Why Ramza's Power is Limited
By Tavis King
It is often said, Ramza Beoulve, of Final Fantasy Tactics fame, is the weakest main character of all Final Fantasies. There is little dispute to this argument. Ramzas abilities peak at learning Ultima via Blue Mage Style, after successfully learning a few glorified Talk Skills. Just imagine if you were casting for heroes in a movie and you are studying the following resumes.
Job History: Formerly a Dark Knight, I am currently the only living Paladin in existence.
Experience: After running the Red Wings for Baron Castle, I went on a quest of personal exploration and saving princesses. That ultimately led to a quest to saving the world while discovering a lost world underneath the earth and walking the face of the moon.
Abilities: Knight skills, with a strong background in White Magic
References: Edward "Edge" Geraldine; King of Eblan, Cid Pollendia; Founder of the Red Wings, Tellah; Master of White and Black magic
Job History: Soldier/Mercenary
Experience: I accomplished saving the earth in a famous quest that touched thousands of lives. I assisted in the destruction of the evil conglomerate Shinra Inc, defeated the strongest set of monsters ever created, and killed the most feared and awed villain of all time.
References: Nanaki: Mayor and Protector of Cosmo Canyon; Cid Highwind: Mayor of Rocket Town and accomplished rocket scientist. First man in space; Reeve: Former Head of Urban Development for Midgar
Job History: Formerly Fighter, now a Knight after proving myself to Bahamut by finding a skuzzy rat tail. Some experience in white and black magic
Experience: Saved Princess Sara. Saved Elf Prince guy. Defeated WarMech. Killed Chaos-twice (technically)
References: Bahamut: King of all Dragons (pre-summon state) White Mage (cause she said so): Smartest one in Party.
Job History: Squire with talk skill bonuses and Ultima Lite
Experience: Former Hokuten soldier pre-AWOL status. Some mercenary experience. Argued anarchist.
References: Most of my references are dead (Ask during interview).
Obviously compared to the famous powerhouses preceding him, Ramza lacks in the strength department compared to most heroes (I would have included killing Jesus Christ in my resume if it occurred, but thats just me). While this leads many players to frustration at Ramzas mediocrity, I believe that his lack in strength speaks mountains for Ramzas character and his place in the Zodiac Brave Story. By making Ramza a weaker hero, he is a much stronger of a character in Final Fantasy Tactics because he is more relatable to his audience.
The first impairment Ramza has is one from birth: He is obviously the runt of the Beoulve litter. If it werent enough that he was a bastard born unto a different mother than Dycedarg and Zalbag, he also struggles from his brothers overprotection as dictated by his late father Balbanes. If his natural disadvantages werent enough, he cuts himself from his noble recourses by attack the Hokuten with Delita after Algus killed Teta. All these circumstances show that Ramza is working at a disadvantage at every angle, and doesnt have the opportunity to earn the powerful ranks that every other knights of nobility learn, proving that he is equal to the every man, he has no chance of learning any superpowers whatsoever.
Ramzas character and personality are both detrimental to his hero status. Immediately after Tetas death and attacking the Hokuten, instead of returning to his brothers and face discipline, he runs away. This is not the typical action of your "chase the villain, save the world" kind of hero. When someone kills your may-as-well-be sister and best friend (unbeknownst Delita is still alive) most heroes would go to the source and take immediate revenge. However, because Ramza runs away, he connects with the audience, because if you were in the same situation, and you wanted to live-the best way to do that would be to run away. Ramza knew he did not have the power to revenge his friends, and he went on the lamb to save himself. If any person were in the same situation-and provided they werent insane, that is the only real choice Ramza had to make without facing death for treason.
Next, Ramzas job in the game is a reflection of how he was intended to connect with the audience-Ramza is and remains until the end, a simple squire. There has been much disappointment in the game because Ramza never evolved into something stronger. Indeed, the most popular hacks in this game are to make Ramza a knight with swordskills. However, there is very good and justified reason that Ramza never received a higher rank. He is not noble, or has been knighted with gifts as such. Agrias, Orlandu, Meliadoul, and many others received swordskills because they pledged their allegiance to a higher organization; The Glabados church, the king or queen, or any other higher power. They did not get those abilities because they felt like using them one day. They were gifts given with their titles. Ramza has no title, and therefore is more relatable to the player because without awesome sword skills, he has to rely on more realistic talents, i.e. his communication skills and pure physical strength. Ramzas job and abilities reflect the fact that Ramza is not a great person-he is a normal man.
Lastly, Ramzas motives for fighting versus other characters are very different. Meliadoul fought because she believed in the ideals of the Glabados Church. Agrias fought to protect Ovelia and the royal family. Beowulf fought for his love, Reis. All the Knights went into the game with a definite reason to fight. Ramza however did not. He never had a constant or dependable reason to fight. In Chapter One, he fought to honor the Beoulve name. In Chapter Two, he fought to save Princess Ovelia. In Chapter Three he fought to stop an impending war on Ivalice over the throne. And in Chapter Four, he fought to save Earth from being consumed by Lucavi. And even though he had goals, he didnt achieve all of them. He failed to gain honor to the Beoulve name, and he failed to save Princess Ovelia. Unlike heroes in other Final Fantasies, who knew their enemy near the beginning, or were fooled at the very end as to who the true evil was, Ramzas goals in life changed, just as a true three dimensional persons does. And just as a real person experiences failure, as did Ramza.
Ramza was not a typical hero. He expressed feelings and characteristics that were not regular to a leader. He was a coward, he wasnt a special fighter, and he wasnt focused. And although all of these characteristics sound like it deters from Ramzas reputation and character, in reality it adds to it. He won some, he lost some, and in the end, although his existence seems to have little seen effects on the world, he did change it-whether the world knew it or not. I do not disdain Ramza's character and abilities. Because Ramza failed to be the walking tank that most heroes become, I appreciate the fact that this isnt the accomplishments of a super human, but of the struggle of a common man, which could very well have been you or me.
The Freezer Archives
This Page © Copyright 1997, Brian Work. All rights reserved. Thanks to Sax for his help with the layout. Do not take anything from this page without my consent. If you wish to contact an author, artist, reviewer, or any other contributor to the site, their email address can be found on their index page. This site is link-free, meaning you don't need to ask me if you'd like to link to it. Best viewed in 1024x768.