Features & News
End of Year 2014: Best Character
December 22, 2014, Author: The TIMJ Team
Welcome to the sixth of eleven daily ‘End of Year’ pieces from TIMJ, where in each, we discuss our favourite things of 2014 from carefully selected categories.
Next up is ‘Best Character’. Which virtual life endeared themselves most to our writers this year?
Dan Moore (Staff Writer) – Douchebag (South Park: The Stick of Truth)
I am going to cheat a little bit with this one: Douchebag from South Park: The Stick of Truth, also known as you, the player character.
Why do I think he is the best character? Well because he is a facilitator for interacting with the rest of the cast of South Park, and while he doesn’t really have a personality of his own, it allows you to experience the inhabitants of the sleepy mountain town doing what they do best. So yes, he may be merely a avatar for you, the player, but it in the context of The Stick of Truth, it actually works really well. The strange little back story of why he moved to South Park in the first place gives the silent protagonist a bit of history and for me it just works because lets be honest, everyone came to that game for Cartman, Stan, Kyle, Kenny and all their friends.
Runners Up: Xur (Destiny), Delsin Rowe (InFamous: Second Son)
Andy Buick (Features Editor) – Fetch (InFamous: First Light)
Abigail “Fetch” Walker had a lot to rectify after InFamous: Second Son. Don’t get me wrong, Second Son was a great game, but while I didn’t have the issues with Delsin that some did, he wasn’t a classic, memorable character in any way. First Light concentrating on Fetch was a great idea, and gave us a character who was flawed but easy to actually care about. By the swiftly-reached end I was fully bought into her story.
Runners Up: Clementine (The Walking Dead Season 2), The Baby (Murasaki Baby)
Andy Corrigan (Editor In Chief) – Aurora (Child of Light)
Despite there being a ton of great characters I could mention here, half of them from Dragon Age: Inquisition or Persona Q alone, I’m gonna go for Aurora from Child of Light.
She never utters a spoken word and although all her dialogue is fairly twee, it’s written wonderfully. It’s not just about what she says, though, but also her motivations and nature that endear. She’s a kind soul, and her only desire is to return to her world to save her ailing father; a refreshing angle, given how many games we play where the opposite is true.
Runners Up: Clementine (The Walking Dead Season 2), Dorian Pavus (Dragon Age)
Jonn Blanchard (Staff Writer) – Pagan Min (Far Cry 4)
For me, the best character I’ve seen in a game this year has to be Pagan Min, the antagonist in Far Cry 4. Nothing makes playing a story-driven game more exciting than knowing you’re facing up to true evil and Ubisoft have managed to craft one hell of a morally defunct nut-job in Min. Your first meeting happens when he has your bus intercepted and drags you off to his palace with a bag on your head.
The short scene that follows shows Min being a gracious host, before getting angry at your companion, stabbing him and then taking him off for torture. An interesting element here, to continue the game you’re expected to escape at this point but, if you wait instead, the game ends with you and Min, best mates, getting in a helicopter to go shoot some guns. This is a brilliant and fun little Easter egg – more of this please, Ubisoft.
Throughout the game Min will break into your rebel-provided radio and act like your best mate, this serves well to remind you what’s going on and gives a nice humorous interlude as you’re tracking through Far Cry 4‘s lovely environments.
I’m still working my way through the game, but Pagan Min’s charismatic blend of cheerful, upbeat banter and psychopathic ranting has me gripped for the final showdown.
Runners Up: Jonathan Irons (Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare), Dorian Pavus (Dragon Age: Inquisition)
Jade Sayers (Staff Writer) – Bigby Wolf (The Wolf Among Us)
When I think of my favourite character of the year, there’s one guy who’s head and shoulders above the rest; Bigby Wolf. Despite his gruff exterior, there’s a lot more to Bigby than meets the eye, and thanks to Telltale’s fantastic storytelling ability over the course of the five episodes of The Wolf Among Us, you’re able to unwrap his layers and get deeper into what drives him.
As always with Telltale, what really drives the characters is down to the player and the choices they make, and my Bigby is a real stand up guy driven by his desire to make Fabletown a better place. What’s not to like?
Runners Up: Monokuma (Danganronpa), Kanji (Persona Q)
James Sheppard (Reviews Editor) – Everyone (Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc)
In a dreadfully lame yet unavoidable move, my pick for ‘Best Character’ is identical to my choice of ‘Best Story’. I’m going to cop out even further by stating that I can’t actually narrow it down to a single character within that title. My game of choice is Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, and it’s the manner in which characterisation develops and how character interaction is formed that earns it my vote.
With each of the fifteen classmates in Danganronpa being ‘ultimate’ somethings, there was the risk that they’d easily fall into cut-and-dry clichés. Thankfully, no single character is what they initially seem, and it’s the constant risk of betrayal or death that makes the audience’s relationship with them so engrossing.
That sweet and charming friend may be secretly plotting a murder, whilst some of the more unpleasant characters may grow on you after a while of being forced to live with them. Each classmate is fundamentally intriguing in their own way. Just try not to get too attached to any of them.
Runners Up: Ellie (The Last of Us Remastered) Auron (Final Fantasy X HD Remaster)
Matt Best (Staff Writer) – Xenomorph (Alien: Isolation)
It hasn’t really been a good year for new characters, but for me the stand out was the Xenomorph from Alien: Isolation. Faithfully recreated in terms of visuals and behaviour, it was truly an unpredictable and formidable foe.
Hearing it move about somewhere near was enough to send me scurrying to the nearest locker or desk to play a dangerous game of Hide and Seek. Watching it move stealthily past, scanning either side for a sign of its prey, had me literally holding my breath. Seeing it up close allowed you to marvel at the level of detail, but that often came at the ultimate cost.
An invincible and relentless foe that is ready to make you pay for even the slightest indiscretion: what’s not to love about that?
Runners Up: The entire cast of South Park: The Stick of Truth. Frau Engel (Wolfenstein: The New Order)
Matt Parker (News Editor) – Me (The Sims 4)
I kind of wanted to mention any one of the crazy characters within Jazzpunk but after thinking about that game for a few minutes, it was hard to pinpoint one character. This is due to the fact there’s so many and that most characters have one line and are then thrown away.
Thinking slightly outside the box, I decided to give myself the award.
You heard me right. During my time playing The Sims 4, I was able to create the most productive, funny and downright attractive Sim in the world. This Sim happened to be based on me, but my digital self overtook my real-world self in no time.
Great at cooking, coding and cleaning-up, I was the perfect Sim for any household. I didn’t understand a word I said, but that’s part of the charm.
Runners Up: Bayonetta (Bayonetta 2), Bigby Wolf (The Wolf Among Us)
Feature Type: 2014, End of Year | Tagged Alien: Isolation, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Child of Light, Danganronpa, Destiny, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, Final Fantasy X HD, InFamous: First Light, Murasaki Baby, Persona Q, South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Last of Us Remastered, The Sims 4, The Walking Dead