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top teens-01Master Chief (Halo)

While the storyline of the Halo games has been very hit or miss with me personally, there’s no denying that Master Chief (aka John-117) is one of the most recognizable characters in all of gaming. Genetically engineered and raised to be the ultimate soldier, he is known for his iconic green Mjolnir armor and ability to take out entire squadrons of foes single handedly. And while he is often a man of few words, when he does speak it’s with the unmistakable voice of actor Steve Downes, who has portrayed the Chief in all of his appearances. He was appeared in comics, novels, as an action figure, and will appear soon in the Halo television series in production at Showtime.  -John

top teens-02Mae Borowski (Night in the Woods)

You wouldn’t think a game about cartoon animals living in a small town would carry much weight in the character building department but that is exactly where Night in the Woods excels. This game is all about the cast of quirky and complicated characters and it is headlined by Mae the cat. Mae has a troubled past when the game begins having dropped out of college for reasons that are not quite known. As the plot continues we see into Mae’s complicated relationships with her family and estranged friends and we peek into her struggles with depression, anger issues and self-doubt. It is a wonderfully complex narrative that allows Mae to show us that it’s ok to be not ok, and the importance of finding people to support you no matter who you are or what your struggles may be. -Adam

top teens-03Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil 2)

Taking the crown as our top Resident Evil hero, Leon Kennedy is the star of probably the two most popular and critically acclaimed entries in the series. From rookie cop to Federal agent, Leon has quite the journey in this series. While the storytelling in the franchise might not win any awards for it’s cheese flavored dialogue, any character who can dispel bio mutants with a rocket launcher and drop-kick chainsaw wielding psychos is alright in our book. -Adam

 

top teens-04Niko Bellic (Grand Theft Auto IV)

The most nuanced of all the Grand Theft Auto protagonists, Niko holds a special place in the Rockstar pantheon of anti-heroes. Perhaps the only character I can remember playing as in the entire franchise where I actually felt mostly justified for many of the horrible things I was doing. Niko is a tormented man who is desperately trying to escape his past and start a new life in America one body at a time. Also bonus points for having an awesome cousin. –Adam

top teens-05Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher)

Sometimes called The White Wolf or The Butcher of Blaviken, Geralt of Rivia was raised since birth to be a Witcher, someone who makes a living travelling the countryside and slaying monsters. After completing his training at Kaer Morhen, Geralt set out with his trusty steed Roach to dispense justice (and earn some coin). Along the way he would fall in love with a sorceress (Yennefer), adopt a Princess as his daughter (Ciri), and slaughter countless werewolves, harpies, ghouls, wraiths, and succubi. Oh… and he suffered from amnesia. Yeah, he’s had a bit of a tough life.   -John

top teens-06Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)

Undoubtedly the most iconic character in the storied Final Fantasy franchise, Cloud came on the scene in the late nineties when Anime was cool, CD drives were cooler and you could be a total badass with a low poly count. The character itself stretched the JRPG tropes of amnesiac hero who takes on the evil empire by leading a fantastic cast of characters across the biggest JRPG of its time. Cloud has stretched his legs outside of Final Fantasy VII as well, appearing in Kingdom Hearts, Smash Bros, and the totally awesome CG film Advent Children. We all wait impatiently for his return in the Final Fantasy VII remake. –Adam

top teens-07Commander Sheppard (Mass Effect)

Science fiction is full of iconic characters, Star Wars has Luke Skywalker, Star Trek has James T. Kirk, and the Mass Effect trilogy had Commander Sheppard. The difference here is that as the player, you could mold Sheppard into whatever kind of character you want him (or her) to be. Whether you had a strong moral compass and always played by the rules, or did whatever it took to get the job done even if it meant getting your hands dirty, as the Commander of the SSV Normandy you led your crew across the galaxy to battle a race of beings known as the Reapers who laid waste to everything in their path. Developer Bioware did a masterful job of creating a leader who was both compelling and interesting in their own right, but allowing you to shape them to match your own style, creating a character that you’re emotionally invested in right up to the climactic end.   -John

top teens-08Chloe Price (Life is Strange)

Life is Strange is a video game that lives and dies with it’s characters, if you don’t care about the characters on screen then the rest of it falls apart. Thankfully developer Dontnod created some of the most charming, endearing, and interesting characters I’ve ever played, and Chloe in particular is fantastic. The relationship between Chloe and Max feels as genuine as any real relationship. Awkward, exciting, clumsy, scary. I was 100% invested in their story. And while throughout the game much of the focus is on solving the mystery of a missing girl, the real drama is what unfolds between Chloe and Max. It’s also one of the few games I’ve ever played that left me in tears at the end. The finale is something you can truly not be prepared for.   -John

top teens-09Kratos (God of War)

How do you take a character known for mindless violence and debauchery, and turn him into a relatable, endearing person? You put him in the hands of someone as talented as Cory Barlog, that’s how. Reflecting a maturation in it’s creators, God of War tells the story of a man who is trying to leave the mistakes of his past behind him. When he finds himself alone though, and caring for a son he doesn’t know how to connect with, he learns that only by accepting and learning from your past can you hope to become a better man, and father. Nobody expected such a nuanced and emotionally complicated take on a character like Kratos, and this new direction is one of the best surprises in this generation of gaming.   -John

top teens-10Solid Snake (Metal Gear)

Solid Snake commanded all of the gaming world’s attention when he came roaring back to the scene armed with only a pack of smokes and a bad attitude in the Playstation classic, Metal Gear Solid. While his subsequent appearances were scattered and not as impressive, Snake is still one of the greatest in our book. MGS is one of the most iconic adventures ever played and back when we first took control of this lone wolf  our expectations, when it came to how stories were told in games, were forever changed. The unparalleled cinematic presentation and direction of Metal Gear Solid made Snake shine in what felt like the first playable movie. Snake is one of the greatest and most iconic action heroes in all of video games. –Adam

Check out the previous installments!

The Top 50 Video Game Characters of All Time #50-41

The Top 50 Video Game Characters of All Time #40-31

The Top 50 Video Game Characters of All Time #30-21

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