7 of the smartest Square Enix characters

Who’s the cleverest character in a Square Enix game? We take a look at just a few of the candidates.
By Duncan Heaney

Sure, Buster Swords and gunblades are awesome, but the greatest weapon of all… is the mind.

The power of intelligence can’t be underestimated - many Square Enix games feature characters who use intellect rather than brute force achieve amazing things.

We wanted to recognize just a few of these brilliant brainboxes - they may not always be on the side of the angels, but you still have to admire the power of their minds.

Grimoire Weiss - NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...

Grimoire Weiss and the Protagonist of NieR Replicant take on a boss

You’d expect an ancient tome to be full of knowledge, and that is indeed the case for Grimoire Weiss. Unfortunately for everyone else, he knows it.

This sentient book demands respect.

We mean that literally - he’s always telling people to treat him with reverence. What’s more, he’s something of a square - taking him seriously all the time would be exhausting!

But In fairness to the prickly page-turner, he is erudite, and though he’s missing chunks of his memories, he’s still able to guide the protagonist through many dangerous situations. A loudmouth he may be, but you won’t find a better buddy in NieR Replicant’s bleak world.


Hojo looking at some monitors, a sinister smile on his face

What do you get if you cross a genius level intellect with a total absence of ethics? You get Hojo… and he’s no joke.

The sinister (and suspiciously greasy) Shinra executive cares about one thing: the advancement of his scientific research. There is no line he won’t cross to achieve those goals - as Aerith and Red XIII discover to their horror.

The original FINAL FANTASY VII gave fans plenty of insight into the horrors that his brilliant brain has wrought, but FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE takes things even further. You get to spend some quality time in the heart of Hojo’s laboratories - and with the mutated monstrosities within.

In doing so, you get an even richer understanding of the sinister scientist’s deepest depravities… and just how dangerous his mind can be.


A close-up shot of Chadley in the Sector Seven slums

Hojo may be a horror, but it would be wrong to assume that everyone in Shinra’s Research and Development Division is a monster. Take Chadley, for instance.

This earnest young researcher enlists Cloud and company in his attempts to compromise Shinra from the inside. If the heroes help him with his research, he’s able to provide them with powerful new materia - the kind of stuff you can’t find in a typical store.

He also runs the Shinra Combat Simulator, which offers a place to train and earn valuable rewards. Although considering how brutal some of these fights are, maybe we shouldn’t be thanking him for that.

Cyrus - Octopath Traveler

Character art and sprite for Cyrus from OCTOPATH TRAVELER

Intelligence does not always equate to common sense - a fact perfectly demonstrated by Cyrus Albright.

This scholar works as a researcher and lecturer at the Royal Academy in Atlasdam, where he’s something of a hit with his students. Not just because of his enthusiasm for learning, or his impressive magical might, but also because… well, frankly he’s a stone cold fox.

Unfortunately for them, Cyrus cares about books, knowledge and unravelling the world’s mysteries - anything outside of those may as well not exist.

He’s completely oblivious to his love-struck students’ feelings - and this becomes the trigger for an unfortunate incident.

One young woman, aggrieved by his complete lack of interest, secretly reports a groundless rumor to the Headmaster that Cyrus is romantically involved with another student - the Princess no less! This results in Cyrus being chased out of the Academy.

Yet even this blatant attempt to capture his attention doesn’t reach him. Cyrus completely misunderstands the situation, believing that the fault lies with himself for not having noticed the young woman’s passion for her studies.

There’s just no helping some people…


A close-up of Balthier from FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE

Intelligence comes in many forms: on this list so far, we’ve seen academic and scientific, but the self-proclaimed ‘leading man’ of FINAL FANTASY XII utilizes a brilliant mind in a different way: street smarts.

Balthier’s quick thinking and razor-sharp wit have made him the consummate air pirate. Along with his trusted companion Fran, he sails the skies of Ivalice getting into the kind of trouble that would end a lesser man.

From the moment he takes the stage in FINAL FANTASY XII, it’s clear that he’s a clever guy. But as the story progresses, and the flamboyant layers of his personality are peeled away, you slowly realize that there’s so much more to him than that…


Close-up shot of Shinra from FINAL FANTASY X-2 HD

Not to be confused with the evil organization that the afore-mentioned Hojo and Chadley work for (let’s not go down that rabbit hole), this Shinra is a young genius who aids you throughout FINAL FANTASY X-2.

Although still a child, he’s a genuine prodigy whose technological prowess is invaluable to Yuna and her sphere-hunting companions. Not only does he help them decode and view the complex data storage devices called spheres, he’s also able to teach the team how to use the Garment Grid, which lets them switch jobs in combat.

All this and he hasn’t even hit puberty yet! You have to admit, that’s pretty impressive.

Haruka Kagami - The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story

Haruka Kagami reading a book

The protagonist of The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is polite, humble and unassuming… at least until a mystery needs solving.

The acclaimed novelist has an astonishingly keen mind. Once she starts putting all the pieces of mystery and clues together, like a puzzle in cognitive space, she lets nothing - and no-one - stand between her and the truth.

Whether it’s 100-year old murder, or a crime much closer to home, Haruka is able to spot the clues, form hypotheses and follow the path of logic to its conclusion - no matter how shocking it may be.

Thus endeth the lecture. We have presented just a few of the cleverest characters from Square Enix games, but we know there are many more.

So please share this article on social media - knowledge must be shared after all - and let us know who your favorite clever-clogs are.