Mordin Solus – Mass Effect Series
Choosing between Mordin, Thane and Legion was extremely difficult. Each of them has an extremely emotional and complicated story that doesn’t end very well, but I had to go with Mordin as he is, overall, probably the best written character in the entire series.
Mordin is a salarian professor, doctor and expert geneticist. He was part of the salarian Special Task Group and his last mission before retiring was to study the krogan genophage. When his team discovered that the krogans were naturally overcoming the mutations of the genophage, the team agreed to design a new genophage that will limit the reproduction level of krogans in an attempt to avoid a complete genocide against the krogan race.
During one of the missions to disperse the new genophage, things went wrong and Mordin was severely injured on his face, resulting in scars and a damaged right cranial horn.
After STG, Mordin dedicated his time to build and maintain a clinic to heal people. Mercenaries and vorcha tried to intimidate him, but he solved the problems by himself, killing everyone who didn’t let him do his work in peace.
Mordin joined Commander Shepard’s crew in Mass Effect 2 to help in the fight against the Collectors. He runs the tech labs on Normandy doing research to improve armor, weapons and abilities with the resources collected during missions.
During the events of Mass Effect 3 Mordin helps everyone on Normandy with various problems and assists the krogans on board with his medical knowledge. In the end, he is set on reversing the krogans’ genophage stating that the Reapers’ invasion has caused this change in heart. Later on, Mordin admits he made a mistake by focusing too much on the big picture. He thinks is his responsibility to cure the genophage and is ready to do anything to finish this even if it means going against Shepard’s will. The success of the mission is up in Shepard’s hands, which can shoot Mordin in order to stop him or let him go in the control room of a facility about to explode.
There are many endings to Mordin’s story based on the player’s decisions, but the one I found the most compelling is when Mordin dies in the facility reversing his actions from the past.
Salarians are a race with a hyperactive metabolism which makes them think, talk and move faster than other races, but with a cost. Salarians have a short life span rarely living past the age of 40 and in this short period of time they try to achieve greatness and so did Mordin.
Mordin Solus is one of the most intelligent characters found in the Mass Effect series. Possessing the knowledge to perform multiple jobs, he is a great asset to the Normandy’s crew and to Shepard’s team. He refuses to let his personal feelings and conscience get in the way of his judgment, but the repressed emotional feelings build up and are going to explode at some point.
Mordin handles himself very well in combat using heavy pistols and submachine guns as his firearms. He also has a set of powers including Incinerate, Cryo Blast and Neural Shock. I found him as one of the most balanced party members in Mass Effect 2.
Despite his actions being justified by the circumstances, Mordin never really lets go of the past and this haunts him until the end. The scars on his face represent a memento for his work during his time in STG. He sees his decision of modifying the genophage as the only option yet he sees the ethics of the mission as terribly disturbing and attempts to find his peace with it by turning to religion, but his problems still remain unresolved. The one thing that probably can redeem Mordin’s actions in his own eyes is to cure the genophage and leave the krogans with the liberty of their actions.
The complexity and emotional level of this character story blows out of proportions compared to most of the characters in the series. The choices he and the player have to make are incredibly hard and their results are emotional and unpredictable.
Mordin Solus stands as one of the most representative male characters for the Mass Effect series and one of the best male characters of all times.
“Have killed many, Shepard. Many methods. Gunfire, knives, drugs, tech attacks, once with farming equipment. But not with medicine.”
JC Denton – Deus Ex
While Adam Jensen who featured as the protagonist in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a good character and his story will expand with the announcement of Mankind Divided, JC Denton is an actual legend. JC Denton is the protagonist in Deus Ex and one of the major characters in Deus Ex: Invisibile War.
After Paul Denton was born, his mother was unable to have more children. She was approached by a member of Majestic 12 posing as a fertility expert and was promised a lot of money in in exchange for her participation in some experimental surgery that will allow her to have more kids. She took the offer and without knowing she was implanted with a clone embryo of Paul Denton and in March 2029 JC Denton was born.
Six years later Majestic 12 killed JC’s parents and sent him to one of their schools for the next twelve years where they attempted to train him to obey orders without questioning and to follow his superiors with loyalty. But JC developed a rebellious attitude which he kept hidden.
A few years after graduations JC follows his brother and is nano-augumented and joins the anti-terrorism organization named UNATCO as an agent.
During his time as an anti-terrorist agent JC is assigned to take care of the attacks on Liberty Island and recover the stolen barrels of Ambrosia, a cure to the Gray Death virus that was plaguing the entire planet. After successfully completing his mission, JC is sent to Hong Kong but he rebels against UNATCO and he is captured together with his brother and imprisoned in a Majestic 12 facility. During this time JC is contacted by Daedalus which arranges for him and Paul to escape and the two flee to Hong Kong where they deactivate their kill switches and escape from the MJ12 grip.
After infiltrating into the headquarters of a corporation specialized in the fields of medicine and nanotechnology, JC finds the machine that was producing the Gray Death virus and destroys it. The analysis of the virus proves that it was manufactured by the Illuminati and this buries JC even deeper into the conspiracy for the world’s control.
The events lead JC to Area 51 where the truth is revealed to him that Deadalus, who was aiding him all this time, was an artificial intelligence. A battle between the Illuminati and MJ12 leaders begins, with Daedalus being released to take over US military networks and Icarus is released to counter it. The two AIs merge becoming a stronger AI by the name of Helios with the ability to control the entire global communication.
In the aftermath of the Area 51 battle, JC has to choose who to help between the three different factions involved, the choice is up to the player, but the sequel of the game takes a little from each ending. JC merges with Helios becoming the world’s first benevolent dictator, he kills the leader of MJ12 and destroys Area 51. Due to problems in his nanite architecture his merge with Helios was imperfect and he is forced into statis to wait for a cure.
JC’s goal as the one leader of humanity is to create a new civilization. He intends to give all humans the physical and mental powers of biomodifications which will allow their minds to communicate directly with the Helios AI. He posseses total control over nanotechnology making him a half-god, but he never intended to assimilate people’s minds. The ending of JC Denton’s story remains the player’s choice in Deus Ex: Invisibile War where they play as Alex Denton, JC’s clone.
The story of Deus Ex series is complex and merges multiple conspiracy theories that people have feared for many years. The problem that the games expose aren’t so far from what could become reality in the near future and that’s what makes these titles scary.
The complexity of JC Denton’s character overshadows any other character in the game. His rebellious actions, even if many are driven by the player, speak about his mindset and bring unexpected outcomes. JC stands against the world’s shadow leaders and even if his plans are questionable and could be perceived as evil, he is clearly the lesser evil of them all .
The accomplishments of JC Denton, a nano-augmented clone, exceed by far any expectations from those who trained him in the game or even the players. He stands as a symbol of the people, but also as a warning to the dangers of power itself.
|A long time ago...|
Revan / Darth Revan – Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars is a universe I love so much, but lately there weren’t many games that could do justice to it. But Bioware and Obsidian’s work still stand as some of the greatest work done with this universe and Revan as one of the most complex characters created in it (and my favorite one).
Revan was a human male who studied under many Jedi Masters. He became friend with a student by the name of Alek and was promoted to the rank of Jedi Knight when was still young.
During the Mandalorian Wars between the Galactic Republic and the Mandalorian warrior clans, Revan critiqued the passivity of the Jedi Order in the matter, this lead to the Revanchist movement. Defying the Jedi Council, Revan picked up the mask of a fallen Mandalorian and joined the Republic forces to fight.
After Revan defeated the Mandalorian leader in the Battle of Malachor V, he and his friend now known as Malak picked up the trail of the Sith and followed it into the Unknown Space. There they discovered the reconstructed Sith Empire and were turned to the dark side by the Sith Emperor. Darth Revan and Darth Malak came back to the Republic and broke free from the Emperor’s mind control and created their own empire to wage war against the Republic using the Star Forge, an ancient space station capable of creating powerful armies. This war became known as the Jedi Civil War, as many veteran Jedis of the Mandalorian Wars joined Revan in his cause.
In the Sith fashion, Malak betrayed Revan and the latter was captured by the Jedi Knight Bastila Shan. Revan’s mind was wiped and he was given a new identity as a Republic soldier. But Revan was destined for great things and without knowing about his past he retrained as a Jedi Palawan and gained new allies and friends to help him in his missions and during his travels throughout the galaxy he became very close to Bastila Shan.
During his encounter with his former friend, Malak reveals to Revan his past and later on goes to capture Bastila and turn her to the dark side of the Force. A battle erupts for the Star Forge in order to stop Malak’s monstrous plans. Revan fights Bastila Shan and turns her to the light side of the Force using his love for her then goes to fight and defeat his old apprentice and friend Darth Malak.
Revan married Shan and lived with her for several years, but when some of his older memories returned to him, he left her and his unborn child and went in the search for answers in the Unknown Space. Revan was captured by the Sith and waited to be saved by his old friend the Jedi Exile Meetra Surik, together the two helped by the Sith Lord Scourge attempted to eliminate the Sith Emperor, but failed. Meetra Surik gave her life and Revan was captured and kept prisoner for three hundred years, time in which the emperor fed from his force. When liberated by the Republic Forces, Revan hasn’t forgot his purpose and goes to great lengths and sacrifices to fight the Sith Emperor and his forces one last time.
Revan is known by many names as his actions were many and controversial. The renegade Jedis followed him as the Revanchist, the Jedis honored him as the Prodigal Knight, but those who’ve seen his dark deeds know him as Revan the Butcher or as the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Revan.
Jedis are warriors using the light side of the Force meant for the good and to protect the Republic from the threats posed by the Sith, but Revan was not always such a warrior. His constant alternation between light and dark makes him different from any other Jedi before him. It is true that most of the personality traits of this character are up to the players which can even choose what path of the Force they want to follow and the romantic involvement, but the canonical ending brings Revan back to the light side to set the scene for the future games.
Revan’s actions and motives are not always truly understood and even today some remain as a mystery. The holocrons he made as a Sith Lord guide the future Sith including Darth Bane and his action for the Republic are praised by the Jedis. His skills as a leader are undeniable and his power as a warrior couldn’t be matched during his time of glory.
Revan was a great leader, his charismatic personality brought many on his side during the Mandalorian War and his tactical and military genius helped win the war. As a warrior Revan stood almost unmatched, his great skill wielding the light saber and his control over the Force brought down the Mandalorian leader and his former apprentice and friend Darth Malak.
The relationship with Bastila Shan and Revan’s vision over love was disapproved by the Jedi Council, but became the foundation for change. He used love to better connect with the light side of the Force and it helped him withstand the three hundred years he was captured.
Revan can be characterized as an antihero more than anything else, but his importance is greater than that as he stands as a revolution for the Star Wars universe. His actions kept him between dark and light something that was never thought possible, one could say that this is the balance. Many have died and lived because of him, but ultimately he stood as a protector of the innocent and defender of the Republic, his sacrifice was not in vain and his existence changed the Jedi Order and the Republic forever.
"Savior, conqueror, hero, villain. You are all things Revan… and yet you are nothing. In the end you belong to neither the light nor the darkness. You will forever stand alone."
|Darth Malak and Darth Revan!|
|Without the mask.|
Raziel – Legacy of Kain
Gamers often take inspiration from the name of their favorite characters when choosing a nickname, this was no exception for me and for a long time Raziel was my video games nickname (I still use it from time to time).
Raziel is the protagonist of the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver series and one of the two lead characters in Legacy of Kain: Defiance.
Raziel is introduced in Soul Reaver as a vampire and one of the six lieutenants of Kain. He surpasses Kain in evolution, who, filled with jealousy rips off Raziel’s wings and orders his execution. Raziel was thrown into the Abyss and the water burned his vampiric flesh and dissolved his jawbone, but he wasn’t killed. The Elder God saved his life and encouraged him to take vengeance for his suffering.
The dive into the Abyss not only changed Raziel’s physical appearance, he also became stronger than he used to be and his blood thirst has been overcome by an even bigger hunger for souls. Raziel was no longer a vampire but a wraith and the Spectral Realm became his natural place, while the Material Realm required effort from his part in order to return to it.
Raziel started his path of vengeance by killing one of the vampire lieutenants when he had to face Kain. The battle ended abruptly after Kain tried to use the Soul Reaver, but the sword shattered and the spirit of the Reaver bonded with Raziel’s soul manifesting itself as a wrath-blade.
Throughout his journey, Raziel found an important secret about his past that changed his perspective. He used to be a Sarafan warrior-priest, a vampire hunter who had completely different ideals. After killing the remaining lieutenants he could find with guidance from the Elder God and a spirit named Ariel, Raziel tracks down Kain, who activates a time machine and runs away into Nosgoth’s past. Following Kain into the past, Raziel learns more about his own history and of Kain’s plan. Kain created a temporal paradox when he killed Raziel and by using Raziel’s free will the time could be altered and maybe Nosgoth balance could be restored.
In order to find answers, Raziel wants to travel even deeper into the past but he is tricked by Moebius, the Guardian of Time, who sends him one hundred years into the future. Here he witnesses his human brothers and himself slaying the vampire Janos and taking his heart. Filled with self-loathing, he pursues the Sarafan group to their keep, there, imbued with immortality by the physical Reaver, he slay his former human brothers and himself, renouncing of his past heritage forever. Standing over his dead body, he realizes his true destiny as the eternally imprisoned soul devouring spirit from within the physical form of the Soul Reaver blade. The sword starts to devour Raziel, but Kain attempts to save him from this fate by removing the Reaver from Raziel’s body. But as he is sent to the Spectral Plane, Raziel realizes he still has the wraith-blade and that his terrible destiny was inevitable.
During the action of Defiance, Raziel learns about the prophecy of two champions that will battle to decide the fate of Nosgoth. He is manipulated to believe that Kain and himself are the two champions of prophecy and in order to resurrect Janos, Raziel needs to kill Kain. Kain attempts to reason with Raziel by explaining to him about the free will he possesses. But filled with rage and hate, Raziel fails to exercise his free will and kills Kain and takes his heart to resurrect Janos.
Janos helps him enhance his wratih-blade but is possessed by the Hylden Lord and Raziel has to fight him, yet, even after defeating the Lord, Raziel can’t find the strength of heart to kill Janos and has his physical form destroyed by the lord sending him in the Spectral Realm back to the Elder God. Imprisoned, Raziel comes to the realization that he is both the champion of vampires and hylden and that the Elder God is the root of all conflict. With this epiphany he now understands that his choice can change the fate of Nosgoth. When he finds out that Kain lives, he destroys Moebius spirit, which was another pawn of the Elder God, and decides to exercise his free will one last time allowing the Reaver to consume him healing Kain of his physical and spiritual wounds and giving the vampire the power necessary to see the true enemy, the Elder God.
Raziel’s story is so complicated and complex that it would be too hard to explain it in a few pages. Everyone in his life tried to manipulate him for their own benefits and for the most part they managed to do so. Tormented by his own mistakes and continuously lied by others, Raziel gains perspective and fights for what he believes to be the right thing, but the circumstances are not in his favor and many time he fails. He served as a pawn for many, but in the end it is his free will in a world where everyone was bound to a destiny, that tipped the scale to what can be considered the just cause.
Raziel is a tragic hero whose unpredictable events of his story kept me glued to my seat while playing the games. His combat skills, personality and the humanized story of a hero that tries hard but doesn’t always succeed made me love this character above any other.
By now a continuation to the Legacy of Kain franchise feels like a foolish dream, but even if somehow this could happen, it is unlikely that Raziel will ever return as a character in the series. But he will always serve an important role as the sword used by the Scion of Balance.
"The Soul Reaver - pure of all corruption - this is what it is for. This is what I am for - the two become one - both Soul Reavers - together - and the Scion of Balance is healed. And I - am not your enemy - not your destroyer - I am, as before, your right hand. Your sword. And now you will see - the true enemy - "
|Devourer of souls!|
|The Spectral Realm.|
|The two shall become one!|
Finally this long list has come to an end. It might not be on everyone’s taste, but such is the nature of these articles as they have a huge subjective component. These are the male characters that I find interesting and passed the test of time for me.
As a tribute to those that I have excluded, here is a list of characters worth mentioning: Morte (Planescape: Torment), Adam Jensen (Deus Ex: Human Revolution), Solas (Dragon Age: Inquisition), Thane and Legion (Mass Effect 2 & 3), Craig Boone (Fallout: New Vegas), Gann (NWN 2: Mask of the Betrayer), Andrew Ryan (Bioshock), Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil Franchise), Kain (Legacy of Kain Franchise), Master Chief (Halo Franchise), Prince of Persia (Prince of Persia Franchise), Garrett (Thief Franchise), Arthas Menethil and Medivh (Warcraft universe), Kyle Katarn (Star Wars Franchise), Max Payne (Max Payne Series), Isaac Clarke (Dead Space Series).