With Mass Effect’s Mako getting a new lease on life today, we’ve been thinking: what are the best vehicles in RPGs? The coolest? The most endearing? Here are our picks. Weigh in with your own, too!
Final Fantasy IV‘s Lunar Whale stands out as one of the strangest, neatest vehicles I’ve come across in an RPG. There was just something so bizarre about flying to the moon on a whale that I’ve never forgotten the thing. Plus, the music while you fly? It infuses the game with so much excitement in a moment that’s a bit nerve-wracking. You’re about to go to the moon and face your most dangerous foes ever! But this music is there to fill you with energy before you dive into danger.
Plus, it has a Fat Chocobo on-deck, which is always a plus for space travel. Except then the whole ship smells like chocobo. — Joel
There are lots of cool vehicles in RPGs, but most of them are more conceptually interesting than fun to ride. There’s one, though, that opens up the world in such a profound way that it’s a real game-changer: Dragon Quest Builders 2‘s Buggy Buggy! It’s an endgame acquisition, sure. But zipping through the air gives you easier access to heights, as well as a fun way to view all you’ve designed and built along your adventure. (And hey: that name is a lot of fun to say. Seriously, try it. “Buggy Buggy.”) — Graham
The Yggdrasil from Xenogears left the biggest impression on me. I fondly remember how the ship would upgrade gradually as I progressed further in the story. At first it was only confined to traversing sands. Eventually it gained access to the seas and even skies. The ship has one more big upgrade that satiated the mecha fanboy inside me. That made me wonder: could it have even gone to space? — Kite
The vast majority of role-playing games don’t have room for complex driving or piloting mechanics. Thus, they tend to boil down vehicles to their most utilitarian conceptual basis: A way to get from point A to point B faster. In fact, with few exceptions, vehicles usually play such a small role in RPG mechanics that even beloved vehicles like Mass Effect‘s Normandy or Final Fantasy VII‘s Highwind are really more like locations that just happen to move.
That in mind, my favorite RPG vehicle is my personal starship from Star Trek Online. In STO, your vehicle is as much an extension of you as anything else. It bears as much or more investment in terms of time spent on getting and improving equipment and learning skills as any other. That means the U.S.S. Bellator, my custom-outfitted Arbiter-class Starfleet Battle Cruiser. I outfitted her, customized her appearance, and blew up thousands of alien aggressors with her phaser banks. She feels as uniquely my possession as the Highwind was for Cid, I’d imagine. — Josh
It may be the inner horse girl in me, but I’ve always loved animal “vehicles” a lot in RPGs. Because of that, I really enjoyed flying around as some of the Tales animals. Like Ba’ul in Tales of Vesperia! And Shaorune in Tales of Rebirth! Shaorune is especially fun, since the party members are inside of the gem he holds in his hand when he flies around. With the addition of quick travel in newer Tales games, we haven’t gotten any flying animals in a while now. And that’s a shame. I hope Tales of Arise will give us another winged whale or similar creature. — Stephanie