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5 Best Video Game Protagonists of All Time

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Miles Morales fighting The Rhino in Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales.

One of the most important aspects for game developers to nail is their protagonists. This makes sense, as these are the characters through which players experience the game world. This places great importance on these characters and sets a high standard for excellence in this regard. That said, 2023 was a fantastic year in terms of its video game protagonists. And while each of these characters listed today is vastly different, their quality speaks for itself. Here are the Best Video Game Protagonists of 2023.

5. Clive Rosfield

FINAL FANTASY XVI – Ascension Trailer

We are kicking off today's list of the best video game protagonists of 2023; we have Clive Rosfield. For fans of the Final Fantasy franchise, this main protagonist, in particular, feels distinct. This is especially true when compared to other, more light-hearted protagonists from the franchise's stellar past. Aiding the popularity of Clive is the phenomenal voice work that went into the character; this not only helped build a personal connection with the character but also accented the game's darker and more emotional moments.

That said, for many Final Fantasy fans, this departure in terms of overall character direction was well-received. Many players enjoyed the overall gritty tone of the game and its characters. Couple this aspect of the game with its more adult themes and dialogue, and you have a protagonist that no doubt stands out. This not only serves to elevate the game as a whole but also boosts the impact the game had on players by a significant amount. All in all, Clive Rosfield from Final Fantasy XVI was one of the best video game protagonists of 2023.

4. Saga Anderson

We are staying somewhat in the same vein for our next entry. Here, we have Alan Wake 2‘s Saga Anderson. The Alan Wake series, as a whole, is one that, through its darker tone and gritter nature, tells a more visceral story. The story of these games not only manages to stick with the player long after completion but is simply phenomenal in its own right. Aiding in the character of Saga Anderson's appeal is the fantastic voice acting given to the character. This not only manages to humanize and realize the character further but does so in a way that resonates with many players.

This FBI detective manages to steal the show in many ways. The character has an air of the supernatural about them that is manifested in their ability to peer into people's minds and see their true intent. This power, naturally, would greatly benefit a detective. The history surrounding this ability is a turbulent one for the character, however, and the game explores this idea wonderfully. In short, Saga Anderson is one of the best video game protagonists of 2023 that we got the pleasure of witnessing.

3. Miles Morales

We are switching things up quite a bit for the next entry on our list. Here, we have Miles Morales. For Spider-Man fans, the approach that Miles Morales takes to being Spider-Man is fantastic. The more technological approach to the superhero not only gives Miles their own sense of combat style but also allows him to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Peter Parker. As a character, Miles Morales is much younger than Peter and, in many ways, becomes his protege, so to speak. This allows the games that he is featured in, most recently Spider-Man 2, to shine absolutely.

The chemistry between these two characters is fantastic, and seeing them interact on the screen is always a delight. The different approach to being Spider-Man that Miles has is magnificent in its own right and leaves plenty of depth to be explored as well. The amount of combat variety that this character has also made them a formidable opponent in battle as well. This does a great job of adding to their appeal even more. All around, if you are wondering about one of the best video game protagonists of 2023, look no further than Miles Morales.

2. Basim Ibn Ishaq

Assassin's Creed Mirage: Launch Trailer

We are changing things up quite a bit for our next entry. Here, we will cover Basim Ibn Ishaq from the recently released Assassin's Creed: Mirage. For players unaware, Assasssin's Creed: Mirage is a game that sought to return to the roots of the franchise. In doing so, the game's combat, exploration, and many other elements feel a bit more reserved. This is especially true when compared to later entries in the franchise. However, this turns out to be one of this title's greatest strengths, as it allows the player to focus on the game's characters more intently.

Basim is a great protagonist, even when compared to the stiff competition found within the Assassin's Creed franchise. This is no small order, either, as the franchise houses some truly iconic characters, such as Ezio Auditore and many others. Throughout the player's journey with Basim, they will discover many secrets about the world, as well as Basim. Altogether, this makes unraveling the game's mysteries all the more interesting. For their kind nature and wonderful sense of character depth, we consider Basim one of the best video game protagonists of 2023.

1. Link

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Official Trailer #3

No list of the best video game protagonists of 2023 would be complete without Link. The heroes from the stellar and iconic Legend of Zelda franchise certainly speak for themselves. Throughout the years, this character has been on countless adventures in unforgettable lands. Within 2023's The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, players got to experiment more with ancient technologies, physics systems, and much more. The world within the game felt much more vibrant and alive, allowing players to traverse the world, building bonds along the way.

The game not only allowed players to approach problem-solving in any way they saw fit. But it is through the eyes of Link that players were able to experience absolute freedom. It is this freedom that inherently makes the character of Link so endearing. This, coupled with the sense of adventure present in the game, is undoubtedly a winning combination. For these reasons, as well as countless others, we consider Link to be one of the best video game protagonists of 2023.

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.