Retrospective Gaming: Ranking 10 of the Best GTA 5 Characters

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It’s been nearly two months since the release of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto 5 juggernaut, which since its release has managed to reap record sales and high praise from fans and critics alike. It’s surely headed for a GOTY nomination this December, and it’s definitely a special game that deserves recognition.

Many aspects of GTA 5 make it the high quality experience that it is, but one in particular really sets it apart from the other great triple-A games released this year. GTA 5’s best asset is without a doubt its cast of colorful characters. The use of three main characters was a first for the GTA franchise, and it paid off in spades. That’s not to say that the supporting cast isn’t just as amazing, because without them the world would have felt less alive, and the characters of Franklin, Michael, and Trevor wouldn’t have felt as authentic.

To honor the cast of GTA 5 we’ve broken down a list ranking the ten best. We didn’t look at the fringe cast, but did focus on ten characters that played prominent roles in the game. Find out who we deem to be the best GTA 5 character down below. Viva Los Santos!

Editor’s note: The Big 3 refers to Franklin, Micheal, and Trevor

10. Amanda De Santa

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The matriarch of the dysfunctional De Santa clan provided a perfect look at an unhappy wife living in her rich husband’s mansion. She’s disgusted with Michael, absent when it comes to her whacked out kids, and spends more time sleeping with hired help than her own husband. Regardless, she still grounded Michael and provided a base of comfort for the criminal. She had the ability to make gamers feel for her situation even though she’s almost as shady as Michael, and she provided for some of GTA 5’s more tender moments.

Voiced by Vicki Van Tassel

9. Tracey De Santa

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Ah Tracey, Tracey, Tracey. Michael’s daughter is the epitome of a ditzy blonde. She’s constantly trying to get famous by getting involved in highly questionable ventures. Her attempt to make it big on Fame or Shame provided for some of GTA 5’s more comical moments, especially when her Dad had to get involved. Her Paris Hilton-like dialect may have grated on your ears, but that’s the role she was meant to play, and she did it brilliantly.

Voiced by Michal Sinnot

8. James “Jimmy” De Santa

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Jimmy is your stereotypical lazy young adult who still lives with his parents and plays video games like it’s his job – except that particular job doesn’t pay anything. He constantly busts his Dad’s balls for being a bad Father even though he is probably a worse Son. Like many spoiled kids these days he was always willing to ask for a handout, and had no shame in burning through his Dad’s cash. His white boy wannabe gangster dialect only helped to define him as a likable douche, and most gamers can probably pick out one of their friends who emulate him in real life. Although, like the rest of Michael’s family, Jimmy still managed to ground his law breaking Father, and did offer a few sweet, but awkward Father and Son moments.

Here’s to laziness and gaming Jimmy!

Voiced by Danny Tamberelli

7. Devin Weston

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Devin played the entitled billionaire role perfectly. His above the law attitude worked its way into many of the missions present in the game, and each time he appeared on screen you had to prepare for the douche chills. He oozed asshole with his high priced clothes, hired bodyguards, and his ability to talk like a used car salesman. He clearly made himself one of the game’s bad guys thanks to him screwing over the Big 3 more than once. Devin is definitely someone you would expect to see while visiting the Hollywood hills, and someone who preys on the dreams of up and comers.

Voiced by Jonathan Walker

6. Steve Haines

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Haines played the dirty Fed a-hole role like a champ. His shady tactics kept the Big 3 in line to help him get one over on the IAA. His cavalier attitude rubbed everyone the wrong way, and each encounter with him led to another highly illegal mission. Haines is willing to throw anyone under the bus at the drop of a hat, and his transition to TV host solidified his cocky persona. Steve Haines is a carbon copy of any dickhead law enforcement character you’ve ever seen in a TV show or movie. Whenever he called you knew the Big 3 were in for another ride that would see them walking away from a heist with no reward. Steve, here’s to being the perfect dick!

Voiced by Robert Bogue

5. Lester Crest

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Lester is a lovable nerd and criminal mastermind. Without Lester the Big 3 wouldn’t have been able to knock off the record breaking heists that they pulled. He’s a tech whiz and looks the part. He’s not a physical specimen, but his mental powers are enough to keep three professional criminals in line. Lester has the ability to command a room when he speaks, and his evil side is what makes him so interesting. Many people don’t look at crippled nerds as forces of evil, but Lester is just that – albeit a good evil for GTA’s sake. If you ever want to knock over a bank, Lester is the man to call.

Voiced by Jay Klaitz

4. Lamar Davis

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Lamar is a character that will instantly take you back to the early 90’s when gang flicks like Boyz n the Hood reigned supreme. His N-word laden dialogue may make the politically correct cops cringe, but it brought an authentic feeling to the type of person Lamar is. He’s as street as it gets, and always managed to get himself and Franklin in a pickle, thanks to his dreams of becoming hood rich. His loyalty is admirable, and his conversations are always interesting. Regardless of how much Franklin wanted to distant himself from Lamar, his charm and dedication always kept him coming back. If there were a video game version of Doughboy (Ice Cube in Boyz), Lamar would fit the role perfectly. Here’s to thug life and creeping Lamar style!

Voiced by Slink Johnson

3. Franklin Clinton

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There’s no way the Big 3 wouldn’t rank at the top of this list, but it’s definitely hard to say which one is better than the other. With that being said though Franklin takes the third spot, only because he was the most normal character in the game. Franklin played the typical GTA protagonist role of rising from rags to riches thanks to his penchant for criminal behavior. He was the voice of reason when Trevor and Michael would have their ‘married couple’ arguments, and he always just wanted to do well for himself. No matter how hard he tried he could never leave the hood behind him, but that’s what made him such an endearing character. Listening in on his conversations with Lamar was a treat, and watching him talk sense into his older mentors showed how mature of a character he truly is. His loyalty to the team was unquestionable, and he played a pivotal role in how GTA 5 ended. How could anyone not love this pot smoking gangster on the up and up?

Voiced by Shawn Fonteno

2. Michael De Santa

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Good old Michael, the chubby quasi-leader of the Big 3 whose family hates him, and just wants his money. He brought a sense of wisdom to the young and impressionable Franklin, while also being able to keep the insane Trevor semi-controlled. In terms of backstory and side quests Michael was the most fleshed out character. The whole ordeal with his family was an entire ancillary plot mixed in with the main campaign, which added character to De Santa. His questionable parenting tactics eventually led to him regaining the respect of his family, but he always found a way to put them in danger. Thanks to his ability to sniff out a plea deal he eventually ends up being the reason that Franklin and Trevor get pulled into helping him aid the FIB in its rogue missions.

Like Franklin he’s loyal to a fault, which got him into trouble more often than not. Regardless of how poorly his family treated him he still loved them and provided for their needs in his own brutal ways, which also carried over to his criminal family. If there were ever a thing as a good bad guy, Michael would definitely fit the bill.

Hopefully his burgeoning film career continues to take off, because he deserves some legit work at this point in time.

Voiced by Ned Luke

1. Trevor Philips

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Trevor, thanks to his psychotic personality, easily stands out among the brilliant cast of GTA 5 characters. His X-Rated introduction smacked you in the face and reminded you that you were playing a Grand Theft Auto game. From there his lunacy is put on display in a graphic scene that lets you know what type of person you’re dealing with. Moments after that brutal encounter he goes on another blood filled rage that would make Dexter blush. Philips is the definition of a bad seed. He lives for crime, and loves reveling in the pain of others. Any scene deemed controversial in GTA 5 probably involved Trevor, making him seem like he truly is the Devil reincarnate. He’s one redneck that shouldn’t be messed with, and I definitely wouldn’t relate jokes from Jeff Foxworthy’s act to him.

You never knew what Trevor would do because he was constantly tweaked and unbalanced, and could fly off the handle at a moment’s notice. Anytime you took on a Trevor-centric mission you knew you were in for a jacked up experience, and could end up on a beach in Los Santos wearing only your underwear with dead bodies strewn across the sand. On the other hand he was also ballsy enough to steal secret government weapons to sell to Chinese gangs thanks to his business mind, and his self created “Trevor Philips Enterprises”.

One could argue that the Big 3 of GTA 5 could be interchangeable on this list, and I wouldn’t disagree, but personally I have to give Trevor the top spot just based on how many “WTF” moments he offered throughout the game’s excellent campaign. Love him or hate him, there’s no way to deny that he spiced up the cast of GTA 5, and made an impression on everyone that played the game, be it positive or not. Now that’s a powerful video game character for you.

Voiced by Steven Ogg

 

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