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When Good Guys Go Bad (and Vice Versa)

Bad Anon
Where would we be without our baddies?
While the heart and soul of any good story is its hero, the meat of the story is the plot clinging to the structural bones of the world and setting. The binding agent of all these elements is the villain. A hero has no challenge, the world has no conflict, and the plot has no forward motion without a sinister hand behind the wheel. Let’s face it: most great stories rest on the shoulders of a great villain. But what makes these baddies so memorable? Certainly, conducting evil acts for the sake of simply being an upstart is hardly a good enough motivation to drive anyone, least of all be the driving force of a good story. Villains fascinate us perhaps more than the heroes because their motivations are oftentimes more complicated than the hero’s. They have to be able to rationalize and justify their actions within themselves. It’s not enough that someone wants to take over the world–they have to have a reason to do so. The most memorable villains have tragic backgrounds. What sets villains apart from the heroes that they force out of the woodwork is that, unlike the heroes, they wrapped themselves in the darkness that plunged them into despair. They embrace evil, rather than resist it.
CecilPerhaps one of the most interesting and dynamic twists in any story is when a hero becomes a villain or, even more unlikely, a villain becomes a hero. These twists and turns in a character’s story and personality are among the most dramatic, and really add another, very human, dimension to a fictional setting. We, as humans, are always being tested, tempted, and tried in the content of our character. Even in the Bible, some of the “good guys,” like Judas, became villains; and some “good guys,” like Paul, began their stories as the villains.
While I typically run Top 10 lists, ranking up to my favorite, these lists won’t be in any order, nor will they include all flip-floppers in gaming. These are just some of the most memorable to me. And, of course, given the nature of the article, I do have to issue a spoiler alert as many of these flips will be major plot points within their respective games. Minor point before I go on: I’m going to limit myself to one character per franchise, per list. Let’s face it: series like Final Fantasy and Suikoden have at least one of these flip-floppers per game, and while those characters are amazing, I want to try to broaden the spectrum a bit. Lastly, I will not include characters that pose as good guys or bad guys, only to be revealed as the contrary. The characters on these lists have a genuine change of heart in the course of their development.

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When Good Guys Go Bad

Gabriel Belmont (Dracula) from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (XBox360 & PS3)

Gabe

Leading off this list is the prince of darkness himself: Count Dracula.
In the previous games, Dracula was just Dracula. Evil vampire. Kill. With fire. It was as black and white as that. The most recent in the Castlevania series, Lords of Shadow, has done a lot to expand on a cult classic while simultaneously attacking the feels of everyone who once gloated over the fall of the vampire king.
Gabriel Belmont is featured as the main character and hero of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, a reboot of the classic Castlevania series. The game begins with a scene right out of a classic horror film where a pack of werewolves lay siege to a helpless backwater village, and an armored hero steps forward to deal with the monsters. After quietly dispatching the beasts, he asks directions and continues on his way. Through the majority of the first game, Gabriel seems like a crusader of light, fighting for the Brotherhood of Light, the church, and even God himself. He’s wracked with heartache, and, through the course of the game, he wakes to find his hands covered in the blood of an innocent. Matters continue to spiral downhill as he is betrayed first by his traveling companion, by his order, and, finally, by his own self. Through everything, Gabriel clings to his faith and even confronts the “son of the morning” himself, Satan. It seems that all is well and good for our tragic hero, all things considered.
In-between the main Lords of Shadow games, two “in-between” stories were released: a special DLC that expanded on the ending of LoS (Xbox 360 or PS3) and Castlevania: The Mirror of Fate (3DS). During the DLC, Gabriel is called upon to save humanity once more–this time at the request of one of the very creatures he was trained to hunt and destroy: a vampire. This particular vampire takes the form of a young girl plagued with the curse. She informs Gabriel that a demon is about to rise from the core of the earth, and only another demon can destroy it. Faced with no other option, Gabriel allows the girl to curse him as a vampire, and he rushes in headlong to lay low yet another threat to humanity.
Whoops
…whoops.
Once victorious, Gabriel does not face gratitude but is instead hunted by his own order. He attempts to isolate himself to avoid conflict, but time and again his castle is attacked by those seeking to destroy the evil within. Among those that make an attempt on his life is his own son, Trevor, who only reveals his identity as he lays dying following his failed attempt to take his father’s life. Grief-stricken, Gabriel attempts to revive his son. When he fails, Gabriel finally wraps himself in the darkness that has been tempting him through the course of the past several decades and becomes the lord of darkness himself–Count Dracula.
Gabriel’s story is extremely powerful, as it adds a tragic, very human heart and soul to the monster and further shows that a villain is oftentimes the result of a cruel series of events rather than the consequences of birth. While Gabriel certainly chose to embrace the darkness instead of light, in some ways his story is understandable.
Jowy from Suikoden 2
jowy5It’s pretty obvious that these games will never stop appearing on my lists–and with good reason. The Sukioden games are masterfully written. Of all the main series games, Suikoden 2 is perhaps the most celebrated–and with good reason. Suikoden 2 tells the story of three lifelong friends and how a war between nations ripped them apart. Riou and Nanami were two orphans raised by an old war hero and trained in the discipline and techniques of martial arts. Jowy was the son of an aristocrat, likely an illegitimate one, who found no favor with his stepfather. The three were routinely bullied and cast aside by the children of their hometown. Jowy suffered abuse and rejection from his own family and found himself embraced more by Riou and Nanami. When he and Riou were old enough to serve, they enlisted in the military and were quickly deployed.
RIou Vs JowyThe two were the sole survivors of an attack on their brigade, composed by their very own commander in league with the enemy forces, and were framed for the incident. Sentenced to death, Jowy and Riou faced the gallows side-by-side. While still devoted to his friend, Jowy quickly grew sour and resentful of his home nation. When the opportunity presented itself, he switched sides and began to manipulate the enemy army from within. Unfortunately, this put him at odds with his childhood friend and surrogate brother, Riou. As the war grows between the two sides, Jowy repeatedly requests that Riou leave until he can end the war and establish peace. Riou refuses, and, by the end of the game, the two friends must face one another as the leaders of the two armies.
What makes this flip such a memorable one is the fact that not once does Jowy personally hate Riou. He’s conflicted in his actions and justifies himself because he himself was betrayed. His family rejected him, his country turned on him, and the one good thing left in the world–his friends–were being caught up in a conflict that could cost them their lives. He hates what he has to do, but he feels there is no other choice. It’s because he feels he’s doing the right thing, and because he cannot bring himself to hate his friends, that makes him such a great villain. Of course, he can be redeemed, but only through the completion of a perfect game and a few well-timed button crunches. Seeing as you never actually get him back in your party following his betrayal, he counts as a villain exclusively.
Felix from Golden Sun
FelixintheWater
…Yeah just keep reaching out like that. I’m sure it’ll do something.
FelixAn obscure JRPG series, but a classic none-the-less, Golden Sun is filled with memorable characters, an interesting system of magic, and, of course, a wonderful villain. The first game opens in a small village in the middle of a terrible storm. Landslides and heavy rain turn the once peaceful village into a sloppy nightmare. The player controls a young boy by the name of Issac who must seek out his companions and flee the village before the boulders atop the mountain fall. He manages to find most of his companions, but is delayed when he comes across his father, Kyle, assisting another family in attempting to pull their child from the current of the muddy river. Felix, the elder brother of Jenna, one of the leads of the first game, is swept away along with Kyle when the boulder breaks loose and tumbles down into the village. Felix is knocked senseless but salvaged downstream by a duo of antagonists by the name of Saturos and Menardi.
Feeling indebted to his saviors, Felix assists Saturos and Menardi in attempting to break Alchemy’s seal on the world. While he’s never outright malicious towards his childhood friends and younger sister, his dedication to Saturos drives him down a path that rivals that of the heroes. Felix is an interesting enemy because it’s impossible to outright hate him. He’s doing what he feels is the right thing. He’s legitimately trying to keep his friends and family away from danger, but his misguided convictions drive him to assist those who throw his world into chaos. His struggle is something that a lot of people can relate to, if not personally than in someone we care about. It’s hard to see someone we care about make the wrong choices, even going so far as believing themselves to be right or justifying their actions. We still love them… but sometimes we do want to give them a nice, firm kick in the backside.
Caim from Drakengard 2
CaimCaim… was never really a “good” guy precisely. He’s an angry soul with a bloodlust and a reckless personality. Through the first Drakengard, his only voice of reason is found within his dragon, Angelous, who ironically enough holds more compassion for humanity than he does. Drakengard 1 is as much a journey of Caim finding his humanity as it is in his saving the world. He goes from angry and selfish, bloodthirsty and downright defiant, to genuinely caring about someone other than himself.
…and then that someone is ripped away from him and tortured. He hears every cry and plea echo in his mind for years thereafter.
In order to save humanity, Angelous offered herself as the goddess of the seal, effectively binding her with the burden of the seal. Originally, the burden was tolerable. Though she was no longer physically present in the world, she lingered in Caim’s mind through the pact they forged in the first game. However, the burden she bore was increased by one of Caim’s former companions, and the agony of the burden drove her mad. Caim, who lost his voice as payment for the pact he formed, was unable to do anything for his better half. In time, he could bear her pain no more and sought to destroy the seals holding her captive.
His actions not only cost the protagonist of the second game one of his own friends, but they also help to further unleash chaos. When Angelous is freed, the once reasonable dragon is reduced to a rampaging beast bent on carving her vengeance out of the world that she once helped save. Caim’s plight is honestly a heartbreaking one. At first, the player has no clue what could have driven this poor man into the darkness. The first game ends with him finding his humanity and performing a selfless deed. When it’s revealed how and why he became a villain, it’s heart breaking. The conclusion to his story is bittersweet but memorable.
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When Bad Guys Go Good

“N” ( Natural Harmonia Gropius ) From Pokemon Black/White and Black/White 2
N…Yes, N has a real name (if  you can call it that). Behind the silly name and creepy, almost stalker-esque, tendencies in the game, N is actually one of the most well-fleshed-out and sympathetic characters in the Pokemon universe. Very little is known of his early origins. His parents, homeland, and original culture are all a mystery. N was found among wild Pokemon who had, for some reason, decided to raise him like one of their own. It’s likely that the foundling would have been left to his own devices, if not for his ability to actually speak with and understand Pokemon.
Lower-case n.
Lower-case n.
Team Plasma, the antagonist organization in Pokemon Black & White and Black & White 2 take in the boy and raise him in their ways. Their leader, Ghetsis, poses as the boy’s father though he’s never once shown as having any tender moments with the boy. In fact, in Black and White 2, the player has the opportunity to see where N was raised. His room is closed off, filled with toys, and tucked quite out of the way. In short, N was isolated from anyone outside of Team Plasma, raised in a role he knew nothing of, and was brought up thinking that every action he took was for the greater good.
While N is never actually villain-like in his behavior, he is a formidable opponent through the games, with a good deal of support. He has some valid points in his arguments (points that, funnily enough, reflect concerns with the games themselves) and he presents himself as level-headed and truly compassionate in his cause. At the end of Black and White 2, following his defeat, he is taken away by the rival legendary beast of the hero to try to observe the world from a perspective that was denied to him as a child.
OKay so cute
…I for one welcome our adorable, green-haired, POGERMERN-whisperer overlord.
While he doesn’t have a hand in assisting the hero too strongly, N has shed his crown and abandoned team Plasma entirely. He’s spent his years in exile learning about the world, Pokemon, and the relation between Pokemon and humanity. He steps in towards the end of the game to beg the assistance of the hero and once again to simply challenge him to Pokemon battles.
Dracula (Gabriel Belmont) from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
GabeDracLords of Shadow 2 opens up with a siege on the dark lord’s castle, in which he completely devastates those who dared to come knocking at his door. Like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Lords of Shadow 2 teases amazing powers and abilities that are quickly stripped away so that they can be restored throughout the course of the game. Following the conclusion of the siege scene, the game recaps Gabriel’s tragic backstory and his rise to becoming Dracula himself, to include the tragic misunderstanding that led to the death of his son. Or… the supposed death of his son.
In trying to restore Trevor, Dracula shed his own blood into the dying man. Believing his attempts to have failed, he buried his son in the walls of his own castle and raised an army of darkness to defend that castle. Dracula’s blood worked slowly through the Trevor’s body and, over many years, transformed the fallen man into a vampire. Disgusted with himself, Trevor re-named himself “Alucard” and sought to un-do the evil that his family had caused.
Father sonThrough the course of the game, Alucard guides his sire through his memories, taking the form of his child-like self or that of a white wolf to appeal to Dracula’s more gentle nature. He manifests visions of  Marie, Dracula’s slain wife, to assist him in his task. By the end of the game, Gabriel has returned and faces the darkness within himself, overcoming it. While both he and Alucard can do nothing about the state of their bodies, both turn away from the darkness.
Once more, Dracula faces off against Satan and rises to the defense of humanity once more. The events leading up to his change of heart are actually very well written and orchestrated within the game. Alucard’s clever actions and methods are revealed in a genuinely touching father and son reunion scene, and the shadows of Marie and young Trevor earn honest compassion and tenderness from even Dracula himself. It’s a memorable, clever twist on an old series, and an even older story, that’s well worth the time it takes to play through the games.
Siegfried from Soul Edge & Soul Calibur
NightmareI never thought that a fighter game would have any chance of making any kind of impression on me beyond sore fingers and mad button-mashing skills. The story behind Siegfried completely stole the stage for me.
Siegfried was born to a soldier and raised in the art of swordsmanship. When Siegfried entered into his teens, his father rode off to war and, without his role model there to keep an eye on him, Siegfried ended up getting himself involved in a petty gang. At first, they performed small acts of thievery, but one day they decided that they would ambush soldiers, leaving the field of battle and rob them–partly because they believed anyone leaving the front lines of the crusades to be a coward, and partly because these soldiers were bound to have a good deal of loot on them. One night, they ambushed a group of war-weary soldiers. Siegfried engaged and decapitated the leader of the soldiers, but didn’t catch the man’s face until he raised his trophy up to the moonlight. Yeah… that was daddy.
Shiny good guyVery long story short, Siegfried went a little off his rocker. He ran into the wood and was swallowed up by madness so severe that he convinced himself that someone else had killed his father. When rumor reached him of the Soul Edge, he sought after the weapon with the full intent to use it… against his father’s killer. When he did get his hands on the blade, it consumed him. The blade carried with it a will of its own and struck a bargain with Siegfried. In exchange for his assistance in collecting souls, it would bring Siegfried’s father back to life. Beyond insane at this moment, Seigfried agreed.
The character “Nightmare” is one of the main antagonists in Soul Calibur game. When Nightmare is defeated, Siegfried is freed from the blade and slowly comes to terms with the sins of his past and begins down the slow road of atonement. It takes time for him to regain his sanity, and he still faces heavy temptation from the darkness, but Siegfried shows through every one of his appearances that he is bound and determined to redeem himself.
Cecil Harvey from Final Fantasy IV (PS or DS Remake)

Dark Knight Cecil

Cecil PaladinAnd, finally, the token reformed villain, Cecil. Seeing as the entire story of Final Fantasy IV revolves around Cecil’s coming to terms with his past, renouncing his old ways, and seeking out redemption, it would have been an actual crime not to include him.
Cecil’s mother passed away while bringing him into the world, and his father was killed before he was born. He had an older brother, Theodor, who ran off with him but abandoned him shortly afterward. He was found and raised by the King of Baron. He grew up with another youth by the name of Kain, and a young girl who would come to be his love interest, Rosa. Cecil was trained in the art of combat and eventually became a black knight in service to the king. Unfortunately, his service isn’t exactly gallant, and he ends up doing the king’s dirty work for him. Cecil doesn’t originally question his actions, but as he begins to see their effects on the common folk, he begins to open his eyes.
One no moreEventually, Cecil turns away from his king and denounces himself as a black knight, instead choosing to walk the path of a paladin in defense of the common people. This choice puts him at odds with his home nation, the king he served his entire life, and even his best friend. The game largely revolves around his struggle to redeem himself and come to terms with the choices he made.
Of all the reformed villains, Cecil is perhaps the most spiritual. He was a product of misfortune and groomed to conform to the wishes of the world around him. Even when he seeks to repent, he is frequently tormented by temptation and wounded by those he had to turn away from in leaving the darkness behind. Sometimes the best we can do to help those around us is to help ourselves first. Reaching out to those still in the darkness will, more often than not, pull us back into the shadows. Cecil learns the value of righteousness, sacrifice, and selflessness. In a sense, he represents spiritual rebirth. He washes away the old and becomes a new creation.

So there you have it!

There are dozens more that could have made this list, but I wanted to focus on those that left an impression. The struggle against one’s darker nature is one that every human being can relate to, so it’s no wonder this element comes up so often. Villains (at least those worth remembering) don’t always start out as evil bald men stroking a cat at the end of a long hall. Most memorable villains could have been the heroes if they had had the strength of character to persevere. More memorable, and perhaps more relatable to those within the faith community, than the story of “light into dark” is the story of deliverance from the darkness into the light. Even villains are still able to find redemption, but they have to be the ones to make that choice. As with real life, the turning point in many bad-to-good or good-to-bad characters is their experiences. Sometimes a kind word or gesture can soften a hard heart just enough to put that individual on the right path. Rejection and cruelty are just as powerful motivators to push someone down a darker road.
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Don’t Kick the Bard: Top 5 Bards in JRPGS

Warrior. Thief. Paladin. Rogue. Dragoon. White mage. Black mage. Red mage….
"Onward" - Mihn the battle-bard.
“Onward” – Exarrdian.devianart.com
Okay, let’s be honest: just about every “classic” class of character is given a lot of representation across the realm of gaming. They’re all amazing, each with their own perks and set backs, and each has even taken the spotlight as the main protagonist’s class over the years. I love nearly every class of every character, but my absolute favorite class is so sadly misrepresented in gaming that I couldn’t even squeak out a top 10 list. This class, of course, is the bard class.
Let’s face it—the bard is likely underrepresented because in nearly every game that has one, they steal the spotlight. It’s kind of what bards do. These characters took up the lute instead of the blade, they have charisma to burn, and they often have their ear to every crack in the wall. They’d make fantastic intelligence-gathering party members, the comedy relief, and a strong member of the party providing buffs to their allies. Even bards who are less than talented with their chosen profession provide a good chuckle and an interesting dynamic to the party. Whether their weapon of choice is a string or larynx, you have to hand it to the bard—they are unforgettable.
Before reading on, I do want to toss up a Spoiler Alert for the games given. Most games are pretty old, but I just wanted to cover my bases here. Secondly, some of the characters also appear in Manga or Anime, so I may touch on those aspects as well. Finally, I do want to say that this list is my personal opinion. I ranked the Bards in order of how I felt they effected the story, their impact as characters, their contribution to the soundtrack, and/or how memorable they are to the fan base. I did not include Bard’s Tale (spoiler alert) because I’ve not played the game and I honestly hear very little about it. I tried to grab Bards that would have left an impression as characters in games that would be recognizable.

#5: Flute Boy—The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Flute boy 2

Boy (and yes, that is the only name given to him) is a mysterious figure from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past that fans continue to speculate about. His story is short but sweet, but it left a deep impression on the fan base. As simple of a story as it is, the tiny detail about this minor NPC involved in one of Zelda‘s infamous fetch quests was a masterful stroke to the game’s epic tale.
In Kakariko Village, Link meets a man who tells Link about his young son who went off in search of the “Golden Power” and never returned. Upon further investigation, the Innkeeper of the Kakariko Village Inn gives Link another small detail regarding Flute Boy. The child’s pet bird would fly him everywhere he went and was last seen with his master flying towards Death Mountain, but neither had been seen since.
Flute boy
Upon passing a small forest grove, Link happens upon a young boy playing his flute for an audience of animals. As Link approaches, the animals scatter and the boy vanishes before his eyes. It isn’t until Link has access to the Dark World that the mystery unwinds itself. Flute Boy somehow entered into the Dark Wold, and as with any Light World inhabitant, he was transformed into a beast. He lingers in the grove’s Dark World location, projecting his image into the Light World.  When Link speaks with him, the boy-turned-beast asks him to locate his flute for him. Link does so and returns with Flute Boy’s treasure.
Manga flute boy
Flute Boy as seen in the Manga.
Sadly, Flute Boy confesses that he is unable to play his flute any longer. He gives Link two requests: the first is to see that his flute is returned to his father, and the second is for Link to play the flute for him. As Link does so, Flute Boy turns into a petrified tree and his apparition vanishes from the Light World grove entirely. The fetch quest allows Link to use the flute to call upon Flute Boy’s pet bird to transport him across the map of the Light World. Of course, following the events of the game, Flute Boy is shown restored in the grove with his father.
It’s a small sub-quest, barely twenty minute’s worth of gameplay, but it really shows the gravity of the conflict that Link faces and the effect that the world’s conflict is having on the innocents of the world that he’s fighting to save. At the end, you only get a few seconds of the resolution surrounding Flute Boy’s story, but it’s just enough to tighten up that loose end in a positive way.
Of course, as with any good bard, Flute Boy’s Song is a charming tune that’s become one of the Zelda Franchise’s most recognizable songs.

#4: Ramin—Suikoden Tierkreis

Ramin big

Ramin, for all intents and purposes, is the signature comical bard. He looks the part, speaks with a silver tongue, and he carries himself like a bloated peacock. However, for whatever reason, he delights in stirring up trouble wherever he goes and thanks to a curious skill he possesses, he’s quite good at doing so with his music. Ramin’s music, true to the archetype of an RPG bard, has the ability to create special effects to the listeners. Contrary to the norm, Ramin’s music makes people irrational, angry, and exceedingly aggressive. It’s in no way implied that he lacks talent or that he’s especially malevolent, and in no way is Ramin actually a bad character, so why his music has this effect is as much a mystery as the traveling musician’s past.
He’s first encountered in Salsabil whipping a crowd up into a frenzy. The game’s protagonist happens upon the musician several times through the course of the adventure, each time unlocking a comical situation. The bard angers townspeople and escapes personal physical harm only because the town guards arrive on the scene. He attempts to play for the dolphin-like Porpros-kin some time later and is shocked to find that his music’s odd power has no effect on them. Unfortunately, the Porpros-kin find his music to be exceedingly annoying. He moves on once again and is encountered trying to entertain the beast-like Furious Roar tribe, yielding the same result as he had with the Porpros-kin.
The protagonist eventually begins to worry after the bard’s personal wellbeing, and attempts to drag him to safety away from Cragbark only to encounter an enraged group of monsters. Ramin, panicked, does the one and only thing he knows how to do: he begins to play. Oddly enough, the protagonist is positively affected by the music in battle and manages to defeat the monster thanks to the strength that Ramin’s music lends him. At this point, Ramin is recruited into the military.
Ramin screenshot
You beautiful, sassy jerkface.
As far as characters go, Ramin is just another one of the 108 characters that are required to complete the game with a perfect ending. Every Suikoden game has a musician within them and while Tierkries is not my favorite in the game mostly because it’s an offshoot of the game’s canon, Ramin is the most memorable of the Suikoden bards. He stands out as a character because so little is known about him. The fandom is left to speculate about his past, the source of his strange musical magic, and just why he is the way he is. He’s a fun twist on the bard archetype and despite his ego, he’s a character that the player can almost pity. He has a gift that either irritates or infuriates people. But hey, life gave him lemons and he enjoys his lemonade. If you’re going to be laughably bad at what you love to do, you might as well have a little fun with it.
While Ramin isn’t the singer of his “featured song,” he’s credited with the game’s main theme, “Door of Hope with Ramin.” Fans speculate that he’s either the strings in the background or the song’s composer. Maybe he turned a leaf after the events of the game? Here’s hoping.

#3: Inuart—Drakengard

Inuart

Of aristocratic men and lineage, Inuart is known for his captivating singing voice and skill with the harp. He grew up feeling inferior to Caim; his sincerity and honesty masked his inherent cowardice. His world crumbled when his fiancé, Furiae was chosen as the new goddess. His many weaknesses became ever more apparent, his love for Furiae an all-encompassing obsession.

— Official Website Description
Drakengard is a dark freaking game. One of the first characters that you meet is Inuart, a close friend of the protagonist, Caim, and the prospective lover of Caim’s sister, Furiae. Inuart grew up beside Caim, learning the art of the sword alongside him but always falling just short of Caim’s level. It seemed at every turn, Caim was just a few steps ahead of Inuart. The one and only thing that Inuart had over his friend was his music.
Inuart Singing
…you know, there’s a time and a place…
Well, very long story short, Inuart loses his ability to sing when he forges a pact with a black dragon. So what happens when a bard loses his ability to bard? He goes absolutely loopy. And so Inuart proceeds to do just that. I’ve spoiled this one a little, but the events leading up to Inuart’s decision are absolutely heart breaking and should be experienced via gameplay or (for you cheaters) or viewed via a Let’s Play on YouTube.  Inuart’s role within the game shifts dramatically from friend and potential brother-in-law to dangerous adversary. Inuart is so crushed that he is willing to give up the one thing that defined him over his childhood rival. He gives up his very identity, and in becoming a villain he also becomes a very memorable, sympathetic one.
Unfortunately, Inuart only has one short cutscene where his musical abilities are displayed. He…didn’t have the best timing for a song either. I personally would have waited to leave the room filled with my enemy’s bodies but hey, different strokes.

#2: Gieve—Arslan: Warriors of Legend

Gieve - Arslan

Since Gieve is featured in a very recent game release and he’s an amazing character, he deserves a spot on this list. Gieve is everything a bard should be. He’s a smooth talker, he’s confident, he’s talented, he’s handsome, and he doesn’t limit himself to his passion for music. After all, any artist will tell you that their gift doesn’t always put food on the table or keep them out of harm’s way. Along with his skill as a musician, he is a deadly swordsman, an expert marksman with a bow, a trickster, and an apparently very successful lady’s man.
He’s first introduced into the series when the enemy army marches to the gates of the defending capital with one of their generals bound to a post. As an example to those within the city walls, the general is slowly tortured. The general cries out for someone to kill him so the enemy isn’t given the satisfaction of seeing him suffer. None of the guards along the wall are able to reach the general with their arrows. Gieve appears as a lone, cloaked figure and fires a single arrow into the forehead of the general. He’s brought before the queen and rewarded for his deed. Unfortunately one of the queen’s ladies in waiting recognizes Gieve as the “runaway prince” that she gave herself to the night before. Gieve admits to this but attests that he was just a performer playing the part. He gets himself out of what could have been a nasty situation by playing for the queen, impressing her enough to waive his crime.

GIRL

So yeah, Gieve isn’t exactly introduced as endearing. In fact, the only reason he gets wrapped up in the conflict of the game (and the anime) is because one of the soldiers, a lovely woman by the name of Farangis, catches his eye and ignores his advances. How dare she!
Over the course of the game, Gieve’s interests in Farangis fade as the core of his involvement and he begins to grow into a very dedicated soldier under Prince Arlsan. He’s moved by the prince’s kindness and willingness to do the right thing regardless of what it may cost him. Several times Arslan calls him a friend, destroying the social boundaries that Gieve grew up under. While the game doesn’t go as far as the anime does, Gieve takes a massive hit for the team in order to ensure that the military’s internal morale is intact. He’s instrumental (see what I did there?) in many victories and proves himself to be a dedicated friend. His transformation not only as a soldier but as a person is powerful.
Of all the characters on this list, Gieve is the only one that the player can choose to play as. He’s a blast to control as he has a massive variety of skills at his disposal. I’m personally a fan of beating people around with his instrument then blowing them away with the power of MUSIC!ART. If tunes can hit you in the feels, why can’t they hit an army in the face? Multiple times? Multiple faces? Yeah. It’s fun. Because he’s a bard.

#1: Edward Chris von Muir—Final Fantasy IV

Edward

…also known as the “spoony bard.” Ah yes, everyone knew he would appear on this list. Honestly, he gets the number one spot not only because of my personal experience with him, but because he’s the bard that everyone thinks of when the topic of RPG bards is brought to the table. For one, what a crying shame that Final Fantasy has not given us a memorable bard ever since. The franchise has gone through ten, TEN, canon installments since we had Edward and there hasn’t been even one bard that’s left an impression.
Secondly, Edward is awesome. He’s remembered for good reason. As the crown prince of Damcyan, Edward is well educated, cultured, and has the world on his shoulders. Understandably (and perhaps irresponsibility), he embraces his inner Disney Princess, often slipping away from his castle disguised as a bard simply to see the world. He has more interest in music than politics and he’s apparently quite good at it. However, Edward is introverted and painfully shy which doesn’t really help his presentation as a bard. It wasn’t too difficult to figure out that he wasn’t all that he seemed to be.

Edward 2

During his travels, he falls in love with a girl named Anna who just happens to be the daughter of a powerful mage by the name of Tellah. Tellah, unfortunately, is not thrilled about his daughter’s relationship and is furious when Edward and Anna run off to be together. Of course, ever the protective father, Tellah follows after his daughter in hopes of bringing her home. Shortly after Anna and Edward return to Damcyan, the city is raided and Anna is mortally wounded in the conflict. Tellah fully blames Edward for the tragedy and lashes out against him. Anna begs her father to spare her lover, professing her undying love for him before slipping away. At this point, Edward has just lost his kingdom, his parents, and his love. After a good slap from Cecil, he picks himself up and resolves to press forward.
Despite his tragic beginnings, Edward really grows as a character through the game and finds the courage to stand with his friends as things grow dim. In the lesser known sequel to Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy: The After Years, Edward serves as the crown king of Damcyan.
Edward may not be a bard in career, but it’s made very clear that his passion is in his music. He’s far too shy to play to a grand hall or strut around demanding attention, instead he plays for the love of the art. He feels alive when he’s creating music, and in a way his songs are a connection to those he’s loved and lost, those he’s had to part ways from, and to a deeper part of himself. He eventually learns that the real world demands that he assumes a responsibility that’s heavy and complicated, but he finds a place of peace in his gift.
For artists, this is the heart of what we do. We know we can’t get by on our talent alone. Our gift is just that—a gift. God gives different talents to different people, and the desire to create, be it artwork, writing, poetry, or music, is a whisper of the creative energy that brought the universe into being. After all, the word “universe” quite literally means a single spoken line. Art in all its forms speaks to a part of every human that we all share—our souls. It brings about beauty and awakens parts of us that nothing else can. While we can’t all be artists, singers, writers, or poets, we can all agree that these things are a big part of what makes life worth living, even in the hard times.

 

Bards do for the world of gaming what our real-word artists do for us. They add color, life, a unique sound and flair. It’s a crying shame that there aren’t more represented in the realm of gaming. Perhaps in time we’ll get some more memorable feather-capped heroes but until then, enjoy the ones we have now!
I want to thank Exarrdian for allowing us to use her artwork for this piece!
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Siblings Day Special: 10 Influential Sibling Dynamics in Video Games

Mario BrosPerhaps one of the biggest reasons that games collect any kind of a following is because they reflect the themes and moralities that make humanity so unspeakably complex. We’ve laughed as our rivals taste bitter defeat, we’ve cried as our allies suffer the loss of their beloved, and we’ve felt the pride of a leader when a proud party overcomes impossible odds. The characters across the multifaceted realm of gaming are what draws us in, but they couldn’t do it alone. A good deal of any character development is in part due to the social interactions that they, experience through the course of their lives. For the majority of gaming’s greatest heroes, very little is actually said about their day-to-day family lives. Most heroes are orphans, foundlings, or adopted into another family. Oddly enough, one popular theme through the course of any large-scale gaming franchise is the presence of influential siblings. Some siblings are rivals, others are dependable members of the party, some are plot fodder, and others still are surrogates for any actual blood relations that the character may have.
Today is National Sibling’s day, and to celebrate, I wanted to pay tribute to ten powerful sibling units across gaming. Before going on, I wanted to point out a few things. Firstly, spoilers! A lot of these characters will be involved with dramatic reveals or plot-heavy moments within the canon of their respective games. Secondly, this isn’t a “top ten” list as there’s really no way to rate these sibling dynamics against one another. Each pick brings something especially powerful or memorable to their game. It is impossible to set up a best of the best list. Finally, I very likely won’t be covering “obvious” sibling duos or groups in this one. Mario and Luigi are the dynamic sibling duo that everyone knows and loves and Dante and Vergil are fan favorites, but I wanted to shine the spotlight on some underrated characters.

Jessica & Alastair Albert (Dragon Quest VIII)

JessicaAlastairThe Dragon Quest games are classics in the field of great RPG games. Each game presents a fantastic story with a cast of colorful characters while drawing on the tried-and-true formulas of popular RPGs. Overall, they’re a lot of fun to play and a lot of heart is put into the characters. In DQVII, we’re introduced to a whip-wielding spitfire by the name of Jessica who seems to have a bug up her blouse in regards to the main protagonist. She’s a wealthy gal from a well-bred family in the small town of Alexandria who is gifted with both her primary weapon and magic, making her a solid combatant. Unfortunately, before Jessica can become a member of the nameless hero’s company, the protagonist must clear his name. Jessica mistakes the hero and his party for the murderers of her older brother, Alastair. Once their innocence has been proven, Jessica joins forces with the hero against the true killer of her beloved sibling in hopes of avenging Alastair.
Very little is seen of Alastair. He has a very short but powerful cutscene in which he reveals the truth of his demise to Jessica. Alastair is pained to have left his baby sister behind and managed to cling weakly to the spiritual world long enough to speak to her one last time. He encourages her to follow her own path and gives her the courage that she needs to do so. In a way, he givesher the gentle push into adulthood, even if it meant going against her mother’s wishes. It is short and bittersweet, but it leaves an impression and led to giving a great party member the resolve she needed to step over the threshold.

Basch & Noah (Gabranthe) fon Ronsenburg (Final Fantasy XII)

Bach and GabranthIt’s bad enough when a member of your family has joined up with the bad guys, but when said family member has your face and speech patterns, it’s even worse. One of the main characters of Final Fantasy XII is met hanging in a tiny little cage awaiting justice for treason: Captain Basch. He’s noble, heroic, and a strong right hand for his cause. Unfortunately, these same qualities exist on the other side of the conflict in which he finds himself in the form of his twin brother: Gabranthe.
Noah and Basch grow up within the Republic of Landis prior to the invasion by the Empire. During the invasion, Basch flees to Dalmasca and joins their military while Noah remains with their sickly mother and moves her to her hometown of Arcadia. In time, Noah joins the military of Arcadia and rises quickly through the ranks to eventually become a Judge Magister. The brothers find themselves at opposite ends of a battlefield, each pledging their loyalty to their respective rulers.
For all his good qualities, it would seem that poor Basch gets the shorter end of the tact stick and is framed for murder and treason both. Gabranthe poses as his brother in order to get close to, and eventually to murder, King Raminas along with all of Bach’s men. Unfortunately, this includes Recks, the older brother of the game’s protagonist, Vaan. Sadly, Reks doesn’t get to make this list because he is essentially the tutorial punching bag and serves really only to introduce Vaan as our main character, nor does he get a lot of mention following the game’s introduction. Gabranthe and Basch’s sibling rivalry, however, proves to be a solid and intriguing element to the story of FFXII. The conclusion of their story arch is both ironic and iconic as the brothers do make amends and Basch ends up posing as his brother in turn. The story of the fon Rosenburg brothers comes around full circle and with it brings a powerful narrative about grace and atonement.

Zidane & Kuja (Final Fantasy IX)

Kuja and ZidaneLike Basch and Gabranthe, Zidane and Kuja are two Final Fantasy brothers that find themselves in direct opposition to one another. If we want to get technical, Zidane is more or less a clone of Kuja that was essentially an eventual replacement for Kuja. The brothers belong to a race known as “The Genome” and were intended to destroy life in order to reap souls for these new creations. Kuja never experiences a childhood and never develops stable emotions. He doesn’t seem to have any concept of right or wrong and operates purely on instinct and his desire to survive. It’s for this reason that he steals away his future replacement, Zidane, and leaves him to his fate—whatever that may be.
Kuja uselessZidane, in contrast, grows up with no knowledge of who he is. He is raised by perfect strangers and thrives off of the mercy and kindness of those around him. Unlike his older brother, Zidane develops a strong sense of morality, compassion, and despite his personal hardships, he works to reach out to those around him. When the two brothers do finally clash, Zidane takes pity on Kuja and offers compassion.
Kuja ultimately meets with the reality of mortality and fights it to the bitter end. In the wake of a series of ground-shattering battles, Kuja is weakened to the point of nearing death. He uses the last of his strength to send Zidane’s party away from the crumbling area around them. Zidane refuses to leave Kuja behind and attempts to rescue him. It’s at this point that Kuja realizes his own humanity and opens up to his younger brother. Despite Zidane’s best efforts, Kuja passes on, but he leaves a legacy to the Genomes left behind. Zidane, along with his own prospective replacement, saw in Kuja that their race is not bound to any one fate, nor are they unable to make their own choices.
Through the rivalry of the two Genome brothers, Zidane never holds personal contempt for Kuja. Over time, Zidane’s good nature reaches Kuja and in a way, he finds his own salvation through it. Zidane expected nothing out of it, he had every reason to hate Kuja, but he chose to embrace him as a brother rather than loathe him as an enemy. Much of the game revolves around this dynamic and the message it delivers is one that leaves an impression.

Porom & Palom (Final Fantasy IV)

PalomParom

Porom and Palom are a pair of magical prodigies that join Cecil’s party early on in Final Fantasy IV. The twins have practiced their art from a very young age, never straying from each other’s side. They embody a lot of the traits of a typical pair of youthful siblings and a lot of the stereotypical traits of twins in popular fantasy. They butt heads, but they finish each other’s sentences and drive one another up the wall, but they always have the other’s backs. It’s a believable and endearing sibling dynamic, especially for anyone playing that grew up with someone their same age or just a year or two apart.
Within their game, they join up with Cecil, the lead character, on request of their Elder to assist him in becoming a Paladin. His true intentions was to have the twins serve as his eyes and ensuring that Cecil not stray from his word. Cecil accomplishes what he set out to do and the twins eventually come clean, but their charge believed they were well within their rights to suspect him. While their elder is hesitant to allow them to do so, they decide to accompany Cecil further. While within the party, they’re solid magic users, complementing Cecil’s mele-based attacks wonderfully. Alas, their time with Cecil is cut tragically short.
Twins in gameDuring a confrontation with an archfiend, the beast is defeated but attempts to crush the heroes by bringing the walls of the cavern inward. Porom and Palom sacrifice themselves to save Cecil by turning themselves into stone on either end of the cavern, effectively bracing the walls so they can go no further. Thankfully, the twins are restored later in the game, but it is an event that strengthens Cecil’s resolve in his quest. Through the course of the game, Cecil struggles between darkness and light, seemingly walking the razor’s edge through the first few hours of gameplay. After losing Porom and Palom, Cecil seems to have disowned the darkness fully.
The twins chose their fate, and like everything they chose it together, side-by-side. They offered friendship and compassion to someone who even believed himself unworthy and through the strength of their characters, they assisted him in becoming the hero that the world needed.

Xiao & Da Qiao (The Dynasty Warriors Games)

Da Qiao

When discussing the topic of the Dynasty Warriors series, very often the conversation gears more towards how many poor foot soldiers you crush plowing through the battlefield atop the Red Hair Stallion or how insanely over-powered Lu Bu is. While free mode is a lot of fun, I always found the story mode interesting, and the massive cast of characters a lot of fun to learn about. Of course, over the installments, the story has been changed a little here and there while keeping fairly faithful to the source material—a novel series called Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It’s based on actual Chinese history, which I find really awesome, and the figures in the games are based (sometimes extremely loosely) off of actual people who served in the battles of that time period. Among the massive cast, there are very few ladies to choose from, but among them are the memorable Qiao sisters.
Xiao QiaoThese two are most often unlocked through the story mode during a campaign with Zhou Yu and Sun Cae, the future husbands of these two sisters. They’re being kept prisoner and it’s the job of the Wu army to bust in, throw some foot soldiers around like rag dolls, and rescue the pretty damsels in distress. The level is a lot of fun, but unlocking the Qiaos opens up both their campaign modes in which you learn a little more about them. Da Qiao ends up marrying Sun Ce, a young man who briefly leads the Wu army, and Xiao Qiao marries Sun Ce’s best friend and strategist, Zhou Yu. The family dynamic between the four of them is a powerful one and really proves for an enjoyable quartet of campaign modes just to explore how they relate to each other, their history, and the tragedy that eventually befalls them.
The events that they appear in, the battles they participate in, and how they’re depicted through the Dynasty Warriors games changes here and there but their deep, sisterly bond remains intact. Da is the more level-headed and reserved of the two, often acting as the quiet voice of reason where Xiao is the bubbly, energetic one that’s more of a headstrong optimist. They play well off of each other in the in-battle dialogue and their cutscenes are always entertaining. On the field, they aren’t the best of fighters and really get thrown around easily, but they’re still fun, especially since they generally use dual fans or dual clubs.

Freyjadour & Lymsleia (Suikoden V)

Frey LymIt’s pretty common for a video game to revolve around the dilemma of rescuing a princess in distress, and it’s pretty common for the hero to hook up with said princess after beating back a straightforward villain. In Suikoden V, the princess in distress is at the core of the conflict, but the developers take an old, tired formula and introduce so many elements to the trope that it’s actually very engaging and provides enough emotional motivation for the player to keep the engaged. In Suikoden V, you play as the prince of the queendom of Falena, Freyjadour Falenas. He’s essentially worthless to the kingdom as he lives in a matriarchal society and a prince is essentially thrown into the role of a glorified messenger and diplomat to the ruling queen. Despite all this, the family dynamic is the heart and soul of this game, so it hurts like heckzoid when that heart and soul is ripped out and lit on fire.
LymbrothersceneFrey looses his family, his homeland, and his reputation in one fateful night. The only other surviving member of his household is his younger sister, Lymsleia. Lym, unfortunately, has been married to a young man from one of two warring noble families following the events of the Sacred Games. His marriage is followed by a purging of the royal house. His failure to kill the prince opens the opportunity to instead use the prince as a scapegoat. The game is masterfully set up but at the core of it is the relationship between an older brother and his baby sister.  Frequently through the game, cut scenes will shift their scope to show what’s happening back in Falena with Lym and how she’s having to deal with her brother’s supposed treachery and uprising against his home nation. On Frey’s side, he’s used by nobles, he’s forced to create his own army, and in the end he’s forced to fight his own countrymen in an attempt to reclaim his country for his house and save his sister from her manipulative husband.
The game concludes with a victorious Frey taking the post of the captain of the Queen’s Knights, valiantly defending his sister into the perceived future of the series. From beginning to end, Frey and Lym are absolutely devoted to each other, never giving up on the other or harboring any doubts towards the other’s intentions. It’s a powerful, emotional retelling of the damsel in distress story and a heart-worming story of a brother and his little sister.

Pit & Dark “Pitoo” Pit (Kid Icarus Uprising)

Pit vs dark pit

While Dark Pit (or Pitoo as Pit calls him through the game) is technically a dark clone of Pit, the two eventually develop a sibling rivalry. Dark Pit was created using a magical mirror that essentially gave life to, and corrupted, the image of what stood before it. Pit takes notice just in time to destroy the mirror before his reflection could be completely corrupted. The result isDark Pit. Pitoo more or less is a rebellious version of Pit with a free spirit and the desire to live independently rather than as anyone’s puppet. While far from evil, Pitoo does present himself as an obstacle once or twice through the game and challenges Pit at every given opportunity.
wounded pit
Despite being his rival, Pit didn’t think twice about sacrificing himself for Dark Pit.
Pit, his lighter counter-part, is innocent to the point of naïveté at times and attempts to force friendly terms between himself and his darker half. Pitoo resists—that is until Pit saves his life. Around the mid-point of the game, Pitoo looses his ability to fly and plunges through the sky towards what would be his demise. With no plan for his own safety, Pit dives after his doppleganger. He manages to save Pitoo but at the cost of his own wings. Pitoo, feeling responsible for Pit’s wounds, sets out to find a cure to Pit’s wounds. You take command of Pitoo at this point and he elaborates on his motives and a little bit of his reasoning for his actions.
Following Pit’s recovery, the two angels decide to work together, albeit begrudgingly. The other characters in the game comment in passing that the two are essentially brothers and while Pitoo won’t be caught dead admitting it, the relationship between himself and Pit is rather like that of two teenaged siblings. There’s rivalry for sure, but it’s a competitive spirit rather than a malicious one. When one’s in a pinch, the other flies in to assist him.

Riou, Jowy, & Nanami (Suikoden II)

RiouJowyNanamiThere is little doubt that if not for the complicated but memorable dynamic between these three characters, Suikoden II wouldn’t be the gem that it is. The game opens up with a beautiful montage of this trio’s childhood from the time they met to the time Riou and Jowy marched off to war. It’s under three minutes, but it firmly establishes the sense of kinship between the three characters and perfectly sets the player up for the emotional roller-coaster that the game provides.
Riou and Nanami are two orphans who were adopted by the same man, Gengaku, and raised as a brother-sister pair. Jowy come onto the scene when he finds himself on the outs with his own family. He would slip off to watch in envy as Riou and Nanami trained under their “grandfather” at his dojo. When he is discovered, Jowy is invited to join them. Over time, the trio becomes the family that they never had. Jowy is relentlessly harassed by the townsfolk for being the spoiled son of an aloof aristocrat, Riou often watches his backside tanned for coming to his defense, and Nanami gains the reputation of being a rugged little tomboy for driving the bullies away. For the first act of the game, all that Riou, Jowy, and Nanami have in the world are one another, so it rips your heart out when the three are torn apart by the ensuring conflict around them.
JoyRiouNanamiJowy follows his ideals, hoping to change the face of the enemy from within while Riou holds fast to the rebellion that showed him mercy. Nanami, torn in two between her brothers, is reluctant to fight but remains at Riou’s side, hoping to eventually knock some sense into the two boys. The division is heartbreaking, and Suikoden II makes sure that you ache just as much as the characters involved. Frequently the scope will shift to either Riou’s side of the battle field or over to Jowy’s so the player can see both characters suffering without the other.
In the end, Jowy and Riou are forced into a confrontation at the very place where their paths were severed. Jowy seeks death in retribution for his crimes against his friend and his country and attacks Riou relentlessly in order to provoke him to strike. Riou, unwilling to raise a weapon to his friend, only defends himself behind his weapons. Jowy’s resolve crumbles and in the end, he begs the forgiveness of his companion. The game concludes with Riou, Jowy, and Nanami setting out together.
It’s heart-wrenching but the humanity of the triad of adopted siblings speaks strongly of the complicated nature of the human heart. We want to do the right thing, but so often we allow our ideals to blind us, even to the point of turning on our family. In the end, family is a place of belonging, even to those who have hurt us the most.

Sorey & Mikleo (Tales of Zesteria)

Sorey and MikleoLike the last sibling group, these two aren’t related by blood. Mikleo and Sorey were tragically orphaned within the same village during the same conflict. Ignorant of their tragic beginnings, Sorey and Mikleo were raised under the elder of a Seraph village. They had no idea that Sorey, a human, was any different from anyone else. They played together, sat through their grandfather’s teachings together, and explored the ruins near their homeland together.
When the boys are hauled from their homeland into the heart of a world plagued with maleficence, the brotherly bond never fades. Sorey does attempt to send Mikleo away from him once he discovers that his road is going to be a difficult one, but Mikleo refuses to be pushed aside and resolves to see the conflict through and shoulder as much of Sorey’s burden as he is able to. While other characters join the party, Sorey will frequently confide in Mikleo when he feels discouraged or afraid. They share a fondness for ancient artifacts and ruins, often drifting off into their own little world while the party stands by and shakes their heads. At one point, the two are forced to make a very difficult decision that drives the both of them to their knees, weeping openly. Every moment of laughter and pain is shared side by side.
LIttle sorey meeboThrough the game, both Sorey and Mikleo play off each other’s strengths and build up one another’s weaknesses. They butt heads, but they’re quick to forgive one another. Sorey is a bit naive and a little too quick to trust while Mikleo is more skeptical and tends to air on the side of caution. Sorey is a strong sword-user while Mikleo specializes in magic. They perfectly complement one another and present a powerful united force when confronted with opposition.
The conclusion of the game leaves Sorey alone, sealed away to shoulder the literal burden of the world. While many of the other Seraphs go their own way, Mikleo continues to wait for his friend and brother, exploring the ruins that they so loved as youngsters.
The brotherly relationship between these two is refreshing. Often times the brother is the villain, or at the very least a rival. There’s an excess of bickering or teasing, and of course the gaming world is filled with the tragic loss of a family member in order to give the main character a push of resolve in the right direction. Tales of Zestiria creates a bond that exceeds blood and captured perfectly the spirit of brotherhood. The boys spend more time supporting one another and encouraging one another than teasing and bickering. Resolve is found within their relationship, but it doesn’t come about with the spilled blood of either one, instead it comes from the heartfelt advice of a trusted life-long companion. It felt genuine and natural, and if anything endeared me to Zestiria over the other games within the Tales franchise, it was the brotherly bond between these two.

Class Zero (Final Fantasy Type-0)

Class Zero

If anything, Class Zero wins on quantity alone. This elite group of youthful super-soldiers is the cream of the crop within the academy that they call home. Class Zero is known as the “red demons” by their foes due to their battle prowess and their mastery of magic. Hailing from the Dominion of Rubrum, a nation that prides itself on its mastery and understanding of magic, they find themselves on the front lines of a conflict between the four nations of their world. Leading the charge is the Empire, which has recently learned the secret of jamming the use of magic on the battle field in order to gain the advantage. Class Zero, immune to their jamming technology, poses the greatest threat to their assured victory. Zero is hailed as the best weapon on the side of the Dominion and the greatest hope for peace.
class Zero familyBehind all the fanfare stands thirteen young teenagers, raised under a single mother figure as brothers and sisters in arms. They grew up together, trained together, and charge into battle side by side. Each of the siblings specializes in their own art of combat and represents a virtue. Ace, the eldest boy fights with a magical deck of cards and represents acceptance, Deuce plays a flute and represents kindness, Trey is an archer that represents knowledge, Cater is armed with a magicite pistol and represents valor, Cinque brings a mace into battle and represents innocence, Sice cuts down enemies with a scythe and represents tenacity, Seven uses a whip and represents discernment, Eight fights with brass knuckles and represents tranquility, Nine is the spear-wielding dragoon of the party and represents action, Jack fights with a katana and represents ignorance, Queen uses a simple double-edged sword and represents wisdom, and finally King uses twin guns and represents judgement.
Each character has a weakness that’s made strong by one of his or her own siblings, both emotionally and on the battlefield. Through the course of the game, the player is able to unlock conversations and small cut scenes during the free time provided between missions in which the siblings interact and expand on the complicated dynamic that the group shares. Ace is often looked to as the peace maker between his siblings, often forcing his siblings to acknowledge common ground between them. While each of the children is mature for their age, and has to be given their role within their community, they’re still very much children. They expose their weaknesses to one another as they can with no one else. They represent so much to their nation and shoulder a massive burden together.
Zero epic
Relatives are the people with which you share blood, but family are the people with which you share your heart.
Class Zero to me represents the brother and sisterhood that’s formed on the field of combat. Our men and women on the battlefield form bonds with their brothers and sisters in arms knowing that these are the people that they will fight and maybe even die beside. They must trust each other with their very lives and often form bonds that bring them closer to their own blood family. Class Zero has only each other in the world as they are unaware of any blood family nor do they commonly associate with others their own age. They’re held up as heroes or scorned by envious classmates, so they’re alienated to the family they’ve formed within themselves.
Video games are just another way of telling stories, and stories are just another way for us to explain the deeper parts of ourselves. Jesus himself used story-telling to expand on the reality of humanity from our best to our very worst. Brotherhood is a topic that is near and dear to everyone. We know what it means to want a place of acceptance and we understand what it is to share your life with people who are somehow closer than friends but more intimate than a romantic interest. Brotherhood isn’t limited to bloodlines or a shared roof. Brotherhood is the powerful bond between people who provide a place of belonging to one another.