8 Great Games that have Horrible Protagonists

Game characters run the gamut of archetypes. Some are heroic, some are morally ambiguous, and some are downright despicable. Strangely enough, some of the best games include some of the most horrible protagonists. Despite how bad they are, we still love their games. These eight games picked by our community are great examples of that.

Special thanks to vledleR for starting the thread!

Luke – Tales of the Abyss
First mentioned by TizzytheTormentor

Luke fon Fabre begins Tales of the Abyss as a whiny, annoying brat. While this makes sense in the context of the story, he doesn’t seem to learn from his mistakes. He does an evil thing for an evil person, and then is surprised that the evil person is evil. Even worse, when events in the story should lead him to change for the better, he simply adds a layer of angsty behavior to his already annoying persona. Even when he finally decides he’s going to save the world, it can’t make up for how terrible his character was for the majority of the game.

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Bayonetta – Bayonetta series
First mentioned by Xeros

Bayonetta is one of those games that people just love. They love the gameplay, they love the action, and they love the style. Unfortunately, the main character doesn’t live up to the game. Bayonetta herself never really develops as a character beyond simply being powerful. On multiple occasions throughout both the titles in the series, her attempts to convey emotion of any type fall flat, leaving only her ass kicking abilities for her to stand on. It may not take away from the game, but it certainly makes us wonder what the games would have been like if she’d been a better character.

Vincent Brooks – Catherine
First mentioned by FPLOON

It isn’t hard to see why people dislike Vincent Brooks. After all, he’s drifting through life seemingly trying to do as little as possible, and he has the attention of two beautiful women – Katherine (his girlfriend) and Catherine (who he is cheating on Katherine with). He’s got a drinking problem, and regularly has blackouts, which often result in him waking up with Catherine in his bed. He’s afraid of commitment and confrontation, and seems as though he’d be content just to slide through life under everyone’s radar. It’s little wonder he annoys so many people.

Master Chief – Halo
First mentioned by Evonisia

The Spartan super soldier who saved humanity may seem an odd inclusion on this list, but Master Chief is an under-performing character. He has little in the way of character traits, and seems to exist mostly to allow other charters the freedom to do interesting things. At the times in the series where we’ve gotten to play as someone other than him, it’s only served to highlight how much better those other characters are. If it wasn’t for Cortana, the Chief might be even more bland than he already is.

Vaan – Final Fantasy 12
First mentioned by Lufia Erim

Vaan seems out of place in Final Fantasy 12. He was created largely because of the negative feedback Square received about an older main character in Vagrant Story, and he sometimes feels like an afterthought. He has very little involvement in the game’s plot, outside of resolving the conflict around his brother’s death, which is done almost nonchalantly. It’s fairly obvious that he was added not because the plot demanded it, but because the marketing department did, and that’s the main reason why he fails to resonate with players.

Alex Mercer – Prototype
First mentioned by silver wolf009

In Prototype, Alex Mercer has unleashed a virus on Mew York, and along the way, given himself superpowers. He goes on a revenge-fueled, destructive rampage that’s ostensibly to find the truth behind the conspiracy. In truth, it turns out that Alex is just not a very nice person. He kills indiscriminately and to further his own ends. Worse, he consumes people simply to gain a little knowledge. The game itself suggests that he’s a psychopath, saying, “The target exhibits a classic low affect personality, psychopathic disregard for others, narcissistic world view punctuated by self-obsessive disorders.”

The Dragonborn – Skyrim
First mentioned by Marxie

I’m hearing the objections to this one already. “The Dragonborn is a blank slate, so he’s what we make him!” But don’t forget – no matter how you build your character, the story never changes. And therein lies the problem: The Dragonborn’s story is a generic “world-saving hero” tale that’s both cliched and predictable. Worse, it often feels inferior to the side quests you encounter along the way. There’s little character development beyond gaining a perk or a new ability, leading to a very unsatisfying experience, at least in terms of character.

Kratos – God of War
First mentioned by baddude1337

God of War may have been a great game series, but Kratos is a hard guy to like. He’s been legitimately wronged by the gods, but the game seemed to always be making excuses for Kratos’ behavior. That would be fine, except that Kratos always seems to go out of his way to be a jerk. Rather than help the tormented people he runs across in his travels, he grinds them under the heel of his desire for revenge at any cost. Nowhere is this more evident than when he encounters Poseidon’s Princess in God of War III. Kratos appears to be saving her, but he then uses her body to hold a crank in place so he can pass, leaving her to be crushed in the gears. It’s a perfect example of just how far gone Kratos is.

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