10 Protagonists Who Ruined Great Games
It’s like Stallone in Judge Dredd, or Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker in Dracula – everything else about the entire title effectively works, but its main character just keeps ruining your experience the more and more you see them. Many of us have encountered some form of these 10 Protagonists Who Ruined Great Games in our ventures, but most of the time our love for the overall title may have clouded our judgment of its less-than-stellar star. Sure, maybe putting in 30+ hours into a game might soften your disliking of the character, but there was something there that was just.. off. So let’s ignore the supporting cast members who carried it all while we air out 10 Protagonists Who Ruined Great Games!
Luke fon Fabre
Starting off our list of 10 Protagonists Who Ruined Great Games is a redhead we've seen far too many times. For some reason, Namco decided that out of every game of the Tales library, Tales of the Abyss would get its own anime series (it should have been Symphonia). It also went on to get a port to the 3DS. While Abyss was fine and dandy, its protagonist, Luke fon Fabre, was not agreeable or believable. Luke could have been higher on this list due to his annoying demeanor, but we remembered that he was kidnapped at 10 years old, lost his memories, was abandoned by his friends, and eventually found out he was a clone of the real Luke fon Fabre, so we cut him some slack.
Bungie pushed the political aspects of the Covenant to an Attack of the Clones-level of absurdity, and the Arbiter's plot line embodies this. Changing perspective from Master Chief to Arbs was a plot twist none of us saw coming, but it was also a plot twist none of us liked. Sure, the pacing changed a little by focusing a bit more on stealth for the first couple missions. But giving the Arbiter Keith David's iconic voice didn't help soften the blow that we simply did not care for this humanized, Convenant hombre. There's a reason why he was always the second player in Halo 3.
We went through five different Assassin's Creed titles, and we liked most of it, even if a vast majority of it all played exactly the same. In Assassin's Creed 3, we noticed that Connor was a bit of a d-bag. But Ratonhnhake:ton's sour personality paled in comparison to Desmond Miles. For five games straight, Desmond was our conduit to all these wonderful hidden blade memories, but we were annoyed by him every single time we were pulled out of the Animus. We get it Desmond, you wanted a normal life. But hey, you got to relive 16th century Italy for three games straight, you won the Revolutionary War and you retroactively learned assassin skills along the way, so stop whining! We already mentioned the 10 Eras Assassin's Creed 5 Should Explore, but as long as Desmond isn't there (confirmed that he won't be), we'll be content.
We get why Rockstar decided to model an expansion of GTA 4 to Sons of Anarchy -- because the lifestyle of one percenter MC perfectly caters to the GTA formula. You have organized crime, motorized mayhem, ridiculous supporting characters and a hierarchy for your main character to ascend. Much like Kurt Sutter's critically acclaimed biker version of Hamlet, there are a lot of betrayals going on between the MC's president and VP. The problem with this was The Lost and Damned's main character, Johnny, was nowhere near as likable as Jax Teller was on Sons of Anarchy. His character was bland and his missions were decent, albeit repetitive. Critic and fan reactions to Johnny were the reasons why Rockstar introduced Trevor in GTA 5 the way that they did (hint: someone got the boot).
A lot of us forget that the first Yoshi's Island was the official sequel to Super Mario World. It's tough to top the greatest Mario game of all time, but Yoshi's Island was an excellent followup. Unfortunately, Yoshi's Island introduced us to one of the most annoying protagonists of all time: Baby Mario. Who knew that the infantile form of the face of gaming could have a voice so annoying? With annoying cries like that, no wonder the stork dropped him before the game started.
Halfway through our list of 10 Protagonists Who Ruined Great Games, is your run-of-the-mill, overeager and naive JRPG star. Throughout all of Final Fantasy X, Tidus kept refusing to believe that Zanarkand was decimated a thousand years ago, despite hearing it from nearly every character in the game. Tidus isn't the first one to do it, but he's one of the first characters to start a trend in JRPGs -- that most of their protagonists are either an overly quiet sociopath or a loud-mouthed, rambunctious teen who keeps challenging what everyone tells them. Final Fantasy X-2 had Yuna and her Powerpuff team trying to bring Tidus back, but we were hoping for them to fail the entire time.
Ironically, we follow Tidus with a Ghostbuster! Now, we know what you're thinking, "this is blasphemy, Bill Murray's portrayal of Pete Venkman is one of the greatest comedic performances of all time!" Yes, in the first Ghostbusters movie. It's been 25 years since then and unfortunately, Bill Murray was extremely uninspired with his voice work. Ghostbusters: TVG is probably the closest thing we'll ever get to a third movie, but based on Murray's obviously phoned-in performance, that might not be a bad thing. Take the underwhelming comedic writing of Ghostbusters 2, throw in one of Bill Murray's worst acting pieces next to Garfield, and you have a great game filled with nostalgia overshadowing a letdown. And this is coming from a writer who dresses like this for Halloween.
We already mentioned all the fallacies of Tidus in Final Fantasy X, but Vaan takes everything we absolutely hated about him and runs with it. Vaan traded out Tidus' story (one of his only credible features), for androgynous physical features, a stupid outfit and the personalty of a tumbleweed. For the first half of the game, Vaan tags along simply because Balthier and Fran are awesome and Vaan wants to be a sky pirate just like them. Thirty hours into Final Fantasy XII, and we're still hearing about him wanting to be a sky pirate, despite committing plenty of aerial acts of piracy.
Nero from Devil May Cry 4 could have easily made this list, but he was nowhere near as bad as the Dante we saw in DmC. Trying to revamp the character's image, fans brought out the torches and pitchforks. A lot of us held back until DmC was released, where we found out it was actually a lot worse. DmC itself plays amazingly well, offering some of the best combat the series has ever seen. The original Dante was over the top and full of himself because he knows he's awesome and filled with amazing demon-slaying skills. This Dante acts like an a-hole for no real apparent reason except for rebellion. Randomly giving middle fingers and cursing to shock teenage audiences died out with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Like you were expecting anyone else reigning atop our list of 10 Protagonists Who Ruined Great Games? Back when Hideo Kojima was trying to be the M. Night Shyamalan of game directing, he thought it would be groundbreaking to followup the revolutionary Metal Gear Solid by switching out veteran Solid Snake for a rookie agent two hours into the game! What's worse, this rookie was almost a polar opposite to everything we loved about Snake. Raiden was thin, androgynous and constantly bickering with his girlfriend. Solid Snake would smoke cigarettes as he hit on Meryl and Mei Ling as he was saving the world. Here, we had Raiden and Rose constantly going back and forth about Raiden's lack of personality (yeah, we noticed it too), only to find out the entire ordeal was a simulation revolving around supercomputer A.I. No thanks. Making him into a cybernetic ninja doesn't help us forget this atrocity, Kojima.