games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Robots in Video Games

November 22, 2016 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week the topic is on the best robots in video games. There’s no real criteria here, but for me, general effectiveness is key, followed closely by the robot having a personality. Let’s begin:

#8: Metal Gear Rex

To my knowledge, you’ve never been able to directly control a Metal Gear before, at least in the “Solid” series of games. This changes in Metal Gear Solid 4 when you are tasked with going back to Alaska to stop Liquid from getting Rex’s nuke. You then have an epic battle against Liquid as he pilots a Metal Gear Ray, and you two fight across a snowy landscape. It just created a powerful moment when you, the player, finally have control of a Metal Gear and you’re able to cut loose with one against an enemy, even if it’s just a Ray. Ray’s may look cool but considering how pitiful they were in MGS 2, with Raiden blasting dozens apart at the end with Snake, they are barely a threat in the franchise. Still, the Rex vs. Ray fight is the second best fight in the game, followed by the Ocelot/Liquid vs. Snake fight at the end.

#7: Mega Man

The Blue Bomber is one of the most recognizable characters in all of video games, but in the early games he had no real personality to speak of. You run, gun, and collect items and that was about it in those early games. Later franchises like Mega Man X, Battle Network, Mega Man Legends or Zero, etc., really added a bit more depth to the idea of Mega Man. Like with BioShock Infinite, there is always a robot in blue and he has to fight various robot masters to acquire new skils.

#6: ETH.3n (Ethan)

The most recent addition to this list but a good pick none the less. I really enjoyed my time with Ethan as I played Infinite Warfare. He faces a lot of robo-racism, in the form of Sergeant Omar, but he proves himself and becomes a valued member of the squad. While he is governed by loyalty to the player, he does still have a mind of his own and comes up with new ideas for problems that come up. Honestly, I wish you could take him on more mission, rather than Salter, just to listen to him more.

#5: GLaDOS

I’d argue at this point that GLaDOS is the most popular character Valve has made. She has a sardonic wit, is very passive-aggressive but actually grows a fair amount in the second game. Plus, learning about some of her backstory with Cave Johnson and Caroline does help flesh her out quite a bit. But it’s the writing and voice work behind GLaDOS that really makes her standout in the game.

#4: Liberty Prime

Who doesn’t love a giant nuke-chugging robot that yells about the Communist scourge that is hitting America? He was one of the best characters in Fallout 3, and is pretty much the sole reason for joining up with The Brotherhood in Fallout 4, despite them being huge dicks. Fallout 3 and 4 are kind of silly games, but Liberty Prime takes it to another level and I kind of love that about him. If you have the games on PC, make sure to download the various mods that turn him into a companion for your character.

#3: Loader Bot

Clap-Trap is probably the most popular character of the Borderlands series, almost without question. However, it is actually Loader Bot that is probably the best character in the franchise. He has some really great lines as you play through Tales from the Borderlands like “The metal is willing, but the spirit is weak” and “Angry eyes detected”. He is also probably the most competent character in the game, which is funny when you think about it. He just runs in, starts killing the various bad guys and can even sacrifice himself just to save Rhys. The late game reveal with him is also just masterfully done, and if they ever make another season of the game, he has to come back.

#2: Clank

The later Ratchet & Clank games go nuts with Clank’s backstory, but the first game (and the reboot) just keep it simple. He is a malfunctioning robot who befriends Ratchet, and they end up saving the galaxy from evil. Nothing more really needs to be said, or explained that Clank is a “Chosen One”, or the like. Clank has several good uses that give Ratchet a double jump, or the Hydro-Pack which lets Ratchet swim a lot faster. He’s also just a consummate friend to Ratchet in the games, and that relationship is the bedrock for the decade long spanning friendship the two have.

#1: HK-47

HK-47 is not only the best robot in video games, he’s probably the best character in all of Star Wars. While a character like Han Solo might have a bit of an anti-hero edge to them, HK-47 practically goes into full villainy mode as you play KOTOR, due to him reveling in his desire to kill various meatbags you encounter. The answer to practically every problem you encounter in the game is HK-47 going “Hey, mind if I just slaughter everyone here?” It would have been great if you could have sent him on actual assassination missions in the game, but alas it wasn’t the case. HK-47 was the breakout character for the KOTOR franchise and would be so perfect if he just managed to show up in one of the new Star Wars films coming out.

For comments, list which robots in video games you enjoy.

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Top 8 TV Shows Based on Video Games

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The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison