I am one of those Final Fantasy VIII lovers—I find it to be in my top three Final Fantasy games. The characters were pretty decent, although not the best, but in this article, I'm not ranking them by personality; I am ranking them by their skills in battle. And as always, now it is time for... Final Fantasy VIII: All Characters RANKED!
It kind of bugs me that there weren't just ten or twelve party members in Final Fantasy VIII because eleven is always a weird number in a ranking... anyway, I digress. Kiros is more speedy than Ward and Laguna, however, this means little because his Limit Break has a power of 25, and even though it hits six times, that doesn't come close to Laguna or Wards's limit breaks, who hit all enemies for 140 and 150 power attacks respectively! Overall, there isn't much to say about Kiros, and since he is the third least often played character in the entire game, it makes a whole lot of sense he is completely overshadowed by everybody else.
I wish I could put Edea a lot higher because she is the coolest and (in my opinion) the most interesting character in the game. But, sadly, that doesn't mean she is anywhere near the best playable character in the game. Unlike all the other characters in the game, she is the only character that doesn't have to be put in your team, therefore, lots of people don't really use her because she isn't as good as the other characters, even though she is awesome (they should have made her a permanently playable character, not gonna lie). I mean, Edea has better stats and is playable for longer than the temporarily playable characters, however, she suffer because—at only 120 power against one enemy—her limit break is weaker (or possibly worse?) than Kiros's. Overall, a very awesome but rather weak character (that can also literally cause a really bad bug that can cause you to lose a ton of drawn magic...).
Stat-wise, Laguna is the best and most balanced of the three-man dream team, however, since he simply has a worse Limit Break than Ward (even if it is just by 10 power), Ward outclasses Laguna. Not much else to say, really, Laguna is just meh.
Like I said, better Limit Break than Laguna and definitely better than Kiros, Ward outclasses the two. Ward also has (by far) the best Limit Break of all the temporarily playable characters, as well as having a decently high strength stat. Overall, a pretty decent character.
For the very limited (and I don't mean very limited lightly, he is literally in the party for under ten minutes) amount of time he has in the party, I was very surprised by how high I put him on here. He is easily the best party member when you have him though, so I guess it makes sense. He has the extra gunblade damage mechanic that Squall has, 255% accuracy like Squall (and Selphie later on), and the most powerful Limit Break at the time—not to mention that Seifer can use Limit Breaks when at 85% health (and according to the wiki page on Seifer, 100% in later releases for some reason?) instead of 25% health. Overall, a character that could rank so much higher due to the fact that he is able to use Limit Breaks very easily as well as having the gunblade critical hit mechanic and max accuracy, but since he is only playable for less than ten minutes, he just can't beat the permanently playable characters.
Regarded by most to be the worst permanently playable party member in the game, this should come as no surprise. At max level, she has the worst stats (although just barely worse than Irvine and Zell) and, as a Blue Mage, it is a little obvious from first glance that she is mediocre. Her "best" Blue Magic spell, Shockwave Pulsar, is really bad for being her apparently "best" spell. Even though Shockwave Pulsar can break the damage limit, it pales in comparison to the other final Limit Breaks in the game, as they can do almost triple the amount of damage of a Crisis Lv. 4 Shockwave Pulsar! And if at Crisis Lv. 3 or lower, even the Eden GF will dominate Shockwave Pulsar when it comes to damage, which is legitimately sad. Even worse, if Zell executes a well-done Armageddon Fist at Crisis Lv. 4, he can do more than 25 times more damage than Shockwave Pulsar... and Shockwave Pulsar does six times more damage than the second most damaging Blue Magic spell—now do you get why Blue Magic is the worst Limit Break? Anyway, enough about her "ultimate" Blue Magic spell. Even though the damaging Blue Magic spells are utter crap, there are a few good ones in the mix. As with Final Fantasy V, the only great Blue Magic spells in this game are White Wind and Mighty Guard, and they function just the same as they do in the rest of the series (although Mighty Guard is pretty insane if used on Crisis Lv. 4, as it gives almost all the possible buffs in the game). Degenerator is also decent, and deserves a mention because, although situational, it is the best Limit Break against certain foes (looking at you, Malboros). So overall, Quistis isn't bad because she has three really good Blue Magic spells that are better than other Limit Breaks in specific situations—that pretty much sums up what Quistis is: a situational character that usually falls behind the opposition.
With the ability to cast any spell with Slot (without needing to Draw it first, of course), better weapons (mostly because of her ultimate weapon having a 255% hit rate) and stats than Quistis, she is just better in my opinion. When it comes to Selphie, there isn't much to talk about other than her unique Slot spells Full-Cure and The End. Full-Cure is self explanatory—it heals the entire party to full health. The End can kill basically any enemy in the game (other than undead enemies, which The End is not effective against), and although it is time-consuming to find on the slots, it is an overpowered spell. So overall, The End, Full-Cure, the rest of Slot typically being better than Blue Magic (I mean, Wall and Rapture are honestly just carbon copies of Mighty Guard and Degenerator, and White Wind kind of gets beaten by Curaga) and a much better final weapon than most of the party's places Selphie in the top 5. If only The End was more reliable, she would probably place first on this list...
It honestly pains me to not have any female characters in the top three, but that's just kinda how this had to end up. During the first portion of the game, she is a little meh, but her great stats (she has a hugely dominant strength and magic stat compared to all of the other characters) make up for her subpar Combine Limit Break. However, Rinoa really is able to shine and make use of her fantastic stats once she gains the Angel Wing Limit Break. Using the method where you only have Meteor and/or Ultima in your inventory (or whatever is the best spell you have at that point) and allowing you to spam it over and over for no cost is amazing! Overall, Rinoa's amazing stats; her Combine ability that allows her to use useful abilities like Angelo Search and Wishing Star; and her Angel Wing Limit Break that can potentially be the best Limit Break in the game makes Rinoa a top-tier character, even if she falls behind the others due to her weaknesses earlier in the game.
Although a bit lacking in the story department, Irvine is a beast in battle. And as you may have guessed, it is because of his extremely strong Shot ability—both Quick and Pulse Ammo being the most notable. Shot pretty much allows you to spam bullets over and over, and the higher the Crisis Level, the higher amount of time allowed for Shot, making Crisis Level impact Irvine much more than Quistis because he can pile on the shots so much more than just a bit of extra damage. Overall, Irvine is a beast at doing damage, but he can't beat out the other two above him on this list. And even though he is not as strong as Rinoa, Rinoa gets ranked lower due to the fact Angel Wing is obtained so late in the game.
This was really hard, but I decided (of course, I chose the controversial choice) that Zell deserves to be in second. Yes, Zell's Armageddon Fist easily ranks him higher than the rest of the characters on this list, so why does Squall beat Zell? One, Squall has better stats. Two, Armageddon Fist is a little unreliable because its damage output is hugely affected by Crisis Level and the player's button inputting skills, whereas Squall's Renzozuken (although unreliable for other reasons) is less affected by Crisis Level and one's button inputting skills. Third, Zell simply doesn't have a gunblade, so he has a rather low hit rate (the worst hit rate in the game, actually) and can't hit critical attacks easily like Squall can. Overall, Zell is the strongest character when it comes to Limit Breaks, but due to his less player-friendly nature and more skillful requirements to do damage, Zell is the runner-up to Squall.
How surprising indeed. As I just mentioned, Squall's Renzozuken is my personal favorite Limit Break; his 255% hit rate is kind of a godsend sometimes; his gunblade—which allows the player to literally execute critical hits whenever they would like—is pretty insane; he has an ultimate weapon that can be obtained super early on and that actually makes a big impact in battle (unlike the rest of the ultimate weapons) due to activating his ultimate Limit Break, Lion Heart; he has the second best stats in the game (Rinoa having the best), and last but not least, Squall is required to be in your party the entire game, which, although extremely annoying at times, keeps Squall consistently at a much higher level than the rest of the party. Overall, Squall is not the strongest party member when it comes to Limit Breaks, but (in my opinion) he edges out just over the last three in being the best.
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