Over the course of an RPG, the main characters are going to be using at least 2 forms of transportation besides their legs and magic. Whether by land, air, sea, underwater, or space, there are a LOT of options out there in RPGs for machines and animals to get you from one place to another. Sometimes these are stylish. Most often they are definitely not. But today we ask ourselves: out of all the RPGs out there, which rides are the slickest, the sickest, the quickest, the ass-kickest to get you from Point A to Point B in the most awesome way possible?
The answer sheet is below.
(Note: This list assumes the final and/or best upgraded version of all vehicles it lists).
10. Mech Suits (General RPGs)
Yeah, okay, let's face it: anime's got the right idea. Giant battle robots that you pilot are pretty kickass. The Sun Giant in Dark Cloud 1, Buriki Daioh in Live A Live, and pretty much every Mech in Xenogears all kick a lot of ass and look awesome doing it. After all, if you're going to go somewhere, why not do it in a giant robot armed to the teeth with missiles, beam cannons, fists, and whatnot? The only reason Mech Suits don't rate higher on this list is the sad fact that there ARE a few RPG Mechs that actually kind of suck, such as Asgard from Wild Arms 5, which is a pain in the ass to get around in, and has some Generic Giant Mech Action Battles!!!!! that are just trying way, way too hard. But in general, Mech Suits kick butt.
9. Pegasus (General RPGs)
Alright, really, what besides a unicorn is a more elegant, majestic mode of single-person transportation than a Pegasus? Nothing says class like gliding across the air on a winged steed.
8. The Ragnarok (Final Fantasy 8)
The act of saying something positive about FF8 pains me, but even I have to admit that the Ragnarok is a pretty cool ride. A air-to-space vessel with lasers and machine guns, made to resemble a red dragon, complete with grasping claws? Functional, deadly, AND stylish. I may be able to count the aspects of FF8 that didn't suck on 1 hand and have fingers left over, but the Ragnarok's definitely 1 of those used digits--a big thumbs-up.
7. The M-44 Hammerhead (Mass Effect 2)
A smooth-controlling hovercraft that glides along the ground, can blast itself up and over obstacles and fly several dozen feet above the ground for a short time, capable of scanning for and obtaining any objects of interest, armed with an inexhaustible supply of missiles that punch through obstructions and enemies alike. This thing slides along the ground like a dream and kicks ass while doing so.
6. The Sandcraft (Wild Arms 3)
Okay, big transports for crossing endless seas of sand are a pretty common thing in science fiction, and RPGs have adopted a few. But Wild Arms 3's Sandcraft is more than just a way to avoid getting sand in your sock. The Sandcraft is a huge, insanely powerful (once customized) tank that can and will obliterate absolutely anything stupid enough to be in its way. Armed with a big cannon and a huge harpoon, and capable of doing massive amounts of damage to any enemy within eyesight, the Sandcraft is just fucking COOL.
5. The Excerion (Lufia 2)
As RPG ships go, the Excerion doesn't look like much. It also doesn't sport any combat abilities. But man, if you need to get anywhere other than outer space, this ship will get you there. Not only is it a seafaring vessel, but it can also, whenever you like, become an airship. That by itself is pretty handily functional, but the thing also can turn into a submarine and go underwater! That, my friends, is a multi-purpose vehicle.
"But Arpy!" you say, in my whimsical imagination where blog-readers talk out loud to their computer screens. "The ship from Final Fantasy 5 does that, too! Surely you should give this spot to both of them."
Well, yes, the FF5 ship also does that. But the Excerion has one more handy function that puts it above FF5's transport. In the event that the Excerion's big balloon is shot in mid-flight, the ship converts to a giant hang-glider, letting it safely ride the air currents down to the ground instead of being completely destroyed in a crash. Considering how often RPG vehicles are in combat situations, that really is a great contingency to have on a ship that relies on a balloon to keep it in the air. Multi-purpose, AND (presumably) safer than your average RPG airship.
4. Lombardia (Wild Arms 3)
Lombardia is a flying dragon cyborg that can shoot missiles and energy blasts. What more is there to say?
3. The Normandy SR-2 (Mass Effect 2 + 3)
The Normandy is a state-of-the-art spacecraft that can fly in all manners of nasty, otherworldly atmospheres, is armed to the teeth with the exceptionally deadly firepower of the Mass Effect universe, looks awesome, has great armor and shields, and has a stealth feature that makes it completely untraceable to all known forms of sensors and monitoring systems. It's big enough that a full crew of RPG characters can comfortably fit in for long voyages, it can scan planets for helpful resources, it has a fully-equipped kitchen, science lab, medical bay, and armory, a friendly and insanely advanced AI system to help everything run smoothly, and a cargo bay for holding the M-44 Hammerhead I mentioned earlier, as well as a handy transport shuttle. This ship is 100% awesome.
2. The Epoch (Chrono Trigger)
The Epoch is a sleek, small flying machine with some impressive laser weaponry, which is all pretty cool. More importantly, though, it is also a time machine. Any vehicle that can travel through time is already a handy enough ride to warrant consideration for the list, and how often do you come across a time machine as classy and cool-looking as this one, that can also take you to different PLACES in the time you've chosen? The Epoch takes you wherever and whenever you need to go in style.
1. The Delphinus (Skies of Arcadia Legends)
Oh YEAH. Forget riding the skies--this is how you rule them. Cannons, missiles, magic, lasers, the Delphinus is a huge, unstoppable battleship of the air. Flying this thing and taking it into battle makes you feel INVINCIBLE. The Delphinus is pure and utter win in a hull.
Honorable Mention: Pokemon (Pokemon Series)
Trainers can ride their Pokemon through the waves and across the sky, which is darned handy, and pretty cool. I mean, how awesome is it to imagine your trainer tearing across the sky on a huge Aerodactyl, or the burning Moltres? How stylish would it be to part the waves atop an elegant Dragonair, or clinging to a stylish Vaporeon? Very cool.
Of course, the reason why Pokemon don't make the actual list is the same reason that they'd be considered for it--you're using Pokemon for a ride. And yes, this is awesome in some cases, like the ones I mentioned above. On the other hand, it has equal potential to be ridiculous and lame. How awkward would it be to be clumsily pulled along through the water by a Psyduck? Trying to ride or hold onto a Qwilfish as it swims would just be painful. Grasping for dear life to a tiny, scruffy Spearow while it struggles to drag you across the sky isn't exactly a majestic image. So, I credit Pokemon with a mention for having potential for some really cool riding buddies...but I also deny it a real list spot for having equal potential for stupid vehicular choices, too.
And that's that, another list down. Tune in next time, when I go back to making rants with substance!