Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 18: Best Protagonist

This was pretty easy. Sora of the Kingdom Hearts series is a fantastic character and a delight to play as. Many protagonists in games barely get a role at all, never speaking or doing anything particularly interesting. Sora on the other hand, has a fully developed personality and he is a key part of the game, rather than just an avatar to explore the world with.

He's funny, he's kind, and he's quite polite, which I like. Arrogant heroes are no fun at all. He's also not afraid to show his feelings, and still manages to keep a game face on when the battle is tough. I don't want to spoil too much, but he also has a particularly strong will to succeed that's born of love for his friends, not out of pride or grit or something, and this is beautifully demonstrated repeatedly towards the end of the game. One of his best characteristics though, is his childlike playfulness. He pulls faces, he makes jokes, and he seldom lets the whole crazy mess he's in drag him down - and when he does, he has Donald and Goofy to help him to keep a smile on his face.

Essentially, Kingdom Hearts is a Final Fantasy series stuck into a universe populated by old FF characters and LOTS of Disney ones. The worlds you explore and inevitably save are all Disney films - Beauty and the Beast, Hercules, Tarzan, etc. You recognize almost every character immediately. Sora starts out however on a remote island (aptly named the Island of Destiny) with his two friends, Riku and Kairi. When the island is attacked and shadow surrounds you, all of you are separated into the universe - Kairi in particular has been dragged away. Thus you vow to save her. Cue plot.

From a lost boy in a vast universe he does't understand, Sora grows into a true hero, drawing on simple wisdom about love, faith, inner strength, and the heart to defeat every obstacle in his path. The fact that all the enemies you face are monsters drawn from the darkness in people's hearts makes Sora's perspective particularly relevant. Yes, the game is all about hearts and so the fact that he is very heart-centric in his speeches is a little obvious, but it WORKS. And it builds Sora as a passionate, intelligent boy selflessly devoted to his friends and with a good appreciation of the childish and the ridiculous.

He is a delight to play, and through Kingdom Hearts I and II, you never stop loving that boy who loves so much.

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