Commander Shepard (Mass Effect) – He/she saved Earth from the Reapers, he/she survived the crazy Normandy explosion and came back from the dead, stronger than ever. And all of this was done while flirting with crew mates and breaking hearts left and right. Shepard is one of the most charismatic heroes, and his/her efforts in the battle against the Reapers will remain in our hearts forever.
Sora (Kingdom Hearts) – Sora’s one of those supremely optimistic heroes who never gives up hope that friendship and love will always overcome the darkness. He’s also got a cute ass smile that will never fail to lift your spirits.
Ezio Auditore (Assassin’s Creed) – Ezio has got to be one of the most well-developed heroes we’ve seen in video games. We were first introduced to him as a flirtatious Italian upstart, but he soon matures into a wise assassin by the time Revelations rolls around.
Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid) – Snake’s… had a hard life. After living out a full life as a hardened soldier, he soon finds out that he was simply a clone of a legendary soldier, used to further the government’s genome experiments. Instead of hiding away in solitude, he continues to fight to make the world a better place even as an old man.
Nathan Drake (Uncharted) – Nathan Drake has got to be one of the most badass heroes out there right now. Not only is he an excellent parkour monkey, he also has no problems gunning down hundreds of bad guys while trying to save his friends and get his hands on buried treasure. Also, he’s a pretty funny guy.
James Sunderland (Silent Hill) – James might be considered more of an anti-hero to some, but it takes a special kind of courage to travel to a ghost town to face your guilt and inner fears. He punishes himself throughout the course of Silent Hill 2’s plot, and eventually finds peace and redemption for himself by the end of the game. Whether through self-forgiveness or death, he’s finally able to get some closure.
Master Chief (Halo) – Master Chief never reveals his face, but no one can deny his prowess as a space-traveling supersoldier. As a man of few words, he hardly ever lets anyone get close to him. In fact, it’d be safe to say that he trusts no one except Cortana, an artificial intelligence construct.
Phoenix Wright (Ace Attorney) – No one’s quite as good at finger-pointing as defense attorney Phoenix Wright is. Nick might not be physically strong enough to overpower the bad guys, but he sure is great at bringing them to justice by raining down on them with the power of the law.
Professor Layton (Professor Layton) – While Nick has the power of the justice behind him, Professor Layton uses his intellect to outsmart the bad guys. He loves drinking tea, and he takes absolute pride in behaving like a perfect gentleman. If you ever need a charming partner to take with you to a fancy ball or something, Layton will more than likely show you a good time.
Faith Connors (Mirror’s Edge) – As one of the more iconic female video game heroes out there right now, Faith demonstrates superior parkour and wall-running abilities that would make Nathan Drake blush. She’s also a free-spirited runner who believes in fighting against government censorship and totalitarian control, so that’s cool too.
Lightning Farron (Final Fantasy XIII) – FFXIII might not be the best game in the series, but you can’t deny that Lightning is probably one of the toughest, most independent heroes we’ve seen in Final Fantasy. Throughout the course of the first game, she basically transforms from a badass loner to a badass team player.
Frank West (Dead Rising) – No one has a sense of humor quite like Frank West’s. He’s great at creating zombie-killing weapons, killing millions of zombies himself, and he’s also got quite a good eye for photography and taking stylish selfies. He’s covered wars, y’know?
Bayonetta (Bayonetta) – Don’t let her charming outward appearances fool you, Bayonetta can be one scary woman if you ever decide to cross her. She’s gorgeous, she’s witty and snarky, and she can certainly handle herself in a fight. Simply put, she’s a lovely, confident role model for women all around the world.
Travis Touchdown (No More Heroes) – Travis Touchdown may be an otaku, but don’t make the mistake that he’s a wimp unwilling to venture out of his home. Travis wants to be the best hero there is out there, and he can get pretty ruthless when it comes to hacking down anyone who dares stand in his way.
Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher) – He might look intimidating on the outside, but he’s actually a pretty standup guy once you get to know him. Or at least, that’s what he’s like in my Witcher games. Geralt’s another charismatic monster hunter who exhibits ruthlessness when hunting wild beasts, but is also capable of displaying affection when it comes to those he cares about.
Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell) – Snake may be the stealth master, but Sam Fisher has the edge in terms of being decked out in cool tech. With those iconic green goggle, Sam is widely considered one of the most popular infiltration agents in video games right now.
Lara Croft (Tomb Raider) – Lara Croft’s always been depicted as a tough adventuring woman. But with the reboot from Crystal Dynamics, we’ve gotten to see a more vulnerable side to her, and witness how she grows to become the brave adventurer that she is.
Cole McGrath (inFAMOUS) – He has superpowers and he can make electricity come out of his hands. What’s not to love? Cole McGrath made his debut appearance in the first inFAMOUS game, and he’s one of the most unique superheroes we’ve seen in video games so far.
Dante (Devil May Cry) – Dante has a bit of an attitude, but who doesn’t love a hero with an attitude? He’s a badass demon slayer, and he holds a special place in the hearts of countless video game fans because of how quickly he’s able to cut down monsters with his sword, and gun them down with Ebony and Ivory. Also, he’s got very stylish hair.
Isaac Clarke (Dead Space) – With all of the traumatizing shit he’s been through and still being able to stand on his feet and fight abominations, we’d be remiss not to give Isaac Clarke a spot on a list of best video game heroes. Isaac has proven himself capable of overcoming trauma and mental hardships, and that makes him a total badass in our book.
Frisk (Undertale) – The protagonist of Undertale is a bit of a special case. Instead of beating his enemies to a pulp like most heroes would, Frisk chooses to end conflicts by understanding his foes and becoming friends with them. As a young child capable of showing love and mercy to monsters, Frisk is definitely one of the more standout heroes we’ve seen in video games thus far.
Leon S. Kennedy (Resident Evil) – He started off as a clueless rookie cop, and now he’s a top government agent entrusted with important tasks like protecting the president’s daughter. Leon has grown so much since his rookie days in Resident Evil 2, and is now one of the most hardy zombie killers in the Resident Evil series.
Link (The Legend of Zelda) – Even as a voiceless hero, there’s not doubt that Link is one of the purest and most virtuous video game heroes we’ve ever seen. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he looks good as a cel-shaded boy, and can even pull off the whole Deku look in Majora’s Mask too. He always appears as the world’s beacon of light when it’s threatened by darkness, and you just know he’s a standup guy, simply from looking at him.
Red (Transistor) – Red can’t speak, but she can beat up robots with that giant sword of hers. After an assassination attempt on her life which killed her lover, Red embarks on a journey of revenge as she seeks to bring justice to the corrupt forces of Cloudbank.
Marcus Fenix (Gears of War) – He’s a bit of a grumpy dude, but Marcus Fenix is a renowned and legendary war hero who isn’t afraid to lay down his life for the good of humankind.
Samus Aran (Metroid) – Samus Aran is a cool galactic bounty hunter who shocked Metroid fans when she first revealed herself to be a woman under that heavy space suit. She’s been staying fit and kicking ass ever since then, and she’s also very fashionable.
Max Caulfield (Life Is Strange) – Max is just your ordinary, everyday teenage girl. Okay, she’s a bit of a pretentious hipster who won’t shut up about photography, but she’s also got a lot of qualities we can admire in a video game hero too. In Life Is Strange, Max learns about the amount of responsibility that comes with time travel, and she’s soon forced into multiple life-and-death situations that only she can resolve. Phew. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a teenager.
Mario (Mario) – Mario is a hardworking plumber who fixes pipes, and he rescues Princess Peach all the damn time. Of course he’s a hero.
Jack (BioShock) – Jack spent most of his time at Rapture under the control of Atlas during the events of the first BioShock game. However, what makes him a true hero is his perseverance and him eventually being able to free himself from Atlas’ mind control to carve out a future for himself.
Zack Fair (Crisis Core) – Zack is the ultimate MVP of the Final Fantasy VII story, no doubt about it. After making his way to the top of the SOLDIER rankings, he’s often seen questioning the value of dreams and what it means to pursue them. He’s also the centerpiece of one of the most memorable and tragic battles in Crisis Core, where he ultimately passes on his legacy to Cloud Strife, the other, less impressive, main character of FFVII.
John Marston (Red Dead Redemption) – John Marston may not be the most intelligent guy around, but he’s an absolute gentleman when it comes to interacting with women, or people who are weaker than him. He’s not afraid to take the moral high ground in confrontations, and can always be counted on to keep the people around him safe.
Ness (EarthBound) – Ness is probably the youngest hero we’ve got on our list, and he doesn’t talk a whole lot, but that sure didn’t stop him from going on a journey with his friends to save the world. With the undying support of his family and his dog, Ness is a brave boy who is unfazed by all of the weird abominations thrown at him throughout the course of his journey.
Neku (The World Ends With You) – Despite being a bit of an antisocial little shit sometimes, Neku thinks quickly on his feet, and his intelligence was what helped him through the Reapers’ Game. He eventually opens up to his friends, and Neku matures into a kind and empathetic boy who cares for those around him.
Protagonist (Persona 3) – Here’s another antisocial hero who doesn’t like getting involved in drama, but somehow always finds himself in the middle of others’ conflicts. The Persona 3 protagonist doesn’t just save the entire world from apocalypse, he also has impeccable fashion sense, and always know the right things to say to make his friends happy. What a guy!
Aqua (Kingdom Hearts) – Making her debut appearance in Birth By Sleep, Aqua presents herself as a strong-willed woman who will almost do what’s right for her friends, even if it means they end up resenting her. She’s one of the most tragic figures in the Kingdom Hearts series, and isn’t afraid to sacrifice herself for those she cares about. Also, that blue hair though.
Commander Shepard (Mass Effect)
Z is a ridiculous fangirl of Metal Gear and anything Souls-related. She has a B.A. in history but thinks her time is better spent as the resident Reviews Editor around these parts. She also thinks Amazon's Kindle is the greatest technological invention in the world. You can reach her at [email protected]