Much of the love that gamers ooze goes to the characters that they get to personally play as. When non-playable-characters do get a shout out, it is usually just to reminisce or have a good laugh, not to think about “What would it be like to play as them?” Well, here are five characters that I want to play as, and why I think it would be AMAZING.
5. Dr. Zed (Borderlands series) – Zed would be entirely different from any other playable character in the Borderlands world. He is a mildly creepy, somewhat sadistic, “doctor” that is better at killing people than keeping them alive. I could imagine him having skills that grant him higher critical hit bonuses, like a botched surgery, or enable him to deal damage over time. I must admit, though, that had I been writing this after the release of Borderlands 2, Tiny Tina might have taken Zed’s spot on this list.
4. Any of the Koopalings besides Bowser Jr. (Super Mario Bros. series) – This one is simple; I’m tired of Bowser Jr. He was created over a decade after the original seven Koopalings, and I don’t think that he is a particularly creative character. Why can’t the others show up in one of the Mario Party games, Mario Kart, or a Mario Sports game? Instead of introducing new characters that gamers don’t want (aka WaLuigi), why not bring back established characters from old classics?
3. Jeremy Clarkson (Forza Motorsport 4-kind of) – Okay, I understand that this outspoken Top Gear presenter is not exactly an NPC per se, but he is featured as a narrator in parts of the game, and that is good enough for me. Forza 4 is a fantastically entertaining racing simulator, but after spending a few too many hours flying around the same track at 170mph (my best friend adores Road America), it can grow somewhat tiresome; Clarkson behind the wheel could change that. Jeremy Clarkson is filled with outrageous comments, over-the-top metaphors, and is never left speechless. As a playable character, he could comment on the car you’ve selected, congratulate you on a photo-finish victory, berate you for a tough loss, or simply ramble on about things that only his brain can comprehend. He could also provide insights on the particular track you are on, like a tricky turn up ahead. Should you find yourself leaving your competition in the dust, Clarkson could shout out a few witty jokes, comparing them to “Captain Slow” or “Mr. Slowly”, as the Italians would say. As an aside, I wouldn’t mind having the other presenters, along with The Stig, being featured in the next Forza as well; Top Gear has already partnered with Turn 10 Studios, so why not make it happen?
2. Deckard Cain (Diablo series) – Diablo 3 is not, by any means, a bad game; however, its endgame problems have been very public. Thousands of gamers have stopped playing, and Blizzard has been forced to implement some serious changes via patches. Want to know how to lighten the mood (Diablo takes itself far too seriously) and have fun button-mashing again? Play as an old man. I know it sounds dumb, but hear me out. Picture yourself bashing skeletons with a walking stick, smashing leather-bound books and over-sized scrolls into demons’ skulls, raining some knowledge down on the remaining prime evils, and, when all else fails, talk your enemies to death. Personally, I think that would be great; at the very least, it would be different. Isn’t there always outcry for developers to do something new? Well, this could be one of those things. *SPOILER WARNING* Plus, if gamers got to actually play as Deckard Cain, they wouldn’t have to helplessly witness him die by the hands of a butterfly-wing-wearing witch during one of the most pathetic cut-scenes ever . Seriously, why did Cain die?
1. Aria T’Loak (Mass Effect series) – Aria is the bad ass crime lord that runs outer space’s version of Las Vegas: Omega. She first appeared in ME2 and when she made a cameo in ME3, I was stunned that she never became a crew member of the Normandy. Aria is one of the many incredible characters in the Mass Effect world that have been left with untapped potential. Looking back on the franchise, it feels like her story is still largely untold. Bioware doesn’t even have to devote a future game to her; a few hours of DLC could suffice. The story line could be post-ME3, and could involve something like Aria having to deal with the aftermath of the negotiations that were made with the Blue Suns and other mercenary groups so that they’d fight against the Reapers. Maybe as soon as the fight was won, one of the factions turned on her? Bioware, if you are reading this, make it happen.