Lightning is a soldier who joins the fight during the purge in order to save her sister, Serah, a l'Cie. Lightning volunteers to undergo the purge, but ends up causing a commotion when she does not take it sitting down. She puts up a fight in order to save her sister. Unluckily, a man named Sazh gets involved in her fight.
Very little is actually known about Lightning as she is not the sort that happily volunteers information about herself. Her real name is even a mystery to all but Serah.
Lightning In Battle
Lightning is the type of character that can do anything. She has both a decent strength and magic stat. While neither of these stats are better than any other character's, they are the best combined. She is versatile, which means she is well suited for just about any role you will give her.
In the beginning, she seems to be the best commando you can get. Indeed, in the early stages of the game she fills the vital commando role. As the game progresses, you may find that other characters begin to overshadow her in this role. Snow and Fang both have an immense amount more strength, which actually makes either of the two a lot more suited to the role of commando. Even so, you will eventually unlock ruinga, which is a powerful commando skill. While Snow and Fang will be ineffective with this skill because of their low magic stat, Lightning will shine using this skill in battle.
Even if she does have redeeming qualities as a commando, Lightning is probably the best character to use as a ravager. This is because she has a high magic status and will eventually get an amazing skill called Army of One. When an enemy is staggered, Army of One will unleash a series of hits which will quickly fill the stagger gauge up to 999%, making your attacks unleash heavier damage. Generally you can keep her a ravager while she fills up the chain gauge and then you can switch to a paradigm that has her as a commando in order to fully get use out of her two main roles.
Lightning does have a primary role as a medic, however it is not advisable to use her as one unless you need to fill a function with your primary medic. (Hope or Vanille.) Lightning does the job of being a secondary medic if you need to use your primary medic as a saboteur or a synergist temporarily, or you are in a tough fight and just need the extra healing power.
It is not advisable to make Lightning a sentinel due to her average HP. While she can buff the party decently well as a synergist, she is much more fitting in the role of a ravager or even a commando.
If you are going to go with the recommendation and make Lightning a ravager, it is recommended that you equip her with the Lionheart weapon. This is because it has the "Quick Stagger" ability which will allow her to instantly stagger an enemy that is near stagger. The magic and strength stat on the weapon is also relatively high.
Sazh is an older man with a lot of personality. During Lightning's journey through the Hanging Edge in order to save her sister, Sazh gets involved and can't help himself from following her in battle. It is unknown why Sazh was even there in the first place, but he makes himself at home at Lightning's side, aiding her through the Hanging Edge.
Sazh has a little friend with him as well. No matter where he goes, a baby chocobo chick is sure to follow him. This baby chocobo chick makes his nest within Sazh's afro.
Sazh In Battle
Sazh starts out with the ravager, commando and synergist roles. Thankfully, early on in the game, Sazh gets access to great buffs such as haste, which really does help out a lot. For this reason you will want to make sure to have a paradigm setup so that he'll be able to easily buff your party.
He has a high HP stat that gets progressively better as the game goes on. Even so, his strength and magic are actually both the lowest in the game. Thankfully, he has equipment that more than makes up for the lack of strength and magic.
One may not realize it, but if given a proper strength weapon and strength accessories, Sazh can make for a very interesting commando. This is because his blitz can hit up to 8 times. It generally hits randomly, somewhere between 6-8 times, but because of this, when an enemy is staggered he can dish out some amazing damage. For example, at one point while I was watching a relative play, Sazh was going over 120,000 damage per blitz, which was quite impressive! I do believe this was in the 11th chapter.
Sazh is good for chaining as well. It would be great if he was set into a party with the Tri-disaster paradigm, because he can buff the party through his synergist role and then Tri-disaster can be started in order to quickly stagger an enemy. Sazh can then be set to commando to do his blitz command. This is probably most effective when the player is actually controlling Sazh, in order to control his blitz.
Sazh is a horrible medic. There is a reason he is not given this role early on. Like Snow, Sazh lacks skills ask basic as raise. As a saboteur, Sazh does alright, but he also lacks some imperil, so you will probably want to get his medic and saboteur skill trees last.
Snow is a man with a fire in his eye and a glimmer in his heart. He is outgoing, social and the life of the "party." He gets along with just about everyone he meets, but for some reason Lightning does not take too kindly to him, possibly due to the fact that he is engaged to her sister, Serah, and she blames him for everything that has happened to her sister.
He's a self-proclaimed "hero" that just wants to rush in and rescue his fiance from trouble. Snow heads a group named "NORA" who all rush to his side in order to fight their way through soldiers and monsters at the Hanging Edge.
Snow In Battle
From the beginning, it should be obvious that Snow has a great deal more HP than everyone else you've controlled. Because of this, Snow makes for one of the greatest sentinels in the game. He also has an amazing strength statistic and the ability to deal a massive amount of damage to an enemy once their stagger is nearly finished. (This is an ability you get later on in the game.)
Because of his HP and strength, Snow is best used as a hybrid of a sentinel and commando. You can also use Snow as a ravager if you find it necessary in order to chain and stagger enemies quicker, but generally characters such as Lightning or Hope are a lot better at this due to their higher magic stat. Though, there is some merit in using Snow for the Tri-disaster paradigm.
It is not recommended that Snow ever be made into a medic. This is because he lacks some of the most basic of skills, including raise. His saboteur and synergist jobs are pretty much equally unimpressive, unless you just want to use Snow for basic synergist buffs and nothing more
A Fun Fact With Backs
It is pretty obvious that Snow wears a trenchcoat. But did you know that depending on what weapon he is using, the image on the back of his trench coat changes? Try it out! Equip various weapons and watch as the design changes. When he is equipped with a Save the Queen, the image on his back turns into an incredible angel wing design.
Vanille is a cheerful young woman who tends to keep a positive outlook on things. She tries to help the people around her out and tries to cheer them up. At the beginning, she tags along with Hope and tries to help him confront Snow about the problems he has with the man.
Even though Vanille acts super cheerful on the outside, it seems she is hiding something. But what exactly could that be? Only time will tell her story.
Vanille In Battle
Vanille starts out with the ravager and medic roles and she does a good job at both of them. In fact, aside from Hope, Vanille is the best medic in the game due to her great medic abilities and her high magic stat. Vanille also makes a good ravager since she has a good magic stat, but the problem is that she does not nearly get as many great -ga level spells as Hope gets nor does she have the "special" ability such Army of One or Cold Blood that Lightning and Sazh have. For this reason, Vanille probably works best only as a backup ravager in order to chain enemies.
Where Vanille really shines is in her role as a saboteur. In my experience playing, Vanille is the best character to use as a saboteur because she has almost every saboteur ability. She even gets a nifty ability known as Death, which is quite convenient for using against enemies that are weak to it, which makes some battles possible when they were previously impossible. She is the only character that gets the Death ability.
Late in the game, Vanille unlocks her secondary roles of synergist, commando and sentinel. I will mention right now that Vanille makes a horrible commando due to the fact she does not get ruinga (The best magic based commando spell.) nor does she have the strength to backup attacks. She also does not even get the blitz command. She is not a good sentinel for reasons that should be obvious - her HP is not fantastic and she does not get a few of the more vital of sentinel abilities. Her synergist role is OK, but it is advisable to have another character fill the role as synergist while Vanille heals the party or debuffs enemies.
Hope is a young boy who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, thus he was sent on the purge. He was visiting Bodhum with his mother in order to view a firework show when a l'Cie was detected and the purge was ordered. Both him and his mother were sent on the purge.
Hope's mother volunteered to aid the fight with NORA, the resistance group led by Snow, but many things go wrong which leads Hope to become angry. He holds a grudge against Snow because of that.
Hope In Battle
Out of all the characters in the game, Hope has the highest magic stat. That being said, Hope makes for an excellent ravager and synergist. His synergist and ravager spells are nearly unparalleled by any other character in the game. As far as ravager goes, Hope gets all of the third level spells including Firaga and they are all unlockable by the 11th chapter of the game. Hope also makes an excellent synergist because he has access to all of the important buffs. Though it may be interesting to note that Hope gets haste much later than Sazh does.
Hope makes for a great medic when your party needs heals. The only other character that can rival him as a medic is Vanille as the rest of the characters make for only subpar medics.
Later in the game Hope will finally unlock his secondary roles of commando, sentinel and saboteur. It is not recommended to ever use Hope as a sentinel because he has the lowest natural HP in the game. He can, however, make for a decent saboteur as he gets many of the great debuffs, though Vanille will always make for the best saboteur, Hope can be quite useful as saboteur if you already have him in your party. Commando is one job that Hope is very lacking in due to his low strength. Though it may be interesting to switch him to commando and have him spam the powerful "ruinga" spell as it will do quite a massive amount of damage, but since he does have the role as ravager as a primary role, he can generally just do good magical damage as a ravager all while chaining.
Just about all that is known about Fang is that she is a l'Cie from Gran Pulse. She was once in a crystal state but came out of it because she had once failed on her focus. She has awoken because she must now fulfill that old focus that she had once failed, but the bad part is that she cannot remember anything about it! She has totally lost her memory about the focus she must complete.
Fang In Battle
Fang has impressive strength. Indeed, from the very first battle I used her I was impressed by her damage output. At the time when she was battling alongside Lightning, she was doing the same damage with a weapon that was not upgraded when my Lightning had a very well upgraded weapon. That being said, it would seem silly to not put Fang into the role of commando. This is not only due to her strength, but also because she is the only character that unlocks every single commando ability available in the game!
Fang also has the third highest natural HP in the game, with Snow and Sazh being the only two characters that have more. Because of this, she makes a very good sentinel. She also has saboteur unlocked from the beginning, which should prove useful against certain fights. It may be good to note, however, that she is not as good of a saboteur as Vanille is, though she does come close.
Fang's secondary roles are that of Medic, synergist and ravager. Fang can do OK as a ravager as long as you are only using her to chain. Do not rely on her to actually deal decent damage, though, as her magic stat is fairly low. She also does not get many of the great spells that characters like Hope or Vanille obtain. As for her role as medic, well, it could be worse. Worse as in she could be Sazh or Snow as a medic. She does have a few decent medic skills, though, which may be useful if you ever find the need to heal and do not have a character such as Hope or Vanille in your party. As a synergist, Fang lacks some of the key buffs, which makes her undesirable. She really should just be kept as a commando or a sentinel for most battles.