Most people don’t pop in a video game and prepare to be motivated, but gaming has seen its fair share of characters who do just that. These are the unforgettable personas featured in games that make you excited to play, keep you pumped, and some of them are even a bit polarizing. Most importantly, these characters stick with you long after each gaming session is over and will have you quoting lines from their dialogue. Here are ten of the most motivational video game characters ever created.
1. Commander Shepard, Mass Effect
Whether you choose to play Commander Shepard as a male or female, you’ll find that this is one of the most motivational video game characters around. The highly trained veteran is like an unstoppable force, and even though players can customize various aspects of the character the essence behind Commander Shepard stays the same. Shepard’s demeanor and way of handling situations is a huge part of why this is one of the top favorite characters among gamers.
2. Joel, The Last of Us
One quote from Joel sums up his attitude: “…no matter what…you keep finding something to fight for”. He’s an awe-inspiring character, but Joel’s back story is insanely sad. Knowing what he’s been through and all of the people he’s lost makes his determination even more motivational, and the scene where he loses his daughter is heartbreaking. However, Joel doesn’t give up and the way that he comes to love and protect Ellie is amazing. Any character who can soldier on and do the things he has in a depressing apocalypse is definitely motivational.
3. Clementine, The Walking Dead
What little girl do you know that could stitch her own wounds together without screaming in order to save her own life? That’s just one of the things Clementine did in The Walking Dead video game, and the character had tons of other inspirational moments. She did what was necessary to survive and save those in her group, but some of the things she said were incredibly mature for a young girl. After seeing her in action, you’ll understand why she’s such a fan favorite.
4. Elizabeth, Bioshock Infinite
Elizabeth isn’t just one of Bioshock Infinite’s most motivational video game characters, she’s also the most intriguing. Though at the start of the game the player is rescuing her, don’t be fooled into thinking she’s the typical woman in distress waiting for someone’s help. She not only plainly states that she can take care of herself in the game, she shows it. The environment of the game is rather dark but Elizabeth acts as someone who is carefree and is much like a ray of hope, so you can’t help but be inspired by her.
5. Father James, Mafia III
Lincoln Clay was the main character in Mafia III, and an awesome one at that. However, when it comes to motivational video game characters in this title it gets no better than Father James. He dropped serious gems of wisdom throughout the game, and among all of the murder and revenge the things he said would actually have you questioning what you were doing. As for that “bad” ending? It just shows how remarkable Father James really is and how he doesn’t waiver when it comes to doing what he thinks is right.
6. Max Payne, Max Payne I, II, and III
The Max Payne series is a neo-noir thriller that revolves around the titular character. At first Max Payne starts out as a police officer and special agent, but once his partner and family are murdered and he gets framed for the deeds, that’s when things get interesting and you get to see some incredible character development. Max Payne isn’t just motivational, he’s the quintessential antihero.
7. Snake, Metal Gear Solid
To understand just how awesome a character Snake is, you need to delve a bit into Metal Gear’s storyline. It’s a long one with some twists, but basically Snake is a code name and several characters have used it throughout the series. There’s Big Boss — also known as Naked Snake, Punished Snake, and Venom Snake — Solid Snake, Liquid Snake, and Solidus Snake. If that has you confused, just know this: those who have borne the code name have become legendary leaders and forces to reckon with, as well as the source of some very memorable one-liners and quotes.
8. Ezio, Assassin’s Creed
Ezio Auditore da Firenze is one of those characters that’s hard to forget, and he makes playing Assassin’s Creed exciting. He hasn’t had an easy road in life, and he’s definitely had to see and go through some harrowing situations — most people who witness their dad and brothers being killed would snap or lose it, but it only compelled Ezio to double down and get vengeance. He not only gets back at those who have betrayed his family, Ezio gets the job done with flair.
9. Nathan Drake, Uncharted series
This all around amazing treasure hunter goes on a serious personal transformation throughout the Uncharted series, which is part of what makes him one of the most motivational video game characters in any franchise. His memorable quotes are often funny, but he’s also said some very poignant things. Plus, few people can get you hyped up for a rousing trek through dangerous terrain or a hop along cliffs and rooftops like Nathan Drake can. His back story is quite interesting as well, making the player well rounded and intriguing.
10. Asbel Lhant, Tales of Graces
Tales of Graces’ protagonist Asbel Lhant could have taken the easy route by becoming a Lord, but he’s determined to become a knight and truly fight for the kingdom. Watching him come into his own as a swordsman is one of the best parts of the game, and the character has some wonderfully inspirational moments. He doesn’t have the same bravery when facing his love Cheria as he does when in battle, but that’s part of what makes Asbel relatable.