Someone said it well on the Persona subreddit. Whoever you think is the worst character in Persona 5 would still be a top character in another game.
I realize it’s a dark horse candidate, but I would like to nominate Super Mario Odyssey primarily for Uncle Amiibo on the basis that his name is Uncle Amiibo
Fourth(?)ing Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
Not much I can say that the other posters haven’t, except that as sad as it is, seeing a character who is identified explicitly as an anarchist (Paris Jack) and isn’t a villain was… powerful, for me. I don’t totally buy into Wolfenstein’s lowkey leftist marketing, because it’s marketing, but having a guy who plays clarinet, tries to help out Wyatt, and also happens to be an actual anarchist almost made me cry, even though he was pretty minor compared to some of the other (also amazing) characters.
Nomination: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
With Persona 5 already nominated, I’ll go with a choice that might be one that not a lot of people think about when it comes to great characters… but, if you remember back to your time with the game, you’ll know that the fantastic cast of this game really made your hard work exploring worth it. Anyone from just NPC’s with a few lines that wander the world or populate the towns to reoccurring characters like Kass and Hetsu that just make you feel less alone in the world to strong, memorable story characters like Sidon or Urbosa, they all contributed to making you want to learn more about this world, to learn more about its nooks and crannies, and to put urgency and weight on the quest in front of you.
Also, they succeeded in making Zelda a character you actually care about instead of just a damsel like she unfortunately is in most games, with her infectious love of science and her anxiety and depression over her apparent failure of the people of Hyrule.
While I wouldn’t say this is the best Zelda cast (Majora’s Mask still takes that prize), it’s still one worth celebrating and one to remember when the DLC expanding on the Divine Champions and their stories comes out.
I’m just going to use this space to nominate Alloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn. Obviously a bad ass, but a compassionate bad ass, who won’t take any narrow minded shit from neo-cavemen.
(seems like I need to play Persona 5 and Night In The Woods)
I’ll second Super Mario Odyssey
Of course we know most of these characters, but the game is still so charming and full of wide-eyed joy and excitement. And there are so many little things to discover that are tied to the characters here.
Gotta nominate Yakuza 0 here. My first Yakuza game and the characters were so endearing in how they were animated, the excellent localisation work that brought their lines to life in translation and a host of supporting characters to love or love to hate. In a year full of great characters, it’s hard to pick just one game, but this is it for me. I also support others’ nomination of Wolfenstein 2 and NieR: Automata. I’d love for someone to nominate Mario + Rabbids as I was suprised by how much I enjoyed the cast, but I wouldn’t honestly call them the best of the year.
Doki Doki Literature Club
Without going into spoilers, the characters are the game.
I could talk about how they subvert dating sim tropes, or how they are fascinating and compelling.
But I won’t, please go play it, its free, if you are not easily disturbed do it. Whatever I say will fall short of the experience you will have with them
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Nintendo Switch)
All I really need to say is Rabbid-ized Mario cast is cute, funny, and for more likable than I had hoped they would be. If there isn’t a Rayman Legends-like game featuring these rabbids in the next year or two Ubisoft dropped the ball.
Definitely seconding Breath of the Wild here. That game is full of lovely, well rounded characters.
Here’s an example: The little boy in Hateno village who wants you to find weapons from the outside world. He wants to see them so he can tell his dead grandfather about them, whenever he sees him again . He’s so sweet, and chipper, but also a young boy who has had to confront the reality of death. It’s a perfect little encapsulation of the mood in BotW, and Hateno in particular: life continues, but has been irrevocably scarred by the Great Calamity.
I’m torn between Night in the Woods and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.
How do I choose between Mae, Her Parents, Bea, Gregg, Angus and Selmers vs BJ, His Parents, Anya, Wyatt, Grace, Super Spesh, Sigrun, Paris Jack, and Set? Wolfenstein has more characters I liked but i liked the relationships between the characters more in NitW.
Luckily both are rightly getting recognized so I don’t have to pick a favourite child.
Nomination: Metroid: Samus Returns
Samus is back, baby! She’s a super cool, tough as nails bounty hunter who can do it all by herself!
I have to nominate Tacoma here.
I’ve mentioned it already in the Small Developer thread, and it also fits best here, even in a year of great characters (many mentioned already).
It’s not in the strength of any one character, but rather the interplay of its entire cast, the way it builds each into a fully fleshed whole, nuanced and flawed. Rare still is the game that manages characters who feel like real people, filled with all the contradictions that make us, us; but Tacoma manages it. Characters who are simultaneously compassionate and self-centred; deceptive and supportive; not all of the characters are necessarily likeable, but together they form a compelling group.
I would happily spend more hours amongst the crew of Tacoma; seeing their day to day, watching their relationships grow. Even with my slight reservations about the presentation of Britishness in one character’s case, I loved being around them.
I will jump on the Mario + Rabbids - Kingdom Battle bandwagon here, for presenting quite possibly the most well rounded characters in the entire Mario-verse. All the rabbids are beautifully crafted bastardizations of their mario counterparts and I love it!
Rabbid Luigi is just as cowardly as Luigi but contrary to Luigi tries to mask it through overtly exaggerated humor. Rabbid Peach contorts the quiet regal dignity of the toadstool monarch into an instagram queen, marinated in sass and a lack of filters. Rabbid Yoshi channels the raw animalistc nature of Yoshi into a being of pure bloodlust and passion. He is governed by nothing but red blooded pathos and and wishes for nothing else than to see the world in flames.
And then there’s Rabbid Mario
Rabbid Mario is the secret best character of the game and best new character of the year. A true hero of proletariat. Rabbid Mario does everything with the casual grace of a true working man. From Playin’ his mandolin and leaning against cover walls with the laissez faire attitude of a working class romantic to blasting fools with shotty’s and beating them to death with a hammer, Rabbid Mario embodies the fighting spirit of underclass, a true, blue collar Hercules with marinara sauce running through his veins.
Seriously, look at that face. those are the half closed eyes of an actual Italian plumber who has quite literally seen some shit and isn’t impressed or rattled by anything. Oh, and he eats pizza during the stage clears.
All but one of my top five games for this category have already received two nominations so…
I’ll second Doki Doki Literature Club.
I legitimately cared about these tropey-ass characters. They sparked joy and they made me feel guilt. They are core to the experience, and some of the twists that happen around them are fantastic.
I will second the cast of Tacoma. The characters make the game and by the end I really liked and understood who the characters were.
I can only answer, as others have, with Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. The sheer humanity on display, in a rousing Nazi-killing shooter of all things, truly is something else. Well done Machine Games.
Nier: Automata delightfully takes characters that seem one-note at first glance, and through further playthroughs fleshes them out, reveals complexities, and goes down weirder and weirder directions.
Golf Story. The golf in the game isn’t actually that great but the characters kept me coming back again and again. Coach is definitely the stand out, starting off as a huge asshole until you peel back the layers and find he is an asshole with a heart of gold and a lot of love to give. His personality change whenever he was around the lady coach never failed to make me giggle. Add to that all the other supporting characters like your rival, the frisbee people, the announcers, the groundskeeper and everyone else and I am left absolutely shocked that no-one else has nominated this game yet.
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Usually in a Danganronpa game, all the characters are beloved except for a few. In this one, all the characters are the best. Even the pervy character is really good, she’s shown as being smart, having multiple dimensions and actually contributes well to the debates.
Special mention to the best character Kokichi Oma. He is a complete arsehole and also the best person. He is terrifying and infuriating and the game would be nowhere near as fun without him. He is a character who exists purely to create drama and annoying situations, he is a narrative device who, despite constantly flip-flopping, is incredibly likeable. He is not my favourite character, but he is the best character.
Danganronpa V3 : Killing Harmony
I did start a bit unsure, but it didn´t take very long for me to see they all had their own depth and soon I started to care a lot about them.