The best new characters of 2010

Mario, Kirby, Samus and Donkey Kong will not appear on these pages. Neither will Ezio, Sam Fisher or Commander Shepard. While we spent plenty of time with these videogame stars in 2010, they're old. Familiar. Expected. Lovable yet predictable.

You certainly can't say that about the following 10 characters, first introduced to us over the past 12 months. They're new. Surprising. Exciting. We'd barely heard of them at the start of the year, but by the end, we couldn't stop talking about them. Or wanting to see more of them.

Who were your favorite freshman faces? Tell the world in the comments below.


Introduced in… Bayonetta

Her clothes are actually her hair? No, stop right there. If Bayonetta were the shameless, overtly sexualized puppet her naysayers would have you believe, Platinum would have made her more instantly likeable. More giggly. More vacuous. A kind of popcorn/soft porn character with 'titillation' as her middle name. Bayo Titillation Netta.

The reality is, past the crotch shots and glimpses of soft girl bits, Bayonetta's quite abrasive and initially difficult to like. She's cruel in conversation, more womanly than girly (well, she is over 500 years old) and it's not until you're quite a way into the game that you come to appreciate the true depth of her character.

She's intelligent. Maternal. She's got utmost confidence in her abilities and a strength that takes over instantly when it needs to. And sure, her hair attacks leave her in little more than her birthday suit, but we're all mature enough to enjoy that while still taking in the rest of the spectacle on offer, right?

Eleanor Lamb

Introduced in… BioShock 2

As we've written a million times before, we thought BioShock 2 was a mistake when originally announced. And as we've admitted a million times since, we were wrong. What changed our minds? What convinced us that a one-of-a-kind artistic achievement could be replicated after all and, in some ways, even surpassed?

Two words: Eleanor Lamb. Sure, the weapons were stronger, the plasmids were cooler and the enemies were scarier, but the biggest thing that BioShock 2 had over BioShock 1 was an emotional core. Until the famous twist, our only motivation in the first game was saving an unseen stranger's family. In the sequel, our motivation is clear and strong from the start: save your Little Sister, or you will DIE.

Eleanor wouldn't make this list if she was merely a helpless MacGuffin, though. She's later revealed as a surprisingly badass grown-up with incredible fighting prowess and – during the final scenes – as a living, breathing reflection of your moral choices throughout the game. In the end, she is you.

John Marston

Introduced in… Red Dead Redemption

The man pictured above is one mean motherfucker. Or, at least, he was. That’s the beautiful - and poignant - thing about John Marston. Unlike every other Rockstar protagonist we’ve played as thus far, John’s days of greed, lust and immoral violence are behind him. He used to be an outlaw, but now he just wants to support his family, and the only reason he’s quit tending cattle and restarted killing men is because he needs to save that family.

Even then, he only kills the bad men (unless you want the game to punish you, of course). He’s polite to pedestrians. He’s patient with crazies like Seth and Irish. He turns down prostitutes. Hell, he even picks flowers when the mood strikes. Niko Bellic and CJ Johnson talked a lot about cleaning up and going straight, but then spent their entire games acting increasingly psychotic. John Marston has already succeeded in turning his present life around... tragically, however, his past life is destined to catch up with him.


Best of 2010


  • lukel - December 30, 2010 6:09 p.m.

    First John Marston is awesome
  • AlmightyFuzz - December 30, 2010 6:12 p.m.

    Sazh was the only thing I liked about FF13. Except for the fun combat, and the damn pretty world, I really thought the game was rather crap.
  • FoxdenRacing - December 30, 2010 6:19 p.m.

    Another brilliant end-of-year list. A belated Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and joyous occasion for any other holidays celebrated in the GR office, be they as mainstream as Hanukkah or as obscure as Festivus!
  • revrock - December 30, 2010 6:37 p.m.

    Here is a bit of a twist; How about Daniel Craig as 007 in Goldeneye?
  • Robusken - December 30, 2010 6:59 p.m.

    Completely agree with Sazh and Monkey.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - December 30, 2010 7:04 p.m.

    Sazh was actually a really good character- too bad I hated playing his segments. Except for the theme park. That was a brilliant bit.
  • gannsi - December 30, 2010 7:12 p.m.

    Legion and scott shelby!
  • Redeater - December 30, 2010 7:17 p.m.

    Oh how I loved all of these games. Please give me Bioshock 3 and Enslaved 2.
  • g4m3rk1dd - December 30, 2010 7:42 p.m.

    Sazh and the chocobo were the best characters in FF13 hands down
  • 510BrotherPanda - December 30, 2010 8:12 p.m.

    I really like Oswald now; his re-introduction into the Disney fold made me go to YouTube to look up the silent cartoons he starred in, and I now understand what a huge success he could have been if Iwerks/Disney were able to take him from Universal... I'm also sort of biased in his favor because my family has a black rabbit. I haven't played FF13, but Sazh looked like a very likable character from the start. I wished he was in Dissidia 2, but seeing as Lightning is scheduled to be in it, I doubt he'll get a chance to reappear.
  • Korvak - December 30, 2010 8:19 p.m.

    I really liked Monkey but I would have gladly braved a Robot Apocalypse for Trip.
  • Felixthecat - December 30, 2010 8:28 p.m.

    Bayonetta, John Marston, Juri and Sazh are by far the best.
  • Grif - December 30, 2010 8:30 p.m.

    I wish Scott Shelby wasn't the Origami, I mean origarmi killer.
  • Yeager1122 - December 30, 2010 8:49 p.m.

    Legion was great but i also do wish you could have gotten him earlier in the game.
  • MoChilla - December 30, 2010 9:04 p.m.

    I was thinking Enslaved should win an award for something other than gameplay and it had to be for best character: Pigsy. He's great in Enslaved, but shines in his DLC. He's comedic, has a goal, great change in story telling and artwork and best of all Richard Ridings delivery. He can deliver Laughs and emotion (Spoiler: the end is touching.)
  • CH3BURASHKA - December 30, 2010 9:05 p.m.

    Where's the angry Asian Spoilers guy? I miss him...
  • Onepersonwithnoopinion - December 30, 2010 9:09 p.m.

    Might wanna give an honorable mention to Tychus Findley from Starcraft 2 here, but other than that great list.
  • Clovin64 - December 30, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    I totally agree with the choices on this list. Especially Monkey, John Marston and Sazh. Marston in particular is one of the main reasons I enjoyed RDR more than any GTA, for all the reasons you mentioned. He's a far more likeable sympathetic character than any GTA hero. As for Heavy Rain, I warmed up to Scott Shelby faaaaaaaaaar more than any of the other characters. I was gutted when he turned out to be the killer. I kept thinking I had done something wrong to get a crap ending or something.
  • Spocksjock - December 30, 2010 10:18 p.m.

    No Mordin or Alan Wake? I really liked both of them.
  • Dredgon - December 30, 2010 10:46 p.m.

    I love Legion, he is one of my favorite characters in ME 2 along with Thane and The Illusive Man, and I can't wait to spend more time with him in 3 as he was introduced late in 2. I also loved Alan Wake, even though at times he could be a jerk!

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