It takes a lot of energy to be the main character. When you get dubbed the protagonist, you immediately get thrown into a swirl of twists, turns, and endless plot progression. How can a story be interesting if nothing happens to you?
Still, some stories seem to drag their protagonist through the wringer more than others. Sometimes, you get to take on the role of a Flower and literally breeze through life. Other times, you step into the shoes of a protagonist that really deserves to take the best nap of their life for at least a day. Take a look at some of gaming’s most tired MCs that need to catch a break.
Spoiler Alert: Some of these entries spoil a few plot points for their respective games.
12/12 Dante – Devil May Cry
Throughout the Devil May Cry series, the recurring protagonist is Dante. As the strongest demon slayer known to man, Dante has been going to hell and back for years and years. Every time he gets the chance to settle down, a rogue demon has other ideas in mind.
As if this wasn’t enough, he ultimately faces countless betrayals and even faces off against his twin, Vergil, multiple times throughout the series. Dante tries to save Vergil a few times, but their brotherhood never seems to work out because of their vastly different ideals.
When Dante’s not the protector of the human plane, he has to fend off family and foe alike in the Demon World. Somebody get this man an energy drink.
11/12 Mario Mario – Super Mario Bros
Your life has to be interesting with a canonical name like Mario Mario. You simply can’t sit at home with that title. Thankfully, Mario happens to get pulled into all sorts of adventures, jumping across deadly ravines, dodging fireballs and bullets, and racing against almost everyone he’s ever saved and battled in the tracks.
Mario has been in his mid-20s for a hot minute, and with the wild variety of titles we’ve seen him in, he seems to be experiencing the longest years anyone would ever have to endure. It doesn’t justify his blatant kidnapping of Donkey Kong, but hey, a plucky Italian plumber can only take so much before he breaks.
10/12 Master Chief – Halo
Master Chief was raised for combat from his early years, which is more than enough reason to grant him some rest. From there, he faces endless barrages of war and invasion, all the while having to protect and work with Cortana for the good of humanity.
The Master Chief has been so busy fighting off the Covenant that no one even bothers to know his name anymore. It’s John! The only time he gets any “rest” is when he is put into cryosleep, but even that isn’t satisfying.
9/12 Ethan Mars – Heavy Rain
Ethan Mars is one of those poor souls that has had it exceptionally rough. Before the main events of Heavy Rain, he loses his son Jason to a tragic hit-and-run. Oh, and he suffers a coma that lasts half a year. He wakes up, but, of course, he gets divorced from his loving wife.
That should be enough trauma for a single lifetime, but the game still has to start! So, naturally, Ethan’s other son Shaun gets kidnapped by the Origami Killer. In his frantic search for his son, he must face agoraphobia, increasingly horrific trials left by a mad serial killer, and a lot of bad endings.
Dead bodies, murders, lost limbs, you name it. Ethan has faced it. Even if you manage to find his son, it’s a lot to experience.
8/12 The Sole Survivor – Fallout 4
The Fallout series is arguably filled with characters that are all deserving of a long nap. After all, post-nuclear America is not a friendly place to live in.
Fallout 4’s protagonist, though, has a rough go at it after being plucked out of their idyllic life. You must enter a Vault to escape nuclear fallout, but in the process, you get unwillingly put under cryogenic stasis as your spouse gets murdered and your child is taken away. Once you awaken 200 years later, you see all your fellow vault members long dead, and you emerge into a vastly different world as The Sole Survivor.
Because life is a mess, you have to find your son, make massive choices that will affect the fate of humanity, and face a variety of disgusting enemies. Even the sweet tunes of Diamond City Radio aren’t enough to make up for this.
7/12 Jesse Faden – Control
In Control, Jesse must accept her new role as The Director of the Federal Bureau of Control while containing a Hiss invasion, various alterations of reality and items, and trying to save her brother. While it may seem cool to get an executive position just because you were looking for a friend, it’s a lot to handle on your first day of work.
As the new Director, Jesse is cleaning up messes left and right. Every time you contain something disturbing that should not be reacting that way, something else happens. Of course, it does. The Oldest House is not meant to be traversed quickly, but Jesse must do it anyway. There needs to be an altered bed in the Panopticon somewhere that gives anyone the best naps they could dream of.
6/12 The Stray Cat – Stray
In Stray, you must navigate a long-forgotten city of robots and all-consuming bacteria that will try to kill you and everyone around it. Throughout this journey, the cat must find their way back to the outside world while navigating dangers left and right.
Take a moment to think about the fact that cats are meant to sleep around 12 to 16 hours a day. There may be lots of nap spots littered throughout the world, but there never seems to be enough time to do so. This little kitty should get the best pets and the snuggest naps under the sun after all this trouble.
5/12 Senua – Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a beautiful game that expertly links mythology and mental health into one compelling adventure. It has its fair share of twists and turns while still respecting the true nature of mental illness.
Senua goes through a lot as the protagonist. Not only must she battle her inner demons, but she also faces off against the horrors that the Viking age inherently brings along with it. On top of that, Senua has dark rot, which steadily spreads on her flesh the further into the story you go. It also spreads if you ever fail in points of the game.
It’s hard to have this much on your mind, and Senua takes it in stride. Hopefully, she gets a moment of reprieve before the Saga comes along.
4/12 Leon Kennedy – Resident Evil
Leon Kennedy has changed a lot through the years, but can we blame him? After escaping a childhood filled with crime and the death of his whole family, he becomes a police officer. He decides to work in Raccoon City, only to break up with his girlfriend and find the entire city bombarded with zombies.
First of all, fighting zombies is no easy work. Secondly, have you seen the giants he has to face? One hit from the El Gigante is a lifetime supply of soft pillows and melatonin.
Leon’s journey doesn’t end there, either. So much happens to this man involving civil wars, bringing down major corporations, and secret military missions with barely a moment’s rest.
3/12 Rico Rodriguez – Just Cause
Explosions, gunfights, and zipping through the air trying not to crash face first into the ground – these are all just regular occurrences in the life of one Rico Rodriguez. There are a lot of conflicting reports in the world of Just Cause about his background, but everything that happens throughout the series is already tiring enough.
He’s been called the Hero of San Esperito, the King of Panau, and the Son of Medici. You don’t just get those titles resting on your laurels. Everywhere Rico goes, people seem to rely on him as their great savior. Those that don’t usually want to kill him instead. Woof.
2/12 Kassandra the Eagle-Bearer – Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
The mighty Kassandra bears much more than her trusty eagle throughout Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. It’s hard to pick a place to start talking about all the hard choices and out-of-this-world experiences that Kassandra has to go through, but she takes on a lot traveling across ancient Greece.
The whole adventure takes her ten years to accomplish, which is understandable considering it’s called an “Odyssey.” Her journey doesn’t necessarily end there, either. After taking down multiple cults and beasts anointed by the gods, she is responsible in more ways than one for forming the Brotherhood as it is known today.
1/12 Kratos – God Of War
Behold, God of War‘s Kratos – the God Slayer, the Ghost of Sparta, Olympus’ Fallen God, disgruntled dad! After bloody rampages across Sparta and facing off the gods of the Greek pantheon, Kratos makes his way to Midgard. With the ghosts of his actions behind him, he tries to start anew but now faces off against Norse gods.
As if raising your son isn’t tiring enough, one need only look at Kratos’ list of powerful enemies to feel how tired this protagonist is. Hades, Freya, Helios, Hera, Medusa, and Baldur are just a few of the big names that have wanted Kratos dead. At this point, Kratos will have to find a whole other planet to get a decent nap uninterrupted.