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Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Most hated video game characters

GameCentral readers name their least favourite video game characters, from Sephiroth to Kaiden Alenko from Mass Effect.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Firetrain and covers everyone from the protagonist to the villain and more minor characters. What is it that annoys you about them and is it because of their attitude, their actions, their voice-acting, or something else?

In the end everyone from iconic heroes to relatively obscure side characters were named and shamed, with so many different names almost no-one was mentioned twice.

Canadian psycho
The recent Rockstar news reminded me of who I think is the most loathsome video game character. GTA5’s three protagonists are all obnoxious vulgarians but none more so than Trevor. The other two are completely flat racial stereotypes but Trevor, who hails from Canada, seems to be there for comic relief despite being painfully unfunny and totally uninteresting to listen to.

The introduction to his character involves him stamping on a man’s face just so the audience understands that he’s an unhinged psychopathic murderer straight off the bat. What follows for the remainder of the game is simply a mindless chore, as his wacky escapades and groan inducing dialogue cause endless accusations that Rockstar simply cannot write decent scripts and continually resort to tropes to pass off character interactions.

Plenty of gamers warmed to him but to me he’s the nadir of video game characters and quite possibly the worst in any art form. The one sole joy I found was flying a helicopter to the invisible roof of the game world and making sure that I never opened his parachute as he made his direct descent to terra firma.
Wonk

Human sacrifice
Kaiden Alenko.

I was going to leave it at, I am sure anyone that has played Mass Effect knows what I mean. In the first game I decided to live with my decisions and carry them over to the following games, and I really regretted one decision. I chose to send Ashley to her death, as the biotic powered Kaiden would be more useful to me in the fights.

Apparently, his character class is Sentinel, but it should really be vampire; energy vampire. He sucks the life out of every scene he is in. I get it mate, you’ve got a headache, I don’t actually care. You have feelings for me? Why are you telling me this? I’ve not shown any sign of affection towards you, or even any niceness, yet you keep baring your heart to me.

Then when you have a look at other people’s playthroughs, an alternative universe is shown of what could have been. The smoking hot Ashley who kicks butt, takes no crap, and is only a little bit racist.
EvilMoomin

Haloguy
Is there a more uninteresting or forgettable protagonist than Master Chief? Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever felt less connected to a character in a game than I do while playing as Master Chief in Halo.

Considering he’s the main character it’s easy to forget your even playing as him most of the time. He barely talks, his personality is almost non-existent, he has around the same depth as that guy from Doom. There are more annoying characters out there sure, Duke Nukem for example, but Duke unlike Master Chief isn’t supposed to be taken seriously. Gordon Freeman from Half-Life doesn’t speak or feature in any cut scenes at all but you still get a sense of connection when playing as him.

Master Chief is someone we’re supposed to care about but he has no endearing qualities whatsoever. It’s odd considering he’s the face of one of the world’s most popular games, his image is instantly recognisable to everyone yet as an actual protagonist he’s completely forgettable.
Russel

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Bad friends
Two characters come straight to mind, the first is Adams from Spec Ops: The Line who was literally the death of me… many, many times! Playing on the hardest difficulty (aptly named FUBAR!) your AI squad-mates seemed to have had lobotomies and forgotten all their military training! In the last few levels the amount of times Adams ran out of cover and promptly got wounded was ridiculous! You have to revive your squad or it’s game over but trying to do it got me killed so many times!

The second is Marisa Chase from Uncharted: Golden Abyss. The Uncharted series have given us Elena, Chloe, Nadine, and Kathryn Marlowe – all strong, independent, capable women. But for the PS Vita entry, which was written by John Garvin when he was working at Sony Bend (he was also responsible for Days Gone – ugh!) we got Marisa Chase, who for some unexplained reason won’t use guns until right near the end of the game and then proceeds to spend most of the game being an annoyance who constantly seems to be in need of rescuing! I really enjoy the Uncharted series for many reasons, one of which is hanging out with the characters, but Marisa ruined the PS Vita game for me.

The one series I have gone off because of the characters is Grand Theft Auto as all the characters are so loathsome. When games like Sleeping Dogs can create more likeable criminals, Rockstar’s games seem to be focused too much on satire for my taste.
LastYearsModel

Love to hate
The character I’ve disliked most in the past few years is, without doubt, Theseus in Hades. However, far from being my least favourite character, I consider him a fantastic addition to a brilliant cast, as he’s the best example of a purposefully written ‘love to hate’ character I’ve come across in the medium.

Whilst the game’s characterisation of typically negative figures like Hades, Ares, and Sisyphus renders them with various sympathetic and/or endearing qualities, the ‘greatest king of Athens’ is perfectly portrayed as an overly righteous and stubborn egomaniac. As he’s one of the recurring bosses, the satisfaction gained from defeating him the first time is immense, and on repeated runs he is always the most gratifying to use as a punching bag.

At one point about 40-50 hours in – mild spoilers for those planning to go deep into Hades – he experiences an existential crisis brought about by a difference of opinion he has with his ally Asterius (the Minotaur) regarding Zagreus (the protagonist). Rather than having a change of heart though, within a few runs he is back to his bigoted, overconfident self. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Jack

Hellzapoppin’
May I put forward Sephiroth from Final Fantasy 7. He is a complete and utter (the next paragraph has been censored due to public decency) and I’d like to (also censored due to public decency).

I can see and hear them popping right now.
Anon

Load of claptrap
The character I dislike the most? This one is easy. They are in Borderlands 3. Between Borderlands 2 and 3 they changed the voice actor for Claptrap. As a big fan I could tell the difference instantly. So naturally I swore at my TV.

‘Shut up you little metal cheese wedge on a wheel. You’re lucky I can’t phasecast you through that sodding wall. Be thankful I can’t get Iron Bear to stomp your metal arse into the ground. Praise silicon heaven that I can’t stick this Flakker up your exhaust pipe and pull the trigger, it ain’t been nerfed yet you little beep beep beeping beep beepity beep beep beep etc.’

I may be paraphrasing there but you get the point. As the game progressed, I met new characters. One was called Lorelei. As soon as she opened her mouth and let out that hackneyed, mockney, cockney accent I was like ‘Claptrap save me!’ The more she spoke, the worse it got. When she’s moaning about coffee, I couldn’t believe that quest was even in the game.

So, there you have it. The character I dislike the most is well and truly Lorelei from Borderlands 3.
Handsome Dan Wolfshead

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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