I've met quite a few in my time on this plane of existence. Some will never leave my brain, while others pop up unexpectedly and without warning. Most of them are fictional. Yes, when I get sucked into a story, it's usually about character for me.
Dave Robicheaux? I swear, I know the man like I know my own Beloved. (Not physically, of course.) James Lee Burke has given his main protagonist a life that's so real, I believe in him. Same with the Doc Ford novels. Now and then, Doc Ford goes off the deep end, but he always comes back to reality somehow, somewhere. I'm reading Learning to Swim right now, and Troy is fully fleshed and could be one of my friends from college. I could go on and on about the fictional people who live inside my head and who, just now and then, seem to have a conversation with me, in the flesh. It's all good, I swear.
Can a plot-driven story have great characters? Of course. Can I think of any? Umm, not at the moment. Will do some looking-over of the bookshelves. Is Jason Bourne a plot-driven thriller series? Or is the character dominant over the shenanigans? Again, must think about it.
I've come to realize that I need a first person narrator for me to identify immediately with the hero. Larry Watson's Montana 1942 fits the bill perfectly. Deep third POV works second best for me (what a ton of work that is for the author!), then it's all the same to me. A good story will always be a good story, no matter what POV, but if you want me to remember your characters, you have to let me have a conversation with them, one on one.
Been nice talking with you!