GameCentral readers name their least favourite video game characters, from the loathsome Kratos to GTA V’s Lamar.
The subject for this weekend’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader LeighDappa (PSN ID/Facebook), who asked which characters get on your nerves the most and who have you really wished the game would give you a chance to hurt or get rid of?
Some of the characters mentioned were obvious, with a predictably strong showing from Sonic’s loathsome collection of friends (and Lara Croft’s) but the most common complaint was douchebag dudebro types, with many readers asking why developers are so against creating characters you might actually like.
God of douchebags
Least favourite game character you say? hmm let me think about it for a nanosecond… Kratos from God Of War.
A surly, sociopathic douchebag that ruins an otherwise very enjoyable game franchise. I recall, after the Sony love-in late last year, Sony Santa Monica revealed the shocking news that a new game was on the way and the Internet was almost unanimous in the opinion that the game would be better off without him. With some even suggesting he be the first boss in the game so we can kill him. Not exactly a beloved character.
He has only been around for 10 years and already feels like a relic and I’d be perfectly happy if he was relegated to a second tier mascot, like Crash Bandicoot or Jak And Daxter. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony replaced the character, like they did with inFamous, and I say good riddance.
Thingy and whatshisface
I know the franchise for this Hot Topic but I’m still deciding on the actual character. It’s definitely inFamous though. A great little third person superhero game ruined by the fact that the hero and his sidekick were irritating idiots. I think they were trying to make it so that the hero was all grim and gritty but he just came across as miserable and boring, like he signed up for a racing game or something and this was all he got.
But in typing this out I think it’s definitely whatshisface from Second Son. They obviously realised they needed someone a bit more ‘fun’ and so went for a douchebag hipster instead. Great. I always fantasise about being a douchebag hipster with a face you want to punch, I’m so glad there’s a video game that can help me live that dream…
Pick your cliché
Now this is a really difficult question, I just don’t know who to go for. Is it Lara Croft’s friend the alcoholic Glaswegian who is obsessed with headbutts (I’m not exaggerating, those are his only personality traits), is it Lara Croft’s friend the South Seas Island gentle giant who is deeply in touch with his spiritual side and has tribal tattoos (again, I’m not making anything up – the game really is this borderline racist). Or is it Lara Croft’s friend the nerdy male computer expert who secretly pines for Lara but ends up dying heroically to save (also not made up, the script really is that predictable).
Tomb Raider has always struggled with its supporting characters but the reboot was just terrible. Especially as they went to all the trouble of saying how important the story was now, and got Terry Pratchett’s daughter to write it and everything. Just awful, although I suppose on balance Sonic has even worse friends.
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The real hero
The answer to this question is clearly Vaan from Final Fantasy XII. On the face of it is he’s just another in the infinite line of pretty boy Japanese role-playing heroes, with his bland do-gooder attitude and his terrible hair (and bare chest). In that sense he can stand for all the sins of the genre and anime style character design but it’s actually much worse than that, because Balthier and Fran were actually meant to be the main characters.
Vaan and Penelo were brought in later to make it more… I don’t know how they worded it at the time but basically more cliché and formulaic. Which is a terrible thing because in terms of gameplay and art design I still think Final Fantasy XII is the best in the series. If only it had a decent story and characters it could’ve been an all-time classic. Instead it’s got Vaan.
Not that it really helped them in the end but it somehow took Sega the best part of 20 years to realise that everybody hated Sonic’s stupid friends. It’s not just because playing as Sonic is the whole part of the games but that they’re such a bunch of objectionable gits. I mean Tails and Knuckles are bad enough, and they’re meant to be the established ones that everybody loves.
Some of the other ones are just so bizarre (Espio the Chameleo? Cream the Cat? Whatever that bat one is called) you can’t tell whether they’re actually real Sega characters or some hellspawn from DeviantArt. I guess the more characters you have the more merchandise you can sell but would it have heart to give any of them a personality that didn’t make you wish you could play as Dr Robotnik?
I’m going to assume everybody is going to say Kratos for this, so instead I’ll go for the only slightly less obvious choice: Slippy from Star Fox. Apart from being objectively useless in battle his annoying whiny voice and pally attitude was nauseating to me even when I was a kid. I think Nintendo realised how hated he was after a while but he’s still a series regular.
Which makes me wonder how they’re going to handle the Star Fox for the Wii U. Are they going to go for exactly the same Saturday morning cartoon style or are they going to try and make it more ‘serious’. I mean, I don’t know how serious you can make a game about animals driving spaceships but they must see it as an option. And if that’s what they go with I can’t wait to see Slippy as the grizzled war vet with the now gruff voice.
I’m going to say Ivy from SoulCalibur. That may seem a bit of an odd choice but her Zeppelin-sized boobs, almost complete lack of clothes, and sexy/sexist attitude is just embarrassing.
I don’t mean in some sort of vague ‘games should be better than this’ way but in that I was playing it with a girlfriend once, as a part of me trying to convince her that games were actually cool, and Ivy just basically killed my argument dead. (And me too, as we were playing. But that’s got nothing to do with it.)
He always comes back
Roman Bellic. My gods this guy was making Grand Theft Auto IV – an outstanding game and possibly one of my favourite games – just so darn irritating at times. This cousin of mine was a serious pain in the backside.
I liked the guy at first and I thought what a great well-developed character and one which I became great pals with, going to various entertaining places like shows, pub games and getting drunk and driving under the influence of alcohol.
We had great missions together and all seemed rosy as I felt for him with how his life turned out trying to get the American Dream.
But as the game continued and after interfering text messages and phone calls he became a burden and was getting in the way of the game and I’d wish he just bugged someone else instead. But no, this guy never stopped talking and at one point I’d had such enough I, at full speed on the freeway, just bailed from the car and rolled on the road nearly killing myself shouting ‘Shut the hell up!’
I have drowned him, shot him, rolled the car of a cliff with him in it but still the most annoying twonk of the GTA universe just comes out of hospital and just continues to make my life a blooming chore again.
In the end, due to the option I chose, Roman got killed for good – it’s just a shame there wasn’t much of the game left, but still I cracked a smile knowing I’ll have some silence for a while from this most irritating of characters. But apart from him the rest of the game was awesome. Oh well at least GTA V’s cast of characters were good and all likeable, funny and well written and voice acted – an incredible series of games.
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