What's a Badass Normal, you say? It's a character that's stuck in the middle of a world full of magic, mutants, superpowers, or other such fantastic abilities, and has the terrible luck of having none of them. Normal people would resign themselves to being either piss-ant bystanders or low-level goons, because that's just what makes sense.
Badass Normals don't give a rat's ass about sense. They don't care that everybody's stronger than them. They don't care that they have no chance of winning. They sack up and take on the superpowered world anyway with nothing but brains, skill, and balls of steel. Here's the Top 5 list of the guys who live life on perpetual hard mode, and become bigger heroes because of it.
And before you say anything, Batman doesn't count. He's a comic character originally, and he's too easy.
Let's compare the playable characters here: we have Axton, the highly-trained space marine with a ridiculous robo-turret; Zer0, the invisible ninja assassin; and Maya, the reality-warping space witch, one of only six in the entire universe.
And lastly, we have Salvator, whose only powers are the ability to use two guns instead of one. But his contribution to the team and ability to kick planetary ass is completely unquestioned.
He is living proof that, mutants, magic, and giant aliens notwithstanding, there are few problems on planet Pandora that can't be solved by throwing more lead at it.
And no, steroids don't count as superpowers.
Snake's situation is never fair. Look at the world he lives in: how is a regular soldier like him supposed to compete with cyborgs, mutants, giant robots, and dudes with mind-control powers?
By being Solid freaking Snake, that's how. Doing impossible stuff is how he rolls. Because he's just that good.
No matter how high the takes, how impossible the odds, or how confusing the plot, Snake's the guy you call to save the world. By himself. And without killing anyone, if you love being frustrated.
Let's imagine that you decided you really want your teeth kicked in and joined the Iron Fist Tournament. At best, you'll be up against a large roster of expert fighters who've each mastered at least one martial art. At worst, you'll be paired with combat androids with chainsaws, winged demons with laser vision, dudes with lightning powers, and kung fu bears. Kung fu bears. As if regular bears weren't already godless killing machines, some madman taught some of them kung fu and another madman let them into a fighting tournament for people.
But none of this fazes Miguel, and he has no formal training whatsoever. Nothing. He's just some dude. Everybody else has these fancy techniques and stances and belts and stuff, and this guy just struts in like some drunken fratboy and starts flailing like a jackass. I love that. It's hilarious and awesome. I connect this with guy so much more than the others. He's like the sloppy Britt Reid to the much more competent Kato. You expect the grand master to be good at fighting, but when the average dude has his time to shine it's something magical to behold.
I'm not talking about that annoying, useless, traitorous, hateful Zeke in inFamous 1; I'm talking about the endearing, loyal, and totally awesome Zeke in the sequel. Though to be fair, I think it was because he was so unlikeable in the first one that he was so great in 2.
Even though I kind of hated him, I really felt for him in a way. He was a regular guy who all of a sudden found himself in the middle of a brave new world of superheroes and supervillains, and he ended up with jack squat. He thought that his worth as a friend and human being was tied with having superpowers, so he did some really messed up things to try and get them.
But then in 2, he turned around completely. He decided to utilize the skills that HE had, not the skills he thought would be useful. That is, being great at engineering gadgets, spying, espionage, and blowing jerks away with his giant hand-cannon. By embracing who he was and what he was good at, he went from being a terrible character to an awesome one. No powers necessary.
When Paula and Ness get together at the start of the game, their first order of business is to find another badass champion of Earth to help them fight off the Cosmic Destroyer, Giygas. They meet giant golems, master mentalists, men who can call down lightning, fly, teleport, and generally do impossible freaky shit.
So Paula decided to call on Jeff, a 13-year-old four-eyed kid with a bowl cut who had no combat skills, survival experience, or PSI powers whatsoever. Because she knew, even though she'd never met or seen him before, that he was the perfect guy for the job. Jeff kicks ass with the powers of science.
Just to give you a feel for the power gap here: Ness blows things up, fries brains, and puts up deflector shields; Paula annihilates everybody with elemental hellstorms; and the fourth party member, Poo, shapeshifts and calls down freaking meteor showers. They have to fight giant monsters, evil spirits, mighty alien warriors, and cosmic horrors so unspeakably horrible that just to look on them is madness or death. This is the kind of shit these kids have to deal with.
You think Jeff needs all those powers to do that? Bitch please! He can take a shower head and a can of hairspray and make a bazooka out of it. With similar parts, he can make a machine that can bring down the toughest energy shields, or drain health, or even take away PSI powers when he wants. You give this guy a Multi-Bottle Rocket or two and he can take down dungeon bosses by himself. And if that fails, he just shoots them in the face with a death ray. Which he also made out stuff from a dumpster.
Even among the strongest PSI users on the planet, never once does Jeff feel underpowered or out of place. He doesn't just keep up with his superpowered teammates; he is indispensable for the team makeup. In a fight, I would rather lose the guy who can call down asteroids than lose this kid. If the Earthbound crew is the Justice League, Jeff is the goddamn Batman.
Revenge of the nerds, baby. Jeff rules. Badass Normal, indeed.
Anybody else? Remember, people who can use magic or are even the tiniest bit superhuman don't count! Normal humans only! Let me know who I missed in the comments.