Published 1 year ago
, Updated December 27th, 2013 at 1:37 pm,
Our Favorite Video Game Characters of 2013
While the gameplay mechanics typically dominate the conversation when it comes to evaluating video games, most titles can't survive without a great story. And a great story, of course, needs great characters.
2013 introduced to quite the eclectic bunch of video game characters, many of them new faces and all of them unique in their own ways. That being said, there were a few that stood out above the rest, and did so for a variety of reasons.
Here are our favorite video game characters from 2013.
Lara Croft - Tomb Raider
In 2013, developer Crystal Dynamics reinvented Lara Croft for a modern audience. Sure, they borrowed heavily from a few of the games that, in turn, had borrowed from them, but there's no denying this iteration of Lara Croft was almost completely different.
In Tomb Raider, Lara isn't the sophisticated and experienced adventurer from the earlier games, but is instead a naÃ¯ve documentarian. However, after her ship crashes, Lara is thrust into an adventure that does two things: asks her to survive some pretty harrowing experiences and shapes her into the eponymous "tomb raider" we have come to know and love. This "new" Lara Croft is a fully realized character, and one we can't wait to see in the future.
Rex Colt - Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon came seemingly out of nowhere. It was one of the most pleasant surprises of the year, and it proved that the developers at Ubisoft have quite the quirky personality and a deep love of the '80s. Blood Dragon represented everything that is great about the '80s, bathed in a neon glow and accompanied by a thumping soundtrack.
At the center of this whacky DLC/expansion was Rex "Power" Colt, a cyber commando with one mission: prevent nuclear war. He's a no nonsense soldier whose quips are as deadly as his arsenal. From the incessant video game in-jokes and parody, to the choice of Michael Biehn as Colt's voice, everything about the characterization of Colt is pure genius. It says a lot about a character when he can walk that delicate line between goofy and awesome, and Colt pulls it off with style.
The Narrator - The Stanley Parable
Narrators in video games are hard to pull off. Their narration needs to stay in sync with the action, but they should also be able to take on a personality of their own. It is with that criteria in mind that we label the narrator in The Stanley Parable as one of the best.
At first, the narrator does nothing more than the bare minimum - guides the player through Stanley's dull routine - but as Stanley's story starts to spiral out of control so too does the narration. In fact, one could argue that it is the narrator who motivates the player's decision to work outside the game's rules. They want to see how he will react, or rather how far he will fly off the rails. He's nothing more than a disembodied voice, but The Stanley Parable narrator is one of the funniest characters of the year.
Edward Kenway - Assassin's Creed 4
After several years of requests, Assassin's Creed fans finally got their wish: a pirate assassin. But Edward Kenway is no mere pirate assassin; he's a fully realized character worthy of standing right alongside Ezio in the franchise's lineage. In fact, the only real gripe with Edward is that we didn't meet him sooner, perhaps instead of his grandson Connor.
Nevertheless, Ubisoft has yet again knocked it out of the park with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. They've given players another sprawling open world, refined the combat on land and sea, and put a compelling character at the center of their story. Mind you, Edward Kenway is not the self-righteous assassin leader that fans have come to expect, but that's what makes him so fascinating. Edward Kenway is a pirate first and foremost, and a debaucherous one at that.
The Lutece Twins - BioShock Infinite
Although Booker and Elizabeth are integral to the BioShock Infinite story and intriguing protagonists in their own right, if we had to pick a favorite character (or rather, characters) it would have to be the Lutece twins. Irrational Games created some truly memorable characters in this pair, and we feel like the mysterious Luteces deserve a place among some of the best. Players meet Robert and Rosalind Lutece early on, but their significance to Infinite's larger mythos is only realized much later. We won't spoil anything, but let's just say that the Lutece twins are the first hint things aren't quite right in the world of Columbia.
The Luteces also add a nice dose of levity to what is a rather dense narrative. They bicker, they talk in riddles, and then they completely pull the rug out from under players. They are the type of characters that take up little screen time, but make an impact nonetheless.
Joel - The Last of Us
While Ellie and Joel are certainly an inseparable pair throughout most of The Last of Us, we chose Joel because he's, ultimately, a more nuanced character. His transformation is one of the best character arcs ever seen in a video game, and most of the legwork is done through subtle facial expressions and razor sharp writing. The game's opening scene alone is proof of just how fantastic the writing on Joel is.
Joel is a character that clearly harbors a lot of pain, but is also hopeful, and he elicits nearly every emotion from the player over the course of the game. Equal credit is due to Joel's voice and mo-cap actor Troy Baker, who breathes authentic life into the character. Baker is one of the more recognizable faces (and voices) in the industry, but he sinks into the role so well that you'd hardly know it was him.
Trevor - Grand Theft Auto 5
Words cannot express how well developer Rockstar Games nailed the character of Trevor Philips in Grand Theft Auto 5. Granted, it takes some time to actually meet him, but it's not long before Trevor asserts himself as one of the best characters Rockstar has ever created, and that's saying something.
Trevor is the anti-Grand Theft Auto character — a detestable human being with few redeeming qualities and who isn't afraid to push the envelope. He's the first character that you'd expect to drive down a sidewalk senselessly mowing down pedestrians. And yet, Trevor is also a wholly entertaining protagonist, one that stands heads and shoulders above his cronies Michael and Franklin. It says a lot that even though Trevor is a vile miscreant, we couldn't help but love watching his story play out.
Bibgy Wolf from The Wolf Among Us — We haven't spent enough time with Bigby to determine how lasting an impact he will leave, but part 1 of Telltale's latest episodic adventure has us pretty convinced Bigby will be a character worth following for, at least, 4 more episodes.
Jim from Lost Planet 3 — Lost Planet 3 is one of our most underrated games of 2013, and that has a lot to do with the character of Jim Peyton. Play the game, watch his journey, and thank us later.
Who were some of your favorite video game characters from 2013? Let us know in the comments below
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina.