The Best Video Game Characters 2020 Had to Offer
2020 was a tough year for us, but it has also given us a lot of games to lose ourselves in. With these games come some amazing characters that place a lasting impression on us as players.
I’m sure we all have that one character that has changed the way we see the world or how we navigate our lives even from a young age. These characters will forever hold a special place in our hearts even as the years pass us by.
Here, in no particular order, are some of the best video game characters from games released in 2020:
Miles Morales — Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Those who saw 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse were already familiar with the character of Miles Morales when Spider-Man: Miles Morales launched earlier this year. Miles is a completely different character from Peter Parker, and his game is an entirely different experience, too.
It would have been easy for Insomniac Games to simply reuse Peter Parker’s character model from 2018’s Spider-Man with a few tweaks. Instead, Miles looks and plays entirely different from Peter. In this follow-up title, Miles has his own unique quirks and style while web-jumping through Brooklyn.
Miles as a character is also very different from Peter, and is in some ways even more charming and likable. The excellent performance by Nadji Jeter helps bring him to life in this game, and his nomination for Best Performance at The Game Awards 2020 was well deserved.
To experience this for yourself, get some PlayStation gift cards and grab the game! You’ll find yourself attached to Miles and his unique personality.
Sackboy — Sackboy: A Big Adventure
Much of Sackboy’s charm stems from his highly customizable nature. While he himself is rather characterless, he acts more as a blank slate. It is up to the player to add their own personal character and charm to him through various costume pieces.
Sackboy becomes somewhat of an extension of the player through this customization, and is unlike many other video game characters because of it. LittleBigPlanet has always been about self-expression through level and character editing.
Media Molecule’s newest title, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, is no different, with nearly endless potential to customize Sackboy to your liking.
Russell — Half Life: Alyx
Half Life: Alyx is hands-down the most groundbreaking virtual reality game to release this year. The game features incredibly deep and engaging gameplay that takes advantage of current VR hardware with an advanced physics engine. It also features beautiful graphics that help make the game incredibly immersive for players.
But on top of all this, Alyx has some excellent characters, the most noteworthy being Alyx’s friend Russell. Played by the excellent Rys Darby, Russell oozes charm and personality and steals the scene every single time that he appears.
Other video games should strive for what Half Life: Alyx achieves with Russell’s character. Valve’s latest shows just how far talented actors and smart writing can go in interactive media.
Jin Sakai — Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima will certainly go down as one of the most unique video games of the year. This PlayStation 4 exclusive stars Jin Sakai, a young samurai warrior who resides on the Japanese island of Tsushima. Jin swears to get revenge on his enemies after his home falls victim to a Mongolian invasion.
Jin is an intriguing character because of his unique origins and background, which have seldom been explored in AAA titles. His tale was heavily inspired by classic Japanese films, most notably director Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and Sanjuro. The filmmaker’s influence can be seen not just in the game’s story, but also its visual presentation.
Jin is also interesting to play as, thanks to deep swordplay combat that offers plenty of challenge and fun.
Crash Bandicoot — Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Crash has been a gaming icon since the mid-90s, and in recent years has made a major comeback. He returned in 2017 for the N. Sane Trilogy remaster, then again last year for Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. This year, the orange marsupial finally got his first new game in over a decade with Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.
Crash returns with a new design and more personality than ever, along with brand new moves thanks to the new quantum masks. Crash can jump, spin, and dash like always, but now has new abilities like wall-jumping, rope-swinging, and rail-grinding. He can even defy physics by freezing time.
Crash plays and looks better than ever, and we can’t wait to see what sort of trouble he gets into next.
Tom Nook — Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Though he may be a money-hungry business man, Tom Nook is an incredibly charming and lovable character from the long-running Animal Crossing series. The series’ newest entry for the Nintendo Switch sees Tom Nook expanding his business to a tropical island, where he assists players in transforming an island into a brand new town.
His cute and adorable exterior combined with his stingy and greedy interior is what makes Tom Nook such a great character. He’s ultimately the face of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which has been one of the most influential and popular games of the year.
Cloud Strife — Final Fantasy VII Remake
Originally introduced in Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation 1 over twenty years ago, Cloud Strife has become a gaming icon over the years. He has appeared in countless other gaming franchises, from Kingdom Hearts to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch.
Now, Cloud has finally made his full return in the Final Fantasy VII Remake. In this reimagining of the original game, Cloud looks and plays better than ever, and is now fully voiced. Seeing Cloud in action in Final Fantasy VII Remake, it’s easy to see why he’s the most popular character out of all of the protagonists in the series.
Eivor Varinsdottir — Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
The most recent assassin introduced in the long-running Assassin’s Creed franchise is also one of the most interesting yet. Players step into the shoes of Eivor, a viking clan leader from 9th century England.
Much of the interest in Eivor lies in the character’s deep level of customization, as they are the first character in the series that can be either male or female with the ability to switch between genders on-the-fly. Additionally, players can customize Eivor head to toe with various clothing, armor, war paint, and weaponry.
Eivor’s play style can also be changed depending on the player’s preferences. There are tons of different weapon loadout combos that can support more aggressive or stealthy ways of playing. This huge amount of customization and variety in Eivor makes them an incredibly fun and interesting character to play as.
Link — Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
The Warriors games have always focused largely on hack and slash gameplay. The series made a big impact in 2016 when it crossed over with The Legend of Zelda franchise, resulting in Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U.
This year, fans got a follow-up with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which also acted as a prequel to 2017’s Breath of the Wild. Ever since his introduction in 1986, Link has been one of the biggest gaming icons of all time. Now, in 2020, he has returned again, as silent as ever.
Age of Calamity is much more action-heavy than previous Zelda titles, with various powerful attacks that feel incredibly satisfying. Link was never boring to play as, but here he is quite possibly the most fun to control.
Ellie — The Last of Us Part II
Naughty Dog’s most recent effort broke sales records upon its release this year and went on to win seven categories at the 2020 Game Awards. It’s easy to see why.
The Last of Us Part 2 is a marvel to behold, with a breathtaking world and story that largely comes to life through its characters. Ellie, Joel, Abby, and Dina all feel real, thanks to the game’s exceptional writing and great actors behind their roles. But the main protagonist Ellie rises above the rest, with a wonderful performance by Ashley Johnson to thank.
Unlike many video game characters, players can see the exceptional growth that Ellie goes through in both games in the series. She is clearly shaped by the events that unfold. Ellie is emotional, acts on impulse, and doesn’t always make the best choices, but that’s what makes her character feel so real.
She’s imperfect and because of that she feels more relatable than most video game characters. Ellie is not only a great video game character, but a great character, period.
Hopefully we captured some of your favorite video game characters in this list. Of course, a lot of games released this year, and a lot of characters along with them. If we missed your favorites, let us know in the comments below! We’re always excited to know your thoughts and what games you’ve been playing.