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Best Protagonists

The Community Votes: Best Protagonists

Some games are memorable because of their mechanics; others are memorable for their stories. There are a select few, however, that are etched into our minds because of their protagonists. These characters are our windows into the game, and without them, we wouldn’t experience unforgettable tales. According to you, the Tom’s Hardware Community, the following 19 characters are the best protagonists in all of video games.

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19: Rico Rodriguez - ‘Just Cause’ series

The CIA-trained one-man army is the subject of not one, but three Just Cause titles. In each installment, he is dispatched to work with a country’s citizens to initiate regime change. This means starting trouble by any means necessary, such as grabbing enemy soldiers with his grappling hook or blowing up an entire fuel station. He can liberate a nation for you, but expect mayhem and chaos to follow in his wake.

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18: The Courier - ‘Fallout: New Vegas’

Your version of the The Courier might be the savior of New Vegas or the harbinger of its doom. As you make your way through the Mojave Wasteland to find Benny and the Platinum Chip, you’ll encounter multiple factions and characters. Some of your actions with these groups will determine their attitudes towards you, and in the game’s final moments, you’ll also have to decide the fate of New Vegas. Will a major faction, such as Caesar’s Legion or the New California Republic, seize control of the region, or will you make it the Wasteland an independent area?

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17: Booker DeWitt - ‘BioShock: Infinite’

The final entry in the series started out with a simple mission to rescue Elizabeth Comstock from the flying city of Columbia. However, her powers revealed dark secrets about Booker. In addition to being the father of Elizabeth, a.k.a. Anna DeWitt, Booker would eventually become Zachary Comstock if he proceeded with a baptism event. In some timelines, he became the leader of Columbia, but if he rejected the ritual, he would keep his identity of Booker DeWitt. By making the ultimate sacrifice and dying before the baptism can occur, Booker eliminates both outcomes and erases himself from reality.

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16: Leon Kennedy - ‘Resident Evil’ series

The rookie cop who eventually became a special agent for the U.S. government stars in multiple installments in the horror series. In Resident Evil 2, he endured through the horrors of Raccoon City. Resident Evil 4 saw him fight against an evil cult that used parasites to turn the locals into terrifying beings. His most recent appearance was in Resident Evil 6, where he saves the world from destruction with the help of Chris Redfield, Jake Muller, and Ada Wong. His calm and determined approach to all of the terrifying situations that surround him easily makes him one of the most admired characters in the series.

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15: Kyle Katarn - ‘Star Wars: Dark Forces’ and ‘Star Wars: Jedi Knight’ series

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story puts Jyn Erso and her allies as the group responsible for stealing the plans for the Death Star. However, fans of the old Star Wars games will dispute that the original thief was Kyle Katarn, a mercenary who eventually become a member of the Jedi order. His list of feats grew in Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II when he was able to kill a group of Dark Jedi. Katarn was a popular figure and became the subject of multiple games as well as books. He might be written out of the main story’s canon, but to many fans he’s still one of the most memorable characters in the Star Wars universe.

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14: Chell - ‘Portal’ series

The silent protagonist is GLaDOS’ main subject for multiple puzzle tests within Aperture Science. Armed only with a portal device, Chell manages to complete every challenge set before her. In the later stages of both games, she was also able to confront her captors, GLaDOS and Wheatley, respectively, and take them down with the help of portals. Chell is smart, fast, and agile — in other words, the perfect test subject. Just remember: the cake is a lie.

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13: Max Caulfield - ‘Life is Strange’

The 18-year-old Blackwell Academy student seems like a regular teenager, but she has a strange power that makes her stand out from her peers. With her ability to rewind time, she can change events to a favored outcome. In some situations, she even uses her powers to prevent specific characters from dying. Her relationship with Chloe Price is put to the test at the end of the game where she has to use her powers to decide if she wants to save her best friend or the town of Arcadia Bay.

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12: B.J. Blazkowicz - ‘Wolfenstein’ series

There are now 11 entries in the Wolfenstein franchise, and they feature the one and only B.J. Blazkowicz. Armed with a multitude of weapons, he takes on hordes of Nazi soldiers and the Third Reich’s terrible creations. The most recent games in the series put him on the defensive due to the Nazi invasion of America. In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, he bands together with local resistance fighters in an effort to repel the occupation and give America back to its rightful citizens.

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11: Adam Jensen - ‘Deus Ex’ series

The prequel titles to the original Deus Ex game featured Adam Jensen as their main protagonist. With numerous biotic enhancements to his body, Jensen travels the world as part of his ongoing investigation into the conflict between “natural” and “augmented” humans. With the right weapons and augmentations at his disposal, Jensen can sneak past guards to complete the objective, or he can quickly take them out in a firefight.

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10: Guybrush Threepwood - ‘The Secret of Monkey Island’

The protagonist of Lucasfilm Games’ 1990 point-and-click game arrives at Melee Island to become a pirate. By completing multiple trials, he also finds out about the Ghost Pirate LeChuck and his plans to kidnap governor Elaine. By assembling a crew, fighting LeChuck, and rescuing Elaine, Threepwood’s dreams of becoming a pirate become true. It’s a simple story, but Threepwood’s naiveté and determined spirit make him a beloved character.

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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