The month of June is going to be an exciting month, not only because E3 is about to grace us with its presence but because FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers is about to drop into Early-Access on 28th June, which some of the Respawning team are eager to jump in and play.
What better way to celebrate all things FINAL FANTASY than to talk about the Antagonists that we love to hate, so sit back, relax and Lets Talk: Our Favourite FINAL FANTASY Antagonists.
Who’s my favorite FINAL FANTASY antagonist? That’s a challenging question. I’ve sunk so many hours into these games and bested some challenging bosses throughout my years – I’m of two minds at the moment, do I go with my gut and choose Zenos yae Galvus, the antagonist of FINAL FANTASY XIV: Stormblood? While I’ve been enjoying this character since he was introduced with the games third expansion, you don’t get a lot of screentime with the character; the downside to any Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.
I’ve got the perfect candidate in mind. Let’s talk about Gackt… I mean, Genesis Rhapsodos, the antagonist from Crisis Core – FINAL FANTASY VII.
The Compilation of FINAL FANTASY VII was a strange series of mixed media stories which expanded the universe of VII. One of the exceptional components of the compilation was Crisis Core – FINAL FANTASY VII which released on the PlayStation Portable during 2008.
Duality is a reoccurring theme throughout the franchise; in most cases, it’s a case of good versus evil. In CRISIS CORE, the overarching goal is becoming a hero, and there is a complete contrast between Genesis and Zack Fair. Where Zack believes that to become a hero is through personal achievement and follows his moral compass, whereas Genesis is entitled and proves this by trying to be superior to others. No one would willingly challenge Sephiroth unless they had something to prove.
LOVELESS is a brand found throughout the original game, and during CRISIS CORE we’re given context as to what it is. LOVELESS is a famous poem which became adapted into a play which Genesis is obsessed with growing up and has spent his life interpreting its meaning. As an adult, he believes that fulfilling the words of LOVELESS he can obtain the gift of the Goddess. All in all, he’s an extremist.
The game serves as a prequel to FINAL FANTASY VII. As players, we already had expectations of how the narrative would unfold — Throwing Genesis into the game warped those expectations. There were no flashbacks or mention of the character throughout the original game.
While information of FINAL FANTASY VII: REMAKE becoming more real with each passing day, it’s such a shame that the compilation has been now categorized as non-cannon.
Why do I love Genesis Rhapsodos, he’s a poem reading, runic rapier wielding dick!
My favorite Final Fantasy antagonists would probably have to be the Turks from FF7. The investigation and special operations division of Shinra, the Turks handle all of the power-company-turned-dictatorship’s dirty deeds professionally and look super cool in their suits. But this doesn’t always mean they have no heart. The leading Turks – Tseng, Rude, Reno, and Elena – are willing to put differences aside for a good enough cause (e.g. the Don Corneo incident in Wutai, or evacuating civilians during the finale of FF7).
Tseng is driven, but shown to be honorable when ensuring Cloud gets the Temple of the Ancients Keystone; Rude is stoic but has a crush on Tifa; Reno is loud and flashy but compassionate; Elena is very talkative but takes pride in her work. And all are much more fleshed out than some title’s main villains even are. That and their awesome theme song is why they’re so fondly remembered by many even to this day.
Caius! Caius! Caius!
Ahem… If you couldn’t tell, Caius Ballad from Final Fantasy XIII-2 is hands down my favourite antagonist from the extensive universe of Final Fantasy; it’s wide knowledge that – despite it’s brilliant graphics and music – Final Fantasy XIII was a confusing mess that just failed on every front to captivate players…
…Then came Final Fantasy XIII-2, which introduced Lightning’s eternal rival and foe, Caius Ballad, who aims to slay the Goddess to ensure his beloved damsel, Yeul, can avoid her endless cycle of death, reincarnation and destruction – An extremely personal goal, of course, and one that resonates well with Caius’ resolve, pushing him to invade Valhalla and jump across time in an effort to use protagonists Serah and Noel to destroy the time loop and in-turn reveal Lightning’s location, given that she’s the Goddesses’ chosen champion afterall.
With the powers of Bahamut and his Eidolith greatsword, Caius easily slays any foe in his way, causing havoc across time to such extents that the world basically ends one way or another – Eventually splitting his soul three-ways into Jet Bahamut, Garnet Bahamut and Amber Bahamut in one of the most climactic final boss battles in the franchise…
That, and he’s voiced by Liam O’Brien in the English version of the game, who’s voice makes my genitals melt like fucking butter at the mere mention of his inclusion in any game, and his boss theme, Heart of Chaos, is the best boss theme in any Final Fantasy game. Fucking fight me.
Confession time – I have not played a Final Fantasy game long enough to know of any good antagonists.
I have played 15, however I got so sidetracked by doing a billion and one side quests… I mean like hours of the things that I never really got much into the storyline at all! Then life simply got in the way of gaming for a while and I never picked it up again (I will….one day).
I haven’t played a single other Final Fantasy, despite them being right up my street when it comes to games! However now that a lot of them are being ported to the Switch I anticpate that I will pick up a few and play them!
So to answer the Let’s Talk… I don’t have a favourite antagonist… Yet.
I haven’t played a lot of Final Fantasy games in my life, but I’ve watched people play through a fair few and have looked into the lore quite a bit. In my lore research it’s clear to my that my favourite villian is easily the long haired and long… Sworded? Master of destruction, Sephiroth.
There’s just something about that relaxed, cool and sinister manner that I always like in my bad guys. Throughout most of the story Seph could turn up at anytime and absolutely annihilate Cloud and all his friends, but he’s got better things to do! He’s busy with his plan, and you’re not even really an inconvenience to him.
…All that, coupled with packing a 7ft long samurai sword almost as iconic as he is and you’re onto a winner with me!
Okay, for once I’m going to keep this short as my experience with Final Fantasy is practically non existent.
I’ve only ever played one game from the franchise and that’s Final Fantasy X and even then I never came close to finishing it! So with that in mind I’m going to go with the only antagonist I’ve ever come across and that’s Sin.
It’s some sort of whale monster from what I remember and seemed pretty badass. Though having not finished the game, I have no idea whatever came of it so in my head he’s still at large! Will I ever replay FFX to find out what happens? Probably not.
Also that Ardyn fella looks cool. That is all.
The best Final Fantasy antagonist simply has to be Ardyn from Final Fantasy XV. With every word he speaks, you can feel the tinge of a maelstrom of madness under the calm and composed exterior. His flamboyant (Even for a Final Fantasy game) dress style makes him immediately memorable and his voice actor (Darin de Paul) did an incredibly impressive job in making his mellifluous voice stand out among all the other voiced villains from the franchise.
The battle with him at the end of the story is a masterpiece in spectacle and visual and sound design. I will concede that as the game was released in 2016, this gives it the edge over other antagonists as Square Enix had a lot more technology at their disposal, but I’m not here to play fair. Ardyn is the best. The pain will prove you’re mortal.
Final Fantasy, a series in which I have never had any experience in, nor likely will in the future… Yet numerous people I have encountered, be it friends or people in passing, have stated that it is both an amazing series of games, and a crap series of games.
Personal opinion aside the only way I could remotely judge Final Fantasy on any merit would be to play it myself. Yet it intimidates me, people say the story and lore is convoluted and dense, other people say it’s easy and amazingly well crafted. About the only characters of the series I am familiar with from the outset is Cloud and Sephiroth. I am familiar with the big black guy with a minigun arm that looks like fantasy land Mr.T, as well as Noctis.
…Most of the characters themselves however I simply cannot get interested in. For me, it’s the world that holds my attention, yet everything else seems, to me at least, like clutter. But that’s just me as an outsider. I will say, I so very badly wish Chocobos were real.