Winner: Venat (Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker)
Note: Light spoilers for Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker follow.
At its best, faith pushes people to be better, kinder, and aspire to something higher, even if it’s based on something we can’t see.
Venat, Hydaelyn, Azem, or whatever you want to call her, despite becoming a deity in her own right, takes that notion of faith and places it on humanity itself. Even when they let us down, even when they’re selfish, she believes things can get better. Even as someone who isn’t religious, it’s the kind of faith I can absolutely get behind.
What’s most remarkable, though, is that she clearly lives this philosophy during her time as a human. She’s tough, empathetic, thoughtful, and decisive. She’s everything she wants humanity to be, and her faith in humanity mirrors the faith that both the Warrior of Light and the Scions carry forward through the devastation they experience in Endwalker. In just a few short hours, the writers turn her into one of the best characters not just in Final Fantasy XIV, but in the entire series.
by Zach Wilkerson
Runner-Up: Herlock Sholmes (The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles)
As the subject of frequent adaptation, Arthur Conan Doyle’s ace detective Sherlock Holmes is a character that I had grown somewhat bored of due to repeated exposure. I wasn’t expecting to like Herlock Sholmes for this reason, but I’m pleased to report that he’s an absolute delight! Herlock blends in seamlessly with the established tone of the Ace Attorney universe whilst simultaneously upending common tropes associated with Holmes adaptations in a way that is both refreshing and endlessly amusing. Herlock is a masterclass in character design and characterisation. He never fails to be endearing and exciting throughout the lengthy course of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, which is impressive considering the sheer number of incredible characters showcased in the game!
by Adam Arter