For the majority of my gaming life, my focus has always been on epic single-player experiences, the majority of those being RPGs, easily my favourite genre in gaming and always has been. Great stories, interesting characters, expansive beautiful worlds, all the wonderful things I’ve grown accustomed to over the years.
This week’s Top 10 will focus on one key element on these RPG games: your party members, specifically those of the female persuasion, because let’s be honest, there’s a lot of boring ass male characters in video games.
However, this list isn’t a personal favourite list, so Rikku’s not making this list (as much as it pains me). This Top 10 will be devoted to the best overall party members in my personal opinion, ranging from the personalities, their abilities and how much they actually mean to the story of the game. The only rule is one character per game, not series.
So without further to do, let’s get to this Top 10, shall we?
Starting off this list is a legendary party member from a legendary JRPG, Marle from Chrono Trigger. In a game where I loved just slicing and dicing with Crono, Marle was a great help in keeping that damage train a’ rollin with her white magic and later on her Haste and revival spells. But she was still a great damage dealer in her own right and added a lot to the plot as among many other moments, she’s really the entire reason for the game’s story starting to begin with. She’s also a Princess! She’s important! And also a badass!
Speaking of badasses, meet Cassandra, a Seeker in Dragon Age: Inquisition. While a lot of characters in western RPGs are bland and boring, Cassandra manages to be a rather interesting character while still exhibiting the normal held-back nature of her character that a lot of western RPGs have. She’s also straight to the point, a very powerful party member with the sword-and-shield setup. She’s a fantastic tank character and being a Templar brings a different vibe to this game, when for those who have played the Dragon Age games, the Templars are usually some of the worst people in the games. Yet she’s still a delight…a very rough delight, but a delight nonetheless!
Our first Final Fantasy entry, we have Rydia from the SNES classic, Final Fantasy IV. Why Rydia, you might ask? Well…considering she’s a FUCKING CHILD when she’s first entered into the game as a party member and she’s a powerful summoner already at the age of 7, she’s making an immediate impact before even hitting adolescence. By the time you see her again after leaving the party for a period of time, she’s aged quickly into a young adult and now commands a massive list of summons that other summoners wish they had. She commands at most, 15 different summons (16 if you count Whyt in the DS version) and some of them include legendary ones such as Bahamut, Odin, Shiva and Ifrit. But yeah, at age 7 she was already super powerful, then once she returns, she’s pretty much a guaranteed mainstay. And I’m not even counting her magic spells she also commands along with the summons. She’s a tough cookie!
Kicking yer arse so hard, you’ll kiss the moons since 1999, Kid from Chrono Cross is a badass party member if there ever was one. Having such a fantastic tomboyish personality, she’s memorable already just from that, but then you take into account how useful she is in your party. She hits hard and she hits real fast, her twin daggers lethal at all times. She’s also a pertinent part of the game’s entire story, not to mention the entire Chrono universe, as the daughter-clone of Schala, a major character in both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. With me specifically, if she was available in the game, she was in the party with Serge, no questions asked. And that’s hard to do when you can only have three people in the party, one already being Serge…AND THERE’S 45 DIFFERENT CHARACTERS TO CHOOSE FROM, FOR TWO SPOTS!!!
Picking a character from Persona 4 was really hard, though realistically it was Chie vs Naoto, since Rise is a bad character and Yukiko while a powerful fire-based character, she’s really hard to like for a large portion of the game. But in the end, I took the martial arts tomboy, Chie, due to her hard-hitting physical attacks and her very useful Ice spells that really came in handy a lot during the entire game. What also separates Chie from other party members is how she acts as a consistent positive throughout the game, even when things are at their worst, she tries her best to keep things on the up. Just don’t break her DVDs, she’ll kick your ass way farther than the moons. Kid’s got nothing on this girl’s rage.
My favourite character from the entire Mass Effect series and Tali is also in my opinion the best overall party member throughout the entire series. Her tech skills are second to none, she is very dependable in battle for a young girl and let’s be honest, it’s impossible not to love this Quarian. It’s already great enough for Tali’s case that she’s a technical wizard and a great party member in battle, but when you spend the majority of the game with her and you constantly have the itch to just hug her over and over again, that’s some real staying power there!
Speaking of female party members I want to hug over and over again, here’s this former Jaeger Corps member from the Trails of Cold Steel series, Fie. One of the most powerful party members you can have in terms of physical attacks, she also has a default setup of being a hard-hitter and a blindingly fast one at that with her Chrono spells that can easily turn the tide of a battle with the emphasis on turn speeds. But what really gets her high on this list is that out of battle, she’s such a cutie. Despite her rough background, even though she could kill you before you have the chance to blink, it’s impossible not to look at her as the cutest thing ever! Pair her up with Laura and you have one of the most lethal and entertaining duos in JRPGs, period. Also she makes a hell of an entrance in the second game of the series. She’s got it all!
I may not like her as much as I love Chie and even Naoto in Persona 4, but when it comes to what she brings to the table, there is no one in the entire Persona series that has as much to give than Mitsuru does in Persona 3. She starts off the game in a support role, capable of sensing Shadows throughout Tartarus something only one other character in the entire game can do. But then when that other person, Fuuka comes into play, Mitsuru moves onto the front lines and instead of being a somewhat weak support character like you would’ve expected, Mitsuru may just be the most lethal character in the entire game. Her swift fencing skills are lethal in seconds, her Ice spells are extremely powerful and she’s got that extremely intelligent and cunning personality that makes her the most threatening person on any battlefield. Even in the Persona 4 Arena games, there is a consistent emphasis that she is the most dangerous of all the characters, aside from the villains. Her skills are second to none.
The other Final Fantasy entry on this list, it’s another SNES classic, but this time it’s from what I believe is the best overall Final Fantasy game, Final Fantasy VI. Celes starts off in the game as one of the Empire’s top generals, she was already in play from the very beginning as like the second or third final boss! But instead, she joins your party! Her skills are on full display immediately when battling the TunnelArmor boss, where without her, you essentially cannot defeat the monster. Her Runic ability, which negates essentially all magic, that alone is a massively dangerous skill, but then her swordsmanship is second to none AND her magical capabilities are also high. And in the second half of the game, it’s arguable that she almost takes on a more important role than the actual main character of the game, Terra. She is without a shadow of a doubt the most useful Final Fantasy party member in the entire series.
And yet, she is second to what I know for many will be a shocking pick for the #1 spot, mainly because I imagine most people have absolutely no idea who this girl is. Alys is from one of my personal favourites from my childhood, the SEGA Genesis classic, Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millenium. Alys is a legendary Hunter and mentors the main character of the game, Chaz. She goes by many different nicknames, such as “The Eight Strokes Warrior” and “Alys the Dismemberer”. She’s also that renowned and that powerful, with a fucking boomerang! That’s her main weapon! It can just wreck a single enemy, or can be used to deal massive damage to several enemies with one attack. And after all that danger, she also commands fire, ice and energy damage spells. It’s a shame that Alys’ time in the game is short, but the time that she spends in your party, she is without a shadow of a doubt your best party member and in my opinion, the best party member you could have in any video game.
So that’s the list, thank you very much for checking it out! What’s your best party members? Leave them in the comments below!