8 Great Games that have Horrible Protagonists

ffronw

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8 Great Games that have Horrible Protagonists

Sometimes great games have horrible protagonists, like these eight examples supplied by our community.

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Toilet

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Vincent Brooks is actually a cool relatable character. This list is reaching and I'm surprised there is no Tidus.
 

Ylla

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I dont get why everyone thinks the Master Chief is such a bland character, but considering that hes of the old guard you might want to add all the other mute "empty" characters like Gordon Freeman, the Portal Girl (Chell?), Corvo, or even Samus, and Jack from Bioshock, Crono from ChronoTrigger, Claude from GTA3, the original Link, etc, etc, etc.
Choosing the Master Chief is just the easy (and wrong) way out.
 

09philj

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Dante. Both of them.

Ylla said:
I dont get why everyone thinks the Master Chief is such a bland character, but considering that hes of the old guard you might want to add all the other mute "empty" characters like Gordon Freeman, the Portal Girl (Chell?), Corvo, or even Samus, and Jack from Bioshock, Crono from ChronoTrigger, Claude from GTA3, the original Link, etc, etc, etc.
Choosing the Master Chief is just the easy (and wrong) way out.
Because they are just blanks to project yourself onto. Chief is actually meant to be a character in his own right.
 

Xan Krieger

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Toilet said:
Vincent Brooks is actually a cool relatable character. This list is reaching and I'm surprised there is no Tidus.
I also came here to say Tidus, he's a ***** with a stupid laugh, 1/10 would replace him with Auron again.
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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Alex Mercer deserves a special note. We didn't play the game as Alex, but the Virus who's first victim was Alex.
 

JohnnyDelRay

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Hmmm....maybe "horrible" protagonists isn't the greatest title. I personally think Bayonetta and Kratos are two of my favorite gaming characters ever. Maybe that doesn't say too much about my tastes, but I just found them unique, extreme takes on character cliches that just got worn down over years. Bayonetta is basically a parody, she doesn't care from the ground up and that's why she never lets her guard down, her character and over-confidence is more to highlight the crazy shit that she does and happens in the game.

Kratos is just a cultivation of every sorry-ass 'victim of circumstance' story every written, where the guy/girl comes back to just wreak havoc on everything, rather than only the ones who hurt him. A bit like Punisher blown out to mythical proportions. So yeah, he's a bad guy, I guess horrible is accurate, but that's more in character rather than writing.
 

Hairless Mammoth

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Toilet said:
This list is reaching and I'm surprised there is no Tidus.
I guess it's one character per franchise this time (otherwise the later FFs (baring IX) could fill most of it easily). I would have chose Tidus over Vaan, simply because Vaan's character isn't so bad when compared to Tidus's. But Tidus fits into the story (regrettably) when Vaan was shoehorned in to appease the bishonen fans[footnote]or rather as the article indicates, a marketing department that thinks a game with the title Final Fantasy will not sell well when a dapper pirate or a 30-something war vet is the one they control in the cities.[/footnote] and didn't belong in the overall plot. That might be why he gets (the much deserved) hate.

Vaan also dragged another non-important character along for the ride, too. We could have had a team with Larsa and Reddas or Larsa and one of the other far better characters with beef against the Arcadian Empire. Nope, FF rules dictate that 33% of a party must be orphans.
 

Dalisclock

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I find it strange that the Dragonborn from Skyrim is on the list but the Boss from Saints Row II isn't, considering what a pyschopath the boss is.
 

spartan231490

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This list feels like it was written by someone who has hardly ever played a video game. Like, I could probably come up with at least 3 main characters worse than any on that list from the games I played this week. I'm not saying that those characters couldn't have been better, but they were certainly no worse than average(disclaimer, I've never played 3 of those games, so I can't comment on those characters.)
 

SlumlordThanatos

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Toilet said:
This list is reaching and I'm surprised there is no Tidus.
Tidus utterly ruined that game for me. To this day, I have never completed FF X, and this annoying ************ is the reason.

He is on an entirely different level of insufferable and unlikable. The worst part? The supporting cast doesn't do anything to draw attention away from how horrible a protagonist he is. Tidus' own father even goes so far as to use his dying breath to basically call his son a pussy.

I'm glad he wasn't mentioned. FF X was scraping the bottom of the barrel as it is.
 

Darth Rosenberg

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09philj said:
Because they are just blanks to project yourself onto. Chief is actually meant to be a character in his own right.
That's not entirely true, but I'd agree it's not very productive to compare the Chief to 'characters' like Freeman. From memory of behind the scenes interviews for CE and Halo 2, Master Chief was primarily written as a stoic powertrip conduit, for want of a better phrase; to empower the player as they wade into the middle of a battle [provided it's not on Legendary... ]. Intentionally not a fully fledged character, but not a mute PC, either. Everyone's free to subjectively find fault with that approach, sure, but for Halo CE I think the design suited just fine.

On topic: I think it's daft to include the Chief, though, because for anyone familiar with Halo, he and Cortana come as a package - and that idea becomes part of the texture of the actual stories (3 and 4 most obviously). I've come to really like John-117, as he makes for a nice change from all the wisecracking or/and tortured protagonists out there. I very much liked how 343 dealt with him, and his relationship with Cortana - he's certainly becoming more of a conventional character, without sacrificing his whole 'stoic icon' schtick.

As for horrible protagonists? Tempted to say 'everyone from a David Cage film-game-thing'... I think Renegade Shepard from ME3 fits the bill, given that they're essentially both a complete arse and a genocidal war criminal by the end.
 

theSovietConnection

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I can't say I completely disagree with this list (Luke is the reason I put down Abyss and haven't picked it back up), but it seems a bit inconsistent. The definition of horrible changes from character to character it seems, with complaints about their utter psychopathy on one, then complaints about being bland the next. I think it might have been better to have divided it into two lists, one for characters that are terrible people, and another for characters that are terribly written.

(I'm also surprised Trevor didn't make the list)
 

Ryallen

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Geralt of Rivia stands out as one of the worse protagonists, if only because his entire purpose serves as some abomination between customizable character and pre-determined character. We can choose the various actions that he'll take in dialogue trees, but CD Projekt RED still attempts to give him some semblance of an interesting personality, and fail miserably, mind you.
 

Darth_Payn

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Ylla said:
I dont get why everyone thinks the Master Chief is such a bland character, but considering that hes of the old guard you might want to add all the other mute "empty" characters like Gordon Freeman, the Portal Girl (Chell?), Corvo, or even Samus, and Jack from Bioshock, Crono from ChronoTrigger, Claude from GTA3, the original Link, etc, etc, etc.
Choosing the Master Chief is just the easy (and wrong) way out.
To me, the thing about those "blank slate" characters is that they already have established relationships with other characters, and it's a wonder how they did it without speaking a word.
Dalisclock said:
I find it strange that the Dragonborn from Skyrim is on the list but the Boss from Saints Row II isn't, considering what a pyschopath the boss is.
As I recall from Saint's Row IV, they're more of a "puckish rogue".
 

Denamic

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This is a horrible list. You use the word 'horrible' to describe a poorly written character and a bad/evil character interchangeably. Sandor Clegane, The Hound, in Game of Thrones is a horrible person, but a fantastic character. They are completely different things.

Add to that the fact that you start off with a character that has more character development by himself than most other games have in their entire cast. He does start off horribly entitled and douchy and ends up committing an atrocity through blind dumbassery. You're supposed to hate him. Thing is, this is actually reflected in how the cast treats him. They blame him for it, he knows what he did, and he eventually accepts responsibility for it and grows as a person. He's horrible at the start, but as a character, he's fantastic.
 

immortalfrieza

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Denamic said:
Add to that the fact that you start off with a character that has more character development by himself than most other games have in their entire cast.
I'd say the same, however...

He does start off horribly entitled and douchy and ends up committing an atrocity through blind dumbassery. You're supposed to hate him. Thing is, this is actually reflected in how the cast treats him. They blame him for it, he knows what he did, and he eventually accepts responsibility for it and grows as a person. He's horrible at the start, but as a character, he's fantastic.
This I disagree with, during his "jerkass" phase I've always thought Luke had plenty of reason to be that way, and the revaluations about him and his origins later on only cemented it further. Luke was a amnesiac (as far as he knew) naive shut in but was fairly reasonable with people at the very beginning, then naturally he's a jerkass after he's kidnapped, (albeit unintentionally) forced to following his kidnapper (who tried to kill his mentor) around as he gets dragged into one f***ed up situation after another he doesn't have the knowledge and experience to properly deal with, the other people he travels with are a snarky jerkass, (just for shits and giggles too but unlike Luke somehow gets a pass for it) a gold digger, and an annoying creature that caused him to have to kill an otherwise harmless creature.

Then, he trusts his mentor, the one person in his life that he as no reason whatsoever to not take his word on face value up until that point over people he just met as he's manipulated into causing an atrocity while trying to SAVE everybody against his will, and is blamed by the party and eventually himself for that atrocity despite A. being no more guilty for actually causing that incident than a sword is for the fact that someone picked it up and stabbed somebody with it. B. Most of the party having no room to talk as they aren't really any better (one of which being a traitor for incredibly stupid reasons that's responsible for good number of the problems in the plot, another an amoral sociopath [he earned the name the Necromancer honestly] whose research has caused massive destruction and is also the cause of the entire plot what made the aforementioned atrocity even possible, an assassin that is working for someone trying to plunge the entire world into war, and someone who was ALSO working with that same mentor albeit not having a clue what he was really trying to do either and was originally intending to MURDER Luke when they met) and C. Most of them had information about his mentor and what he intended to do that if they bothered to at least try to inform Luke could have avoided the atrocity in the first place but didn't care enough bother enlightening him.
 

Denamic

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immortalfrieza said:
Denamic said:
Add to that the fact that you start off with a character that has more character development by himself than most other games have in their entire cast.
I'd say the same, however...

He does start off horribly entitled and douchy and ends up committing an atrocity through blind dumbassery. You're supposed to hate him. Thing is, this is actually reflected in how the cast treats him. They blame him for it, he knows what he did, and he eventually accepts responsibility for it and grows as a person. He's horrible at the start, but as a character, he's fantastic.
This I disagree with, during his "jerkass" phase I've always thought Luke had plenty of reason to be that way, and the revaluations about him and his origins later on only cemented it further. Luke was a amnesiac (as far as he knew) naive shut in but was fairly reasonable with people at the very beginning, then naturally he's a jerkass after he's kidnapped, (albeit unintentionally) forced to following his kidnapper (who tried to kill his mentor) around as he gets dragged into one f***ed up situation after another he doesn't have the knowledge and experience to properly deal with, the other people he travels with are a snarky jerkass, (just for shits and giggles too but unlike Luke somehow gets a pass for it) a gold digger, and an annoying creature that caused him to have to kill an otherwise harmless creature.

Then, he trusts his mentor, the one person in his life that he as no reason whatsoever to not take his word on face value up until that point over people he just met as he's manipulated into causing an atrocity while trying to SAVE everybody against his will, and is blamed by the party and eventually himself for that atrocity despite A. being no more guilty for actually causing that incident than a sword is for the fact that someone picked it up and stabbed somebody with it. B. Most of the party having no room to talk as they aren't really any better (one of which being a traitor for incredibly stupid reasons that's responsible for good number of the problems in the plot, another an amoral sociopath [he earned the name the Necromancer honestly] whose research has caused massive destruction and is also the cause of the entire plot what made the aforementioned atrocity even possible, an assassin that is working for someone trying to plunge the entire world into war, and someone who was ALSO working with that same mentor albeit not having a clue what he was really trying to do either and was originally intending to MURDER Luke when they met) and C. Most of them had information about his mentor and what he intended to do that if they bothered to at least try to inform Luke could have avoided the atrocity in the first place but didn't care enough bother enlightening him.
Oh I agree that the rest of them aren't really any better. I was just saying that Luke was an arrogant twat and often outright malicious towards Mieu. Circumstances doesn't change those facts. I'm aware the rest of the cast have varying degrees of twattiness to them, but none are as obnoxious as long-hair Luke. There's a lot to be said about all of them, but I was focusing only on Luke in my post because he's who the list talked about.
 

Wilco86

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Queen Michael said:
Okay, you did not just diss Bayonetta.
Bayonetta is an OK character, but I for one highly prefer Jeanne. It hurt to see her pushed even more aside in Bayo 2 to bring out more Loki character.