Games are only as good as their cast, and often times the protagonists and supporting characters are what make or break a game outside of pure gameplay. 2018 gave us plenty of stellar characters to choose from, and the decision was harder than we expected.
But first, the nominees:
- Kirby (Kirby's All-Stars, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate)
- Kassandra (Assassin's Creed Odyssey)
- Atreus (God of War)
- Jonah Maiava (Shadow of the Tomb Raider)
- Nero tol Scaeva (Final Fantasy XIV)
- Cayde-6 (Destiny 2: Forsaken)
And the winner is… Kassandra from Assassin's Creed Odyssey.
If you played Assassin's Creed Odyssey with Alexios, you missed out on a lot, my friend. Most of the time, choosing your protagonist's gender in a massive, open-world RPG like Mass Effect mostly affects cosmetics, pronouns, romance choices, motion capture, and a few lines of dialogue. In Assassin's Creed Odyssey, both Kassandra and Alexios have the same origin story and base character arc (and come across the same dialoge script), but their motion capture and voice acting make them two very distinct characters. Alexios is the more traditional hero, with a side helping of insecure machismo. He feels a lot like the various other Assassin's Creed protagonists, which unfortunately makes him a bit boring.
Kassandra, on the other hand, is unique. We don't often come across characters who are as done with their circumstances as Kassandra. She has little patience, especially for fools, and while she does help out her friends, there's definitely a sense that she gets bored of all the fetch quests. Her reactions to the world around her are real and grounded, and just makes it more jarring when she shows off her sense of humor. She's a more complete, rounded character than her brother and watching her struggle to find her family is an absolute joy, even when the story is breaking your heart.
Falling just behind Kassarda in our awards voting was Kirby of Kirby's All-Stars, who manages to pack a shocking amount of personality into a character design that hasn't changed since characters were created in polygons. For third, our voting was so disparate, every other character on the list shares the third slot, from God of War's fierce but insecure Atreus, Shadow of the Tomb Raider's living heart Jonah Maiava, Destiny 2: Forsaken's late great Cayde-6, to Final Fantasy XIV's villain-turned-reluctant-ally Nero tol Scaeva. There are certainly things to love about all of our runner's up, they just pale in comparison to Kassandra's relentless pragmatism.
The winners of these awards were voted on by the gaming staff of Bleeding Cool.