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Top 10 Xbox video game heroes

Whether they're noble, brave icons that inspire everyone to be the best person they can be, or simply just badass warriors that cut down armies of bad guys in order to protect the innocent, the various protagonists of the video game world have become shining symbols of heroism in the entertainment industry.

Related: Top 10 Xbox video game villains

10. Jade (Beyond Good and Evil)

Jade is a living example of the power of tenacity. Despite living in a world where very little goes her way — her planet is under siege by aliens, and she's been an orphan since her birth — Jade has managed to create success for herself thanks to her willpower and resilience.

Starting out with a mere photography business, Jade would eventually come to unravel the mystery behind the relations between the invading DomZ and the supposed protectors of the planet, the Alpha Sections.

What makes Jade such a cool character is that she never gives up. Even in the face of all the challenges life has thrown her way, Jade stubbornly comes out on top.

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9. Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil series)

When the U.S. President's daughter, Ashley, was kidnapped by the sinister Los Illuminados cult in Spain, Leon Kennedy was tasked with retrieving her. What Leon found when he reached her location was an army of humans infected by the parasite known as Las Plagas.

Facing hordes of infected humans, wolves, and other terrifying creatures, Leon somehow managed to find, secure, and ultimately rescue Ashley and evacuate the area. Despite the fact that most of the monsters he encountered would traumatize anyone (even being injected with the parasite himself at one point) Leon was able to remain cool, calm, and collected as he found a way to cure himself and accomplish his mission. His dedication to his duty and his courage in the face of terrors like these are commendable.

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8. Marcus Fenix (Gears of War series)

Marcus Fenix stands as one of the most notable examples of a professional soldier in video game history. Year after year of fighting the Locust menace, Marcus's long history of service has led to an insurmountable amount of loss. Most things that mean something to Marcus come out of the war wounded at best, and dead at worst.

This repeated experience of loss has turned Marcus into a cold, introverted individual. Despite this, though, his talent as a natural leader and his ability to push on and keep fighting in the wake of all that has occurred around him solidifies his skill as a warrior and his remarkable endurance, both physical and emotional.

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7. Carth Onasi (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)

Carth is similar to Marcus Fenix in quite a few ways. Both are part of large, drawn-out wars, both have experienced loss of some kind, and both have the strength and endurance to push on and keep serving. But where Marcus is a closed door, Carth is an open book.

Over the course of Knights of the Old Republic, you have several opportunities to talk to Carth about his experiences in the war between the Sith and the Old Republic. I always found it fascinating to see Carth's views; in Star Wars, we're rarely privy to the opinions, beliefs, and experiences of the common foot soldier.

While this doesn't make him better than Marcus by any objective measure, Carth's character nevertheless intrigues me more. When you combine Carth's willingness to speak his mind with his resilience and dedication to duty, you're left with a character that feels very much like a real person and not a fictional one.

Note: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is incredibly rare and expensive to buy new. It can be found used, however, quite easily, or you could purchase it on Steam for $9.99.

6. Artyom Chyornyj (Metro series)

If one word was used to describe Artyom, it would undoubtedly be 'brave'.

Artyom is many things, but most notably, he's brave. Willing to venture out both into the endless darkness of the metro tunnels and also into the harsh, radiation-ridden wasteland of Moscow on the surface, Artyom puts it all on the line in order to stop the super-mutants known as the Dark Ones from killing everyone residing underneath the city.

On top of this, though, he's also reasonable and honorable. Once he learns the truth about the Dark Ones, he immediately regrets destroying their home and commits himself to protecting the lone surviving Dark One, just a child.

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5. Commander Shepard (Mass Effect series)

Commander Shepard is a cocktail of charisma, intelligence, and skill. There's no enemy he can't defeat, no leader he can't persuade, and no problem he can't solve.

What really stands out about Shepard, though, is his astounding ability to connect with those around him. Shepard understands that to effectively command, you have to take an interest in your subordinates. Throughout the Mass Effect trilogy, Shepard forms tight-knit relationships with his entire crew that would have lasted a lifetime — were it not for his ultimate sacrifice in order to stop the Reapers.

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4. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider series)

When Tomb Raider released in 1996, Lara Croft stood as one of the first ever female characters in gaming to pick up a weapon and dish out the pain herself. Unlike most of the female characters in the industry at the time, Lara Croft was a fierce, independent figure that wasn't afraid to go on her adventures.

Of course, what really makes Lara a hero is her undeniable drive to fight for the force of good. Throughout her many, many adventures over the years, Lara time and time again opposes and thwarts all baddies encountered during her expeditions.

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3. Ezio Auditore Da Firenze (Assassin's Creed series)

Ezio is considered one of the most notable members of the Assassins, and for good reason. He dedicated almost his entire life to stop the Templars. During his time as an Assassin, Ezio saved Venice, Florence, and Rome from falling under Templar control, almost all by himself. The ideals of independence and freedom that the Assassins hold dear wouldn't have spread through Italy during the Renaissance were it not for his actions.

Despite doing all that he could do during his lifetime, Ezio died still wanting to do even more. His selflessness and dedication to the Assassin cause have not gone unnoticed.

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2. The Arbiter Thel 'Vadam (Halo series)

Halo 2: Anniversary cutscene.

Halo 2: Anniversary cutscene. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Of all the characters on this list, none show more strength than Thel 'Vadam, mentally.

Despite devoting his entire life in service to the Covenant and its religion, he was strong enough in order to cast the Great Journey aside as a lie when he discovered that it was false. This undoubtedly was a monumental challenge for him, and the fact he overcame it is a testament to the power of his will.

Thanks to his ability to accept the truth, a Halo ring was prevented from firing, and 'Vadam himself would deliver the final blow to the Covenant weeks later. His actions are only equaled, and perhaps surpassed, by the Master Chief himself.

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1. Master Chief (Halo series)

The Master Chief is, undeniably, one of the most recognizable and iconic characters in video game history. Indeed, the titanium-encased super soldier has left quite an exemplary legacy over the years, saving humanity countless times in the war against the Covenant.

The reason why Chief is the number one pick is that he has almost every quality seen in heroes. Strong, independent, resilient, intelligent, and dedicated are all terms that can be used to describe John-117. Similarly to Marcus Fenix, he is, for the most part, introverted, but that's okay. We don't need Chief to be open or talkative. Everything we need to know about the man in the armor is shown to us through his actions.

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Your thoughts

What do you think of the list? Are there any characters you think should have made an appearance? Let us know down below.

Related: Top 10 Xbox video game villains

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • Can't believe you forgot BJ Blazkowicz 😨
  • Masterchief hands down for me as well.. Plus i want Cortana to be in my.. Eh.. Clothing.. Too, Damn it!
  • Only two women out of ten?
  • It's an Xbox list, there aren't exactly a huge amount of female options. If you open it up to all gaming that will make a difference.
  • Max Caufield (Life is Strange) Chloe Price (Life is Strange) Anna (Valiant Hearts: The Great War) Ciri Riannon (The Witcher 3) Fath Connors (Mirror's Edge) Elizabeth (Bioshock Infinite) Aveline de Grandpré (Assassin's Creed III-IV) Amanda Ripley (Alien: Isolation) Bonnie MacFarlane (Red Dead Redemption) Catherine (Halo: Reach) Evie Frye (Assassin's Creed Syndicate) Emily Kaldwin (Dishonored 2) That's 12 off the top of my head, all in titles that appeared on Xbox. I think the author could have tried a little harder.
  • Some of your list I wouldn't constitute as "heroes", although I definitely agree with Faith, in fact I would ditch Leon Kennedy in favour of Faith Connors. However I don't agree with characters from a single title (Jade gets a pass because she is the epitomy of a hero character, going well and truly above and beyond the call of duty), so a lot of the rest of your list I wouldn't include (I also wouldn't include characters you don't specifically play as, so Carth Onasi is out from the main list for me too). In fact I would put Geralt in place of Carth Onasi. As an aside, Commander Shephard is technically genderless.
  • So tell me which man should be replaced?
  • Up to five of them.
  • Come on tell us who should be replaced by a women and which woman.
  • Why so defensive? All I'm suggesting is that some care and time be taken to ensure equality between role models for girls and boys. Why is that so egregious to you?
  • I'm not going to be dishonest about who I feel should be in my list because of gender or sex. Being inclusive because of those factors would be lying about who I feel the top ten should have been. Just because there are less females than males on here means nothing. The fact that you see nothing but sexes within this list tells me you didn't read my justifications either. I love female characters - in my opinion the best overall game character ever written is Kreia/Darth Traya from KOTOR II, which happens to BE a female character. <--- Kreia is listed as #2 on my favorite Xbox villains list, and the only reason she isn't above Handsome Jack as #1 is because she is only a villain for the last third of the game.
  • I get that. However you didn't write this article as "Brendan Lowry's favourite 10 Xbox video game heroes". If you did that would be more acceptable. Instead you wrote it as "the best game heroes in Xbox history". You presented it as a definitive list. That sends a very different message.
  • Yes, which is clearly an opinion article topic. None of this was ever presented as objective.
  • The word "I" appears in the article only once. "My" doesn't appear at all. "Our" is once, in the context of "our list of the best game heroes in Xbox history". Opinion is never made clear.
  • Cortana, obviously :). A pretty dark hero, but a hero for most of the series nevertheless.
  • This is a list of his top 10 favorite video game heros. You're implying that he should change his opinion just to have more female representation? Seriously?
  • "Here's our list of the best game heroes in Xbox history." "Whether they're noble, brave icons that inspire everyone to be the best person they can be, or simply just badass warriors that cut down armies of bad guys in order to protect the innocent, the various protagonists of the video game world have become shining symbols of heroism in the entertainment industry." Clearly they're not just "his top 10 favourite", rather aiming to be an emperical list of "the best" video game characters to aspire to. I think some extra effort could have been put in to list equally impressive female characters.
  • "Here's our list ...." Opinion. "What do you think of the list? Are there any characters you think should have made an appearance? Let us know down below." Opinion. You have a list of female characters above. That is what he was looking for. Your opinion and that of anyone else who cared to respond. Now my question. Why should he have sought to include more female characters? Why would it have been an issue if he hadn't included any? I don't mean to sound combative or anything, but this whole PC thing has gotten out of hand. An engineer got fired from Google for expressing his opinion on this subject. As such, when I see someone try to take issue with someone else on this topic, it strikes a nerve with me.
  • We should care because we have girls growing up seeing articles like this stating that these are the best heroes in video games, that here is a list of the most inspiring characters, and that these the most shining symbols of heroism. And there are very few women in the list. Girls will see this and learn that their place is possibly not there. That heroism and inspiration is what men do. It's so much healthier to provide a balanced view on gender so both girls and boys feel they have the same potential to be heroic and inspirational. I don't expect you to understand if you're not a woman. To understand what the world is like with the world's largest entertainment industry so skewed away from your gender. But the fact is that there's a problem and it can be easily fixed by just taking a mental note to try and be more balanced when writing articles like this.
  • "I don't expect you to understand if you're not a woman." Maybe I'm making an assumption, but judging from your avatar/name you're a guy. How do you understand? Anyway, women =/= men. The genders different biologically, emotionally, and physicality. They work differently. An issue is that you have radical feminists who want women to be treated exactly the same as men. Yet they will be the first in line on the Titanic when the call goes out "women and children first". Yet women are not the same as men. Women are not lesser than men in any way, nor are women superior. Merely different. When you have people try to shoehorn women into the same mold as men, I think you do everyone a disservice. You say that the entertained industry is skewed away from women. Yet above you have a 12 woman list of video game heros off the top of your head. Which one is it? I do think that the woman heros are often portrayed as sex symbols, which I believe is unfortunate. That is one reason I enjoyed the new Tomb Raider games, because Laura wasn't merely a sex object like the previous instalments. But most of those women heros personality wise are simply men with breasts. This too is unfortunate. Women are different than men. When you say that it is "healthier to provide a balanced view on gender", if by that you mean "same", then I cannot agree. If you mean a good overall view of the strengths and weaknesses of each gender, then yes, I agree. But I don't think you mean the latter. In short I cannot agree with the premise of your post, let alone the substance of it.
  • "I don't expect you to understand" is not the same as "you cannot understand". I don't expect you to understand because most men do not have exposure to the issues women face. Most are not taught to even be aware of it. That's not their fault, but it is their privilege.  There is a big problem where an entire half of the human race expecting equal treatment is called "radical feminism". Men and women may be subtly different, but in no way that should affect a list like this. The "strengths and weaknesses of each gender" you mention is a much smaller list than most people think.
  • Geralt should be 1, 2, and 3. Maybe 4 too.
  • "Top Ten List of Geralt's in Geralt related Geralt."
  • Alan Wake
  • Where's my Bayonetta? 
  • Lightning? (final fantasy 13)
  • 1. Masterchief
    2. Cortana
    3. Marcus
    4. Dom Santiago
    5. Me when I am driving my Vette in Forza
    6. Me playing as Nathan Drake wishing Uncharted was on Xbox
    7. Me playing as Cronos wishing God Of War was on Xbox
    8. Batman in the Arkham series
    9. Lara Croft
    10. Big Boss