Ah, dear Valentine’s Day. The sweet scent of red roses, the taste of decadent chocolate and the glitter of expensive jewelry. Or, if you’re more cynical, it represents the day of broken hearts, tears and binging on ice cream until you puke.
Last year, the staff at DualShockers took a look at our most beloved video game characters and told you, the readers, why we’d declare them our Valentine’s Day sweetheart from the top of a mountain (or in an editorial on the internet, same difference).
We’ve decided to do an encore performance for this year, with a few fresh new staffers and a whole new list of virtual sweethearts to call our own — not in that way of course.
Jim Raynor, StarCraft series
Yaris Gutierrez, Editor in Chief
Captain Jim Raynor began StarCraft as a local marshall on the planet of Mar Sara and was later arrested for refusing orders from the Confederacy to destroy a Zerg-infested command center. Eventually, he was freed by the very man he later aims to take down, Mengsk, assisting the Sons of Korhal in liberating colonies.
In the process, he falls in love with Sarah Kerrigan — a psychic terrain who began her career as a Confederate Ghost and became the self-proclaimed Queen of Blades and the leader of the Swarm after being captured and infested by the Zerg all due to Mengsk’s betrayal.
Having a history with Raynor from the first installment of the StarCraft series where he rode in his infamous vulture, I became attached to the character because of of his passion to fight for what’s right — even if means killing the very woman he loves, Kerrigan — and to discern his own humanity.
Although he has many imperfections as a human being, (terrain, in this case) as most of us do, Raynor is to the StarCraft universe what Captain America is to Marvel; he is a stern symbol for justice and the greater good, willing to sacrifice everything to preserve the safety of others. And while I am fond of the series itself, it is Raynor who has incorporated the adoration that I endure for the franchise due to his aforementioned traits.
Of course, it’s not to say that some of the things he does do is, in fact, for love. In StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Raynor optimistically maintains a sense of hope in curing Kerrigan from the Zerg virus.
Interestingly enough, you’re led to believe that Raynor will do whatever he needs to disperse of the Zerg infestation which makes its way from planet to planet devouring every living thing and, in the process, rid of the Queen of Blades to fulfill his duties in ensuring the protection of the terrain populace.
But although he holds the staple characteristics of a hero, Jim Raynor is visibly torn by his love for Sarah. His ability to project the presence of an outstanding hero makes him amazing from a developmental perspective.
But what makes me embrace this character is that, behind that resolute facade, stands a man that is being guided by his emotional attachment to the woman who would hastily rid of his kind. His humanity, above all the heroic traits, seeps from his veneer, showing that even the most rigid of heroes are vulnerable.
As much as the story depicts him fighting for the good of humanity, a piece of me dictates that what he truly fights for is the longing of curing the woman he adores — the woman he loves.
And that, regardless of how one views things, becomes the emotional element that pushes us forward even in the most horrifying of situations… like facing billions of flesh-devouring aliens that care for nothing but the destruction of everything.
Giuseppe Nelva, News Editor
This was a difficult choice. Having gamed for about three decades, my heart is split between so many awesome characters, that I spent several days thinking.
From the lovely tsundere attitude of Marie in Persona 4: Golden, to the adorable Kansai-ben of Kaoru Sayama in Yakuza 2, passing by Elly in Xenogears, Viconia DeVir in Baldur’s Gate, Selvaria Bles in Valkyria Chronicles, Edge in Ace Combat 5, Celes in Final Fantasy VI… I could honestly go on for hours. It’s a matter of fact that a gamer like me falls “in love” almost every time he plays a new story-driven game.
Yet, there’s one character that remains closest to my heart, despite the fact that she said quite a lot less lines than most of the others, and that’s Sniper Wolf from the first Metal Gear Solid.
Beautiful, yet not perfect. Unafraid to show her that beauty, and yet so stylish in simple military garb. Cold and ruthless and yet so human. Strong, but not without weaknesses. So much about her has been left untold, and yet she was a perfectly rounded character.
Back when the internet still wasn’t a thing, and there weren’t as many ways to exchange information, I will never forget the hours spent wandering around Shadow Modes, seeking a way to save her.
At that time, almost twenty years ago, I simply couldn’t believe such a character could really die. That belief was so strong that it pushed me to seek a branching storyline where evidently there was none. And yet, I stubbornly continued to search.
I hated Hideo Kojima for killing her even before I knew who he was, and I can’t stop hoping, deep in my heart, that he’ll bring her back, one way or another. I want to see her again, my beautiful, icy Sniper Wolf.
Cassandra Allegra Portia Calogera Filomena Pentaghast, Dragon Age: Inquisition
Jorge Jimenez, Staff Writer
Ever since Dragon Age II I always found the Seeker to be a little too high strung and sort of terrifying for my tastes, considering that she imprisoned you at the very beginning of Inquisition. Not the best start for a budding romance. Still, I found that under that mean scowl and plate mail was the a true romantic.
After finding out that she had a weakness for trashy romance novels, her icy exterior started to melt as she confesses that at the end of the day she was looking for someone to sweep her off her feet with flowers and poetry under the moonlight.
This just goes to show that the biggest hard asses are entitled to a little woo’ing. We also killed a bunch of dragons together, that’s gotta equal to at least third base or something, right?
Kenneth Richardson, Staff Writer
My Video Game Valentine for this year is none other than Bravely Default‘s determined and headstrong beauty Agnès Oblige.
There is simply nothing not to love about Agnès. From her porcelain complexion and sensual dark tresses to her unwavering sense of duty and her pure maiden’s heart to the dramatic, effective voice work that brings her to life, Agnès is the ultimate waifu.
When the gravity of the party’s plight is first fully realized, Agnès chooses not to rest on her laurels, which she easily could have done given the faux-royal status enjoyed by the Vestals.
No, she pulls up her sleeves and gets out in front of the herculean task, providing support to her allies, spreading herself thin at every temple, boldly challenging every obstacle set before her and giving her all through every moment of the arduous journey.
When the party fails time and time again (treading carefully around spoiler territory here) to accomplish their goal, Agnès remains encouraged and committed to the task, egging on her crew and acting as a voice of inspiration and reason. When she was vilely betrayed by whom we all thought was a true ally, she still refused to falter.
In addition to being beautiful inside and out, Agnès is also inexperienced and not very knowledgeable about certain things, which gives her a wonderful air of innocence and makes her prime estate for Ringabel’s teasing.
While her visual is of course quite pleasant — as a freelancer or in the bride/princess like vestal garb — it is the purity of Agnès’s character that makes her unlike most heroines in modern video games.
Princess Peach, Super Mario Bros. franchise
Dana Abercrombie, Staff Writer
Ah Valentine’s Day; the one day of the year where a bunch of random humans decided couples should get together to celebrate their love for each other (as if the other 364 days are filled with lovelessness) as they bond over diabetes-filled chocolates and dead flowers.
If you couldn’t tell, I hate with a passion that burns like an STD all things concerning Valentine’s Day. It’s a fake holiday filled with fake emotions that forces people to buy gifts for each other because commercialization is alive and well.
So my choice for a video game character Valentine is a bit unconventional. The one I love is Princess Peach from the Super Mario Bros. franchise. Why exactly? Simple — she’s a pimp.
Princess Peach is the true boss from the Mushroom Kingdom who manages to have Mario wrapped around her finger. While we may think she’s some damsel in distress always being kidnapped by Bowser, she’s in fact living a double life.
No one knows what she really does as princess nor does anyone know why Bowser only kidnaps her. Why not the King or the Queen? What makes Peach so kidnappable?
Many have claimed that she’s running off with Bowser and is not really being kidnapped and Mario is just too slow to notice what’s right in front of him.
Whatever the answer is, the public will never know. She keeps her business to herself while still managing to have a strong support system around her. This is basically how everyone should live their lives. She is the true MVP.
Ellie, The Last of Us
Ryan Meitzler, Staff Writer
In last year’s edition of the DualShockers “Valentine’s Day Editorial,” I wrote on Commander Shepard (from Bioware’s Mass Effect series) for many of the reasons that those that have loved the series know him/her for – allowing the player to create and shape a character all their own, into however they want them to feel, act, and accomplish things.
This time around, my selection is a little more simple — the game my “Video Game Valentine” comes from is heavily linear, but that doesn’t make its story, its emotional impact, and its characters and world any less meaningful to me. Which is all the reason why Ellie from Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us mean so much to me.
Having played the game when it first released on PS3 back in 2013 and having replayed its Remastered edition last month, The Last of Us was one of those games I just couldn’t wait to play. Seeing every trailer, reading every feature or article about it as I could, I was enraptured with the game: its concept, its world, its intense but emotional story it was telling.
All of the game’s visual and conceptual ideas drew me into it deeply going into its release, but coming out of it, it was perhaps the character of Ellie that made me love the game as much as I did, something which I probably never would have expected coming from my first playthrough of it.
Partnered with Joel throughout gripping story of a world torn apart by a radical fungus, the title drew me in with its very personal but intense story, which by all means is pretty familiar to those that have played games, read books, watched movies, or seen any other types of art that fall into the “post-apocalyptic” genre.
And yet, Ellie felt like the true reason that it stands out to me: aside from being a well-acted, well-written, and all around well-rounded character, her experience in The Last of Us‘s story stands out for making her funny, vulnerable, but most of all, a believable character you want to see make it out alive.
Whether it was her funny jokes and asides during the campaign or feeling the need to protect her from the many dangers waiting throughout the game’s deadly world, Ellie was more than just a character to escort from Point A to Point B. Instead, she blossomed into a character I wanted to know so much more about.
Given she has only seen this apocalypse for her whole life compared to Joel, who had memories of life before the cordyceps fungus ravaged the world, seeing her react to simple charms and things, such as an old beat-up arcade machine or dusty vinyl records, beautifully and simply made my memories of the game so special.
Even among some of the game’s more horrible moments when fighting clickers or having to make some truly difficult life-or-death decisions, the brief times where we were able to see Ellie laugh, explore, and wonder around what the world was like before all of this horribleness happened broke the voids of darkness that the game was constantly in.
Even though the game’s rebel group, the Fireflies, tried to lead those in the darkness toward the light, it was Ellie that made me push through all the evil found in The Last of Us and strive toward something bigger, better, and brighter — exactly why she was such as special character to me.
Alicia Melchiott, Valkryia Chronicles
Christian Chiok, Staff Writer
Valkryia Chronicles is easily one of my favorite titles ever released on the PlayStation 3. Late last year, when Sega announced that the title was coming to PC, I was really excited that I had the opportunity to play the game in greater quality.
I feel like the game is the complete package as it included one of the best gameplay mechanics an strategy turn-based RPG could have as well as a good rounded story with great characters.
One character in particular stood out to me, however: Alicia Melchiott, who is extremely reliable, full of righteousness and loves taking care of her teammates and others, such as when that mortally wounded lone Imperial soldier entered the cabin and Alicia comforted him.
Due to Alicia’s upbringing in an orphanage in Bruhl, she grew up caring for the younger orphans. She’s also has a strong sense of empathy and can be quite emotional at times, and honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that — as matter of fact it’s one of my favorite qualities. Also, as someone who loves pastries, her dream of becoming a baker and opening her own shop was really a nice touch.
However, Alicia has no problems fighting for those precious to her with her own two hands. She immediately and fearlessly took up arms when war first broke out to protect her homeland, and became an excellent scout when teamed up with her childhood friend Welkin.
Lately, not a lot of female characters seem to share these same traits; either they’re super feminine and benign or a tough and strong fighter with not a single caring bone in her body.
Granted, there are great female characters in both western and Japanese games, but not all have the combined qualities Alicia has of being compassionate to others and at the same time kick some ass when she needs to.
She’s easily the best female companion character a male protagonist could ever have.
Firion, Final Fantasy II/Dissidia Final Fantasy
Allisa James, Reviews Editor
Last year, I chose Welkin Gunther to be my Valentine and while I’ll always adore him, there’s another man who steals my heart time and time again: Firion from Final Fantasy II and Dissidia Final Fantasy.
I first encountered the Weaponmaster when playing Dissidia but didn’t think much of him, other than the fact that his Persian-based character design was pretty awesome. As I went along in the plot and began to uncover more and more of Firion’s personality, his honesty, steadfastness, naivety and conviction proceeded to bowl me over.
Then there’s the smaller qualities: his adorable shyness around women, his love of roses and what they represent for him, his simple yet beautiful dream, his surprisingly sharp tongue and his occasional off-kilter comments. Each new discovery added more layers to his already wonderfully deep character.
After Dissidia was finished with, I had to know more about Firion and so started my journey with Final Fantasy II. Of course playing through that title gave me even more to love, with his incredibly tragic backstory and equally tragic in-game plot points.
Then there’s his battle prowess: in Dissidia he is the only party member (other than Lightning in 012) to carry all of his weapons in the open — eight types in total, plus he knows bare-handed combat — and he uses them all with incredible skill. This reflects the fact that in FFII he can use any weapon type, as can his party members.
Of course I must also mention his badass Bloodsword, which is completely broken in FFII and in Dissidia gives him access to his EX Mode, allowing him to absorb any HP his takes from his opponent and giving him the coolest line in the game bar-none: “I feel it in my blood!”
With all these wonderful qualities, how could I not choose Firion as my virtual hubby?