In the old days, video games rarely had strong stories or engaging characters. Sure, plenty of old school RPGs had a "fight the bad guy and conquer evil" plotline, but we've come to expect more from our games as they've evolved. However, not all games can be winners in the plot department, and sometimes, the blame can be placed squarely on a lame character. Whether they get on your nerves for being poorly introduced, too chatty, or useless overall, these characters are all prime examples of when good games give us bad characters.
10. Dominic "Dom" Santiago (Gears of War)
Dom isn't a bad guy. Nor is he a good guy. He's just sort of there. And not in a humorous buddy-cop way, or a brotherly I'll-be-there-for-you kind of way. Just in a wasted pixel kind of way. Even though he almost had some character development in Gears of War II with the Maria sub-plot, his complete lack of personality made me care even less about his possibly-dead-not-mentioned-until-recently wife. In fact I distinctly remember letting out a giggle or two when his wife finally popped out of her torture chamber and started skulking around like a zombie. And what's Dom's reaction? Well after uttering such eloquent words about his wife like "I don't know what to do, man!!" and "No, no, no, no, baby, no, no" he caps her straight in the head. And then goes back to being Fenix's moral support during firefights. without missing a beat. What a trooper, eh?
9. Sheva Alomar (Resident Evil 5)
For a game series that has had such great success with female characters (Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield, and Rebecca Chambers, just to name a few), Sheva Alomar, who replaced Jill as Chris Redfield's new partner, is weak, annoying, and unusually needy. The only good thing I can say about Sheva is that she definitely played the part of the rebound girl well. When she wasn't stealing your herbs or ammo, Sheva was prattling on about whatever she thought was important at the time. Or asking antagonists really silly questions. Or lamenting her "fallen brothers" during climactic scenes. And let's not get into her faux-jealousy once Chris starts to realize that Jill is not gone forever. Sheva is basically the antithesis of the strong female character we had gotten so used to from the Resident Evil series. And she stole my last herb! Again! Argh!
8. Roxas (Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days)
The wait for Kingdom Hearts II after the blockbuster success of the original was almost unbearable. But after sleepless nights spent thinking about King Mickey and Sora's fate, we were finally treated to a sequel. As fans around the world eagerly popped the disc into their PlayStation 2s, they expected to see Sora running around with his spiky hair and keyblade. However, what they got was Roxas. With his spiky hair and...skateboard. And his list of errands. Not exactly exciting stuff. Sure, we got to Sora's story in time, but not until after a mind-numbing prologue with a character no one cared about. And to make matters worse, Roxas got his own game two years ago. While the game was mildly interesting, Roxas' constant self-loathing and metaphysical questions about the meaning of his life get tiring fast. Perhaps if he was introduced a little differently, he wouldn't be on this list, but being forced to play as a dull, self-loathing character before you can play the game you want to play is just not a good idea.
7. The Entire Cast of Star Ocean IV
Star Ocean IV is a good game. It is one of my favorite current-gen JRPGs and has a nice story and great battle system. However, all of the characters are terrible. They all have horrifyingly stereotypical personalities and roam around the galaxy like a bunch of walking clichés with pocky for brains. Let's start with the main protagonist, Edge. Edge Maverick starts off okay as the consummate hero. And then he accidently destroys an alternate Earth. Oops! He then spends the rest of the game looking at the floor and moping.
Then there's Faize, who is the best-friend-gone-bad. His planet was destroyed by an outside force, and a tribe of people he talked to for five minutes were killed, so he blames his friends and tries to destroy them. While wearing a silly-looking cloak so they know he's upset. It doesn't make sense to me either.
And of course this is in addition to the ultra-cute Lolita-type magic-user, the unrequited love interest, and the busty rogue. This entire cast of characters suffers from being so archetypal that you could swear someone took a JRPG handbook and just made Xerox copies to insert in the game. If you can get through the game's thirty-minute cutscenes without wanting to strangle every single person on Star Ocean 4's spaceship, then you are an incredibly tolerant human being.
6. Cloud (Final Fantasy VII)
Cloud is one character that seems to divide people. On the one hand, he's the hero of Final Fantasy VII, and saves everyone from death and destruction (like you do). On the other hand, Cloud just can't stop complaining. Whether he's lamenting Sephiroth's exit, the loss of Aeris, or feeling sad about his will-they-or-won't-they relationship with Tifa, Cloud is the undeniable master of moping. This even extends to spin-off materials, as those who played the Kingdom Hearts series or Dissidia: Final Fantasy can attest to Cloud's moody speeches being present in both. Even his action figures are frowning! Lighten up, dude. For real.
5. Hope Estheim (Final Fantasy XIII)
Little kids in video games generally come in two varieties: creepy or cute. Hope, however, breaks the mold and is both whiny and murderous. Sure, no one expects a kid to be happy after they witness their mother's death, but Hope takes moping to a whole-new level not seen in a Final Fantasy game since Cloud. However, what places Hope in a higher ranking is the fact that he decides to place the blame on a completely unrelated character and goes after him with some ill-placed murderous rage. Of course, his murder attempt doesn't work (he is a kid, after all), and it's hard to take his death threats seriously (I mean look at that face!), but he makes the attempt, fails, and then gets back to his regularly scheduled moping.
His character suffers from being pointless, and almost completely extraneous to the plot. It's like someone thought Final Fantasy XIII needed to be MORE depressing. Of course, Hope does go through the requisite "transformative" stage near the end, but I'm not buying it. Angsty little kids never really change.
4. Elika (Prince of Persia)
The Prince of Persia "reboot" in 2008 was a lot of things. Discontinued, being one of them. Though I liked the re-imagining of the franchise, there was one part that grated on my nerves: Elika. While initially Elika displayed the plucky charm that so many Disney princesses and Dreamworks heroines display initially, unlike these heroines, Elika never grew up. She was a consummate fifteen-year old in attitude, and even goes as far as to decide which "corrupted" are worth saving, depending on her personal likes (The warrior is in, but the concubine, well forget about her!). If it weren't for her magical glowing, flying, and life-saving powers, I would have chucked her off one of the many Persian cliffs long before journey's end.
3. Roman Bellic (Grand Theft Auto IV)
Niko Bellic was one of the most likable characters that the Grand Theft Auto series has ever produced. Multi-layered, flawed, and ultimately tragic, Niko certainly made a lasting impression on all who experienced his story. His cousin Roman, however, was the exact opposite. Endlessly chatty, pointlessly involved in important events, and great at catching bullets, Roman Bellic was easily the worst thing about one of the best-rated games of all time. Constantly picking him up (wasn't HE the cab driver?) and hearing about his girlfriend for the 875,768th time all contribute to the hate this character most obviously deserves.
2. Sparx the Dragonfly (The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning)
Not many people liked the Spyro the Dragon reboot in 2006, which is a shame as I found it to be quite enjoyable. With high production values, a cute story, and plenty of simple platforming, Spyro: A New Beginning was a fairly standard title that should have at least registered some mediocre praise. So what's to blame for this game's failure to launch? Sparx the Dragonfly. While secondary characters like Ignitus had suitable personalities and added value to the plot when the spoke, Sparx just added idle chatter to the conversation and ruined any emotional scene he had the misfortune to be in (I have horrible memories of Ignitus' capture scene). And, of course, a terrible voiceover by David Spade didn't help matters much...
1. Bayonetta (Bayonetta)
Bayonetta is, hands-down, one of my favorite action games of all time. The relentless battle system and the cinematic approach to the gameplay all made this a memorable romp through a supernatural world filled with amazingly-designed angels and demons. The only problem? The titular Bayonetta. With an accent that travels across the whole of Eurpoe and an oral fixation that manifests itself at the most awkward of times, Bayonetta had a personality that grated on the nerves. Sure, she wasn't terrible to look at, and I'm sure more than a few players appreciated her "ability" to remove her clothes during strong attack sequences, but her terrible dialogue and confusing personality (Do you like scarf boy? Do you want to kill him? Is he going to kill you? IT DOESN'T MATTER!) made her an annoying character to deal with during too-long story sequences.
The game really suffers every time Bayonetta starts talking, and if they could have just dropped the story, her personality, and her relentless one-liners (No, I do not want to touch you. Thanks.), the game would have been that much better. As a main character, Bayonetta is a total failure, and that is why she tops our list of the characters we love to hate.