That special time of year has rolled around again, and whether you love it or loathe it you’ll be forced to see cute couples surrounded by cute hearts and other decorations of love in various shades of pink and red.
However, we at DualShockers do things a little differently. Instead of worrying our dear readers about their possible real life sweetheart, we share with you our own digital darlings: giving you a piece of our heart, so to speak.
And without further ado, read on to find out the DualShockers’ picks for our Video Game Valentine.
Bayonetta (Bayonetta series, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS)
Allisa James, Reviews Editor
What can I say about the powerful and alluring Umbra Witch that hasn’t been written a million times over? Surprisingly quite a bit.
She’s got brains, beauty, an amazing sense of fashion, overwhelming strength and undiluted confidence to boot. From the moment she came on the scene hilariously dressed as a nun before annihilating Eldritch abomination-looking angels to an extremely catchy theme song, I knew she was something special. And that was before learning of her haunting backstory and seeing her interact with the equally awesome Umbra Witch Jeanne.
My love for the lady of the night only increased with Bayonetta 2. Her expressive body language and radiant facial features as her true self shined through since she regained her memories won me over even more. Not to mention her new ‘do, wardrobe and weapons were even more fabulous.
Then she was revealed for Super Smash Bros. and the excitement I felt for my darling making it in the roster (complete with her guns and special moves intact) was beyond compare. I couldn’t stop watching that reveal trailer.
Bayonetta is unstoppable and fierce. She possesses a strong sense of agency but always remembers to have a blast (at the expense of her foes). No other character can compare — she’s truly one of a kind.
She’s more like BAEyonetta, am I right? No? Okay.
Sniper Wolf (Metal Gear Solid)
Morgane Bouvais, Community Manager
Being a gamer for over two decades allowed me to explore many worlds, enjoy many beautiful stories and meet very inspiring and touching characters. Making a choice was tough for me as there are quite a few characters that left a very strong positive impression on me among the many games I played during these years.
The Metal Gear series holds a very special place in my heart as it reminds me of many special memories, directly related to the games themselves but also to the people I played them with. It features many awesome protagonists, both men and women, so there again, picking only one was quite the dilemma.
The one character that appeals to me the most and had the deepest impact on me was undoubtedly Sniper Wolf. What’s not to love about her? A highly skilled, strong-willed and badass sniper lady, looking absolutely stunning in her military outfit. She was a lady of few words during the whole game, yet she managed to steal so many players’ hearts. Even today, her death still remains one of the most touching and tearful scenes I’ve had to experience in my player’s life.
What truly makes her charm is both her touching backstory but also the many contradictions within her. She is an icy yet heartwarming character: dangerous, untamed, obsessed, laconic yet very human and loyal. These conflicts within her are what actually makes her a realistic, lovable and above all unique character, truly worthy of her “wolf” name. From her first appearance to her very last moments, she is sure not to leave any player indifferent.
Steven Santana, Staff Writer
Despite having her voice taken, her concert ruined, and her life almost digitized into a strange Transistor weapon, Red doesn’t let that stop her from having a say in the world. While she is a silent protagonist in that she can no longer vocalize words, Red still can communicate through humming, comments on terminals throughout Cloudbank, and her actions. It also helps that the talented Ashley Barrett voices Red whenever one of her songs appears in the soundtrack.
Red has not lost her agency, and despite other people continually voicing their opinion and attempting to use her for their own ends, she always does what she believes is best. From taking out the Process, pursuing the Camerata, and ultimately ending her own life to be with her love in the Country. Red is somehow one of the strongest characters I have come across without uttering a word, and while I generally tend to favor speaking player characters, I came to love Red. That is why Red is my video game Valentine.
Big Boss (Metal Gear Solid series)
AJ Moser, Staff Writer
When I think about the video game character I admire most, the choice is clear. As someone who did what he needed to for the good of the world, Big Boss is an ideal hero in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Naked Snake (as he’s first known) is a talented warrior and all around great guy.
When we meet this reluctant hero, he’s the perfect solider. Loaded to the teeth with stealth and CQC training, the man who would be Big Boss is dropped into hostile territory on a super-secret mission. Over the course of the game, facing insurmountable odds, he takes them all on with gleeful optimism and skill.
He’s essentially introduced as a secret weapon for the American government, but goes on to become so much more than that in the player’s heart. This is a real character, with his own motivations and quirks. He may become the main villain of the series but if he didn’t convince you he was once a good guy in Snake Eater, you may not have a heart.
In the game, he treats his comrades with respect, looks up to his mentors and even inspires his enemies. Snake’s friendly rivalry with the enigmatic Revolver Ocelot is one of the most entertaining parts of MGS3 and carries over to future installments of the series.
When he eventually goes on to start his own private military company, players will surely believe how so many soldiers could fall in line behind this man. Who wouldn’t want to serve under his just cause?! In Peace Walker, the Boss’ character is further explored, we see his softer side and understand the turmoil he’s underwent as a servant of his country.
Big Boss is a rugged, handsome, wise ally to have on the battlefield. His story takes the arc of multiple games to tell, and its a complex, emotional tale. Through the relationships he forms with characters like Kazuhira Miller, Chico, Paz and Quiet, his human side is fleshed out even more. We’re introduced to a shadowy villain in the original Metal Gear by the same name, but it is no longer the same man.
In Snake Eater, Big Boss is still a young, crafty and enthusiastic soldier. There’s something so charming about his smile as he spies on Eva through his binoculars and so innocent when he explains his belief in Santa Claus. Naked Snake goes on to be corrupted by war, revenge and betrays, but in Metal Gear Solid 3, he’s the only character I’d have as my Video Game Valentine.
Louis Contaldi, Staff Writer
This year in video games gave us a wealth of strong, lovable female characters. However, if I had to give my metaphorical rose to someone, it would by Undyne of Undertale. While she may be heavily pixelated and a giant fish monster, she has a competitive streak that I really look for in a partner and a friend. Assuming you take the pacifist route, her persona is fiercely loyal and overwhelmingly personable. All of that is a must, because I need people in my life to match (or top) my level of over-the-top energy.
More importantly, through her dialogue with and about other characters in Undertale, it is clear that she is willing and able to overlook major goofy and stupid personality faults. Be it someone breaking her window by jumping out it or burning down her own house, she reacts with a laugh and saying “What next?” I have faults in droves, so I need someone who is able to laugh off my dumb antics. So, Undyne, will you be mine?
Mitsuru Kirijo (Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Persona 4: Arena, Persona 4: Arena Ultimax)
Kenneth Richardson, Staff Writer
Mitsuru Kirijo is my Video Game Valentine and nothing short of a dreamgirl. She has it all; wealth, beauty, intelligence and charisma. She’s a leader, cool headed and sophisticated. She excels in all she does, not just joining the fencing team but leading the fencing team, for example.
From the beginning of her game, Persona 3, she is faced with tremendous responsibility that only grows as the game progresses. Yet for the majority she does not crack under the pressure. Her commitment to excellence and hard working attitude are almost more attractive than her stunning physical appearance. She has a sharp wit and a tongue to match, and her no nonsense attitude lead to her earning various nicknames that play up her affinity for ice.
After being by her side through each game she’s since appeared in though, I know she has a warmer, sweeter side. One also learned to love Mitsuru through the stress of trying to complete her social link. It is only possible once the player has maxed the academics stat. This can be so much of a pain to juggle with other social links, getting sleep and so on that many players might finish the game without bothering to go to such lengths, but it only made the prize that much sweeter for those who saw it through.
When time skipped forward for Persona 4: Arena, my love for Mitsuru matured along with her. Her assertive personality and confidence come through with crystal clarity in her combat style, which is fast, powerful and terrifying. Her staggering damage output, speed, and control of space contribute to Mitsuru being one of the top characters in Persona 4: Arena and its sequel. Yet, despite her courage and resilience, we get to see how very human she is in the events in the second half of Persona 3.
I think what I love most about Mitsuru is how unique she seems against other video game heroines. She pushes herself to hold up the prestige of her family name, but she always seems in control of her own destiny. It’s as if you couldn’t imagine her doing anything else. Mitsuru is the kind of girl you want to be or want to be with.
Handsome Jack (Borderlands series)
Ryan Meitzler, Staff Writer
In the past few years of our Valentine’s Day editorials, my previous picks (Commander Shepard from Mass Effect and Ellie from The Last of Us) shared a common attribute of both being strong characters overcoming adversity in environments way beyond their control. Their resilience and independence even in the worst scenario possible — the end of the world and an impending alien invasion — is really what drew me to them and why they are both among my favorite characters in recent games.
This year, I’m going for pretty much a complete 180 with my “Valentine”: Handsome Jack of the Borderlands series. He’s crude, crass, and explosively violent yet after playing through the first two titles in the last few months, the wise-cracking Jack quickly found his way into my heart, and in particular as being one of my own most memorable gaming villains.
Aside from his hilarious voice acting and penchant for cracking jokes that make me laugh-out-loud more times than I can count, Handsome Jack is more than just a (somewhat) pretty face with plenty of good humor and a gun-pooping crystal horse: he’s pretty much the epitome of a character I love to hate, though he certainly gets more “love” than “hate” from me.
As one of the highlights of my recent first playthrough of Borderlands 2, Handsome Jack’s role as the title’s “Big Bad” easily drew me in thanks to his humor and unpredictability. What I wasn’t expecting from him though were the other dimensions of Jack as a character, not only in making him funny and violent, but also vulnerable and not without his own personal demons and weaknesses.
Much like the mask that he wears, Handsome Jack is a character all about putting on appearances. He’s big on being bigger than everyone else and making himself larger than life: underneath all that though, there’s a softer side to Jack that I can’t really say much more without spoiling a pretty big reveal of Borderlands 2, but nevertheless those are all just a few of the reasons that Handsome Jack has so quickly found himself into my heart: through laughs and gasps at the same time.
Kratos (God of War series)
Yaris Gutierrez, Deputy Editor
Ah, Kratos… the Ghost of Sparta; the destroyer of creation; the man who single-handedly brought the heavens down and killed his own father because, well, his dad killed him first (among other reasons). If there was ever a personification of rage, look no further than this powdered demigod. Not giving a single ‘f,’ Kratos obliterated humanity without a single yoctoliter of care.
So why did I choose Kratos as my most beloved character this year? Well, aside from referencing the aforementioned reasons, Kratos — as a character — was always portrayed as an antihero of sorts. But if you followed the series, you come to realize the true genesis of his rage. His brother was kidnapped in front of him and tortured beyond belief for years, he was tricked by Ares in killing his daughter and wife, and he was cursed by a village oracle who “marked” him with the ashes of his family. Now, if that isn’t enough reason to live in hatred, then I don’t know what is. What allures me to Kratos is his determination to avenge those he held dear regardless of the obstacles that stood in his way. Whether it was beating the crap out of a massive Titan or crawling his way back from the depths of hell, Kratos selfishly fought on for vengeance and unmercifully fulfilled his ultimate goal of bringing down Olympus and everyone on it.
Without a single doubt, Kratos, to me, is the physical manifestation of perseverance. He overcame all odds, and even death, to surmount what many felt to be impossible. And he did this, beneath the underlying tone of love. Sure, we can paint the picture that Kratos has anger management issues and probably needs a prescription of Prozac. But when it comes down to it, everything he had done in his life to the point of his supposed death was for love, not just for the sake of killing as the facade of the game may suggest.
Selvaria Bles (Valkyria Chronicles)
Giuseppe Nelva, News Editor
There’s something to be said about the villainess of a game who, several years later, is still by a long shot its most popular character. Selvaria is the emblem of devotion, determination and self-sacrifice beyond moral standards, rules and self-preservation. She has a platinum heart beneath a shiny steel cuirass.
She’s also one of the sexiest video game characters ever created, which never hurts. The fact that her unyielding and undying love is dedicated to one of the worst a***oles of the history of games doesn’t detract one bit from her many charms.
Selvaria is a villainess who turns into one of gaming’s most fascinating tragic heroines, and manages to do so despite the fact that her screen time in Valkyria Chronicles is actually quite limited. Yet, when those red eyes look at you, as they were staring deep into your soul and asking “what are do you fight for?” what else do you really need?
If you haven’t played Valkyria Chronicles yet (and maybe you’re waiting for this Spring’s release on PS4) be ready, because she’ll take your heart and never let go.