One of the most important parts of any great video game is a great leading character. That character has to be unique from all other characters in the gaming world, yet not so different gamers can’t relate to them.
There have been many great characters over the years, and it's difficult to pack them all into one broad list. So here are my top 5 male characters in video games. Each one of these guys has stood out from the crowd in one way or another.
5. Jack Ryan
Bioshock will always be one of the best games I've ever played, and the series as a whole is great. But the first Bioshock has a charm to it that a lot of other games just don’t have. Enter Jack.
Jack seems to be an average guy, who's just trying to find his way out of Rapture. He must fight off several different kinds of enemies in the game, the most noteworthy for being the Big Daddy. Each Big Daddy is accompanied by a Little Sister, little girls who collect ATOM from dead people around Rapture. Once Jack defeats each Big Daddy, he is faced with a moral decision: let the little sisters live, or kill them and collect ATOM from their bodies.
Jack is such a cool character to play, even though he never really talks other than in the opening cut scene. Jack is the illegitimate son of a man named Andrew Ryan, the creator of Rapture. Jack was actually born in Rapture just four years before the events of the game; he is genetically modified to age quickly. Frank Fontaine (who is actually Atlas) designed Jack to obey any orders told to him as long as the orders came after or before the words “Would you kindly.” Jack finds the strength within himself to overcome his mind control and take down Fontaine. His ability to overcome his own design is proof of just how strong Jack really is.
Dallas is number 4 on my list not just because he is my main character when I play Payday 2 but because he is the coolest member of the Payday gang in my opinion. Dallas is the mastermind of the Payday gang and is considered to be the leader. When Dallas was younger he was a member of the Chicago Mob. He climbed the ladder of the mob and became a hitman. Dallas tried to take over the Chicago Mob and turned two of Chicago’s mobs against one another. His plan failed however and a hit was placed on Dallas and Dallas went into hiding for 10 years. Dallas finally had enough of living in hiding and decided to put together a new crew of criminals. The events of Payday began with the help of Bain, the overseer of the group and creator of Crime.net.
3. Master Chief
Why Master Chief?
Yes, I know, he is generic for these kinds of lists but I really like Chief. Chief has had a huge impact on the gaming industry since he first appeared in Halo in 2001. He has become one of the most iconic characters in gaming and he is loved by millions. Master Chief AKA Spartan 117, is a Spartan super soldier who is biologically and cybernetically enhanced. He has a suit of power armor which he wears in every game and has yet to be seen out of his armor. Chief is strong and wise and he never gives up. Chief has the help of his AI Cortana who guides him on his journey through all of the Halo games. Chief never backs down from a fight and always tries to do what he feels is right including going rogue in Halo 4 in an attempt to save Cortana.
2. Isaac Clarke
Dead Space 1/2/3
Why Isaac Clarke?
Isaac Clarke is by far one of the coolest characters to come from gaming in the last 10 years. Isaac Clarke is an engineer who is sent to the USG Ishimura starship in 2508. Once there Isaac finds out that the ship has been taken over by necromorphs which mutate and reanimate the dead. Isaac struggles to fight his way through the ship and find a way off the ship. Isaac is a strong character who never gives up hope of finding a way off the Ishimura. In Dead Space 2 Isaac is struggling with PTSD from the events of the first game and as you progress through the second game you see him slowly become more and more crazy. He begins seeing things that aren’t really there and begins to talk to and see his dead girlfriend. Watching him slowly slip into madness is a really interesting part of that game that not a lot of other games have done. The fun part for gamers is trying to figure out what is real and what isn’t.
Before we get to my number one character let’s look at some honorable mentions:
Jacket - Hotline Miami
Kratos - God of War
Commander Shepard - Mass Effect
Geralt of Rivia - The Witcher
John Marston - Red Dead Redemption
Duke Nukem - Duke Nukem
1. Dom Santiago
Gears of War 1/2/3
Dom has been one of my favorite characters in gaming since Gears of War was released in 2006. Dom is not the main character in the game, but he is the best friend of the main character Marcus Fenix. He and Marcus have been friends since they were kids and they enlisted in the military together. Dom is a strong fighter and he has the drive of his family pushing him through every fight. The first half or so of the second game Dom is focused on finding his wife who was taken by the Locust. When he finally finds her she is a broken version of what Dom knew. She is weak, skin and bones, unable to talk and had been tortured. When Dom first sees her, she looks how he remembered her, but when Marcus says Dom’s name, Dom snaps out of it and sees Maria for what she really was. Dom knows that this is no life for her and so he shoots her. It's things like this that makes Dom such a strong and powerful character.
In Gears 3, Dom and the rest of Delta Squad are surrounded. Dom runs to an old semi truck, drives away and then comes back and drives the semi right into a building killing himself and the lambent surrounding Delta Squad. Dom makes the ultimate sacrifice to help the rest of his squad and his best friend Marcus. Another reason Dom is the number one pick is because even though he isn’t the main character, Dom is Marcus’ rock and he is what drives Marcus through every fight. When Dom dies in the third game, Marcus and the rest of Delta squad are so shaken at the loss of a friend that the squad and the game have a different tone. Delta squad is now fighting not just to save humanity but to avenge the death of their friend. . Dom's strength to find his wife is what really makes Dom stand out as such a great character. The strength that Dom finds within himself in Gears of War 3 to avenge the death of his wife Maria is very inspiring and its why Dom is the best male character in gaming.