I’m not sure about the majority of people but I am literally exhausted of seeing main heroes having a nasty disposition throughout the majority of a game. Also, those little people that take on a great burden and feel like the best thing is to become a silent recluse and retreat from the rest of the world, ending up creating an anomaly that is repulsive to look at for the rest of the game. I like my main cheese to have a little meat on their bones and a lot of positive personality to boot.
Titles that have the noir hero often tend to draw out over long periods of game time and cause me to become quite bored with the experience overall. Granted, some situations call for a character such as the first two heroes of Suikoden games and Terra from Final Fantasy 6. Nowadays, thought, every Tom, Harry, and Jeanne are facing some sort of problem or have been through an ordeal that completely destroys what could have been a nice person to get along with. One such person that stands out in my mind is Squall Leonhart.
Now, I may be too harsh in picking on poor little Squall but he is such a charade. He is definitely trying to play the noir character throughout most of FF8 and I must say that this is the main thing that disappoints me about the game. For the first two discs, I felt as if I was forced to watch his character do the same things and react the same way over and over. Then, when he receives a revelation, it doesn’t do much to improve his character. It just seems to put an occasional smirk on his face and have him fire off a wittier comment than the by now overly used phrase of “…Whatever.” His outfit only accentuates his personality further by coloring in the already noticeable blackness of the cesspool that is Mr. Leonhart’s disposition. Also, he is always trying to force himself on the other team members by ignoring them or giving orders where none need be given. I feel that FF8 would have been a better title without Squall in any second of it.
Let us look at another hero, shall we? Next up for display is the introverted being that is Rudy from the original Wild Arms. This guy is a silent recluse over the whole arc and does a pretty good job of it too. Rudy’s personality was one that was approachable seeing as how he was like a newborn kitten that was uncertain of the world around it. Fate dealt this guy a bad hand and he ended up paying for it. At least he delivered himself well and made my experience with him one that I will cherish. I actually felt sorry for Rudy when he was banished from the very beginning. The banishment was a lot more than just not being able to access a single place again. This was more along the lines that Rudy was considered “different” from a normal person because he could use the accursed ARMs. Further on down the road, a revelation is made to Rudy that had an effect that I wasn’t expecting. It completely incapacitates him for a certain amount of time by having him retreat completely inside himself and not responding to anything whatsoever. Truly, Rudy was a character that deserves a standing ovation for efficiently capturing my attention and keeping me glued to the game until it was over.
What a hero really needs is an upbeat personality that permeates throughout the whole experience, even despite little bumps in the road. Not enough to choke me on goody-two-shoes kindness but just the right amount to make me value the character’s existence and enjoy the game throughout its entirety. These types of people are willing to help others, take risks, and live a good life all in one neat little package. Speed bumps are allowed to slow them down a little but not completely halt progress. Allow me to entertain you with a couple of my choices.
First up is the ravishing Rena Lanford. This gal truly is has an upbeat personality through Star Ocean: The Second Story. No negativity is found at all in this sweet innocent woman. Even when she is in peril, Rena displays a countenance that is like a shimmering pearl in a sea of murky water. Even when she finds out some information that could send her off the deep end, Rena stays true to her roots and keeps smiling until the end. Even after then she is most likely laughing with the rest of the crew.
Let us look at the word adventurer for just a moment. According to dictionary.com, an adventurer is one who: 1. Enjoys taking risks and 2. Travels into little known regions. In order to take risks or venture into the unknown, one must be bold and positive with themselves. Truly, this is the exact definition of Justin from Grandia. He’s supposed to be an adventurer and by golly, he sure does keep that positive outlook even in dire straits. He really does enjoy taking risks (maybe a little too much) and does a fantastic job at doing so. Being such a person as he is often gets him into sticky situations, but that just makes the whole experience more enriching. If there were more characters like Justin in RPGs today, then I would truly be in gaming heaven.
So, it’s pretty clear to me that a positive hero will show you the time of your life. It’s essential that they are incorporated more often into RPGs because I feel that they are becoming more of a minority as the years progress and more titles come out. So, keep your Squalls to yourself. I prefer my Justins anyway, thanks very much.