Making a Video Game Hero: Action-Adventure Edition

In our newest ongoing feature series, we're putting together the ultimate video game hero for the action-adventure game of our dreams.

Nathan Drake. Aloy. Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Sam Porter Bridges. The list of great characters in action-adventure video games is long and vast. Each and every one of them possesses their own unique skill set that makes them the best of the best. But what if you were some kind of video game version of Dr. Frankenstein and wanted to build the best possible hero for the action-adventure genre? Who would you pick? What traits would you value the most? Who has the best abs?

Below, we’ve answered all those and more to make the ultimate action-adventure video game character. Of course, a list like this is highly subjective. So if you have other ideas, be sure to let us know in the comments. We’re also only putting one character per franchise on this list to ensure it’s not just all Yakuza’s Kiryu and Majima. Enough preamble. Let’s sharpen that bone saw and flip on the high-voltage electricity!

Brain: Batman (Arkham series)
Runners’ Up: Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn) and Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell series)

There are several different directions we could go in for this one. Do you take the exact genetic copy of one of the smartest women in the world? What about the mind of a super spy who’s lived through countless battlefields? Both are great options, and we’re sure you could think of a few others. However, there’s one super-genius that takes the cake.

Listen, Batman with prep is a dumb meme at this point, but the reasoning is sound. There is no other fictional character whose battle-hardened brain is more capable of getting through any situation than Bruce Wayne. No matter what the villains throw at our hero, the brain of the world’s greatest detective will give them the upper hand.

Eyes: Agent 47 (Hitman series)
Runners’ Up: Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher series) and Ellie (The Last of Us)

As with most of these body parts, there are tons of options. Ellie from The Last of Us is particularly intriguing. She’s grown up in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and seen terrible things most of us can’t even dream of. If we went through that, we’d be a sobbing heap of a human, shoveling down Ben & Jerry’s and watching Barney re-runs just to get the memories to go away. But Ellie stands up to that adversity, looks it right in the eye, and refuses to back down.

But we want something a little more useful as a gameplay mechanic. The first idea that comes to our mind is Geralt of Rivia’s Witcher-enhanced cat-like eyes. His superpowered suite of abilities has given him night vision eyes, something that comes in handy, but isn’t as all-encompassing as other options. Instead, we’re going with Agent 47’s peepers.

The star of the Hitman series has the ability to instinctively “see” everything around him in ways that normal humans never could. Heck, the guy can “see” patrolling bad guys through walls! You don’t get much more useful eyeballs than that. Plus, that steely gaze will come in handy when you’re staring down the final boss.

Mouth: Ezio Auditore da Firenze (Assassin’s Creed series)
Runners’ Up: Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid series) and Nathan Drake (Uncharted series)

Okay, so we have a genius brain and a superpowered set of eyes. Now, all we need to finish off our creation’s head is a silver-tongue. At first, we were leaning toward the gruff voice of one Solid Snake. After all, his grizzled dialog is equal parts intimidating and hilarious. The man really has a knack for delivering over-the-top quips at exactly the wrong time.

However, while his voice undoubtedly sounds great, he lacks that charm we’re looking for in our leading role. Nathan Drake of Uncharted fame more than fits that bill, but even he can’t hold a candle to the suavest man in video games.

Let’s be honest, there isn’t a sexier accent on the planet than Italian. It’s not called the language of love without a reason. And, while Ezio Auditore is certainly one of the best assassins to ever grace the digital world, it’s that Italian charm that’s turned him into a fan favorite. All the other candidates’ hopes will just have to requiescat in pace.

Torso: Kiryu Kazuma (Yakuza series)
Runners’ Up: Kratos (God of War series) and The Boss (Saints Row series)

Let’s talk about The Boss first. They have the willingness to endure as many surgeries as needed to make their body look however we need it to. Whether we need to be the most jacked woman alive or a beanpole of a man, The Boss is ready and willing to visit the local plastic surgeon and make it happen. Their dedication to our cause is certainly admirable, but we want something that’s stood the test of time. And there are no better options than the two best dads in gaming.

Listen, dad bods are hot right now, and there are none hotter than Kiryu and Kratos. Look at those glistening abs. Marvel at those pumped-up pecs. Watch the sweat sparkle on their massive shoulders. These guys know a thing or two about weight training and proper nutrition. We’d bet dollars to donuts that neither of these guys has even eaten a donut before. However, Kratos is a demigod, Kiryu is just a 50-year-old dude. An incredibly ripped 50-year-old dude with a sick tattoo and deadly fighting skills, but just a dude nonetheless. Thus, we’re giving him the nod for the sheer willpower it must take to stay that in shape as a “regular” human.

Left Arm: Link (The Legend of Zelda series)
Runners’ Up: Nero (Devil May Cry series) and Spider-Man (Marvel’s Spider-Man)

We’ll be honest, this one was probably the hardest to come up with for runners’ up. Sure, Spider-Man could take the spot and give us the power to web-sling around the gigantic open-world map our game would be set inside. He might not canonically be left-handed, but he does have those web-shooters on both arms. That said, we want a true southpaw for this list.

Nero is another potential option given his sword prowess with that arm. However, his right arm is the one that held the Devil Bringer, making us wonder if he’s a true lefty. Instead, we’ve gone with the hero of Hyrule himself.

Before Skyward Sword went and ruined everything in the name of making Link’s movement feel good for the general public, the hero had always been left-handed. Nintendo decided to keep the travesty going with Breath of the Wild, but true lefties know that Link is one of them. It only feels right to have one of gaming’s best southpaws grafted onto our inhuman monster of a character. Nintendo may have forgotten about you, but we haven’t.

Right Arm: Chris Redfield (Resident Evil 5, mostly)
Runners’ Up: Marcus Holloway (Watch Dogs 2) and Samus Aran (Metroid Prime series)

Since we have an expert swordsman’s left arm, we can get a little more creative with our right. Samus presents an interesting option. After all, her right arm is a freaking laser cannon with several options for alternative fire modes. It’s tough to think of anything more rad than that. Marcus Holloway is a bit of an out-there selection, but his hacking ability would certainly come in handy in a pinch.

That said, there’s really only one option. We could go on and on about why we’re selecting Chris Redfield’s rippling right arm for this slot, but instead, we’ll just show you. Watch this man punch a boulder and tell us there’s another choice. You can’t.

Legs: The Prince (Prince of Persia series)
Runners’ Up: Sam Porter Bridges (Death Stranding) and Ryu Hayabusa (Ninja Gaiden Black)

If we’re talking about sheer power output, it’s hard to argue with those bodacious thighs that Sam Porter Bridges built up delivering packages across America. Seriously, go strap 200+ plus pounds of freight to your back and walk around the neighborhood. His quads have to be powerlifter strong. How much do you think Sam squats? It has to be north of a thousand pounds.

If we were looking to be a little more nimble, you’d love to have legs like Ryu Hayabusa. The way he effortlessly bounds around an environment on his way to cutting up baddies with his katana is something to be jealous of. However, what neither of these characters has is the ability to control time and space.

Enter The Prince. Not only is he an expert in parkour, but, if he does screw up his fancy movement, he can just rewind time. That’s an invaluable addition that we just can’t pass up. Some might argue that it’s actually his dagger that controls time. While those people would be correct, the dagger is on a belt that sits on The Prince’s hips, which are basically his legs. So, in this court of law, it counts.

Hair: Bayonetta (Bayonetta series)
Runner Up: John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)

Likely the easiest selection of the whole list, but let’s pretend for a second that anyone else had a chance. John Marston has one of the manliest beards in video gaming. Those bear claw scars scream “I’m grizzled, don’t mess with me”. And, while his head hair is grossly stringy, it definitely gives him a further air of someone who you don’t want to cross. Unfortunately, he can’t use said hair to fight off the bad men.

There are a few video characters who can fight with their hair, but none of them have the pizzaz that Bayonetta does. Her Wicked Weave techniques are as stylish as they are deadly, making her hair the perfect thing to (quite literally) cap off our creation.

That is quite the hero, if we do say so ourselves. Of course, you might disagree. If you do, feel free to give us your creation in the comments below. It was tough to leave off people like Lara Croft or Corvo, but we had to stop somewhere. And, if you liked this list, be sure to check back later as we’re planning to put out one of these for several other genres in the near future.

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Ricky Frech

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