The ZeroEscape characters range from good to unbearable, but I would be lying if I said all of the participants weren’t at the very least memorable. They all gave the games a unique charm, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ll be ranking all of the main participants based on how much I enjoyed their character, or how well they stirred the pot. Be warned – there are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for all three games!
Before we begin, you can check out some of my related blog posts below:
Annoying As Hell
26 – Eric
By far the worst character in the series, I always dreaded having to spend time with Eric.
He’s such a big crybaby, and his simping for Mira got old fast. Also, his sudden outbursts of mad insanity felt a little too left-field.
25 – Mira
Eric’s partner in crime, Q-Team was always such a slog to play through when these two were stinking up the gaff.
Mira has next to no personality, and the reveal that she’s a psycho killer did nothing to win me over.
24 – Junpei (Zero Time Dilemma)
I can understand why they made Junpei a douche in Zero Time Dilemma – they needed to bridge the gap between optimistic 999 Junpei and crotchety VLR Tenmyouji.
Still, even though I understand why they wrote him that way, that doesn’t make him any less annoying. Why was he always so mean and condescending to Akane and Carlos? Why did the writers think that would be a good idea?
23 – Clover (999)
I felt bad for Clover for a lot of 999 – her grief over her brother was pretty well handled, but in hindsight that was all her character had to offer.
She also didn’t help her case by killing everyone in one fell swoop in one of the endings. That girl really needs to take a chill pill.
22 – Clover (Virtue’s Last Reward)
We got the same old Clover in VLR, except she didn’t have homicidal tendencies. Or, at the very least, it was less obvious than before.
I was sort of starting to like her, but the scene where she tries to seduce Sigma made me lose a lot of respect for her.
21 – Quark
There was a decent chunk of VLR where I thought that Quark was playing a sort of long-con, and that Dio had actually been telling this truth about this manipulative boy.
What we ended up getting, however, was a character that acted more as a plot device than a real human being.
20 – Santa
Santa has exactly the opposite problem to Quark – he was very boring and vanilla to begin with, so his sudden plot relevance felt a little out of the blue.
I do like what they did with his character and backstory by the end, but the first 90% didn’t do him any favours.
19 – Diana
D-Team was definitely my favourite group in Zero Time Dilemma, and all three of them had good interactions. Sadly, Diana was easily the least interesting of the trio.
SPOILERS – It’s baffling how Luna, a robot that was based on Diana, had more personality than the original human.
18 – Sigma (Virtue’s Last Reward)
This will be a hugely unpopular opinion, but I thought VLR Sigma was a massive step down in terms of protagonists.
He’s way too horny and quippy for my liking, and the various cat puns got really annoying very quickly. Also, I’m not a fan of his big twist at the end.
17 – June / Akane (999)
Maybe another unpopular take, but June was such a nothing character in the first ZeroEscape game.
She acts purely as the vanilla love interest for 90% of the runtime, and only becomes an interesting character once her true backstory is revealed.
16 – Alice
The developers tried to recaptured the essence of Lotus’s character from the first game, and I don’t think they managed it.
She’s a very intelligent woman, I’ll give her that, but a lot of her time was spent complaining, going insane and plotting against other characters.
15 – Akane (Zero Time Dilemma)
For all of Zero Time Dilemma’s shortcomings, we did get to see a lot of our favourite characters in their prime. Sadly, Akane was one that underwhelmed me.
She was still as intelligent as before, suddenly diving into random side-topics, but she didn’t take charge nearly as much as I wanted her too.
14 – Q / Sean
I did warn you about spoilers. If you haven’t played the games this will be a big giveaway, but the boy we thought was “Q” was actually called Sean.
I quite liked Sean’s story, and the way he was the most mysterious character of all, but when paired with Eric and Mira he had next to nothing to work with.
And if you’re interested, the actual Q (or “Delta”) would be waaay down with Eric and Mira at the bottom of this list if I’d included him.
13 – Snake
It’s such a shame that Snake disappears for a large chunk of 999’s story, as otherwise he could have been one of my favourites.
I love his humour and assuredness despite his disability, and he’s voiced by Taliesen Jaffe – one of the Critical Role members. That’s gotta be some bonus points!
12 – K
Yet another Critical Role voice actor (Travis Willingham, this time), K was by far the most intriguing character in Virtue’s Last Reward.
He’s a walking talking mystery box, and his various philosophical musings were perfect for this series.
11 – Phi (Zero Time Dilemma)
I really liked Phi in VLR, but her stint in Zero Time Dilemma felt lacking.
She was still the same, muted voice of reason that I’d grown to love, but she felt a little too subdued this time around.
10 – Tenmyouji / Junpei (Virtue’s Last Reward)
I wasn’t sure how an old man would work in the Nonary Game, but Tenmyouji was such a breath of fresh air in the cast.
He was a little grouchy at times, and I saw the Junpei twist coming a mile off, but he brought some old-fashioned fun to the group.
9 – Phi (Virtue’s Last Reward)
Phi made for a much better “companion” than June in the sequel, mainly because she felt like she could hold her own against Sigma’s BS.
Her ability to SHIFT made her and Sigma’s dynamic so fascinating, and her many quips were always fun.
8 – Junpei (999)
Junpei wasn’t exactly the most gripping of protagonists, but he did exactly what he needed to do.
A bit like Makoto from Danganronpa, Junpei is your middle-of-the-road Average Joe that can act as the audience’s unbiased eyes.
7 – Luna
We didn’t deserve Luna.
She was the most kind-hearted participant of any of the Nonary Games, and her radiant warmth was a blessing with all of the deception and death going on around. Her final scene is a real tear-jerker.
Yet again, she’s voiced to perfection by a Critical Role alum – Laura Bailey! Those guys are hella talented.
6 – Seven
Amnesiac plots usually feel cheap and are rarely done well, but Seven is a character that I couldn’t help but feel intrigued by.
We’re drip-fed his backstory, and it’s arguably the most interesting of the bunch. There’s a bit of debate as to whether he was just pretending to have memory loss, but I loved him either way.
5 – Lotus
When Lotus was first introduced, I was sure she was going to be 999’s pushover / wallflower – but that ended up being June instead.
Lotus had a surprisingly solid backbone, and she never put up with the rest of the cast’s nonsense. The only thing holding her back, I think, is plot relevance – why was she invited to the Nonary Game above some other candidates?
4 – Sigma (Zero Time Dilemma)
I might be in the huge minority here, but I found Sigma to be far more tolerable in Zero Time Dilemma than Virtue’s Last Reward.
The cat puns are all but gone, and he’s far more authoritative and far less horny. Also, he’s voiced by Mr. Critical Role himself – Matthew Mercer, who might just give the most sincere performance in the series.
3 – Ace
I love a good villain, and Ace was exactly what the first ZeroEscape game needed.
He’s an intelligent antagonist, one that isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and do the unthinkable – that made him such a terrifying presence, and I loved every second.
2 – Carlos
Carlos is one of the most milk-toast guys you’ll ever meet, but that still puts him in the top 2. If that’s not a reflection on the standard of characters in this series, I don’t know what is.
I loved his humour and his loyalty to his friends, and he was by far my favourite playable character in the entire trilogy.
1 – Dio
I can almost guarantee that nobody else will have Dio as their favourite character, but he was a villain I loved to hate.
I loathed every second of him on screen (in a good way, unlike Eric and Mira), and he’s voiced to snarky perfection by Liam O’Brian (Critical Role yet again!). In terms of entertainment and captivating the player, no other character comes close.
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