And what a generation it's been
A few months back we discussed our favorite characters of all time, honoring both the best heroes and best villains of all time. And as we sat around, discussing the gunslingers and captains, the philanthropists and monsters, the saints and the bastards, we realized that a lot of them came into existence fairly recently. There's a reason for that--the last generation, the one birthed with the Xbox 360 in November of 2005, the one that ushered in the HD era, is a damn important one when it comes to characters.
Voice acting, expression, believability--it's all much simpler when you have the improved fidelity that this most recent generation introduced. Suddenly you have A-list Hollywood talent putting on black suits covered in ping pong balls, acting their hearts out to bring life to your favorite characters. Because of this you have characters that are relatively young by industry standards, but still stand out amongst characters with over 20 years of history. Even as we enjoy the new, higher-def, particle-filled generation we're in, we still want to look back at the digital souls that made this last decade so memorable.
50. Francis York Morgan (Deadly Premonition)
You don't become one of the FBI's top men without a few screws going loose. Francis York Morgan is the definition of a character--a calm, collected man with a love of cinema, constantly chatting with his quite-possibly-imaginary companion and gazing into his morning coffee for predictions of the future. His dialogue is laughable, his line delivery is stilted, and his animations are rudimentary at best. And yet, all this makes him the perfect hero in a game as wonderfully bizarre as Deadly Premonition. Plus, we can't think of any other protagonist who would have the courage to try the "sinners" sandwich. Isn't that right, Zach?
49. Agent Washington (House of the Dead: Overkill)
Washington introduces himself to his new partner G by punching him in the face (to the floor), before greeting him with Whats up, motherf**ker? And with that, he was indelibly stamped on our collective hearts. Washington is a proper brother (his word), who shoots to maim, swears in every scene we can remember, and manicures so nicely that he refuses to spoil the work by putting his hand inside a dead witch. We still quote him, years later. Dont make me go calling yo stupid-ass name.
48. Frank West (Dead Rising)
Frank Wests greatest qualities are his adaptability and his willingness to learn. After covering wars (yknow?), the photojournalist snuck into a zombie-ravaged town looking for a story. In the end, he became an undead-slaying hero. West was continually searching for answers in the gruesome mall, but he also kept learning new skills, like wrestling moves and how to use a sniper rifle. Hed even dress like Mega Man if he felt it would help him find survivors. Hes just that type of guy.
47. Tim (Braid)
Tim subverts our expectations of heroic motivation by using Braids continuity-fiddling mechanics to tell a love story in reverse. Through his diary entries and paintings, we get a glimpse into his fractured world, watching his inability to maintain a grip on relationships or the ebb and flow or time itself. And he's one of the only characters who we can project our own feelings onto; like the unwritten entries in his pedestal-placed journals, Tim is something of an open book.
46. Ghirahim (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
Our first impression of the Demon Lord's pale face and emo haircut didn't exactly strike fear into our hearts. But as he began to menace Link with evisceration and painful death threats, he quickly became incredibly unsettling and intimidating. Maybe it was his Miley Cyrus tongue lashing, his ability to catch Link's sword strikes with two fingers, or the fact that he could probably slit Link's throat in an instant. Within seconds of Ghirahim opening his mouth, we knew he was one bad guy we didn't want to mess with.
45. Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Uncharted series)
Essentially, Sully is just Nathan Drake with about 30 years-worth of miles on him. He shares many of Drake's most endearing features: roguish disposition, boyish sense of adventure, weakness for women. But unlike Drake, Sully's a real salty dog. He's crass and world-weary, coming up on the end of his days and providing a foil to Drake's inherent optimism. But he's also an excellent wingman, ready to bail Nate out at a moment's notice--delivering a crowd-pleasing raunchy one-liner to boot.
44. Tiny Tina (Borderlands 2)
Borderlands 2s 13-year-old explosives expert is absolutely bloody mental. Proper bonkers. When you first meet her, shes still got the mind of a child, yet has clearly had to adapt to the very adult Hyperion way of living. But in the DLC add-ons, she actually appears to be genuinely unstable. She does get a bit less nutty later on, but to be honest, her craziness is her charm. And well never forget her tea party. "I'm a little teapot, bloody and cut. Here is my handle and here is my butt."
43. Baird (Gears of War series)
You might think of him as "what's the name of the fourth guy from Gears of War? No, not Dizzy," but we reckon that Lieutenant Damon Baird is the most interesting character in the entire Gears franchise. Sure, he's a dick, but he backs it up with more smarts than the rest of the COG army put together. Anything that Dom, Marcus, and Cole can't do with a chainsaw bayonet, Baird can do with an invisible robot and his giant-ass brain.
42. Cole McGrath (inFamous 2)
The original Cole, the one from the first inFamous, was a forgettable dolt. Imagine our surprise when the character arrived in the sequel a new man. Suddenly, he had an electric personality to match his electrical superpowers, and more charm than we ever thought possible. We had all but given up on McGrath, but he turned out to be one of the most sympathetic super hero-types gaming had ever seen.