall Leonhart - A Tier
Squall feels like a pretty real teenager, even if he does fall into a whole lot of stereotypes. If Squall wasn't so obsessed with acting all cool, emo, and reserved all the time, I would definitely have him in my top three. I mean, by default, Squall is one of the most developed characters in the game since he is the main protagonist. Seeing his inner emotions is really awesome, especially since he rarely shares them with others. People typicaly either love or hate Squall, and I'm just caught somewhere in the middle (except for his design, I love his design). I think he is a well-executed and realistic character, but I'm just not a big fan of him. The romance and character development he has is actually not too shabby, even if it's a little too wooden at times. I'll have to admit though, as a whole, I'm more of a Tidus or Noctis kind of guy...
4. Rinoa Heartily - A Tier
I'll give it to Rinoa—she has my second favorite personality of any character in the game, just behind Irvine. Being a member of a resistance faction? That makes Rinoa pretty awesome. Fighting off Galbadia? That was a cool and interesting plotline. However, I will say, the highlights of Rinoa's story are her relationships with Squall and her being possessed by the Sorceress Adel. Those are both interesting (albeit undercooked) plotlines. I wish I could put Rinoa in first place, I really do, but she doesn't recieve the necessary development to be any higher on this list. Rinoa is a solid character, but she isn't anything phenomenal by any means.
3. Seifer Almasy - S Tier
I always feel sympathy for characters who are brainwashed into following the main antagonist without understanding what doing so entails. I somehow feel bad for this maniacal madman, and for that, I have to admit that he's a really solid character. His rivalry with Squall is the driving force of the story from the very beginning cutscene of the game. He's actually a surprisingly awesome foil character for the story! Seifer seems to be very mentally lost, seeing things from a very twisted perspective. I typically love the trope in which a villain feels like the hero of his or her own story—and Seifer is no exception. He has a short temper and believes Squall and crew are evil and making the world worse. He fails his SeeD exam in Dollet, and he joins the Sorceress Edea, thinking he will be able to make a bright future for the world. His friends abandon him, and all of this leads to him becoming a lost soul. I loved the detail at the end of the game where Fujin and Raijin forgive Seifer and refriend him even after he did some horrid things—as much as he probably didn't deserve a second chance, I was glad he got one. In fact, what I just said is what makes Seifer such a great villain—you hate him, but you feel for him and want to see him redeemed. Overall, Seifer is a great villain and a great foil character... I mean, he was voted by IGN as the 91st best video game villain of all-time for a reason! If that doesn't speak volumes, I don't know what will. Truly, Seifer is just pretty fantastic: I truly am a sucker for well-executed sympathetic villains and foil character rivals, what can I say?
2. Edea Kramer - S Tier
Edea was a very effective villain—especially with her phenomenal (albeit questionable) design. The four plot twists involving Edea were very interesting, if iffy in practice. The huge moments in Deling City fighting Edea? Potentially my favorite action moment in the series. Her marriage plot reveal with Cid? It surprisingly worked for me. The whole matron of the orphanage shiz? Too weird to live, too rare to die (like most of Final Fantasy VIII). The orphanage plotline added so more personal stakes to the story, I'll give it that. I love that it shows that Edea really cares for each and every one of the characters in the main cast, and it adds a whole new layer of death to her character. Her not actually being the main villain (which I found to be absolutely terrible in Final Fantasy IX, super weird in Final Fantasy X, and a little unnecessary in Final Fantasy IV) added so much to the story here, and getting Edea in the party was fantastic. I think having Edea accidentally give her sorceress powers to Rinoa was a... choice. A rather stupid one in my eyes, I will add. I would've preferred getting Edea in my party late-game and have Angel Wing be her Limit Break instead of being an awkward second Limit Break for Rinoa. This is why we can't have nice things, y'all. If anything, the fact that I really wish Edea was a permanently playable character is just a testament to how great Edea is as a character. I don't know about you, but a badass time-traveling female witch who takes care of a bunch of orphans and was controlled by an evil space sorceress? That's absolutely zany and amazing. To be honest? Edea is my favorite primary antagonist in the Final Fantasy series.
1. Laguna Loire - S+ Tier
NOTE: Okay, I think it is very important to note that I've only played this amazing game once—and I really enjoyed the Laguna segments. Would I on a replay? Maybe not. Currently, my tastes of Laguna have not been soured or tainted in any way. Alright, back to the meat of the article.
I adored that Final Fantasy VIII gave us two main protagonists. While Kiros and Ward failed to be interesting characters, Laguna passed with flying colors. The amount of wacky crap that Laguna gets up to in his story makes me love this guy. I found his crush on Julia intriguing, especially since he eventually ends up with Raine instead. I found it quite compelling that, while he didn't end up with Julia, his fate was still intertwined with her because Laguna's son Squall ends up with Julia's daughter, Rinoa. This adds a much needed through line between Squall's story and Laguna's story. It is heartbreaking that, while Laguna was away trying to save his adopted child, he failed in saving her and both his biological son and said adopted daughter were sent to an orphanage. While he desperately wanted to do something to get his kids back, he had been elected the president of Ehstar during a time of complete chaos in which the nation needed to be liberated from Ultimecia—this meant he couldn't do anything about his kids. Finally seeing Laguna and his daughter, Ellone, reunite in space was incredibly touching, and I just love how much depth was shown in Laguna's character. Even his personality was fun—he had all the coolness of Squall, but the loving personality of someone like Bartz or Zidane. While Laguna isn't the first character I think of if I'm thinking about this game, when I wonder why this is my third favorite Final Fantasy game, Laguna is at the core of my love for this game. As much as the story of Final Fantasy VIII is a convoluted mess at times, Laguna really is the protagonist that I believe Squall fails to be. While others may hate on Laguna, his incorporation into the narrative made me fall in love with this game, and for that, Laguna is my favorite character in Final Fantasy VIII.
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