Top 8 Worst Gaming Protagonists

4. Lightning – Final Fantasy XIII – Michael B


You’d think given how much focus Lightning received in the series’ marketing, that the writers would’ve worked extra hard to make Lightning a likable, interesting and/or relatable protagonist. You would be wrong. Lightning is none of those things. She’s not poorly written; she is, in fact, something much worse – boring.

Lightning has nothing going for her. In the first game, she was just a pink-haired ball of anger who did nothing to make herself endearing to the cast or the player. Granted, she had just lost her younger sister and would most likely never see her again but she rode that anger train for as long as possible, and all following attempts to soften her up just fell flat. Unlike previous protags like Cloud or Terra, there was nothing about Lightning that felt like she HAD to be there; despite being the only character on the front of the box, she never felt like THE main character.

Which is why it’s extra baffling that she went on to become so important in the following sequels, with XIII-2 being all about finding her and Lightning Returns being all about her solo mission to save all of existence. Why was she chosen? Why was she considered the only one who could do this? Answer: because the script says so. Lightning is a perfect example of the creator’s pet. We were constantly being told how much we should love Lightning, but that’s simply not enough to make a good protagonist.

– Michael Beckwith

3. Bubsy – Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind – Nathaniel T


Bubsy the Bobcat is a platformer mascot from the 90s, created by Acolade to compete with the likes of Sonic and Mario. Bubsy has been lost to time, but for a good reason, Bubsy is probably the most annoying platform game protagonist ever. He doesn’t even deserve to be in the same league as something as obscure as Gex and Commander Keen, he is a bottom tier character than was never more than just a greedy cash grab at the already saturated platforming mascot market of the 1990s..
Let’s start with his unique quality of breaking the fourth wall and referencing 90s pop culture, and that’s it. That is literally Bubsy’s only notable character trait, he has no interesting lore or powers to help him stick out.

Trust me, the constant pop culture references and puns wear their welcome after the first few times. All complimented by voice acting that sounds like an actual cat scratching your ear drums. However I will say he does have the power to float, which is his only notable game mechanic that isn’t the standard of jumping really high and running at a decent pace. Bubsy’s design is that he’s a cat wearing a white shirt with a red exclamation on it, that’s it. His design isn’t even clever, it’s just really boring.

It seems like Bubsy’s worst crime is that he’s boring, but that wouldn’t necessarily make him a bad character. However, Bubsy’s true awful nature is shown when playing any of his games for any given of time. Bubsy one way or another with his awful character design, bad functionality as a platforming character and his pain inducing lines and voice acting will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. Watch any Youtube video about Bubsy 3D and you will know what I mean.

– Nathaniel Terencio

2. Raiden – Metal Gear Solid: Sons Of Liberty


“0/10 – IGN” – Me when talking to myself about Raiden before writing this.

Raiden, he’s like Snake, if you took away everything awesome about him and made him nothing like Snake.

Imagine going from one of the most badass game protagonist in video game history, Solid Snake and then after a few short hours of gameplay, being lumbered with this stick thin, ectomorph, humanoid looking thing with long white hair and a questionably tight spandex outfit.

He saves himself a fraction of respect due to his semi-interesting back-story, but this made it even worse when you had to sit through endless movie quotes and tedious ramblings with his equally as irritating girlfriend Rose, knowing that at some point he had the potential to be an interesting character.

Oh, and the icing on the cake…

He got a spin-off game as a Cyborg Ninja and didn’t remotely reflect his previous self, yet he still found a way to suck.

Sorry Hideo. Sons Of Liberty was a great game, Raiden was not a great character.

– Sam Shannan

Jonathan is HeyPoorPlayer's token British person, so expect him to thoroughly exploit this by quoting Monty Python and saying things like "Pip, pip, toodly-whotsit!" for the delight of American readers. He likes artsy-fartsy games, RPGs and RPG-Hybrids (which means pretty much everything at this point). He used to write for He's also just realised how much fun it is to refer to himself in the third person like he's The Rock or something.

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