3. Lightning – Final Fantasy XIII
I’m sure this will surprise a few people. Lightning has been getting a lot of exposure as of late, what with FFXIII coming out pretty recently. On top of that, FFXIII-2 is fresh off the presses, and she’s a central focus of the story. So how did she get on this list, let alone number three?
FFXIII doesn’t get a lot of positive press, and that’s a crime I’m guilty of myself. It many ways, it was the worst RPG ever. There was no exploration, no real choices to be made, and nothing extra to do. And has anyone mentioned how linear this game is? There are websites dedicated to how bad this game is, which causes many people to gloss over what was good in this game.
One of those things was Lightning, who is the central protagonist. I’m not saying FF hasn’t produced some great female characters in the past — Yuna, Terra, Tifa, and Aeris all fit that bill. However, I really did enjoy Lightning and the story behind her. It was nice to see a badass female lead, a role she fit into quite nicely.
Not to insult past female leads, but FF tends to portray a lot of them as overly emotional, and it ends up being the reason that they fall into the arms of the strong male lead. Not Lightning, though. Yes, she does show an emotional side, but it never gets so bad that she gets “rescued” by a male character.
Like another FF character further down this list, Lightning is in a less-than-stellar game, and I believe it’s the reason that she’s kind of overlooked. So despite how much I personally hate FFXIII, I love Lightning. She’s tough and deserves to get more attention. While to some this won’t make sense to some due to her recent exposure, I have to insist.
2. Delita – Final Fantasy Tactics
I’m guessing that most of you kids don’t even know whom the Hades I’m talking about right now. Time to get learned.
Final Fantasy Tactics was a very welcome change in the franchise. While not technically part of the actual series, it still plays under the FF banner. It introduced the world of Ivalice, a new art style, eventually new summons, and a more strategic style of gameplay. It was one of my favorite games growing up, and I highly recommend it even today.
The central antagonist for this one is a man by the name of Delita. His back-story (and Tactics as a whole, for that matter) is very tragic. Delita grew up as a commoner who was a friend to a rich family, which includes the protagonist of the story, Ramza. His sister is killed in a battle between Ramza’s family and a renegade army, and he swears revenge on not just the nobles, but the kingdom itself.
There are two things that that I love about Delita. The first is how he goes about achieving his goal. He doesn’t do it by summoning some ancient power or destroying everything in his path; he does it by manipulating the nobles, the kingdom, and the church to a point that they do most of his work for him. Even Ramza and the rest of the party are doing Delita’s dirty work without realizing it! It’s so well though out, genius plan.
The second thing I love him for, and the one thing that everyone forgets, is that he won. I don’t mean he wins until Ramza and company overthrow him. In fact, Ramza never has any kind of final fight with him — instead, he’s fighting demons in another dimension. Delita wins, and not only gets revenge, but also becomes the King of Ivalice.
For those who did play it and try to tell me his queen killed him: No she didn’t. She stabbed him, yes, but she never killed him. Sure, his true intentions and who the real heroes of this story were revealed centuries later, but this was after he died. At that point, who cares? It doesn’t matter, because he won! He currently remains the only villain in the history of Final Fantasy to get the win. Ramza runs away after the final boss because he is too powerful to beat.
It shocks me that this fact was overlooked as much as it is. Delita was a fantastic villain and deserves to be mentioned with guys like Sephiroth, Kuja, and Kefka. Do you hear me, Dissidia devs?