NPCs can be the most important part of a game. They can populate the world, help out the protagonist with missions, or may even just be there to breathe some sense of realism into the game. But not all developers envisioned actual roles for them to fill their time with. So, without further ado, here’s our list of the top useless-est (shut up, it’s a word) NPCs in video gaming history.
**Note: Some of these characters may have been playable for a portion of time in the game they appeared in. We included characters on this list based on the relative non-impact they had when they were either full NPC or had NPC-like characteristics.
1. Kimahri – Final Fantasy X
As Yuna’s bodyguard, Kimahri looks and feels the mighty club bouncer at first. But as the game draws to its conclusion, he proves marginal in usefulness, becoming an advisor to you with no real advice to be had, and consequently no impact on story or gameplay. This basically grants licence for Tidus to swoop in and take over, even though Kimahri has his own backstory! On the balance, this puts him squarely in the useless category.
2. Minfilia – Final Fantasy XIV Online
Okay, you may be wondering why I put Minfilia on this list. Plot-wise, she’s admittedly important, what with her being el Jefe of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn and all, and she’s written as an effective soldier on the battlefield. And yet her main role is to kvetch at you, giving you missions without absolutely any backup at all! TL; DR: she’s the Zelda to your Link.
3. The Dog – Duck Hunt
Duck Hunt may be the simplest game ever to exist on the face of this Earth. You shoot a duck, duck falls out of sky, dog grabs duck, you climb the leaderboard. But what the hell does the dog actually do? All he’s good for is grabbing the duck when it falls (you can do that yourself, right?), and if you fail to get even a single piece of fowl, he laughs at you! There should be a mod where we get to shoot HIM instead. Well, you could always play Duck Season.
4. Ashley – Resident Evil 4
Useless may be too generous a word to describe Ashley. Picture this: you have to constantly protect an NPC who can’t even point a gun at a zombie to save her fucking life. Every two seconds you hear, “Leon, halps!” as she’s getting mauled by one. Her AI is basically half-arsed, and the compassionate thing to do would be to just end her suffering, but you can’t even do that. *Sigh*
5. Sylvia – Dragon Quest XVI
OKAY, so Sylvia is actually a knight named Goriate who ran away from home due to a disagreement with her (yeah she’s transgender so what?) father, who’s the toughest knight in all the land. Why? She wants to, in her own words, “make people smile!” But she’s kinda useless in battle. Even though she’s got 3 main swords with lots of other choices like whips and daggers, she’s got the lowest damage quotient in the game, leaving her basically useless in a fight against… anyone! Pass.
6. Captain Qwark – Ratchet and Clank
Captain Qwark is supposed to be the neighbourly yet all-American superhero, and yet is marred by his overpowering egocentricity. He’s the dumbest character alive in the Ratchet and Clank series, he even inadvertently helps the damn bad guys! He’s only good for one thing: comic relief. Outside of that? Nope.
7. Single-Player AI – Battlefield 3
Battlefield 3’s Frostbite Engine really shines. The AI? Not so much. Every single soldier in the game went to the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, meaning they can’t shoot for shit. Even the damn cube in Portal did more!
That’s our list of 7 useless-est NPCs in video gaming history. Think we missed someone, or got a grievance about someone we listed? Let us know in the comments below!