4. Niko Bellic – Grand Theft Auto IV
While I’ve made the claim in the past that GTA IV never really blew me away as a game, it’s difficult to deny just how strong a character Niko was. Cynical and dark, yet relatable – Niko’s journey through the game explored the concepts of the American dream, escaping your past, damnation and redemption; and he often came out with deeply profound insights into the nature of the violence he lived through. It’s just a pity he was written into a game where you can motorbike off a ramp truck, triple-backflip through a fast food restaurant window and fling a molotov cocktail at the manager’s face.
“So this is what the dream feels like? This is the victory we longed for.”
3. The Prince – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
While the Prince of Persia has been characterised differently with each installation of the franchise – from an angsty emo twat to Jake Gyllenhaal – it was in Sands of Time that we really saw the character flourish. An initially quite unlikeable character, seemingly arrogant and reckless in his lust for glory, he gradually develops to become both sympathetic and heroic. The consequences of his actions and the development of his well-realised and believable romance with the princess Farah expose him as an insecure and fragile adolescent, desperate for validation from his father – issues he must overcome to reverse his mistakes.
“To live forever… While those I love are dead and I to blame? I choose death.”