Gaming September 1, 2021
From plumbers trying to rescue a princess to super soldiers fighting to save the world from aliens, there are a lot of heroic characters across video game history.
Some of these characters are silent canvasses players insert themselves into. Others are complex and walk the line between good and evil. And there are those that in many ways embody the characteristics of an ideal hero.
We’ve listed a few characters that have exhibited heroism in their own way even in the midst of tremendous adversity.
Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn)
Image credit: Guerrilla Games
Who is she: Horizon Zero Dawn’s famous heroine starts out as an outcast of her tribe. Even as a child, Aloy was feared and shunned by the society around her without giving a reason why.
But instead of becoming bitter and resentful against her tribe, as anyone would expect, Aloy sought to discover her origins and understand the source of the prejudice against her.
While Aloy’s pragmatic and upfront personality allowed her to speak her mind and make rational decisions, she also possessed a kindness and compassion that contributed to her gaining the trust and respect of those around her.
It’s Aloy’s complex nature combined with her stalwart resilience that helped her overcome the discrimination of her people and even receive their support.
Why is she a hero: The respect and trust she gained from the characters she encountered in her journey also brought together the different tribes within the region, who ultimately united in spite of their past differences to prevent the destruction of the new world and its human inhabitants.
Aloy went from outcast to a beacon of hope and the cornerstone of her world’s salvation.
The Heroes of Overwatch (Overwatch)
Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment
Who are they: The Overwatch task force was initially created to resolve the Omnic Crisis, a war between humans and sentient robots. After which it was transformed into an international peacekeeping force.
While the organization went through a tumultuous period that eventually saw the group disbanded, some of its original members along with a few new ones reassembled the group to continue the good work they had started.
The reformed Overwatch now fights to defend the world against the resurgence of both human and robot terrorist groups and organizations.
Why are they heroes: Each member of Overwatch features equally captivating personalities and stories that make every one of them easily deserving of the title of hero. It’s not surprising that they could even star in their own games.
From selflessness, empathy, and compassion to bravery, courage, and strength, all of them exemplify the qualities of heroism.
Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher Series)
Image credit: CD Projekt RED
Who is he: On the onset, Geralt of Rivia may seem less like someone who can be considered a hero and more akin to someone who is simply looking out for himself. He regularly exhibits an apathetic, distrustful, and intimidating personality.
Also, his being a Witcher, a monster slayer for hire, is viewed by others as a selfish ignoble profession.
In reality though, Geralt is simply a realist who has learned to traverse and survive the harsh and unforgiving world that he lives in.
Nonetheless, in spite of his seemingly cold and indifferent exterior, Geralt is a good-natured person who tries to do the right thing.
Why is he a hero: Many times throughout his story, even with the constant prejudice he receives for being a Witcher, Geralt goes out of his way to help strangers without the promise of payment simply because it was for the greater good.
Geralt was also able to build strong friendships across all the Four Kingdoms and exhibited a fierce loyalty and protectiveness for the people he cared about; he was willing and able to go to great lengths to help them.
Even when events unfolded around him where he was forced to make difficult decisions, Geralt was able to both survive and maintain his humanity. This made him more akin to a real and relatable hero than an ideal one.
Commander Shepard (Mass Effect)
Image credit: BioWare Corporation
Who is he: Commander Shepard is a unique hero where gamers are not only able to play the N7 soldier as either a male or female but are also able to choose their backstory and make certain choices in the way the protagonist behaves and acts throughout the game’s story.
Players can choose to be stern or lenient, generous or selfish, and more. However, regardless of the way players customize and lead their Shepard, the overarching narrative of the Mass Effect series still sees the character accomplishing numerous historic and heroic feats.
Shepard was also able to befriend and recruit characters with varying and sometimes contradicting backgrounds and personalities to become part of his crew, but his charisma and leadership were able to unite them in spite of their differences.
Why is he a hero: The protagonist’s heroism and accolades led to him to become the first human to become a Spectre agent, an elite group of individuals who are given immense authority with the task of maintaining the galaxy’s stability.
Shepard would then go on to discover previously unknown threats and ultimately save the galaxy from destruction numerous times throughout the course of Mass Effect’s three main entries.
Ezio Auditore da Firenze (Assassin’s Creed)
Image credit: Ubisoft
Who is he: Ezio Auditore da Firenze is a master assassin. And while that may normally put his title as a hero into question, the fictional world of Assassin’s Creed positions the Brotherhood of Assassins as the world’s silent heroes fighting for progress and freedom throughout the game’s imagination of history against the Order of the Templars who wish to control the world.
Why is he a hero: Even though Ezio’s life as an assassin began as a journey of revenge, his character development and the rest of his accolades helped revolutionize not only his own country of Italy but also several others.
He was also one of the individuals who assisted Christopher Columbus and ensured his travels to the New World, which spurred Europe’s future exploration and colonization of the Americas.
The achievements of many video game heroes such as these can hopefully inspire people to become heroes in their own way, whether it be through their own actions and choices or how they motivate others to do the same.
Along with these characters, there are certainly many more that have exhibited true heroism across the spectrum of video game history.
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