The characters listed below are in alphabetical order. Consequently, the two shittiest characters in the game are right up top. Yay!
Quick Note: This list only contains characters who are available for your final party at the end of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. There are several other character members who only show up temporarily, typically in a single chapter, that have been omitted.
A doll, created by Luca, in honour of her former playthings. Brina accompanies Luca on her tasks, and aids in mechanical repairs.
Of Luca’s two dolls, Brina is the better mage. She’s a little bit faster, and she possesses enough spirit to make her meagre healing capabilities - noted below - half decent during her tenure in Rydia’s Tale. Nevertheless, like her counterpart Calca, Brina sucks. She’s a bad hitter compared to just about everyone else, and she’s incapable of taking any hard hits. If you put her in your party in the final Tale you’ll see her dying a lot. You can improve her drastically by getting Phase equipment, but doing so requires so much effort - and comes so late in the game - that there’s very little point. She’s not recommended for your final party unless you want a severe challenge.
Brina has the Dance command, which casts a random white magic spell. This is better than Calca’s Jive command, but there’s no way to direct how Brina will be beneficial, so ultimately it’s just a waste of a turn.
A doll, created by Luca, in honour of her former playthings. Calca accompanies Luca on her tasks, and aids in mechanical repairs.
Of Luca’s two dolls, Calca is the better fighter. He possesses superior physical stats and is better at tanking from the front row. That said, his weapons suck, his stats suck, and most crucially, his health sucks. Calca can’t take a hit at all in later stages of the game, and most bosses will wipe him out with no problem unless you get him to level 99. The only way to improve him is to net him Phase equipment, and you won’t get any until you’re deep into the final dungeon, fighting some of the last possible enemies. Unless you want a challenge, forget about Calca. He’s terrible.
Calca has the Jive command, which casts a random blue magic spell on one or more random enemies. It can be useful in some cases, but this command is usually awful, as there’s no way to control what will happen.
The king of Baron, and hero of Final Fantasy IV. Cecil has saved the world once, and now he wants to settle down in a more peaceful land - but elements beyond his control seem intent on using him as a pawn in a much darker game.
Cecil is pretty much identical to how he was in Final Fantasy IV: a strong, tank-like character. His stats are generally good, though he’s a bit on the slow side, and he can stand on the front lines better than most characters in the game. He also possesses some light white magic, being a paladin, though it’s so weak that only Esuna and Raise will typically get any use. Cecil can equip some of the best weapons and armour in the game, and is a shoe-in for a final party member.
Cecil has the Cover command alongside his white magic. Cover allows him to take damage for another party member when they’re specifically targeted by an enemy. Cecil will also leap in the way of attacks that are targeting already-weakened characters automatically. Note that Cover only works on basic physical attacks, not abilities or spells.
The crown prince of Baron, son to Cecil and Rosa, and a recruit to the Red Wings. Ceodore is a precocious young man with a hefty destiny, one people always seem to attribute to his parents - and their long shadow dogs him everywhere he goes.
Ceodore is a mixture of Cecil and Rosa, and in being he’s quite a useful character. Though not as good a fighter as Cecil he can still hold his own on the front lines, and he’s capable of equipping some of the stronger swords in the game. He also possesses a nice range of white magic spells which make him a great backup white mage, though he doesn’t quite have enough spirit to warrant sticking him in the role permanently. Still, if you need someone to throw up Protect or Shell quickly, Ceodore is your man. He makes an excellent choice for a final party member in the last chapter of The After Years.
In addition to his white magic, Ceodore eventually gains the Awaken command. This grants him a significant statistical boost for a short time, though when it wears off he’ll be reduced to single-digit hit points. I highly recommend not using Awaken unless you’re in a pinch and need to kill a foe quickly. Ceodore’s more than good enough to fight without it.
A mechanic of Baron, and the man responsible for the airships of the Red Wings. Cid is a long-time friend of Cecil, and a staunch supporter of Baron's new regime - though his friendship with the king is put to the test as Cecil's actions become more and more militaristic.
Cid is pretty much the same as ever. He's physically one of the strongest characters in the game, with great attack power, good defences, and lots of health. Unfortunately he's also one of the slowest characters, and his lack of versatility really hurts his overall usefulness. Cid makes for a decent tank, aside from the fact that he can't take a hit from magic worth jack, and if given a chance he'll inflict some nice pain on the baddies. Still, I don't recommend Cid as one of your final party members, if only because, battle-wise, he's so danged boring.
Cid has two abilities. The first is Analyze, which allows him to investigate the stats and weaknesses of enemies in a fashion identical to Libra. Handy, I guess, but it loses its usefulness pretty quickly. The second is Risky Strike, which has a chance of giving Cid a critical hit - or just whiffing completely. I'd rather go with a sure hit, so this is an unnecessary gamble of a move.
The king of Eblan. A ninja who just can’t sit still, Edge has matured a bit since his hot-headed princely days, though he still likes to get right in the thick of things whenever he can. Recent events have him worried about the world, so, naturally, he goes for his swords as soon as Eblan comes under threat.
One of the fastest members in your party, Edge possesses all the talent to be a first-strike kinda guy. He hits quite hard with his dual-wielded swords, more so than a lot of other characters, and his speed ensures that he’ll go first in the majority of encounters. This allows him to double as an item healer in a pinch. He also has Ninjutsu, a form of black magic that allows him to attack one or more enemies with elemental precision, as well as cast a variety of beneficial stuff on himself. Not as good as actual magic, but still pretty good. On the flip side, Edge won’t get much health, and he’s about as durable as a paper plate. In short, yes, Edge will die often, as ever, but he’s still an awesome choice for a final party member.
Edge has two special abilities. The first is Throw, which allows him to hurl weapons at enemies. It’s a great command in theory, but Edge eventually outpaces the damage most of his thrown weapons will do - unless you’re willing to spend an excessive amount of dime on higher-level Shurikens. The second is Mug, which allows Edge to strike an enemy and potentially steal an item. This could be good, but the foes in The After Years carry crappy items, so, eh, oh well.
The king of Damcyan, and an accomplished bard. A former wilting flower more concerned with his dead love than the world, Edward has since blossomed into a strong, wise leader, one who returned his kingdom to its former glory. A good thing, too, as the world is now under threat, and his leadership is sorely needed.
Edward is statistically one of the worst characters in The After Years, as he was in Final Fantasy IV, though that doesn’t make him a bad character by far. His Harps allow him to attack from the back row for decent amounts of damage, often inflicting more damage to specific enemies, and his abilities are fairly useful. More on that below. Edward is nevertheless relatively frail, and needs to stay back at all times if he’s going to survive.
Edward has three special abilities. The first is Bardsong, which allows Edward to play his harp and incur a random effect on either himself, his party, or an enemy / group of enemies. The results of this range from useless to quite useful, though since they’re random you may want to hold off on Bardsong. The second is Salve, which allows Edward to use up to five restorative items on the entire party at once. Paired with the Economical Ring to boost the effects of curative items this is an incredible ability, perhaps the best in The After Years, and in the final dungeon with X-Potions, Phoenix Downs, and Elixirs in abundance, it makes Edward possibly the best healer, at least as far as restoring sheer health is concerned. (Just… watch your item stores.) The third is Escape, which allows Edward to run off of the screen for a round and avoid all attacks. It’s handy in case you’re facing, say, Meteor or Mega Flare in the near future.
One of the Eblan Four. A reserved man in red, Gekkou serves as the muscle of the Eblan Four, and is, like the rest, ever eager to serve his master Edge.
Gekkou is the ninja version of Cid and Luca. He hits hard with axes and hammers, but he’s incredibly slow, and his Ninjutsu skills wind up being fairly weak, despite some promising fire Ninjutsu. He’s not a bad fighter, overall, and he can accomplish more than, say, Cid, but he’s still not a great choice for a final party member. Still, he’s one of the better Eblan Four party members, and one that can conceivably pull you through the final dungeon if you put some work into his development.
Gekkou has the Shuriken command. It’s similar to Edge’s Throw command, but it only allows Gekkou to hurl Shurikens at enemies, and not weapons.
Former enemy of the world, and brother to Cecil. Since returning to his senses Golbez has retreated from the world, flying away with Fusoya on the Red Moon. Events have drawn him back to the planet, however, as the Mysterious Girls begin their invasion - and in doing so, target the slumbering Lunarians…
Perhaps the most exciting of the ‘new’ characters, Golbez is pretty much what you would expect, given previous boss fights in Final Fantasy IV. He possesses a wide range of black magic spells which inflict large amounts of damage, allowing him to tear through enemies with ease, and he learns most of them much earlier than other black mages. He’s also a more-than-capable frontline fighter, and can equip some hefty stuff that will allow him to go toe-to-toe with most enemies. All that shine aside, Golbez withdraws a bit as the other characters begin to shine, gaining very little by way of health until late in the game and falling behind in damage output compared to more dedicated characters. Still, if you’re a fan of the character, Golbez is perfectly capable of slotting into any party.
Golbez has two special abilities. The first is Pressure, which allows him to potentially paralyze a single enemy. It’s… okay, I guess, but not great. The other is Taunt, which allows Golbez to draw enemy attention towards himself. This ability is great early on, but it loses its lustre later when you realize that Golbez is not that effective as a tank. Still not a bad way to keep attention away from your weaker party members, however.
Personal assistant and secretary to the king of Damcyan. A long-time supporter of Edward, Harley is staunchly in her liege’s corner, and she cares deeply for the king on a personal and professional level. There are many hints that her interests in Edward lie far beyond his role as monarch.
Harley is… well, let’s face it, she’s a terrible character. Her stats are universally average at best and poor at worst, with only intelligence proving serviceable. This might be handy if intelligence factored into her attacks, but, nope, it sure doesn’t. She’s good at using attack items, and that’s about it. Harley appears to be the victim of an incomplete character creation process, and as such she’s plain inferior to pretty much everyone else in the game. Her whips can be useful sometimes, I guess…?
Harley has two special abilities. The first is Piercing Sight, which allows Harley to bestow a new weakness on a selected enemy, as well as Dispel beneficial effects. This would be much more useful if it worked on bosses, but, of course, it doesn’t. The second is Gil Toss, which allows Harley to lob hard-earned cash at mobs of enemies, sacrificing just as much of your gil in the process. It’s a great ability for Edward’s Tale, save for the fact that it wastes all of your cash, but by the time you reach the final Tale Gil Toss proves a little ineffective, save that it ignores the defensive capabilities of Flans.
One of the Eblan Four. A beautiful young woman in blue, Izayoi is both a healer and a master of water jutsu, and she serves Edge faithfully. There are many hints that she harbours a deep crush for her master.
Izayoi is just about all-around average as a fighter, with speed acting as her only standout stat. She’s not terribly good in any idea, but she’s not terrible, either. Among the Eblan Four she is the best at healing others, thanks to some of her unique Ninjutsu, though in this she’s completely outclasses by white mages. Still, if you really want to use her, make sure someone’s on standby with item support in case she falls behind in the healing department. (Which, let’s face it, she will.) Not a great choice for a final party member.
Izayoi has the Illusions command. It’s basically a free version of Confuse, and is about as useful. Which is to say… it’s not, really.
A dragoon of Baron. Kain has abandoned his post in order to clear his soul of the doubt and confusion that allowed the forces of evil to claim it years before. Can he conquer his demons at last, or will they literally run rampant…?
Out of the returning characters, Kain goes through the most permutations and changes since Final Fantasy IV. The Kain you ultimately wind up with at the end of the game possesses all of the traits that made the original Kain good - he’s fast, he’s strong, he’s decently durable, he can equip some of the best weapons and armour - and also gains the ability to use white magic, similar to Cecil. This may seem like a stupid fact, given Cecil’s poor magic, but Kain possesses a few spells that make his white magic awesome, among them Haste. He is possibly the best character in the game thanks to his strength and versatility, and a solid addition to any end-game party.
Kain has the Jump command. It allows him to leap off of the screen for a turn, then land onto a single enemy for roughly double damage. Jump is an amazing skill, not only for its damage inflicted, but because Kain dodges everything while he’s in the air. This also means he’ll miss out on healing spells, of course, so time your Jumps carefully.
An eptot-in-training from Troia. All that her master is not, Leonora has elected to train under the black mage Palom, and must constantly weather his taunts and impatience, something she does rather admirably. Clearly she respects the man - perhaps a little too much.
Leonora is the closest you’ll get to having Tellah and Fusoya back in your party, and despite the options that opens up, it’s not really a good thing. Leonora possesses black and white magic, though with an obvious preference for the white branch, and can multitask in a number of ways that may or may not be useful to your party. Her decent spirit aside Leonora is pretty lacklustre statistically, and her extremely low health will see her dying often in later dungeons. She also takes forever to learn black magic spells that are of much use late in the game (Flare at level 85?!?!?), and she won’t learn some of the best black magic available to, say, Palom. You can conceivably use her as a jack-of-all-trades, but most players will probably find Leonora too much of a hassle to bother levelling her up.
Leonora has no additional commands in battle.
A dwarven princess, and apprentice mechanic. Luca is one of Cid’s loyal engineers, and her devotion to her craft is second only to her dwarven muscles. She’ll aid Rydia in her journey to reclaim her Eidolons, and continue with the party to save the planet from the greatest threat it has ever known.
Luca is basically Cid Version 2.0. She’s a teensy bit faster than the old man, but not quite as buff. She’s still one of your party’s harder hitters, capable of effectively tanking, and her extra speed makes her a better choice than Cid. She’s a solid, if somewhat uninspired, choice for a final party.
Luca has two special abilities. The first is Big Throw, which allows her to hurl her weapon from the back row and perform normal damage. It’s a good command, but there’s really no reason to have Luca in the back row, so it’ll only get much use if you use it on enemies who are in the back row of their party. Meh. The other is Analyze, which allows Luca to scan her foes and determine their stats and weaknesses. If you have a wiki open, this ability is worthless. (It’s also worthless because it tends not to work on bosses, which are the foes whom you’d most like to use it on. MEH.)
A black mage of Mysidia. Headstrong and brash, Palom has set out on the path of the sage, hoping to emulate his magical idol, Tellah. But Palom is too eager, and he wants things too quickly - qualities that will get him in trouble as the world starts to fall apart.
Palom is a black mage, pure and simple. His role is to cast offensive spells, and at this he excels, typically learning powerful spells more quickly than other characters and using them to better effect. He’s the best overall black mage if dishing out pain is your main concern - but his physical skills, aside from speed, are pretty feeble, and he goes down rather easily in most brawls. Be prepared to heal Palom often if you decide to use him in your final party.
Palom has the Bluff command. Using it in combat will buff his intellect for the duration of the battle, allowing him to deal more damage with his spells. This ability is incredibly useful at first, but eventually dwindles to obsolescence once Palom reaches a certain level of growth. Meh.
A white mage of Mysidia. The more down-to-earth twin of Palom, Porom nevertheless seems ill at ease, not certain which path she should take in life. Her hand is forced, however, when Mysidia comes under attack - and she needs to seek out old allies to find out why.
Porom is the consummate white mage, and very similar statistically to Rosa, though with a slight advantage in spirit. She also learns her white mage spells at different levels, which, though ultimately not a big deal, can help in earlier Tales a bit. Porom can’t survive quite as well as Rosa, but she’s still pretty good in combat, and is certainly better than Leonora at taking hits. The fact that Porom can eventually Dualcast, allowing her to use two spells in one turn, ultimately makes her one of, if not the, best healers in the game, and a great choice for your final party.
Porom has the Pray command. Pray allows Porom to restore a small amount of health to all members of your party for no MP cost. In theory it’s good, but it doesn’t do enough by the end of the game, and Porom will have enough MP that you should just use Curaga or Curaja instead.
The queen of Baron, mother of Ceodore, and white mage extraordinaire. A seasoned healer, Rosa has stood by Cecil for years - though the sudden onrush of darkness into Baron may force her to flee her husband’s cold grasp…
Rosa is also identical to how she was in Final Fantasy IV. Primarily a white mage, she’s capable of putting your characters back on their toes in short order with her healing magic. She’s also a decent back row fighter with a bow, though spirit aside, her stats aren’t the greatest in the world. Still, you need a white mage in The After Years, and Rosa can fill that spot. She’s an okay choice for a final character, but there are better choices for a healer. (Well, okay, one better choice.)
Rosa has the Aim command. This allows her to take a bit extra time with her bows and do more damage than normal. It’s okay, but, eh, most of the time she’s going to be healing your party anyway. Ultimately a negligible ability.
A summoner of Mist. A far cry from the girl who lost everything years before, Rydia has grown into a confident, powerful young woman - but she still yearns for the companionship of her Eidolons, her only remaining family. All is not well with the Eidolons, however, and much of The After Years will centre on unravelling the mystery behind their troubles…
Rydia has not changed at all since Final Fantasy IV. She is, primarily, a black mage, and possesses all the intellect necessary to make the most of that role. Her spells are incredibly powerful once she earns a few levels - though initially she’s behind the other black mages in learning those spells - and she can single-handedly handle entire scores of enemies. On the flip side, though, she’s physically one of the weakest characters in the game, and you’ll have a hard time keeping her alive if enemies decide to attack her.
Rydia has the Summon command. Using it she can call in one of her many Eidolons to, typically, inflict elemental damage on the entire enemy party. Eidolons count among some of the strongest attacks in the game, though they will sap Rydia of her MP quickly, so use caution. Eidolons must be earned as you progress through the game, and Rydia will not have all of them when she begins her Tale, nor will she get the last of them back for some time.
One of the Eblan Four. A young boy in green, Tsukinowa skulks about in Mysidia as one of their mage apprentices, though his complete ineptitude at actually casting any spells hurts his disguise a little.
Tsukinowa is probably the member of the Eblan Four who is closest to Edge in ability, though he’s no Edge. His stats are almost universally below average, meaning he won’t deal a ton of damage with his ability to dual wield weapons, and he can take very few hits before crumbling, even at level 99. That said, Tsukinowa is the fastest character in the game, and will virtually always get the first turn. Do with that information what you will. He’s still going to have trouble surviving the game’s final dungeon unless you load him down with premium gear.
Tsukinowa has the Steal command. It allows him to pilfer items from enemies, though unlike Edge he does inflict damage upon doing so. Enemies in The After Years don’t often carry useful items, so, meh, who cares.
The princess of Fabul, and daughter of Yang. Ursula is very much her father’s daughter, and despite Yang’s protests she, too, is following the path of the monk. But her tomboy-like demeanour and strong will may lead her into trouble as she seeks to emulate her papa…
Ursula is quite similar to Yang, though with a different skew to her stats. She isn’t quite as physically tough as Yang, and can’t take as many hits - or deal as much damage - but she’s much faster, and is a bit better at taking magic head on. The end result is an excellent front-line warrior who is probably better than her father overall, as she can both take on enemies in combat and provide item support via her superior speed.
Ursula has three abilities, like Yang, though two are different. The first is Kick, which allows her to hit all enemies on screen for a low amount of damage. Meh. The second is Chakra, which restores a bit of health to one ally, as well as healing some status ailments. It’s not great, but it works in a pinch during the earlier Chapters. The third is Tenketsu, which targets the weaknesses of Ursula’s enemies with critical hits - and occasionally deals an automatic deathblow. It’s an amazing attack overall, and despite the extra casting time can be worth using regularly over Ursula’s normal attack, depending upon your enemy.
The king of Fabul, and a monkish warrior without peer. Yang now controls his kingdom, yet he retains his place as one of the foremost defenders of the realm, happily fighting alongside his fellow monks. Yet the king is troubled, because his daughter constantly wants to follow in his footsteps…
Yang remains as strong an attack as in Final Fantasy IV. He is one of the best hitters in the game, and this strength is amplified by his ability to target specific elemental weaknesses with his claws. He also has an excellent amount of health, though the comparatively poor defences offered by the stuff he can equipment somewhat offsets the usefulness of his HP, especially against magical enemies. Still, this straightforward fella makes a great choice for one of your frontline fighters by the end of The After Years.
Yang has an impressive three abilities, and all of them are decent. The first is Kick, which allows him to deal low amounts of damage to all enemies on the screen. It’s a good choice for grinding against mobs. The second is Focus, which allows Yang to take more time to deal double damage to a single enemy. The third, and new to The After Years, is Cover Counter, which allows Yang to intercept physical attacks against allies and then deliver a counterattack against the attacker. This last is a great move conceptually, but it loses its lustre when you have a party of five and can’t predict whom the enemy will strike next. Still, not bad for defending mages.
One of the Eblan Four. A wizened but strong old man in yellow, Zangetsu serves Edge faithfully in covert missions around the world, particularly in the underground.
Zangetsu is kind of a fusion between Kain and Edge in most respects. His physical stats are a few notches above average, he’s decently fast, and he can survive a few hits before going down. Still, he’s in a class below most of the main characters in The After Years, and you’ll have to put some work into him to make him effective. That said, he’s probably the most powerful Ninjutsu user out of the Eblan Four, and his damage output with his lightning skills is usually on par with Edge. Not bad for wiping mobs. Now, if only he knew more than four of the things…
Zangetsu has the Human Kite command. Like Edge’s Jump, Human Kite takes Zangetsu off of the screen for a round and brings him down onto an enemy’s head for extra damage. It’s a good ability, and allows him to potentially avoid enemy attacks.