Don’t forget to visit the awards hub for more information on each award, the winners, and the schedule of what’s next.
These days, gameplay is king. I know it, you know it. Still, there’s just something special when a game features a villain you just love to hate or a character that you can really rally behind.
Still, whether we’re talking about a good or bad guy, these characters listed below bring a little extra something to the table. It was another great year for characters with that special ‘X’ factor so narrowing the list to something manageable was a bit tougher than in years past.
Also before we get started, there could be a few light spoilers for a few of these characters below. I try to avoid the big stuff but wanted to provide a fair warning just in case. With that said, here are my favorite characters from 2017.
and the nominees are…
Aloy – Horizon: Zero Dawn
Being part of a brand new IP from a studio known for first-person shooters, it would be understandable if we were given a somewhat one-dimensional hero at the helm. Fortunately for fans, Aloy proved to be exactly the opposite, serving as a strong, fierce, and inquisitive protagonist. For me, Aloy is the perfect conduit for players, as she not only doesn’t settle for how things are, but she ultimately sets out to learn about the world and why these things are happening. It’s basically the same exact thing the player wants as well. Without spoiling too much, Aloy gets caught up in a massive conspiracy and helps the player discover where this is all happening, when its happening, and why. I loved the conspiracy angle and Aloy’s unending quest to get answers. She’s also a total badass.
Bayek of Siwa – Assassin’s Creed Origins
Assassin’s Creed has had no shortage of protagonists at this point, but roughly all of them fall short of Ezio Auditore, the Italian assassin originally from Assassin’s Creed 2. For the first time, we now have a legitimate challenger with Bayek. What I love about this character is that his sole intention is avenging his son. While others are forming alliances and moving chess pieces in an eventual war, Bayek just doesn’t care. He wants to bring those responsible to justice and then he’s content with living his life. Clearly, things don’t work that simply, especially in an Assassin’s Creed game, but it’s refreshing to have a character not concerned with typical themes like assassins, templars, and pieces of Eden for once. Major props need to go to Bayek’s voice actor Abubakar Salim who really manages to brings this character to life and really makes Bayek a believable character.
Chloe Frazer – Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
So longtime Uncharted fans may know all about Chloe since she’s been in the series since Uncharted 2. The Lost Legacy, however, is her first time as the acting protagonist and not only that, it gives fans a better insight into her past and who she is. That’s one of the reasons she’s on this list as it was really good to get to know more about this fan-favorite character. Plus, as Chloe, players get to interact with Nadine Ross, someone who’s almost the complete opposite in terms of personality. Naturally, putting these two together provides ample opportunity for comic relief, tense moments, and surprising emotional vulnerability.
Shriv Suurgav – Star Wars: Battlefront II
Okay, Battlefront II has a massive amount of problems at the moment, I know. While the story was fine overall, it did have a few bright spots and one of them was the Duros side kick, Shriv Suurgav. For a game with a pretty serious campaign, Shriv unintentionally serves as the comic relief. He’s the overly sarcastic, cynical, one-liner sidekick that I originally assumed wasn’t going to be a major player but actually serves a bigger role towards the end of the campaign as well as the DLC update. as his description reads, he’s a misanthrope with a heart of gold. Perfectly said.
Suraya Hawthorne – Destiny 2
The charming and witty rogue Cayde-6 is always a decent choice here but I really found the newcomer Suraya Hawthrone to be pretty awesome. Unlike Cayde, Ikora, and Zavala, Hawthorne isn’t a guardian, instead, she’s a civilian and leader of a resistance movement at The Farm once the Tower falls tot he Red Legion. She’s the one that ultimately saves your character and lends aid to your efforts in finding and reuniting the Vanguard. What’s interesting about her is that she’s conflicted about the Last City and Guardians in general, having left as a teenager for the open fields and relative freedom that the wild provided. Though she initially favored protecting The Farm over attacking the Red Legion head-on, Hawthorne joined in the fight and became instrumental in helping the player reclaim the Last City. She was ultimately made an honorary Guardian and currently takes up residence in The Tower acting as the Clan vendor.
Vagabond Girl – Pyre
Pyre has no shortage of memorable and compelling characters to pick from, but for me, The Vagabond Girl has one of the more interesting sub-plots of the whole game. She joins your party fairly early on, though can’t remember her name. It’s up to you to give her a name, one that typically rhymes with the word Gray, the color of her wild hair. I named her Shae, and she quickly became the most optimistic and powerful member of the team. Her backstory is a tragic one, having been sent to the purgatory prison of the Downside due to being deemed witless, simple, and unwanted. Interestingly enough, she found solace in the Downside and its history of the now shunned Old Ways. She also made it extremely hard to decide if/when to give her salvation after winning a rite. Do you save her from this life and send her back to a society that doesn’t want her, or do you leave her in this world of hardship, knowing that she’s accepted here? It’s one of the many tough choices presented to the player.
and the winner is…
While everyone above was great, Aloy’s journey through the campaign of Horizon Zero Dawn was just above and beyond. Congrats to Guerrilla and voice actor Ashly Burch for a job well done!