Top 10 Video-Game Characters of 2012


Top 10 Video-Game Characters of 2012
Face. Off.

There’s nothing quite like a larger than life personality to bolster a flagging project, elevate an accomplished title or reinforce the trite, tired and ultimately moot ‘Are Videogames Art?’ debate. Offering a welcome break from the addictive repetition of trigger pulls and bumper depressions, Characters can immerse us further into fictitious worlds. They evoke those most joyous of sensations the racking of points or acquisition of trophies WILL NEVER achieve.
I understand they’re called emotions.

And, in my personal opinion (reflected below) the best Characters can make you snort milk from your schnoz as you gag with laughter!

Because milk-nose is an emotion too!

[Minor Spoilers to follow. Y’all have been full-on warned!]


Name: Cortana
Appearance: Halo 4
Voice Actor: Jen Taylor

Let’s be honest here, after three hours of dated shooting galleries, repetitive configurations and beyond useless grenades, the only reason I saw Halo 4 through to its unsatisfactory conclusion was Master Chief’s SPRITEly A.I./Girlfriend/God Knows What!

Cortana’s plight was soul-shattering because ultimately no-one, not even Chief himself, cared enough to do a damn thing about it. With no right to demand treatment, players were forced to watch as this sassy user interface (Dirty!) descended into short tempered, shrill voiced rampancy. Strengthened by harrowing facial animations, Cortana’s decline was the breaking heart of Halo 4.


Name: Geralt of Rivia
Appearance: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition
Voice Actor: Doug Cockle

Everyone loves a badass. Its coded into our genetics. So when softly spoken, monster hunting mutant horndog Geralt of Rivia rocks up, wielding a couple of broadswords, burning fools alive and tapping every piece of ass in sight, players have a hard time NOT loving him.

Geralt’s heart is in the right place. He’s relatively principled, decent to the poorer species of Temeria and all too happy to run a balding philanderer through with his own pike. The fact he has a filthy sense of humour, unsavoury attitude toward drug use and a ruthless demeanour when twirling his blades merely bewitches the audience further.


Name: Tiny Tina
Appearance: Borderlands 2
Voice Actor: Ashley Burch

Sister to Borderlands 2’s lead writer and star of web series “HAWP”, Burch the younger threatened to steal the show as The World’s Deadliest 13 Year Old. Like every Borderlands character worth her salt, Tiny Tina is personal tragedy wrapped in layers of comical psychosis and involuntary tics.

Riddled with schizophrenic speech patterns and ‘fo shizzle’ tourettes, Tina charms with her oblique phrasing, verbal diarrhoea and machinegun mood-swings. The very quirks which might make an adult character infinitely irritating actually cement Tiny Tina as the World’s Deadliest, most entertaining, 13 Year Old.


Name: Granny Rags
Appearance: Dishonored
Voice Actor: Susan Sarandon

Granny Rags is one demented old bint and easily the most unhinging character in a world populated by cut-throats, rapists, assassins and aristocrats. A wandering blind lady with a storied past and a connection to the occult, Granny’s initial vulnerability to abusive gentleman callers lures players into believing her a harmless old woman who simply enjoys the company of rats.

She is not.

In actuality, she’s a vindictive witch who succeeds in preparing a tasty whalebone stew from Dunwall’s most feared mobster. Should you help her, that is...


Name: CN-7 CAIN
Appearance: Binary Domain
Voice Actor: John Demita

CAIN is the best kind of combat robot. Not only will he headshot foes in quick succession from 50 yards, HE’S GOT A JAUNTY SCARF!CN-7 is the work horse of the Rust Crew, getting them out of numerous scrapes with his tow-cable wrist, jet pack feet and lack of respiratory system.

CAIN is perhaps best defined by his unflappably French sense of chivalry. He’ll opt to save female squad-mates over their male counterparts simply because they’re better looking. Not that he hangs protagonist Dan Marshall out to dry. Quite the opposite, CAIN is a positively positronic wingman. Not only does he actively enable your hook ups, he drags onlookers away by the scruff of their necks!


Name: Wei Shen
Appearance: Sleeping Dogs
Voice Actor: Will Yun Lee

Sleeping Dogs’ earnest ass-kicker may tick all the boxes on the undercover cop cliché clipboard, but the sense of agency in Wei’s actions dramatizes the gravity of his plight. Wei is a good officer, trying his best to get the job done in a supremely dangerous, morally ambiguous situation.

Wei is ultimately flawed, and this acts his major draw. Sure he’s a phenomenal driver, crack shot and peerless fighter. But he’s a shameless womanizer, overly emotional and walks into obvious traps. This perpetual menace cooks those rare instances where Wei makes a legitimate difference to the people of Hong Kong. And they taste all the sweeter.


Name: Augus
Appearance: Asura’s Wrath
Voice Actor: Imari Williams

is a f*cking nutjob!

The mere sight of this immortal would convince Worf to stay curled up under the blankets, make Kratos beg for his momma and have M. Bison hanging up his psycho-cape for a life of simple gardening.

Defined solely by his love of brawling, this blind swordsman is a sexual deviant, infamous drunkard and the very best/worst teacher in the history of audio-visual media. Instructing his pupils by cracking tectonic plates with their skulls, Augus is a purist who refuses to employ Mantra technology in battle because, basically, that shit is for pansies!

Having his own guts sliced open by the shattered fragments of a sword that impaled an entire planet clean through, Augus saw his own demise as no biggie. Mainly because he went down swinging and there was a hundred gigatonnes worth of collateral damage.

I reiterate...
Augus is a f*cking nutjob!


Name: Vaas
Appearance: Far Cry 3
Voice Actor: Michael Mando

Our all-too-brief time with Far Cry 3’s standout villain painted the portrait of a scatterbrained if oddly affectionate nemesis. Mando should be commended for his physically impressive portrayal. His energetic efforts evolved Vaas from a budget-brand Joker into an intimate foil with fascinating observations, unpredictable reactions and an unlikely aptitude for pole-dancing.

Ubisoft Montreal may not have truly appreciated the property they had in Vaas, otherwise he would undoubtedly made it to the end credits. That said, born in a barn as they were, the calculatingly ambiguous events surrounding his supposed demise have left the gate of possible return wide open.


Name: Clementine
Appearance: The Walking Dead
Voice Actor: Melissa Hutchinson

Everyone knew their emotions were being manipulated but not a soul cared. Every human being to so much as play the trial for Telltale’s acclaimed adventure series fell in love with Clem. Intentionally tapping into our primal urge to protect, The Walking Dead gave us an innocent child to care for and then threw peril her way until gamers screamed for respite!

Clem’s impact on gaming cannot be overstated. Most of us hobby in worlds of genius scientists, brawny soldiers and anthropomorphic hedgehogs with little regard for the sound barrier. That a young girl with no latent heroic characteristics can see us scrambling to download successive chapters stands as a testament to Telltale’s tale telling, and our demand for them!


Name: Handsome Jack
Appearance: Borderlands 2
Voice Actor: Dameon Clarke

Handsome Jack enjoys a higher ratio of Laughs:Sentence than all other character on this list combined! Dispute this? I have two words and one unsettling mental image for you – “Butt-Stallion!”

Should you find yourself at a deficit of context, might I suggest playing through the superb Borderlands 2.

Handsome Jack’s principle hook, besides his previously established hilarity, is that he thinks himself the Hero. He is SO sure of it. And thus every threat, war-crime, human rights violation or main-character-icide he commits forces players to double take, to reconsider.

Admittedly as Hyperion CEO he is directly responsible for untold slaughter. Yet when he nicknames you “child-killer” he’s not exactly fibbing is he?!

This veneer of sympathy, suggestion of justification ensures Jack’s every sarcastic, sadistic sound-bite is a consistently challenging chucklefest.

As a villain, the ubiquitous Handsome Jack is peerless.
The mask gives him mystery.
His troubled past gives him empathy.
His powerful station gives him authority.
His omnipotent, wholesale slaughter of your friends and family gives him urgency.

But his ceaseless barrage of sterling witticisms, outrageous anecdotes and hilarious titbits make Handsome Jack, hands down the finest character this year. Borderlands 3 will struggle to top him...

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