Monday, March 23, 2015

Best male characters in video games Part III

Lee Everett – The Walking Dead Season One

            Lee Everett was the protagonist of Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season One. Lee was an African American history professor teaching at the University of Georgia. Prior to the outbreak Lee was convicted for murdering a state senator who had an affair with his wife. He was on his way to serve his sentence when the police car he was in crashed. He survives the accident and escapes the zombies chasing him and then finds himself in a ghost town (zombie town). Searching for supplies and answers in the first house he finds, he stumbles on Clementine, a young girl hiding in a tree house which saves his life when fighting her babysitter now turned into a zombie. Lee promises Clementine that he will take care of her until they find her parents. The action of the game evolves with Lee at the center, underlining the growing relationship between him and Clementine.
                Lee Everett’s personality is mostly defined by the actions taken by the players, but he is an independent and intelligent person that acts as a leader for most of the groups he is part of and shows paternal feelings for Clementine. The bond between the two main characters is probably the most important thing in the game and the effect he had on Clementine and his teachings can be seen in the second season.
                The Walking Dead Season One is an emotional game from the beginning to the very end, but what makes the game stick in the memory of the players is the ending which is extremely sad even if it was something expected by many. Lee keeps his promise until the last moments and takes care of Clementine no matter the cost. He fights to his last breath so that she can be unharmed. Even if the emotional scars will probably last forever, Clementine walks forward stronger and more confident ready to face the challenges of tomorrow because of everything Lee taught her.
Like a family!
Always fighting!

Bigby Wolf – The Wolf Among Us

                Bigby was known as the Big Bad Wolf before the Fables seeked refuge in our world, now he is the sheriff of Fabletown, in charge with protecting the Fables from themselves or humans. Bigby is the main protagonist of the game and like Lee Everett he has some predefined personality traits, but many choices are left to the players controlling him.
This character is based on the main antagonist from the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood and while he tries to suppress some of his old habits, he doesn’t always manage to fully control his animalistic nature.
                During the events from The Wolf Among Us, Bigby has to put up with lots of problems in the Fables community, but what triggers the action of the game is the murder of Faith, a fable, by one of their own. While running the investigation to uncover who was behind the murder, Bigby stumbles on the larger problems of the community which go deeper than the crime itself.
                Since he used to be a terrible being back in the day, Bigby has a hard time connecting with most of his kind, many of them resenting him and the rest fearing him. This results in an isolation from those around him. Despite all these things, Bigby has a more soft side proven by his feelings for Snow and by how he does everything possible to protect Faith from the Huntsman despite not even knowing the girl. The player can alter his personality making him more aggressive or peaceful, but there are several things that the player has no impact on, one of them being the constant swearing.
                As the Big Bad Wolf, his combat abilities are some of the most developed compared with most of the characters met in the game. He can transform in a wolf (shocking!) in three different stages (super saiyan style!) in the last stage taking the form of a gigantic wolf. Compared with the rest of the Fables, Bigby can transform into a human, without using the special potion named glamour, due to his lycanthropy. Bigby is extremely agile in both human and wolf form and this is proven many times throughout the game as he dodges hits quite fast and has the ability to jump large distances. Another awesome power of his is the extreme resilience to life threatening damage, as he is able to survive being shot 40 times and all the powerful blows he takes during the game.
                Bigby is a well rounded character with an interesting background, a well defined personality that can be adjusted by the players and some incredible combat feats. With his constant smoking, careless and distant attitude and his dangerous mood swings, he is one of the most awesome characters in video games. Hopefully Telltale will continue the series as the first game was great!
Old pals!
Phase one!

Thrall – Warcraft Universe

                There are so many interesting characters in the expanded Warcraft universe that I will need a whole article just to briefly mention them, but for this article I had to pick the one that I find the most representative from my favorites. The top choices were Arthas Menethil, Ner’zhul, Medivh and Thrall, but I picked the latter because he is the best presented character on this list, mostly because he lived long enough so that his story develops further than that of the rest.
                Thrall is an orc shaman, the son of Durotan and Draka of the Frostwolf clan. As a baby, he was found between the dead bodies of his parents by Aedelas Blackmoore which gave him the name Thrall, another word for slave in human language. He was raised in Durnholde Keep to be a savage warrior as orcs should be, but was also trained to have the strategic mind of human leaders. He served as a gladiator and used his physical advantages of being an orc and his cleverness to stay alive. Blackmoore’s treatment towards him was brutal, beating Thrall with every occasion he had. With the help of Blackmoore’s daughter which he befriended during his studies in captivity, Thrall escaped Durnholde and through a series of adventures and more captivity he found out what happened with the remanants of the Horde after the Second War and learned about Grom Hellscream, the only uncontested leader of an orc’s clan. He reached the Frostwolf clan where he learned about his true parents and started to communicate with the elements, becoming the first non-corrupted shaman since Gul’dan’s pact with Mannoroth. Here he met a stranger orc that taunted Thrall into fighting him. After an honorable battle, Thrall disarmed his opponent which turned out to be Orgrim Doomhammer, the Warchief of the Horde.
Thrall joined his Warchief in battle against human camps in order to liberate the orcs they held captive and for the most part succeeded. But humans became aware of what is happening and during one battle Orgrim was gravely wounded, with his last breath he gave Thrall his hammer and armor and named him the new Warchief of the Horde.
                Later on Thrall met Grom Hellscream and together they searched for the dispersed forces and united them under one flag. Guided by Medivh, during the fall of Lordaeron in the Third War, Thrall drove the horde into an exodus to Kalimdor. When demons invaded Kalimdor, he fought side by side with Grom to kill Mannoroth , the demon responsible for the corruption of the orcs. Grom sacrificed himself delivering the last blow to the terrible demon and left Thrall leading a free nation of orcs. The horde under Thrall’s command stood side by side with humans led by Jaina Proudmoore and night elves forces during the battle of Mount Hyjal where Archimonde, the leader of the demons, was killed putting an end to the invasion.
                Under Thrall’s command the Horde prospered expanding all over Kalimdor and even in the Eastern Kingdoms. Trolls, Taurens, the Forsaken and even blood elves joined his cause. After years of leading, Thrall handed over this burdening task to Grom’s son, Garrosh Hellscream, which proved to be a mistake as Garrosh was bloodthirsty and didn’t miss any chance to engage in a war with the Alliance. Thrall continued to serve the greater good and tried many times to put an end to the conflict, he helped the world with his powers to fight one of the greatest evils that ever existed, Deathwing, the dragon aspect of Earth which was driven insane by power and Old Gods. After all the blood spilling and terrible things that happen, Thrall fought Garrosh in a one on one battle that he won using the power of the elements.
                Over the years Thrall had shown his incredible qualities, by being calculated, tactical and not letting himself fully driven by the moment’s impulse or emotions (something that many characters in this universe can’t do, leading them to their doom). He is a very skilled warrior in both physical and magical combat. He wields Orgrim’s hammer with great agility striking hard and swift, but also has the power to call the elements to aid him. Thrall is a natural born leader and is never alone, people of both factions follow him in battle and respect his decisions and actions. 
                There are many great leaders in this universe, but few have served his people and the world as good as Thrall did. Always searching the balance and attempting as much as possible to avoid conflict, Thrall is one of the few characters that never let himself to be corrupted by power or any of the superior forces that threaten the world. His actions made Azeroth a better place and it is hard to imagine this universe without him.
Lok'Tar Ogar! For the Horde!
A wise orc!

Arcturus Mengsk – Starcraft Series

                The son of Angus Mengsk, Arcturus was a terran from Korhal. Initially, he joined the ranks of the confederate marines, but at the end of the Guild Wars his father started a rebellion against the Terran Confederacy, declaring the planet Korhal independent. The Confederacy killed his mother, father and sister and driven by hate and vengeance Mengsk turned against the system and became the new leader of the Rebellion of Korhal. By gaining troops at an impressive rate and signing secret alliances, he determined the Confederacy to strike the planet using a thousand nuclear missiles, killing millions of people in the process. Mengsk wasn’t on the planet at the time and used this opportunity to rally the people against the barbaric leadership promising a brighter future for all the terrans. Using his leadership skills and mischievous plans, Mengsk started to win the war. He liberated Sarah Kerrigan from a terran research facility and used her immense powers at his advantage. He also got the veteran Jim Raynor to join his ranks and help him in this crusade. Mengsk destroyed planets in order to win the war by using advanced technology that could manipulate the zergs to come to a location. Ultimately, he used this technology on Tarsonis, the capital planet of the Confederacy, where things got out of control and the zergs outnumbered any forces present there. Mengsk abandoned even his own troops to the zerg swarm, including Sarah Kerrigan, which was probably the biggest mistake he made in his entire life as she was transformed by the zergs into a monster later known as the Queen of Blades, the future leader of the zergs and the biggest threat to the galaxy.
                After he won the war, Mengsk put an end to the masquerade abandoning any idea of democracy and all the promises he made. He became a dictatorial emperor in the newly formed Terran Dominion. Raynor quit the cause after Tarsonis and started a slowly evolving rebellion against the new leadership, while Kerrigan swore to take vengeance for his trickery. Mengsk is one of the best characters of Starcraft and Brood War. He has a charismatic personality and is a natural leader, these two traits helped him gather the people he needed to drive the rebellion forward. He had a way to impose his will on others without having to say too many words. But one of the things that gave him the edge was his ability to read people, knowing exactly how to manipulate them to his own advantage. Mengsk has been in many battles as a fighter, but being a leader is what suited him the best. His intelligence and strategic thinking helped the insurgency win impossible battles and bring down an entire political and military system against all odds. But as any great men, he had flaws. Mengsk’s lust for power and quickness to discard those around him brought his downfall at the hands of those that once believed in him and helped him win the war against the Confederacy, turning even his own son against himself. Even so, he always thought in advance, preparing the terrans for the upcoming battles with a threat far beyond everything that they have ever seen and having a backup plan even in the last moment.
                Starcraft II didn’t make Mengsk justice as he was a mere shadow of his former self. But his actions during the first two games and the books that expand his story show the greatness of this villainous character that changed the face of strategy games forever. As he, together with Sarah Kerrigan, shown that strategy games can have interesting characters and great villains like any other genres.
Imposing leader!
Relaxed and calculated until the very end.

To be continued...


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