We're first introduced to hope around the same time as Snow, during the rebellion of Cocoon. A tragedy soon befalls the young boy, blaming the overly confident Snow he sets out to first confront him. Setting out to try find Snow, Hope soon gets caught up in the same mess as the rest of the group and branded a traitor to Cocoon. Hope starts off as your traditional hero type, nervous and unsure be he begins to get more confident as the story progresses, it's quite nice to see that the generic hero is featured in this game but doesn't take the dominant role. Hope's design seems slightly lacking as it's a fair generic design oddly enough making him stand out in the group with their more detailed costume designs. Hope's weapon is a folding Boomerang which resembles a toy more than anything else, representing his inexperience in battle. It's also clear that his youth and looks represent this too.
This light headed young girl was in the large group of refugees along with Hope. Vanille ends up tagging along with Hope and thinks innocently of him, urging to confront Snow, as the story progresses it Vanille begins to hint at a weaker side to herself that is hidden behind the care free front. This is quite nice as the character could have just been presented as a bit of an air head but they decided to give her a little depth and it was done tastefully. Eventually she kind of becomes the jam of the group almost keeping people together and their hopes up. Her design looks like an influence of ethnic clothing with an injection of sexiness but this falls short as Vanille's voice and figure don't really put her into that category. This kind of makes her fall short as a character as she comes of as annoying more than charming. Her weapon is a mix of a fishing rod and a staff, this is a new combination that I haven't seen before and is quite interesting to watch in battle. Overall Vanille feels like the weakest cast member who will only be memorable for her pitch fluxuating voice.
Theres a 6th character who hasn't been releaved yet in the first 5 hours of the game so I can't really comment on them yet. Overall this seems like a well rounded cast with some interesting characters who should hopefully develop well over the course of the story, whilst some of the aspects of their designs are clearly taken from previous installments but there are some unique and interesting characters that should intrigue the player and want to keep them playing to find out more of these character's histories and how they will over come the challenges ahead. With the extra graphic power of current consoles it also makes watching cutscenes a gleeful experience, Give it some time but, I feel that these characters may become as loved as Cloud or Squall.
What's you opinion on Final Fantasy XIII's Characters?