There has been some discussion on this within the community, so I though I’d make my own list. Why? Because – from what I’ve seen – my approach is going to be somewhat different.
Well, my list is largely based on who I like as a character, not how they play out. Sure, I can’t claim that the various abilities don’t have any effect on this, as they do inform the character… and yes, they do mean that I have more fun with certain characters outside of interactions.
My approach does have some strong implications: As the first game didn’t really have characterization (at least not very strongly), it’s harder for me to like those four. On the other hand, while the Pre-Sequel is largely unliked, the interactions with NPCs are much deeper (at least with specific ones) and that gives me a perspective on these characters the other games don’t. Therefore, there are no characters from the first game, while Pre-Sequel is strongly presented.
Also, characters that have had roles in the game outside of being an playable character do have an edge, as I’ve learned more about them through interacting with them, not only as them. Still, none of the four from the first game make it, even though they get plenty of screentime.
Another thing is that while I do have preferences, I don’t really dislike any of the 20. I guess Wilhelm would be on the bottom and I’m not a big fan of Roland or Axton, who seem just generic to me. Still, even these three are likeable in their own ways.
But, okay, the list:
5. Timothy / Jack
“And that’s, uh… survivable, is it?”
“I dunno. I just work here.”
“Still feeling, uh, pretty good. Physically, if not morally.”
Why he made the list: He just stands out for not being a badass. Everyone else (okay, not Frag-Trap) is just hyper-competent killing machine, while Timothy just needed the money he would receive for being a double for Handsome Jack and immediately gets in over his head. In order to make him as believable fake-Handsome Jack as possible, he has been injected with Jack’s DNA, which sometimes pushes through and he just acts like an asshole and immediately regrets it.
Later, in BL3, we learn of his fear of and crush on Moxxi, which just makes him more human. He has a moment of triumph after a huge personal sacrifice.
Death by robot!
God help you all if I actually HIT something!
I got brain on my shoe… I like it.
Why she made the list: Admittedly I do have a soft spot for nerd girls. Her enthusiasm is just catchy. While most of the vault hunters feel this way, her approach is just that much more macabre due to her young age. And while I did state that the abilities of these characters are secondary, both Deathtrap and Anarchy are just fun abilities to play around with.
Not sure how I feel about the version of her in BL3, but it was just nice running into her, even though I did know beforehand of her presence in the DLC2.
“Score one for Iron Bear!”
“Ain’t got the money for that.”
“Stay down, scrub.”
In Finland, we have a mandatory military service for males (you can avoid this in many ways, but most do still do the service). After WWII, many Finnish veterans were actually called into service under officers, who had not actually fought the war. This is kind of the feeling I get from Moze. She’s still young, but after taking part in numerous battles and being the only survivor in her Corps while still working for Vladof, she just knows better than those higher in the line of command, but she also knows better than to question them, because the repercussions might be quite fatal (which is what they tried to do to her at Vladof).
She’s also quite pragmatic. She’s careful with her money and cares for her BF Iron Bear.
“Got only one question: Who do we hurt next?”
“Nisha here. Available for mercenary work, S&M, and birthday parties.”
“Why didn’t you tell me you enjoyed killing things so much? We could be besties.”
In fiction, there’s something called “kicking the dog”, which is the moment where the bad guy does soemthing that’s so disgusting that there’s no chance of rehabilitation. Well, Nisha killed Brick’s puppy. But we do learn in the Pre-Sequel that Nisha was forced by her abusive mother to adopt such an approach to life. In her eyes, there just isn’t any room for softness. We learn that her affection for her puppy just ended badly. And she’s the closest thing to law we see at any point in the series.
Again, I do have fun with her abilities as well. One of my favorite things in the Pre-Sequel was just trying to maintain her action skill for as long as possible by killing anything I can. And in the right place (like the main area of Helios), you can go quite long.
“Hunh. I’m attractive?”
“I know almost nothing about romance, so please pretend I just said something really inspiring about the power of love.”
“Ever fought a siren before?”
Yeah… they did my girl so wrong in BL3… sigh. Well, we’ll see what they do with her in DLC4.
Wonder Woman (the film) works for me (well, until the mediocre third act), because Diana is good. She wants the world to be a better place, and while she doesn’t really understand the world, in the end it doesn’t deter her from her path of helping people, even if she witnesses the dark side of humanity. So, while I am a sucker for nerd girls and bad girls, there is still a place in my heart for pure goodness. Even Krieg, a psycho, immediately recognizes this quality in her.
The comparison to Diana is kind of apt, actually. They both lived a sequestered childhood with carers with less good motivations and had to break out of the situation. Sure, Diana just left while Maya killed the men who had been keeping her as a tool of oppression against the people of Athenas.
But she’s not boring or generic. She is very fun to play and while her action skill is pretty useless in many situations (because there are a lot of things that can’t be grasped), being able to control the battlefield in such a way is interestingly different from just killing everything indiscriminately.
I do also like how Maya is a representative of a group not often seen in fiction: asexuals. Sure, the sexuality of many characters is never discussed, but we learn that this is just not something Maya thinks about. It’s just one of numerous underrepresented groups that just got someone quite cool in their corner.