As an impatient list creator I cannot wait to write a list of best characters in video games this year. So I am going to write out the list now in hopes to talk about it in a future podcast. Keep in mind this list is of games that came out this year up until today. I will give a short statement to justify my reasons for them being on the list. (may contain spoilers) Let’s do this:
Top Protagonists This Year (so far):
1. Commander Shepard (Mass Effect 3)
-Everybody loves their Commander Shepard. In the course of one game he solved intergalactic peace treaties, defeated the Illusive Man and his group of teched out soldiers, as well as stopped the Reapers. It really does not get more hero than this, even if your Shepard was an insane dick.
2. Max Payne (Max Payne 3)
-This is one washed up, pilled out, drunk anti-hero. Protagonists don’t get much darker than Max Payne, but one thing for sure is, he is dedicated to finishing the job, and can walk off bullets like a machine. His quips are also better than any super hero on the block.
3. Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings)
-It’s hard to be more badass than a Witcher. This monster hunting, bounty collecting, assassin killing, lady sexing, magic casting, sword wielding hard-ass was hard not to put higher on the list but in a year filled with great characters he had his work cut out for him.
4. Yasha (Asura’s Wrath)
-Not putting Asura here instead is crazy to some but I found Yasha’s character much deeper and much more relatable. He is smart and very powerful and in the end serves his brother-in-law Asura well.
5. Riku (Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance)
-Riku has always been the most liked in the series. He is the Vegeta to Sora’s Goku. The bad boy with an attitude who just can’t help but to expel coolness wherever he goes. Sora is fine and dandy but he is not the only keyblade wielder in town. My money is on Riku every time.
6. Death (Darksiders II)
-Whoever thought Death would be so witty? Fueled by the power of brotherly love Death plays the role of good family member and attempts to right the name of his brother War. Family has to stick together after all, right?
7. Wei Shen (Sleeping Dogs)
-Conflicted with him dual life of being a cop, and an undercover Triad street thug, Wei Shen is one of the more complex characters on this list. He struggles with his own emotions in the underworld as he tries to destroy the Triads from within, but instead unravels a conspiracy within the police force. When I am stress I can barely open a can of food, much less take down a criminal organization.
8. Juliet Starling (Lollipop Chainsaw)
-There is nothing not to love about this character. She takes being a zombie slayer so lightly, like it is a normal and casual thing for a girl her age to be doing. Her cluelessness only adds to her innocents rather than make her appear as an idiot. Oh and her boyfriend’s head, easily one of the greatest things in video games this year. I almost put him as number one of this list but decided the game was not quite about him so he did not fit the criteria of protagonist.
9. Jackie Estacado (The Darkness II)
-This is one dark mob boss. He has some sort of evil power that he can manifest into killing machines. He is deeply tormented by the death of his girlfriend and wants nothing to do with the powers he has. Yet at the end of the day and beyond all of this self conflict, he still finds time to commit genocide on other mob families and dark brotherhoods.
10. Robed Figure (Journey)
-This little guy sets out on what seems to be a very simple journey but turns into an adventure of epic proportions. He is basically just an avatar of you, and who doesn’t like being themselves? Sure video games are about escaping but sometimes that immersion is just what you need to be able to experience something as grand as this robed figure’s journey.
Top Antagonists This Year (so far):
1. Kai Lang (Mass Effect 3)
-Only one man could stand toe to toe with Commander Shepard and live to tell about it…twice, and that is that man. I beloved character from the books makes his way to the TV screen with quite the bang. He kills my favorite character in the series, Thane (but not after a sick fight) and comes back to whoop up on Shepard two more times. I said it before and I will say it again, put a sword in any character’s hand and they are a shoe in for my attention.
2. Mariska (Lollipop Chainsaw)
-She is easily the best part of all of Lollipop Chainsaw and accumulated of the best satire on current day hippies. She makes Juliet trip on mushrooms and spouts off amazing quotes that only a zombie hippie can say. You had me at, “Let’s travel to the land beyond the doors of perception. Step outside the boundaries on your mind. Lose yourself in the eternal collective unconscious…and rot.”
3. Letho (The Witcher 2)
-He is only on here because while Witcher 2 was a game from last year, the Enhanced Edition (the one I spent time with) came out on the Xbox 360 this year. With that edition came a new opening cinematic displaying the sheer talent Letho has for assassinating a target. He too is a Witcher and gives Geralt more than he can handle for much of the game.
4. Deus (Asura’s Wrath)
-He is a demi-god and the leader of the Seven Deities. His ruthlessness and hunger for more power drive him as he kills his own emperor for power over the realm and then blames it on one of the other demi-gods, Asura. The guy even murdered Asura’s wife. His ultimate goal is to create a utopia and he plans to use any means necessary to achieve that goal.
5. Lord Harkon (The Elder Scrolls IV Skyrim: Dawngaurd)
-He is an ancient vampire lord with power over his own covenant. Not only that but he plans to blot out the sun so he and his kind can live outside forever. This elitist sees all mortals as inferior and will stop at nothing to see to twilight taking Skyrim forever. This dude is so evil his own wife and daughter planed to stop him, a plan that would not come to fruition for hundreds of years.
6. Kinugawa Onsen (Way of the Samurai 4)
-The moment I saw him I knew he needed a good kick to the dick. This guy gets pleasures over torture and the general genocide of his people in the town of Amihama which he is in charge of. My first play through of this game he tricked me into joining a tournament and upon my victory I stood atop the dais only for him to drop me in a trap door into a boiling cauldron of water. What a dick! That was literally the first of ten endings I got.
7. Master Xehanort (Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance)
-This dude has been the face of evil in the Kingdom Hearts series since the very beginning. A being who has lived across time and is pretty much the manifestation of evil. In Dream Drop Distance, Riku and Sora face off a younger incarnation of the man. You see he used to be two people (Ansem and Xemnas) but now is only one. Oh but wait now he is a bunch of incarnations…ugh fucking Kingdom Hearts story. In any case this is one bad dude with the ability to travel the timeline as well as spilt himself up into multiple dudes of evil.
8. Sam “Dogeyes” Lin (Sleeping Dogs)
-This street punk is so easy to hate. He keeps making jokes about Wei’s dead sister. Hell he even got her hooked on the drugs that eventually killed her. He never lets you forget how hot your dead sister is and makes life hell for you and your gang. When the time finally comes to get his ho ass, it is nothing but sweet victory.
9. Victor Valente (The Darkness II)
-This vertically challenged, deformed, peg legged evil-doer is after the darkness. He wants to control it and is willing to kill Jackie to do so. He runs his own dark brotherhood of madmen willing to do anything for their leader.
10. Griff Simmons (SSX)
-This douche bag just doesn’t know when to shut his mouth. He is cocky and basically a walking phallic item. Beating this idiots ass into the white packed snow is very gratifying. There is nothing like smoking dude bros down a mountain pass while pulling off tricks that are better than his. Because I am better than you Griff, and I will prove it tonight when I am racing you for the girl who for some reason can’t decide between you or I. See you on the powder Simmons. (yes a very bad 80s skiing movie satire)
Well that is my lists so far .At the end of the year I will revisit this list and add in the games form the last part of the year. That is gaming season after all so expect this list to be completely different come the year’s end. Also expect many more lists. I am still working on the top 100 games of all time list. (yes it is taking that long because it is a hard project. Why don’t you try making one?) Comment below with your list or hate on mine!