@theacidskull: If you want to dig your heels in then there are certainly contrivances - like the fact that Aiden ends up blackmailing and using a guy so he can get out of being blackmailed and used himself. As for the story itself, because he's so laser focused on finding the people responsible for the death of his niece Aiden can come off as sort of a jerk at times. For instance he asks an accomplice to provide him with sniper support in a mission - when they meet up, the accomplice has broken into a family's house and tied them up so he can use their balcony as a sniper perch. Aiden isn't pleased but he also doesn't do anything about it - it's more that he's very apathetic to a lot of bad stuff happening around him if that means he will get closer to his goal.
Honestly I'm not trying to defend him as being a good guy - but he's certainly not the ultimate asshole.
That's not even that bad when compared to some of the atrocities committed by many main protagonists. I mean seriously, on top of my head I could think of a lot of characters who are way worse.
Vito from mafia II thrives off killing. It's literarily his job to kill people.
Kratos is a hulking psychopath who will mow down anything standing in his way. Even if you're the kindest person on earth, if your living somehow hinders Kratos, he will kill you to get what he wants. I think he has shown sympathy towards like, 4 people. aside from that? No one.
Gabriel Belmont has probably done many horrible things as Dracula, and hell, Lords of shadow 2 starts with him slaughtering a family like lamb, yet a lot of people expressed sympathy towards this character.
Hell even Batman, who strays away from killing people, breaks thugs like toothpicks. Sure it's for a good cause, but it's no less brutal.
And hell I won't even mention any GTA games....
I'm not sure where the hate for Aiden comes from.
I think you're missing the point. I didn't play Mafia 2 so I can't speak to that but Kratos just seemed like a power fantasy. They had moments explaining why he was the way he was but nothing to excuse anything he did.
Gabriel Belmont was supposed to be a character who fell from grace. We were with him before he became a monster and then we saw him lose his humanity. In Lords of Shadow to I assume people are rotting for his redemption. I don't know because I didn't play LoS 2.
Batman is largely consistent. His one mantra is justice at any cost except for life. There's also the fact that the parallel between his sanity and the sanity of his enemies is brought up quite a lot. Batman can be an asshole but he also tries to save as many people as he can.
Aiden is an apathetic asshole that the game desperately wants me to side with. He tortures people to get what he wants, he tries to wrestle power from people and acts high and mighty about it while wielding that power himself, he kills indiscriminately as long as he thinks it gets the job done, his actions killed his niece and he continues to do what he does, and he's bland. He's a boring person. There really isn't anything about his character that would be seen as a positive. Take a character like Trevor from GTA5. He is even worse than Aiden but he is over the top, fun, and interesting. I can play a despicable character and I can play a character I don't like but when that character is boring I will hate him. I won't love to hate him. I will just hate him. Playing Aiden like he was a monster made the game fun and it felt consistent.