Geralt von Rivia, Aloy and Nathan Drake: Without strong characters, video games would only be half as good

Geralt von Rivia, Aloy and Nathan Drake: Without strong characters, video games would only be half as good

Geralt von Rivia, Aloy and Nathan Drake

Right now I play a little Resident Evil Village every day after work. And although I join our tester Chris Dörre and also think that Village would have done more horror and fewer shooter passages, I have a lot of fun playing through the story. The puzzles are challenging, the fights are fun and the presentation of the setting and the nasty opponents is damn well implemented. One thing only plays a subordinate role for me in the new Resident Evil and this thing has a name: Ethan Winters.

Table of Contents - Without strong characters, video games would only be half as good

1 Not a matter of opinion 2 The definition of madness 3 The AI ​​needs a touch of humanity too 4 Skilled people 5 The king of characters I think I'm somewhere in the middle of the adventure and without knowing how Village ends, I claim now already once, I don't really care about the fate of my character. Sure, it's about saving his little daughter and as a gamer I want to do it. Ethan could, however, support me more and not be such a run-of-the-mill character that I forgot again within a very short time after finishing the story. Even in the predecessor Resident Evil 7, I found the opponents more interesting than Mister Winters and this now also runs through the new part of the series.

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Not a matter of opinion

Captain Price made his first appearance in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007 and has been one of the series' favorites ever since. Source: PC Games Hardware Now I could take it easy on myself and convince myself that the first-person perspective does not allow profound character development, but is that really true? Probably not, because I immediately think of some games in which I have grown fond of characters that I control from the ego view. Alyx Vance from the VR shooter Half-Life: Alyx comes to mind as quickly as a "B.J." Blazkowicz from Wolfenstein. Even the campaigns of the Call-of-Duty series offer me protagonists with "Soap" MacTavish, Captain Price or Alex Mason who are more sympathetic to me than Ethan Winters in Resident Evil.

The definition of madness

Another first-person shooter series has problems creating interesting playable characters. I really like the Far Cry franchise, but not because of a Jason Brody, Ajay Ghale, or my nameless character in Far Cry 5. Instead, the lively game world, varied missions and of course the crazy but charismatic antagonists inspire me in Far Cry. The Jackal, Pagan Min and also the Seed family are among the figureheads of the respective games. Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3, who is rightly one of the best villains in video game history, is enthroned one more step above. The monologue in which Vaas talks about the definition of madness is probably not only remembered by me as a big Far Cry fan.

Giancarlo Esposito is known to most from Breaking Bad and Better Call Soul. In Far Cry 6 he takes on the role of the antagonist. Source: via Resetera Even the sixth part of the series, which is due to appear on October 7th, should, based on previous impressions, fit seamlessly into the usual Far Cry scheme. With the actor Giancarlo Esposito an expressive and charismatic guy slips into the role of the villain. The playable figure, on the other hand, looks quite pale again in the first moving images. But I'll wait until I hold the game in my fingers and then I'll judge. It would definitely be nice if the two main protagonists should meet at about eye level. Otherwise Dani Rojas will be the next character whose fate I don't really care about. I will certainly find fun in Far Cry 6 again because of other things.

The AI ​​also needs a touch of humanity

Interestingly written characters who develop in the course of their story can be for even make the difference between a good and a very good game. To make this clear, I'll take the developer studio Supermassive Games: Both Until Dawn and the Dark Pictures Anthology with the previous games Men of Medan and Little Hope were created by the British team. While I grew fond of at least a few characters in Until Dawn, I absolutely don't mind in Men of Medan and Little Hope if my characters should go hops. From a gamer's point of view, the only thing that annoys me is the fact that I lose achievements or trophies through their screen death. However, I find it superfluous to mourn my protagonist. Although the characters in Until Dawn are far from perfect and personable, they evolve over the course of the story and show understandable emotions and reactions. As soon as I, as a gamer, change my mind about a character several times while gambling and think about how I would react in certain situations in real life, the game developers have found the right way.

Sounds strange but it is like this: Weaknesses also make protagonists stronger characters. In the Reboot trilogy, Lara Croft seemed at least a little more human than in the past. Source: Nvidia An interesting character doesn't even have to exude a lot of charm or humor. Both the Witcher Geralt von Rivia and Kratos from God of War have extremely strong personalities that are indispensable in the gaming industry, despite their grumpy and short-lived nature. I find such characters extremely important in the world of video games, in which stereotypes very often set the pace. This point brings me straight to perhaps the most famous gaming heroine: Lara Croft. It is probably like an insult to majesty when I say that the protagonist from Tomb Raider does not belong to the ranks of interesting characters for me. Do not get me wrong. I think it's fantastic that there is a character like Lara Croft who was actually a few years ahead of her time and who has been living the image of a strong woman in the gaming industry for almost three decades. But Lara is neither particularly personable nor funny, nor in any form charismatic or opinionated. With the reboot, Crystal Dynamics tried to make the archaeologist more grounded and vulnerable, but the spark in the new trilogy doesn't really want to jump over to me either.

Master of her field

The Uncharted series is going to be repeatedly compared to the Tomb Raider games. In contrast to the competition, however, the Naughty Dog developer studio manages to create extremely exciting characters. Of course, I'm primarily talking about the charming joker Nathan Drake, who has a brisk phrase on his lips even in the most dangerous situations. What I find much more important, however, is that the protagonist does not act perfectly in his actions. Nathan Drake has rough edges, lies as if printed in distress and is an absolute stubborn head. But these weaknesses, among other things, make Drake an authentic character. In addition to the adventurer, the Uncharted series also features some first-class characters. From Drake's mentor Victor "Sully" Sullivan to Chloe Frazier to his opponents Lazarevic, Marlowe and Nadine Ross. Without such characters, even a breathtaking adventure like Uncharted would be a little weaker.

The same applies to The Last of Us. The story about Joel, Ellie and in Part 2 also Abby is so profound and rousing, among other things, because the conversations are gripping and the decisions of the protagonists are understandable. The Sony studios generally have a good knack for characters that I take quickly to my heart. Finally there is also the aforementioned Kratos, Jin Sakai from Ghost of Tsushima and of course Aloy. Especially the heroine from Horizon: Zero Dawn completely convinced me in the search for her roots and I am really looking forward to the continuation of the adventure in Forbidden West. The moment Aloy found out the truth of her past left even me deeply pensive in an emotional chunk of ice.

The King of Characters

Arthur Morgan is just one of many great characters in Red Dead Redemption 2. Source: Rockstar Games In my opinion, the Sony figures can only be topped by one other studio: Rockstar North. No other development team manages to create such unique characters as the American-British company. While the protagonists in the GTA series are socially critical and have a good deal of self-irony, the two Red Dead Redemption titles are mostly serious. And although I initially thought it was a shame that I was no longer allowed to slip into the role of John Marston in Red Dead 2, I changed my mind very quickly. For me, Arthur Morgan is the greatest character in video game history. The development that the outlaw lays down in the story of the second part will also be difficult to beat in the future. The path from the most loyal member of the gang to the doubting and self-critical outlaw is a lonely one. Seeing this change of heart and taking Arthur Morgan's destiny into your own hands is an incredibly immersive experience. The other characters in Red Dead Redemption 2 also fit into the adventure in a terrific way. Sadie Adler, Hosea Matthews, Dutch van der Linde and Micah Bell are so strong characters that even a John Marston almost goes under. Fortunately, at the end of the story, this one has its own most memorable moments.

Certainly there are so many more characters in the world of video games that I have forgotten in this column. Guybrush Threepwood from Monkey Island and George Stobbart from Baphomet's Fluch deserve a mention, for example, who shaped the point & click genre like no other genre representatives. In addition to a fascinating game world and a well-written story, in my opinion it is the characters that decide whether a game will end up being something special.

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