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Best Video Game Protagonists of 2023



The world of video games has been absolutely abuzz this year. One of the main reasons as to why is the fantastic group of protagonists we have had this year. Meanwhile, the heroes in these games differ in their motivations and other aspects. Each of them is fantastic in its own right. So, no matter your reasons for enjoying one over the other, we all can celebrate how phenomenal they have been. So, without further ado, enjoy our picks for the Best Video Game Protagonists of 2023.

5. Mario

Super Mario RPG box art.

We are kicking off our list of the best video game protagonists of 2023 with a classic, Mario. However, we will be covering Mario as he appears in Super Mario RPG, which has recently been released. Within Super Mario RPG, there is a distinct focus on turn-based combat. This has given the game many comparisons to the beloved Paper Mario franchise in terms of how Mario is depicted in this particular title. Players can expect the plumber to enjoy some fantastic adventures with some unlikely allies.

Throughout the game's journey, players can find out many different things about the Mushroom Kingdom, as well as enjoy the added content of Super Mario RPG. This content not only serves to inform newer players of the game but also flesh out story beats for older Super Mario RPG fans. Mario serves as the strong party leader in the game, allowing players to press on against ever-stronger foes. All in all, his tried and true nature shines through in this title, making Mario one of the best video game protagonists of 2023.

4. Leon Kennedy

Leon S. Kennedy Resident evil 4 remake

We are changing things up rather drastically with our next entry. Here, we have Leon Kennedy from the Resident Evil 4 remake released this year. This remake served not only to bring a survival horror classic to a new generation but also to improve upon its previous iteration in a number of exciting ways. One of the ways that stood out the most was the changes to some of the game's characters. However, Leon Kennedy remained, for the most part, unchanged. This is not only a testament to the strength of Leon's character writing but the legacy of his character overall.

In the remake version of Leon, players can look forward to seeing a more rich character than what was presented previously. In many ways, the character from the original title was somewhat typical of the time. Meanwhile, the new iteration of Leon is significantly more fleshed out. This not only gives the character and his interactions more depth, but it does so in a way that strengthens the player's connection with the character. For these reasons, we consider Leon Kennedy from the Resident Evil 4 remake to be one of the best video game protagonists of 2023.

3. Link

Link running in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

Taking quite a sharp turn for our next entry, here we have Link from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. In terms of their iconic status, there are few characters that can stand up to Link. The latest iteration of the hero of Hyrule stands as no exception to this rule. Players were clamoring for more after the announcement of a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. So when players got their first look at Link in the new game, they were ecstatic, needless to say. What we find here in this title is, in many ways, a return to form for Link's character.

In doing so, players can find themselves traversing the land of Hyrule. Here, they will aid villagers and generally exist within the world. This not only served to make the game feel more grounded. But it also intensifies the player's connection with the land and its people. Link themselves is also a huge part of this connection as well, as it is through their eyes that we experience the world. So, while they may be a silent protagonist, their importance and effect on their respective world makes them one of the best video game protagonists of 2023.

2. Miles Morales/Peter ParkerPeter Parker & Miles Morales in Marvel's Spider-Man 2.

We are following up on our last fantastic entry with a bit of a double-up. Here, we will cover the dual protagonists of Marvel's Spider-Man 2, both Miles Morales & Peter Parker. For fans of the Spider-Man franchise, the legacy of Peter Parker is one that cannot be understated. In fact, it is this person who most people readily identify as the web-slinger himself, although many people have held that mantle. Miles Morales, in contrast, is relatively new in the eyes of more casual Spider-Man fans and places great emphasis on his technical prowess.

Both of these characters, when working together and apart, are phenomenal Spider-Men. In the case of Marvel's Spider-Man 2, we see each of these characters interact with one another, and it's great. Both characters have their own personal charm and flair and a tendency for some stellar superhero quips. This makes the bond between these two characters feel very well-realized as the player goes throughout the game. In short, both Miles Morales & Peter Parker are stellar protagonists and are some of the best video game protagonists of 2023.

1. Clive Rosfield

Clive Rosfield in Final Fantasy XVI.

For the last entry on our list of the best video game protagonists of 2023, here we have Clive Rosfield. For players who have jumped into Final Fantasy XVI already, one of the highlights of that title is undoubtedly its protagonist. Clive is shown in both a shining light and a grim light at different points throughout the game. Both viewpoints give the character himself a tremendous amount of depth to be explored. Players will find themselves connecting with Clive relatively easily as they make their way through the game. The action-packed & cinematic nature of the gameplay certainly helps this along as well.

Aiding in this connection is the game's choice to show Clive at several points in his life. Each segment of which only serves to improve the player's understanding of his character. Each moment we spent with Clive, whether it be in flashback or present-day, is fantastic. This is due in no small part to the phenomenal voice acting attributed to the character as well, which serves to bring Clive to life. In conclusion, if you are looking to know one of the best video game protagonists of 2023, look no further than Clive Rosfield.

So, what's your take on our picks for the Best Video Game Protagonists of 2023? Do you agree with our picks? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.

Judson Holley is a writer that began his career as a ghostwriter. Returning to the mortal coil  to work among the living. With some of his favorite games being tactical FPS games such as Squad and the Arma series. Although this could not be further from the truth as he enjoys games with deep stories such as the Kingdom Hearts series as well as Jade Empire and The Knights of the Old Republic series. When not attending to his wife, Judson often tends to his cats. He also has a knack for music mainly composing for and playing piano.