In recent years, the quality of the plots of games and the character design within has risen dramatically. Still, the games industry is not known for its Shakespearean plots and, in some cases, we see characters in even high profile games with strange or downright baffling character motivations.
Below are nine of the ‘dumbest’ characters the staff at Digitally Downloaded have had the pleasure of encountering. We say pleasure because, in many cases, we adore these characters. It’s just that they’re idiots.
Caddoc is one of the main characters from Hunted: The Demon’s Forge and, while handy with a sword and shield and not too shabby with a crossbow, the big burly man is not exactly the brightest bulb in the box.
For starters, right at the beginning of the game, Caddoc experiences a nightmare/vision of a gigantic demon. That’s not so bad, really; many fantasy tales start with dreams and visions, but it’s what happens afterwards that really speaks to Caddoc’s idiocy.
Right after this vision of doom and demons, Caddoc and his companion E’lara are approached by a girl known as Seraphine, who assures that she can help them stop this evil before it gets out of control. Of course, this “girl” is actually a spirit with completely white skin, black tattoos and power over the magical realm, not to mention with the proportions and voice of Lucy Lawless. If that’s not a big tip off that something’s amiss, I’m not sure what is!
Yet Seraphine assures Caddoc and E’lara that she is the daughter of a local mayor and that they need to come and save her. And while E’lara is dubious and skeptical, Caddoc believes Seraphine’s story completely and leads his companion off in search of this wonderful lady who is obviously using them for her own means.
Beyond the fact that she can teleport hither and thither with little more than a blink of her eye, she claims that the wargar (the orcs of Hunted) have captured her and they need to rescue her. Yet she stands right in front of them when she claims this, and then teleports away like nothing’s the matter. If you can teleport away from your captors to ask for help, I don’t really know if you need the help to begin with.
Of course, if I was Caddoc and Lucy Lawless/Seraphine was asking me to do something for her, I’d probably agree too. So maybe I can’t fault him that much…
Considering you can choose to play as one of several characters in Far Cry 2, I’m not sure what to call him. Really, though, it doesn’t matter because each of them are as equally stupid as the rest and it boils down to one simple fact.
In Far Cry 2, you are a mercenary tasked with going to a remote African country to kill an arms dealer who is fueling a civil war. Seems like a pretty interesting concept, all in all: you get to wander around a beautifully rendered setting, see African flora and fauna in your travels, and get to experience an open-world approach to every situation, giving you plenty of leeway to play the game the way you want to.
Of course, this is all tempered by the fact that your main character contracts malaria basically as soon as the game begins. Honestly, it’s almost impressive: less than an hour in a third-world country and this guy already gets malaria. Bravo.
But seriously, let’s think about this. Putting aside the fact that I’d imagine you’d need to have the immune system of a newly-born infant to contract malaria that quickly, no matter which character you choose to play as, all of them are supposed to be highly trained mercenaries who come from developed places in the world. Better still, they work for people who are supposedly very powerful and who know what’s what. These aren’t the sort of people who don’t know what malaria is and, if they don’t, they already classify as stupid.
If you think about it, though, it’s common sense these days to get a number of preventative injections when traveling to a third-world country, just in case. People do it all the time with hepatitis: why wouldn’t you do the same for malaria? It’s not like a mercenary wouldn’t have the money to do so. Call it a business expense, y’know? You could definitely write that off.
But no, the main character is stupid enough to go into the middle of Africa without proper protection and then you, the player, get to suffer for the rest of the game having to deal with the minigame that is taking drugs for malaria sickness. Thanks, idiot!
Now, I really like the Gears of War games. The characters are likable, the setting is almost always awesome, and Epic Games did a really good job of basically creating and perfecting a brand new type of shooter. Gears is always a great way to kill an afternoon with a buddy.
But damn Marcus is stupid.
It’s hard to explain in words how dumb Marcus truly is, so perhaps I’d better let him do it himself. Some choice quotes for you:
“Time to be an ammo sponge.” – I’m sorry, what? Marcus, if you mean you’re going to be a distraction, then just say so.
“Anya, it’s a giant worm! They’re sinking cities with a giant worm!” – No shit, man! It’s a giant fuckin’ worm; the only people stupider than you are for saying that are the people who didn’t notice the giant worm in the first place.
Although, that was pretty much everybody else, so maybe that’s not so stupid after all…
“What do I look like, a fuckin’ botanist?” – No, Marcus, you do not look like a botanist. But you’re apparently the brightest person around (considering the above incident with the worm), so maybe you should at least stop and think before yelling your problems away.
“Well we’re not here to sell cookies, so they know something’s up.” – Really? You’re not here to sell cookies? Well dammit, Marcus, I was really looking forward to some mint-chocolate cookies to tide me over until dinner. C’mon!
“More like ten shitloads!” – So beyond the fact that I never knew “shitload” was an actual term of measurement — is that metric or imperial? — the fact that Marcus decided to extrapolate on it and assume that you could have multiple shitloads is either pure brilliance or complete idiocy.
And I’m leaning towards the latter.
There is a point where machismo goes just that touch too far into moral depravity, and Duke’s sunk to the bottom of that pit. He tries just a little too hard to be emotionally distant from the world and its problems and in doing so turns himself into a parody of the worst kind.
The best (read: worst) part about Duke is that he’s designed to be stupid from the get-go. He’s an ironic statement about macho videogame characters and tries to make fun of them by being so over-the-top. The problem is that, even for all its irony, Duke instead becomes what he symbolizes: an idiotic, overly macho and chauvinistic pig. Instead of playing a joke, he is the joke.
But Leon instead decides he wants to not only explore the overrun cities but subsequently plunge into villages filled with madmen. He escapes the horror, multiple times, and always comes back for more.
Some would call that heroism. I would too, if he wasn’t such an idiot while being a hero. Zombies make sounds. Might be a good idea to listen at a door before marching on in, right? Nah, Leon’s too much of a man for that. Village of the damned? Why, of course going in guns blazing is the right strategy! Except by ‘guns blazing’ I mean ‘pea-shooters popping.’ You’re probably right, Leon. If I knew I was going into a dangerous situation to save the president’s daughter, I’d choose a single firearm as my weapon load out too.
Perhaps it was the giant miniature space hamster, Boo, that did it to him. Perhaps the brains of the operation really is Boo, but as glad as you have to be that Minsc is on your side, he wouldn’t make for very pleasant conversation around the campfire at night.
Bioware has a special talent for creating idiot characters though. Like… Noober.
I didn’t actually think that John Marston was a bad character, and Red Dead Redemption is my favorite game from last year, but man he’s dumb. Talk about a guy who acts tough as nails but then turns around and plays babysitter and butler for a number of the wild west’s rejects and scum. Going on a fetch quest for Nigel effing Dickens or a stinking grave robber is not my idea of compelling gameplay and seems to only serve as a filler to make the game longer. I actually found myself yelling at the screen on one occasion. “No, don’t do that you stupid dumb-ass.” I didn’t actually mind the whole criminal trying to make amends approach but when the utter scums of John’s universe ask him to do stuff and then fall short on delivering their end of the bargain, repeatedly, I get annoyed.
The fact that John was dumb at times didn’t actually hurt my experience of the game much but at times it did break my immersion. The fact that Rockstar felt they had to stretch out the content of the game came back to bite them in the backside. If John had been a well rounded character, he might have been remembered as a great character but instead he’s more of an interesting dude that falls short of being amazing when I think back of the whole experience.
Kratos’ epic war with the gods of Olympus is fuelled by a single emotion. A basic emotion that most people experience a lot in life but then they get over it and move on, but not Kratos. Throughout the whole series Kratos is on vengeful frenzy fuelled by this single expression, rage. I get it, Kratos is mad because Ares betrayed him and made him kill his family,and then he’s mad because, one after another, the other gods betray him, and then he’s furious because the titans don’t give him much respect. C’mon Kratos, why do you have to be so mad all the time?
Now, I understand that being the being of war, you need to keep up appearances and not show any weaknesses. The god of war needs make sure that his street-cred is un-compromised so he can represent his stature on Olympus. But still, the source material for the God of War series is so full of interesting multi-dimensional characters that poor old one-dimensional Kratos is like an eye-sore in the world of Olympian gods. Maybe I feel this way because I have an interest in Greek mythology and know the other characters of the game on another level, because they sure as hell ain’t so deep in the game.
Now, I’ve devised a perfect test to really see if Kratos is a dumb character or not. Try imagining him doing something mundane you do in real life. Like, for instance, ordering food at the drive-through: [in Kratos Voice] “I want a burger and some fries, and mark my words, mortal, no pickles on the burger.” Or perhaps dealing with those Jehova’s Witnesses that come knocking on his door. [in Kratos Voice] “No, I’m not interested in hearing about your inferior god. I am a god and you shall fear my wrath.”
I rest my case.
Rico takes the concept of a dumb character to a whole new level. He is both a very stupid individual, and a nonsensical character in the plot. The ISA forces in Killzone are a bunch of dude-bro ruffneck marines that are definitely modelled after the cinematic perception of the US Marine Corps but taken to the extreme. They are tough, brutal and loyal soldiers, all of them doing what it takes to win the war for the ISA.
If movies are anything to go by, Rico should have been relieved of his command a long time ago. He’s supposed to be a trained elite soldier. Instead, his reckless disregard for the code of conduct and the lives of his fellow soldiers should have made him the most hated man in the platoon. But, no, it’s cool: he’s given the trust to lead the guerrilla group of ISA soldiers that rescue Sev in KZ3.
His most atrocious offense is, of course, the assassination of Scholar Visari after they have essentially captured him at the end of KZ2. Not only is it dumb that he eventually earns back the respect of his fellow soldiers, but this whole scene serves as a dumb and cheap way to shoehorn in what appears to be a last-minute device to end the game with a cliffhanger.
Rico is the epitome of the weak narrative of the Killzone series and serves as a reminder of its dumb plot in every level of the game. What really irks me about this is the fact that I actually like the franchise and it would be a great one if it had at least decent writing in it. Or at least less Rico.