Final Fantasy VII, IX, X, X-2, and XII are making their way to the Nintendo Switch in 2019, along with World of Final Fantasy and something called Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon Everybuddy. Glaring absences are the classic, and in my opinion superior, SNES games. Of those most will call Final Fantasy VI the best, but for me, it’s Final Fantasy IV. I’m still waiting for this to get ported to modern consoles with new bells and whistles. With that in mind, here’s my definitive ranking of all Final Fantasy IV party members.
Spoilers ahead for Final Fantasy IV, which first released in 1991.
Edward the bard is, of course, the worst party member in the game. He can do weak damage with harps and sings songs. He’s so terrible he has a “Hide” ability that lets him run away from battles so you don’t have to bother with him. His lasting contribution to Final Fantasy lore is that he is the subject of Tellah’s “spoony bard” line.
Baigan is the Chief Guard of Baron under the false king and joins your party when you already have a full five members. This is a fake-out, you never actually control him, immediately before you begin a boss fight with him. The twins sense he is evil and Baigan outs the powers Golbez gave him. Ranking Baigan as a party member may be a bit of a cheat, but consider it a way to further illustrate how terrible Edward is.
Cid uses primarily hammers and axes in his role as a physical damage dealer. He is one of only four playable characters that cannot use magic. Though he plays a vital role in the story, sacrificing himself to allow the party to escape and sealing the path to the Underworld, his usefulness as a party member is never critical.
While the Lunarian can cast both White and Black Magic, *and* has access to every spell in the game, he doesn’t come without significant compromises. His stats are low overall, he has a very limited MP cap, and noticeably long casting times. When you first see what he could possibly do, you’ll be excited, but the reality is he’ll usually be killed before he can do any serious damage.
You first encounter Yang on Mount Hobbs, where he is singlehandedly tearing his way through enemies. Eventually, he gets in over his head and your party jumps in to help. Yang proves to be a valuable ally, but your time with him is limited. His Kick ability lets you damage all enemies at once, and the variety of claws available allows you to optimize his damage for enemy weaknesses. Yang has the distinction of also being a boss fight when you find him after he loses his memory as a result of the shipwreck that leaves Cecil all alone in Mysidia.
The introduction to Tellah is a memorable one. He’s on the warpath seeking out his daughter, who had eloped with Edward. Before you can make it to Damcyan, Edward’s kingdom, it is bombed and Tellah’s daughter is killed. Tellah decides to seek revenge against Golbez for his daughter, and has a vast array of spells to use at your disposal. His physical stats actually get worse as he levels up, and his utility as a mage is usurped by the twins. Tellah’s rage cannot be contained, and he eventually gets to enact his revenge, albeit unsuccessfully, and he dies in the process.
One-half of the twins sent to spy on Cecil, Porom is a white mage who spends much of her time chastising her brother for his obnoxious behavior. I always found the twins’ Twincast ability to be too much of a gamble to rely upon, so Porom is used purely as a healer. She quickly becomes more useful than Tellah in that role and their sacrifice is a serious gut punch until it’s later undone in the finale.
Edge joins your party late in the game, but is the only character that stays in your party for the entire game upon joining. Every other character leaves at least once. He’s a ninja prince of Eblan. His throw ability can do decent damage, but his Ninjitsu ability is always just weaker versions of spells Rydia can cast. Early on he’ll be doing a lot of damage, but by the end of the game he’ll be about the third best damage dealer in your party.
The black mage to his sister Porom’s white mage, Palom has a personality that can’t be reigned in. It is Palom that clears the fire blocking the path to Mount Ordeals. Palom can learn every Black Magic spell in the game, and faster than any other character. He will be crucial in your quest until the twins cast Stone on themselves to prevent walls from crushing the rest of the party.
Cecil’s love interest and your best bet for White Magic, Rosa is invaluable for keeping your party members alive. After rescuing her from the Tower of Zot she’ll remain in the party, casting cure spells and buffs to keep your party in tiptop shape. Rosa and Rydia hide on the Big Whale after Cecil asks them to leave because he feared the upcoming fight to be too dangerous. Rosa argues that her White Magic skills are greater than that of Cecil’s, and he agrees that they will be needed for what lies ahead.
Kain may be the most iconic character to come out of Final Fantasy IV. His dragoon armor and Jump ability are trademarks. Unfortunately, storywise Kain is very weak minded. He’s repeatedly used as a puppet by Golbez, constantly switching allegiances in an annoying manner. Even when he ends the game on the right side, he’s the only party member to no-show for Cecil and Rosa’s wedding in the ending cinematic.
The protagonist of Final Fantasy IV, Cecil starts out as a lackey for a pretender king. He murders and steals in the name of a king he reveres, but at the start of the game he begins questioning the motivations of his ruler, getting himself and Kain thrown out of Baron and sent on a low-level errand. Eventually, Cecil eschews his darker side, becoming a Paladin. He’ll be one of your top damage dealers throughout the game and has minor use as an emergency healer when necessary.
Rydia begins as a young girl who witnesses her mother killed by Cecil and Kain, before they inadvertently burn her village down. After she is lost in the shipwreck, Rydia later makes a last-second rescue of the party against Golbez. She has aged much quicker than the amount of time that has passed, and along with that is a much higher skilled mage. Her access to Black Magic is the most powerful you will find, and she is the first character dedicated as a Summoner (translated to Caller in the original US SNES release) in the Final Fantasy series.
That’s my list, but what about yours? Reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook and let me know where you think my list went wrong.