The Best BioWare Characters
With our Dragon Age: Inquisition coverage in full swing, the time is ripe to celebrate the best BioWare characters. BioWare has provided us with many extraordinary party members over the years that making a list was no easy task. After debating internally and with my fellow staff members, it was decided that certain characters simply had to make the cut. Cast members are memorable for different reasons, whether we love them for their sarcasm, development, or merely because they're different from the standard video game archetype. For this list, I have some of the obvious choices and some neglected standouts.
Note: Characters are in no set order
HK-47 (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
While BioWare's games have always had comic-relief characters, none have come close to the simple wisdom and mean-spiritedness of HK-47. While he hides under the guise of a protocol droid, this assassin has derision for every "meatbag" around him. Except for his master, of course. While most will remember him for his snide comments to those around him, HK-47 found simple joy in what he did: murdering meatbags or at least talking about killing them.
Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect)
He's one of the most appreciated party members for a reason: He's got the reach. Jokes aside, Garrus has enough charisma to top all the rest of the Mass Effect cast. His laid-back nature is calming, and his sarcasm brings some much-needed levity. On one hand, you have the tough-as-nails turian who likes to shoot bottles off the top of the Citadel. On the other, you have the caring guy who'd be right at your side should anything happen. Loyal to the very end, Garrus has catapulted to the bro of all bros.
Minsc (Baldur's Gate)
If you played Baldur's Gate, one character stood out from the pack. You could call Minsc crazy; after all, he's been hit so many times on the head, he hardly makes sense as he consults Boo, his "miniature giant space hamster." Strangely enough, this is what makes you love him all the more. Minsc is also a good soul; he desires to be a hero so much that it's often funny how far he'll go, but you know his heart is always in the right place. His mind on the other hand...
Shale (Dragon Age: Origins)
If you were Shale you'd hate pigeons, too. Shale was once a female dwarf, whose soul was transported to a golem by her own request to help defend the people during the First Blight. The only problem is that Shale can be activated and deactivated, and unfortunately, a mage found her deactivated and she was put under his control. He treated her like an experiment and paraded her around like a sideshow. Deactivated by the mage's wife after blaming her for his death, Shale stood for years awake, but unable to move. That's time for a lot of pigeons to use you as a resting ground, which explains her homicidal rage towards them. She may be made of rock, but getting her to look at herself as a person is a whole other story.
Varric Tethras (Dragon Age II)
Who's got your back? This dwarf does. Varric, who has a story for every occasion, supported you every step of the way in Dragon Age II, whether he agreed or not. He may have a thing for blackmail and you never can be sure he's actually telling the truth, but like a true sidekick, he never lets you down. He'll always be there with a drink in hand and a crazy story to lighten the mood. Let's face it: When the world's fate is in your hands, a little humor never hurts.
Mordin Solus (Mass Effect)
The fast-talking salarian captivated with his friendly demeanor and tendency to break into song. He is the very model of a scientist salarian. Quick to depend on logic and not let emotions cloud his judgments, he could have come across cold-hearted, but Mordin turns out to be a loveable character. His defining moment is when he admits he made a mistake with the genophage. If you let him have this honor, Mordin makes the ultimate sacrifice for the better of the universe, righting his wrongs. I just hope he's collecting seashells someplace.
Jolee Bindo (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
A cranky old man who hacks the hell out of enemies is hard to top. In fact, he almost beats HK-47 for his power with sarcasm, as Jolee Bindo's self-ridicule is part of his charm. But Jolee Bindo will perhaps never live down his infamous line, "I did it all for the Wookiees!" He often goes off-topic in conversation and thinks it's his right to do it because he's old. Hey, who said his stories had to have a point? He also has a deeper arc that involves trying to face his past and he knows the true identity of Revan, but nobly keeps it to himself.
Wild Flower (Jade Empire)
While Jade Empire has some interesting characters in its foray, Wild Flower is one of the more unique ones. She's a very straightforward 8-year-old girl, who is unfortunately possessed by two different spirits: one good, one evil. Part of what makes her such a delight is seeing this child's interpretation and perspective on all the complex issues you face and what the spirits are telling her to say. As the journey goes on, it becomes a game of the two disparate perspectives talking through her, but part of the fight is trying to give Wild Flower the freedom and life she deserves.
Deekin Scalesinger (Neverwinter Nights)
In the Neverwinter games, the best characters are really your friends that you play with, but this kobold bard is an exception. Most characters would annoy you if they talked in third person, but Deekin pulls it off. He's working on a book and often narrates what's going on around him, even fessing up to passing gas. Deekin refuses to partake in the typical kobold way of life; after all, who would want to be a generic monster?
Jaheira (Baldur's Gate)
Every once in a while, you need a female character who takes no prisoners. Let's just say this headstrong half-elf turned druid isn't afraid to get her hands dirty and would rather attempt change than sit back and do nothing. In Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, she must confront a devastating loss. She may be blunt, but she's got a good head on her shoulders and is determined to look out for you. Sometimes it's refreshing to see someone so confident in their own abilities and have an accurate self-assessment at that.
Look, many characters just missed the cut like Wrex, Morrigan, The Dark Whirlwind, so let's turn the discussion into which BioWare characters you think are the best and why in the comments.