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Best Protagonists

9: The Nameless One - ‘Planescape Torment’

The immortal protagonist wakes up at the beginning of the game with amnesia and sets out on a quest to rediscover his old memories. The story unfolds and shows that he has multiple incarnations, all of which tried to gather the pieces of his memories. It’s then revealed that he became immortal to escape death and eventual retribution for a terrible crime. It’s a sad story, to be sure, but the amount of lore provided a deep background for a character that you can’t help but feel sorry for as the credits roll.

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8: Lara Croft - ‘Tomb Raider’ series

She is more than just a female version of Indiana Jones or Nathan Drake. Her athletic skills, intelligence, and tenacity put this adventurer in a league of her own. She explored the ruins of many civilizations, endured punishing climates, and fought off beasts and human foes alike. She overcame every obstacle thrown at her in pursuit of long lost treasures. Lara Croft is one of the hallmark characters in the action/adventure genre and fans should expect more adventures with her in future installments.

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7: Solid Snake - ‘Metal Gear Solid’ series

The clone of Big Boss will go down in history as one of the best soldiers in warfare. As a sole combatant, he is able to infiltrate areas such as nuclear facilities, warzones, and water treatment plants undetected to take down terrorists and evil organizations. With the weapons found on the battlefield, he can easily take down a whole army and even gigantic robots. If you need someone to quell a hostage crisis or destroy a nuclear powered Metal Gear, you know who to call.

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6: Duke Nukem - ‘Duke Nukem’ series

The comedic shooter series features a man who is cocky, humorous, and fond of politically incorrect statements. This combination of personality traits with intense, action-packed gameplay creates a protagonist that made an impressionable statement on many gamers. He’s also seen as a parody of classic action movie heroes such as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, which further adds to the appeal. The series recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of Duke Nukem 3D, which should give newcomers enough to acquaint themselves with the popular character.

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5: The Master Chief - ‘Halo’ series

We might never see the full face of the Spartan underneath the helmet, but his exploits have earned him fame throughout the galaxy. After vanquishing the Flood, he killed the Prophet of Regret and fought against the mighty Didact. With just a handful of weapons, the Master Chief is able to carry out his mission and take out any alien threats to humanity. He might not say much, but his actions always speak louder than words.

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4: Cloud Strife - ‘Final Fantasy VII’

The Buster Sword-wielding soldier is one of the most well-known characters in Square Enix’s hallmark series. Throughout Final Fantasy VII, players followed Cloud as he and his allies find Jenova, meet Sephiroth, and witness the death of Aerith. In the second half of the story, it’s revealed that Cloud’s memories were not his own. This was due to his traumatic experience right after the death of his friend Zack. Players felt for Cloud’s sad backstory, which enabled them to cheer him on as he sought revenge against Sephiroth.

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3: Gordon Freeman - ‘Half-Life series

The silent scientist didn’t expect to fight aliens during his tenure at Black Mesa, but as we all know, circumstances changed. Armed with his iconic crowbar (in addition to other weapons) Freeman goes on a quest to save the world from invading alien species. Throughout the series, Freeman doesn’t utter a word, which allows players to insert their own personality into his character. However, there is enough in his backstory for players to see him not as a representation of themselves, but as an entirely separate character.

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2: Commander Shepard - ‘Mass Effect’ series

Bioware’s original trilogy put you in charge of an elite Spectre soldier tasked with taking out threats such as the Reapers and the Collectors. Your choices in dialog events as well as his overall skills allow you to create a unique version of Commander Shepard for your session. He or she could be a caring and kind commander or someone who will risk everything to complete the mission.

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1: Geralt of Rivia - ‘The Witcher’ series

Geralt of Rivia is at the top of this list not just because of his incredible ability to take down monsters, but also because of his relationship with other characters. His outward appearance might seem cold-hearted at first, but you find out his true nature when he speaks to his friends such as Ciri, Dandelion, and Yennefer. He’ll do anything to save his friends, even if it means taking down the King of the Wild Hunt. When he’s not hunting or saving the world, however, he’ll always have time to play some Gwent.

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  • boju
    Why did you have to remind me of Mr Freeman on New year's! ::(
    Reply
  • kmabee
    Where is Link?!
    Reply
  • coolitic
    You know, the more I read these gamer-related articles on Toms, the more I'm convinced Rexly Penaflorida is a fake-geek.
    Reply
  • TheDane
    Chell and Gordon Freeman :)
    Reply
  • okcnaline
    Metal Gear...!
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    Ezio and Desmond went missing on this one :P Nice lineup though!
    Reply
  • zarko.1989katlanovo
    "Duke Nukem (hail to the king baby)" and "Gordon Freeman (i will solve all unknown mysteries)"
    Reply
  • jackt
    Guybrush Threepwood FOREVER ! (sorry Duke)
    Reply
  • chimera201
    20538662 said:
    You know, the more I read these gamer-related articles on Toms, the more I'm convinced Rexly Penaflorida is a fake-geek.

    According to you, the Tom’s Hardware Community, the following 19 characters are the best protagonists in all of video games.

    Reply
  • cryoburner
    Some of these entries are alright, but others are just terrible. Chell from Portal? The story of Portal is about GLaDOS, while Chell just fulfills the role of a silent, everyman protagonist who is there to complete challenges and carry things forward, and aside from having a name, is not really fleshed out beyond being a generic test subject.

    While Gordon Freeman might share a few similarities with that design, he is arguably a bit different, in that he is the central, pivotal character that the events of the games are centered around, and while Gordon, much like the player, might not have a clear idea of what's going on in the game world, the rest of the characters tend to turn toward him as the driving force behind the events that are taking place. And most importantly, he has no equivalent of GLaDOS to upstage him.

    But, wait... Gordon Freeman is number three... Freeman... Threeman... Half-Life 3 confirmed!?
    Reply