5. Adachi – Persona 4
Adachi Tohru seems like such a nice guy when you first meet him in Persona 4. He’s just so upbeat and peppy, even in the face of a slave-driving boss and a small-time gig as a beat cop in the town of Inaba. However, underneath that cheery exterior lies a sadistic streak a mile wide-along with a row of mangled corpses left in its wake. Adachi turns out to be the serial killer that protagonist Yu Narukami and his Scooby Doo Gang. are looking for, but he’s not the heartless slasher they expect him to be. Instead, they find a man wracked with anger and an immense hatred for the world around him. The killings were his way of finding meaning and entertainment in a life bereft of either. It helps that you get to know more about him in the game’s remake, and you learn a lot more about his backstory than you even do about Yu’s own. Yu may be the hero, but when it comes to depth, Adachi slays the competition.
4. Albert Wesker – Resident Evil series
Albert Wesker. Until Resident Evil 6, Albert Wesker served as Resident Evil’s franchise villain. Slick, powerful, and an overall badass, Albert Wesker always seemed to outshine his protagonist counterparts. Whether Chris, Claire, Leon, Sheva, or Jill, Albert Wesker survived time and again. He even went so far as to brainwash Jill and control her to battle Chris and Sheva. What makes Wesker more memorable and likable than any Resident Evil hero is that he fell so far away from his archetype role (where the heroes fit perfectly in them) – and continued to grow more epic with each Resident Evil entry. Regardless of his final moments in each game, I – and many other gamers – hoped to see Wesker re-appear in the next respective entry.
3. The Joker – Batman Arkham series
A mainstay of the Batman lineage, the Joker is a character that has had many iterations to varying degrees of fanfare. Mark Hamill’s Joker, as featured in the Arkham series of games, is often deemed to be one of the best. It’s understandable too. Throughout the Arkham games, we control the stoic Batman, a black clad hero who takes life way too serious. On the other hand we have his carefree and aloof antithesis who turns every scene into a menagerie of dramatics and overacting in the best possible way.
The Joker is like that cool aunt who lets you eat a tub of ice cream whilst your Dad, Batman, forces you to rake leaves and clean dishes. The Joker love soon amps up during Arkham City in which Batman’s moral code forces players to make decisions that are too rigid for his own good. Meanwhile The Joker gets to create silly traps whilst donning a charming purple suit.
2. GlaDoS – Portal
People play Portal for the puzzles. They play it for the unique physics, the labyrinthine pathways that make up Aperture Science, and for the 1950s sci-fi aesthetic that both games in the series love to tap into. Most of all though, they play it for GLaDOS, the player’s auto-tuned, test-loving robot mastermind. Why? Because in a game where silent protagonist Chell has to walk through empty, desolate hallways without making a single sound, you’ve got to have something to listen to-and GLaDOS has a lot to say. Whether it’s passive-aggressive snark (“The floor here will kill you…try to avoid it.”) or outright lies (“Cake and grief counselling will be available at the conclusion of the test.”), GLaDOS is a joy to listen to. Even when she tries to murder you throughout the series, you get the sense that there’s far more to her than meets the eye-and you’d be right to think so, given just how integral her implied past is to the second game’s story. Let’s put it this way-GLaDOS gets a character arc, while Chell can jump in a physical arc. I know the one I’d be interested in.