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The best new characters of 2010

Juri

Introduced in… Super Street Fighter IV

There were only two new characters introduced in Super Street Fighter IV, but in keeping with our rules for this feature, we had to choose one of them as the “best.” It’s a tough call, but when the decision comes down to a slinky-sexy taekwondo combatress and a lava-red Turkish oil wrestler we had to go with… hm, actually that’s still a pretty tough choice. Screw it, let’s pick the deliciously evil femme fatale and call it a day.

Juri’s overall aesthetic appeal is quite strong even if you don’t spend hours a day honing mixups and perfecting your FADCs. Her bare stomach is an obvious center of attention, but we’re more taken in by the violet colors, lens-flaring robo-eyeball and her spiderlike top that slithers across her shoulders. It’s a strong, standout design in a game filled with iconic characters – the fact Juri even remotely sticks out next to people like Guile, Chun Li and Ryu is an accomplishment. That said, Juri is kind of a corporate ploy for cash and boners, as she was specifically designed to appeal to Korean players. Not sure that plan worked, as we’ve yet to see an expert-level Juri player really stomp people at events like EVO, Season’s Beatings or Shadowloo Showdown. But hey, at least she looks nice.


Legion

Introduced in… Mass Effect 2

As you’ve likely been told a thousand times, Mass Effect is all about the characters. In fact, most of Mass Effect 2 centers around you recruiting said characters and dealing with their personal baggage. That means a whole lotta talking, and with a cast that’s growing into the double digits there’s a lot of competition for your affection. And while we obviously can’t get it on with a robot, Legion’s clinical and decidedly mechanical delivery made him our favorite addition.

Legion is actually over 1,000 geth – hence the name. He says “we” and “this mobile platform” instead of personal references, and presents a view of humanity (and the galaxy at large) that biological life can never quite relate to. Every conversation is intriguing, every comment is enlightening and every greeting is a refreshingly emotionless take on life. But it’s not like you’re talking to a toaster, as Legion has a number of subtle facial tics that convey feelings he technically doesn’t have. True, HK-47 kinda-sorta did the same thing in KOTOR, but his obvious disdain for “meatbags” permeated every sentence – here, you get a cool, calculating hive mind that’s coming down to our level so it can save itself from an even bigger threat. The only down side? It’s possible to make it to the near-end of the game before acquiring Legion, depriving you of several immensely cool opportunities to see and hear his unique take on the mission.


Monkey

Introduced in… Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

We wanted to hate Monkey at first. Everything about the protagonist's design – from the anime hairdo, raccoon makeup and swinging "tail" to the bulging muscles and exposed pelvic muscles (did we really just type that?) – seemed ridiculous, like the developers were trying way too hard to grab our attention. The generically grumpy Gears of War personality didn't help.

If only Marcus Fenix had a Trip. As soon as Enslaved's fragile sidekick is introduced to the story, Monkey becomes three-dimensional, with something rarely found in videogames – an actual character arc. Through some of the year's best cutscenes, motion capture and voice acting, we watch as this caged animal transforms into a selfless and heroic man. Not in a single moment, but slowly, from one subtle line of dialogue or nonverbal cue to the next.

And then, when romantic rival Pigsy is introduced just so he can make fun of Monkey's appearance? Developers, you win.


Oswald the Rabbit

Reintroduced in… Disney's Epic Mickey

Technically, he isn't new. Technically, he's almost a century old. However, this is Oswald the Rabbit's first videogame appearance – heck, it's his first major appearance anywhere since before World War II – and the story of how this came to be is too good for us to ignore.

Walt Disney created Oswald while working under Universal Pictures in the late 1920s, but after a nasty budget dispute with producers, decided to leave the character behind and start his own studio, as well as give life to a slight variation on Oswald by the name of Mickey Mouse. One cartoon was soon world-famous, while the other faded into obscurity.

Until, in a rather hilarious 2006 deal, Disney traded very real ABC sportscaster Al Michaels for its long-lost, ink-and-paint mascot, clearing the way for Oswald the Rabbit to show up in stores as a stuffed animal, as a t-shirt logo, as a collectible figurine and, best of all, as a celebrity mouse's estranged and justifiably jealous sibling in 2010's Epic Mickey. It's a comeback tale over 80 years in the making, and the happy ending occurred in a videogame. Pretty cool, right?

Topics

Best of 2010

49 comments

  • Sleuth - April 27, 2011 4:46 a.m.

    Legion is fascinating in Mass Effect 2 and I'm looking forward to seeing him in ME3. Alan Wake was an excellent new character in 2010 by the way.
  • soren7550 - January 6, 2011 3:59 a.m.

    Thanks to Eleanore and my good choices, I nearly started bawling terribly. But what about Sir Walter Beck and/or Ben Fin from Fable 3? They were awesome!
  • johnthe5th - January 3, 2011 5:35 p.m.

    You forgot Anthony Higgs!! /s
  • mattdark - January 2, 2011 11:50 p.m.

    I happily agree with the choice of Sazh, out of all the characters in the game, his story seemed to have to greatest part, and his character seemed to have the strongest reason to fight, he truly was the stand-out character for the game.
  • NightCrawler_358 - January 2, 2011 8:26 p.m.

    Haha shelby! the line about him also capturing your hearts was pretty good. Also, if Oswald was in here, maybe you could also include Scott Pilgrim's first videogame introduction? Anyways John Marston is the best.
  • JADENkOTOR - January 2, 2011 2:06 a.m.

    and Jack from ME2 should have made the list. She is number 1
  • JADENkOTOR - January 2, 2011 1:56 a.m.

    John Marston is a total rip off Clint Eastwoods character William Munny in Unforgiven. Marston is cool but not original This is a good list but where is Commander Shepard and Mario and Ezio and Kirby? No Donkey Kong?
  • BurntToShreds - January 1, 2011 11:33 p.m.

    I actually think that CJ from San Andreas cleaned himself up by the end of the game. Sure, he got dragged back into the gang stuff, but he was also being harassed by Officer Tenpenny. He also had to work with weird characters to get back at the people he once treated as brothers. It seems strangely like a parallel to Red Dead Redemption in that respect, except for the part where CJ got a happy ending. I really miss all the wacky stuff Rockstar used to do in GTA. I hope they bring back the same craziness for GTA5.
  • mysterioso2006 - January 1, 2011 7:18 p.m.

    Surprised Lily from FNV didn't make it. Tabitha is equally hilarious, sure, but Lily is much more important to the story (she can become a companion!). And the whole sweet little granny shtick ("What was that, deary," etc.) coming from this monster with that gravely voice was quite refreshing.
  • philipshaw - January 1, 2011 6:25 p.m.

    John Marston has been my favorite character of this year and maybe even the generation by some distance
  • EnigmaSpirit - January 1, 2011 7:33 a.m.

    Does anyone else think Sazh looks alot like Michael from Lost?
  • WickedSid - December 31, 2010 10:23 p.m.

    Oh No! They Revealed the Identity of THE ORIGARMI KEELER! I still get shivers when I think about Marston's Death. Damn, that scene was so great.
  • Overlord153 - December 31, 2010 9:13 p.m.

    @FelixtheCat We can probably tell you like Juri by looking at your picture.
  • sed598 - December 31, 2010 4:16 p.m.

    Really no Chuck Green?
  • kachigop - December 31, 2010 3:50 p.m.

    Wasn't John Marsten technically not new because he was in Red Dead Revolver...? I never played that game though so maybe I'm incorrect. All I know is that RDR was an amazing game and I was so pissed when John kicked the bucket.
  • reaperman22 - December 31, 2010 1:19 p.m.

    i loved Tabitha's broadcasts but unfortunately i had to disintegrate her and the real Rhonda :(.... oh well Raul is a pretty funny character, i probably would of chose yes man as fallout's character though or if you really wanted a super mutant then Lilly would be a good choice, its so funny how occasionally she will just start talking to her second personality or starts talking to her grand kids
  • CaptainSalmon - December 31, 2010 1:10 p.m.

    Loved both Legion and Sazh oh so much. Really annoyed me that they weren't that brilliant when it came down to choosing your squad (for both games). :/
  • ArmTheBomb - December 31, 2010 10:36 a.m.

    Awesome list. I'm glad Eleanor made the list, as I agreed with everything writen below her name in the article. Fantastic character.
  • texasgoldrush - December 31, 2010 9:58 a.m.

    Why isn't Trip on here? Monkey is great but Enslaved really is Trip's story.
  • malakai - December 31, 2010 9:49 a.m.

    zhazz seriously looks like a 40 yr old version of my best mate and that picture with his hand on his chin is actually an injoke between us but its about louis from l4d. the only difference between them is my friend is hispanic not black

Showing 1-20 of 49 comments

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