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Great Video Game Characters, What Is The Perfect Formula?

In Pic from left to right: Cole (inFamous), Wei Chen (Sleeping Dogs), Ratchet (Ratchet & Clank), Nathan Drake (Uncharted),  Alucard (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night)

What makes a great character? From what I deduced, usually the most conflicted characters have the biggest impact. Here I specifically want to examine a few.

For me, the perfect characters are usually the conflicted ones. An all out hero who is out for justice and fights for the people is a familiar idea but a boring one unless you put a twist on it. I love the characters that fight for something more than “what’s right”. Maybe they fight for revenge or they fight to restore an Idea or code. Usually these stories are never straight forward. There are always rules that have to be broken in order to achieve the end result.

Lets start with an easy (cheesy) one perhaps. The “Hero”:

Ratchet from ‘Ratchet and Clank’   He’s an orphan and a hero. He’s witty, cool and has the best gadgets. Hey if you can turn your enemy into a chicken you’re the bomb! This kind of character is easy to like. He’s the “everyone on the same side” kind of guy. There’s no question about who he’s fighting for and there’s never a doubt that it will get done.  Now that’s an easy open and shut character there’s no thinking involved there’s only good and evil unless you throw Captain Qwark in there lol.

Wei Shen (Sleeping Dogs) Now if you want to go more into the  “conflicted” hero then he is definitely the kind of character that I believe makes the best gaming experiences.   Sleeping Dogs is the kind of game where rules have to get broken so the character can exact his own brand of justice.  He basically has to ride the fence all the way through. This follows a GTA sort of formula with a lot of great additions and missions.

The main reason I love this game is the character and his story is because he’s a cop who becomes a part of the Chinese Mafia (triads) and we see stories like this all the time, but in this game the lines get very blurred (que Robin Thicke). There are actually times that you are unsure of his allegiance and even in the end you’re not sure. He’s complex and he has his own reasons as well for doing this mission specifically. He’s a loyal gangster but a very smart cop. A good friend but a savvy undercover detective. The balancing act is what drives the story. Great game all around and a complex character.

Nathan Drake  the “jewel thief” (Uncharted franchise) is another great character with a great storyline. He’s sort of  the younger Indiana Jones. However familiar the premise is it’s still excellently done.

Uncharted is a great franchise because it gives you a great sense of adventure. Never a dull or boring moment in any of the games…okay when he was stuck in Tibet that did annoy me a bit. Anyway, this guy is pretty easy to figure out. He’s a thief turned treasure hunter always looking for the next big treasure. If it ain’t grand he ain’t doin it! Scruffy, sarcastic, supernatural athletic skills haha. He’s got it all and he’s not hard to figure out.

Alucard (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) The Castlevania Series has a ton of characters mostly Belmonts, a family of Vampire Hunters but Alucard is a removal of the “Good vs Evil” because he is half human, half vampire and the son of Dracula.

Lord have mercy this seems so much like a shakespearean play, and that’s why this is probably one of the most memorable of the series and over all. Whomever he decides to fight against, humans or vampires; he will be killing something he knows intimately. If you want drama this is definitely the best character for it.

Cole the “reluctant hero” (inFamous) He’s another one that has to make a few decisions that blur the line between good and evil. In the game you even get to choose which one to be. Gamers don’t just get to go along with what they’re given, every decision you make in the game inches you towards good or evil or sometimes right in the middle for a while. In the end you have to choose.

Do you agree conflicted characters make the best characters? What do you think is the perfect formula? CCU wants to hear form you.

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